patently

Me?  In no particular order, I'm a patent attorney (see www.downing-ip.com), blogger, dad, husband, and car fanatic.  When I'm online, that's my avatar over there on the right.  It's a "Porsche Design" pen, and reflects two of the things that drive me online - my desire to write, and my love of cars.  If anyone would like to remortgage their house to buy me one, I'd be eternally grateful.

My main blog is at http://thepatentlyblog.blogspot.com, where I go to voice my thoughts and opinions.  Sometimes that veers onto car-related issues, but mainly it is about other stuff.  Hence this blog. 

Almost ten years ago now, my business came together after a long period of hard slog, and I decided to treat myself to a sports car to celebrate.  Initially, my only stipulation was that it had to be open-topped; I love the outdoors, and detest being stuck in an office so the chance to be outdoors properly while I drive home  was too tempting to pass up.  

911 (Type 996) Carrera 4S Cabriolet

After a very enjoyable summer trying out everything I could, it became very clear that it also had to be a 911.  They stand out head and shoulders above the others, for one simple reason.  Every other car is set up in the right way, with the engine in the front or the middle.  The 911 is completely the wrong way round, with the engine at the back where it can ruin the handling for you.  That makes it unique, and fun.  It also makes it a perfect fit for an utter contrarian, such as me for example.  Here's my example, a 2004 911 Carerra 4S Cabriolet.  

The 911 did tempt me into trying some track days, though, which I enjoyed thoroughly.  The trouble is, there is always someone with a faster car than yours.  So I eventually decided that I would solve this, not by buying a 911 GT3, but by the rather cheaper option of choosing a context where we would all be in identical cars - the Caterham Academy.  The aim of the Academy is to take drivers who are complete novices when it comes to competing, get them through their racing licence exams, and then give them a full season of racing to see how they get on.  My Caterham kit arrived on 30 September 2011, and I will be racing it in 2012.

The purpose of this blog is to record the build progress, and my experiences in the Academy season itself.  If it inspires you to have a go too, then good - go talk to Caterham, they're a really friendly bunch and quite happy to spend time with you while you try desperately to make your mind up!

tyresmoke.net

Finally, a special mention must go to Tyresmoke.net, a community of utterly mad car nuts who have kept me amused since I joined many, many years ago.  The community there is genuinely warm and welcoming, and there is a wealth of knowledge on a wide range of car makes and models.  Thanks guys.