Middlesbrough Grand Prix

39 employees took part in our team building event held at Teesside Karting.
Labman culture 19 min read

Katie SimpsonPublished 5th Aug 2014

Friday 1st August was an important date in the Labman calendar. It was to be the day upon which the wheat was sorted from the chaff and long standing debates over who was the fastest around a track would be settled. In total 39 employees took part in our team building event held at Teesside Karting just off the A66 in South Bank, Redcar & Cleveland. The format was a 2 hour endurance session with a 30 minute practice/qualifying followed by 90 minutes of racing. In total there were 13 teams of three people - each team entirely responsible for their racing strategy during the 90 minutes. On top of the driver change overs the weather, unsettled, promised to throw a few more surprises into the mix.

First up the briefing session delivered by a burly bloke from London it was a no nonsense affair. Driving tips were given, the layout of the track was described and the meaning of the different marshal flags explained. The most important of which being the dreaded black flag. Given out to track delinquents a strict three strike policy was enforced where by the whole team would be disqualified should a driver accumulate three black flags. Thankfully our host explained that they had never had to disqualify anyone in the 12 years he had been working at the track, however this was Labman’s first visit!

With the briefing session over it was down to the teams to decide who would go out first for the practice. Each driver in the team had 10 minutes to acclimatise themselves with the kart, the track and the method of switching drivers which involved holding out a pit board and scampering down the pit lane to switch over with your fellow driver. The last driver in the session would start the race and the fastest lap set by any of the three drivers in a team would be used to determine the all important grid layout.

After surprisingly calm and friendly practice session the grid layout was determined with Caterham taking pole position followed by Team Dacia and Red Bull in third. 13 karts lined up on the start/finish straight - engines primed and ready with anticipation. 3 - 2 - 1 and Go! the flag was dropped and the race was underway with Team Dacia stealing the lead early into the first lap. Further back down the field there were several spins as drivers fought for every square inch of the racing line.

Back in the pits the drivers in the trackside paddock watched the timing screens as lap after lap was completed. Now it was down to strategy with some teams deciding to go with 15 minutes per driver and others 30 minutes. After 20 laps the first drivers were coming in for a change over with Team Dacia still leading by a 1 lap margin. Then the weather changed, a down pour at the north end of the track sent many into an uncontrollable spin as the karts began to under steer and traction became scarce - it was like driving on ice. Sadly the weather was not enough to mix up the leaders with Team Dacia proving too strong a force to contend with. After 89 laps they thundered through the chequered flag taking victory.

With spirits high and new camaraderie found there was a winners presentation which sadly did not involve a magnum of expensive champagne. However there was a BBQ held back at the Labman factory where food and drink were plenty. In true British summer style torrential rain and wind appeared shortly after the BBQ was lit, but people were still buzzing from adrenaline and telling stories late into the evening. Until next time…

Race Results:

  1. Dacia - 89 laps
  2. Marussia - 89 laps (+47.69 seconds)
  3. Torro Rosso - 88 laps (+1 lap)
  4. McLaren - 87 laps (+2 laps)
  5. Force India - 87 laps (+2 laps)
  6. Caterham - 86 laps (+3 laps)
  7. Red Bull - 86 laps (+3 laps)
  8. Ferrari - 86 laps (+3 laps)
  9. Williams - 86 laps (+3 laps)
  10. Mercedes - 85 laps (+4 laps)
  11. Sauber - 83 laps (+6 laps)
  12. Lotus - 81 laps (+8 laps)
  13. Hispania - 81 laps (+8 laps)



  • Nicky Eastham
  • Johnny Hill
  • Paul Chilton


  • Ian Riley
  • James Raven
  • Matthew Watson


  • Mike Parnell
  • Joe Savage
  • Lucy Martin


  • Robert Talintyre
  • Bradley Aldus
  • Sam Bright


  • Andrew Whitwell
  • Joe Lillystone
  • Richard Frank

Force India

  • Dheeraj Ramakrishnan
  • Ben Harrison
  • Scott Barker


  • Graham Ellison
  • Tony Cumpson
  • Juan Padilla


  • Adam Taylor
  • Amy Nixon
  • Paul Wheatley


  • Jo Batey
  • Joe Roberts
  • Tom Lane

Red Bull

  • Gerry Johnson
  • Mathew Brown
  • Shane Marsden

Torro Rosso

  • Ivana Nanut
  • John Challenor
  • Simon Taylor


  • Jamie Marsay
  • Simon Parker
  • Tom Smith


  • Tom Singleton
  • Dan Harvey
  • Andrew Shackles