Interview: With Gordon Moodie

While up in Scotland, F1 Stockcars caught up with BriSCA F2 superstar Gordon Moodie (f2 #79) at his home track of Cowdenbeath and asked him about his experience of racing F1’s in a guest car courtesy of Mark Gilbank (F1 #21).

Gordon Moodie. Photo P.Tully

Gordon Moodie. Photo P.Tully

Gordon out of the tracks you got to race the F1 at; looking back now do you have a favourite?

I’d say Coventry, in an F1 you have so much power, there are not many tracks you can actually open it up and use it. Coventry is one of those tracks, you know and it felt bloody good being able to open it up and feel the power. That felt pretty good. In my F2 you can keep it wound-up a bit more at say, Belle Vue than you can in a F1 where your on-off the accelerator. So, it’s opening up an F1 for a few seconds down the straights at Coventry that ranks pretty high in my memories.
Cowdenbeath and Knockhill obviously stick out; as they are my home tracks in the F2. The atmosphere when I came out in the F1 was amazing. You get a brilliant atmosphere at Cowdie on a normal Saturday night, but the weekend I was out in the F1 was pretty special.

Apart from the obvious power differences, What other differences did you notice between the F1 and your F2?

The weight of the car, without doubt, makes a huge difference. As F2’s are so much lighter, you can really attack each corner more, and you just can’t do that in the F1. In the F1 the extra weight wants to put you into the corner faster, but if you let it go in too fast, you drift out wide and off the racing line, and that’s when you’ll start spinning out trying to correct that. So your probably better going into the turn slower and getting more of a drive coming out the corner.
But then you watch the top guys, and they seem to able to go into the corners really fast; it certainly is a challenge racing F1’s.

How about racing set-ups, were you able to take anything across from your F2 set-up?

No, not really; and with it being Marks car, you have to respect his knowledge of how to set it up. You tweek the odd thing between races but generally I went with what Mark said. You’d be stupid not to.

So how different was it borrowing a car to it being your own?

Very different, I raced a different style. I wanted to give the car back in as much the same condition as it was given me, which isn’t always the easiest thing to do in Stockcar racing. It’s just about being respectful to people who had given me the opportunity to race something different.
If it was my own car I would of driven it more aggressively, it’s yours. And probably leant a little more about setting up the car, feel what does what – both good and bad!

But racing the F1 isn’t the only V8 powered car you’ve raced.

In February 2007 I raced a Florida Modified at New Smyna in Florida, USA. They are a bit of an odd looking contraption, compared to what we run. BUT very fun to drive, and very, very fast.
New Smyrna is basically the same as Warneton in Belgium, just a lot bigger and a lot faster.
It was a great experience and a lot of fun.

Florida Modified Gordon Moodie raced in Florida 2007.  Photo S.Cording

Florida Modified Gordon Moodie raced in Florida 2007. Photo S.Cording

Lasting memory of racing in Florida?

(laugh) One night, I think it was the Wednesday, in the first race of the night I crashed quite hard into the wall on the first corner, we got the car back in the pits and pretty much just threw it together, It was a real rush to get it ready for my next race. We got it back out, and I managed an 8th or 9th place finish, That was a good night, just like our Stockcar racing back home.

Any plans to get back over to states to race again?

I’d love to, but it all comes down to funds. We were helped out money wise when we went, it wouldn’t of happened otherwise, but it was still expensive for us. And you ask yourself wouldn’t you be better investing that money into our racing and winning a few more championships here. But if the opportunity came along again I’d take it.

So back to Cowdie, When you raced Cowdie in the F1 in 2008 were you able to use your F2 racing knowledge of the track?

You can’t race the exact same racing line as an F2, The guy’s in the tarmac specials get to race a very similar line, but I couldn’t get anywhere near that line, we really struggled with set-up at Cowdie, as it was a shale car with a big-block engine, it made it just that more difficult for us. But the guys with tarmac cars get it wound up some.

So how was the big-block causing you problems?

I’m no expert on V8 engines, but you can shut down a Small Block engine a lot quicker, I really struggled at Knockhill. I can drive that pretty fast in my F2 but with the Big Block I was really struggling to stop the thing going into the hair-pin, then losing time while getting back on it coming out. Whereas, the guys with the Small Blocks could shut it off, then get straight back on it coming out and are off down the straight while mine was still picking up.

The F1 Scottish weekend has grown year on year, Do you have any thoughts on the future?

I’d like to see another weekend for the F1’s and F2’s, Another Cowdie and Knockhill weekend or just a Cowdie weekend. The F1’s pull a big crowd in Scotland, and the guys that come back after their first visit are getting better with each visit. You know, the first time a lot of the F1 guys come up to Cowdie, they struggle with set-up, but when they return you can see how they have improved. Cowdie is a damage track, but the more you learn it the (hopefully) less damage you’ll get, it’s like all tracks you just have to learn it.
Maybe once the economy has settled down a bit a second Scotland weekend could be looked at. With the right amount of sponsorship to help the guys out with diesel money to come up the road.

So what are Gordon Moodies plans with F1’s?

Racing a good V8 engine is a great experience, but I think we’ll race the F2 for a few more years, before having a crack in an F1.

You’re just saying that right?

No, it’s definitely on the cards – at some point. But right now it’s back to the F2’s. I really have enjoyed my experience racing in F1’s and I’m looking forward to battling it out with the stars of F1 week after week.

Talking of Stars how did the F1 guys take to an F2 Star ‘guesting’ in there formula?

No problems at all, I was surprised at how well I was received and treated by all the guys,you know. But whether they will greet me with such open arms when I move full time into F1’s and start challenging them for the titles, we’ll just have to wait and see. (laugh)
But no, it really was a positive and exciting experience. And hopefully you’ll see me out again this year in F1 if everything works out.

Thanks for your time Gordon, and good luck with your racing in the formula Two’s on your return

Cheers, and keep up your good work with the website.

Gordon with the Florida Modified 2007. Photo S.Cording

Gordon with the Florida Modified 2007. Photo S.Cording

S.Cording June 2009

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