Toby makes his Ginetta debut at Snetterton

Toby’s first race of the Ginetta Racing Driver’s Club (GRDC) took place at Snetterton in Norfolk and saw him face all of the ups and downs of motorsport across just two days.

The weekend began with a Friday test session and right off the bat, Toby was setting a strong pace, beating his previous best lap time at the circuit. The test session was a chance to squeeze out every last tenth from the car and establish a good baseline for the race day ahead.

It was with the help of his team that disaster was narrowly avoided when the engine failed on track. Toby was able to limp back to the pits but it soon became clear that there was no salvaging the engine. 

The team, unable to accept defeat, came up with a new plan. Toby explains: “The team worked long and hard into the night to fit a brand new engine ready for the morning. I was genuinely overwhelmed by the efforts of these guys! I can thank my sponsor Vincent Caldicott enough.”

With a car that was ready to do battle once again, Saturday’s race day was on. Rain during the night made qualifying conditions tricky and much of Toby’s time on track was spent under yellow flags as cars were going off into the grass.

Toby’s first full flying lap put him fifth on the grid but his next lap was set to be even better as he pushed the car on the slick track. Three-quarters of the way around the circuit and he set for a time that would put him close to P1 — until he went in a little too hot at the Bomb Hole, causing the rear of the car to step out and slow him down.

Ending up P5 on the grid was a great achievement in Toby’s first-ever qualifying session but what was even more exciting was the knowledge that he was on-pace in a grid of 14 cars.

Race one started well with Toby off the line quickly but he locked up the rears as a car spun in front of him. Toby made contact with another car and spun around, putting him 30 seconds behind the pack.

A safety car meant Toby had the chance to catch up but it wasn’t going to be that easy. He says: “For some reason, the Mclaren GT3 safety car was on it and the other drivers said they were on full race pace trying to keep up.”

Not one to give up, Toby battled through the rest of the race with damage to the car, eventually picking up one more place before the chequered flag.

Finishing 12th after such a frantic race, and with damage to the car, was a great achievement and just gave Toby more determination to do well going into the second race.

This is where Toby’s time in karts really came to the fore, as he explains: “While I was at Buckmore Park, I always prided myself on clean passes and making them stick. This experience really helped me out. Karting can very much be bump-to-pass but in the world of tin tops, this is an expensive way to make your way through the grid.”

Fully in his flow lap-after-lap, Toby made some textbook passes as he made his way up to ninth where he finsihed the race. 

His debut race weekend proved that, in motorsport, anything can happen (and it usually does, to paraphrase the great Murray Walker). Toby took everything in his stride. He says: “This weekend was a dream come true! I am so grateful for all of the support from everyone involved.”