GINETTA GT4 SUPERCUP 2018
RD.1 - BRANDS HATCH INDY
The first round of the 2018 Ginetta GT4 Supercup was held at the well-known Brands Hatch circuit in Kent. It was a new circuit for me and one I’ve never raced at before so entering the weekend I had no pressure on my shoulders and could just go out on track and in theory, drive my heart out. Friday’s testing session was positive under sunny skies as I posted the 3rd fastest time overall and found a good setup with the team for the car. I was feeling comfortable so lapping the Brands Hatch circuit was really enjoyable for me.
Saturday arrived, and the weather was still sunny and warm, for now at least. Qualifying got under way and on my second flying lap I posted a time of 48.0 to be provisional pole. Unfortunately, I was beaten but at the end of qualifying I was still a remarkable 2nd place, even against the established guard who had been racing in this series for over 2 years! I was elated with this result and to make it even better, after I got out of the car I was approached by the circuit commentator and my first live interview took place there and then. The session ended, and I drove back to the paddock to be applauded by the crowd when I got out. To be the first Supercup driver to get a front row start in their debut weekend ever was unbelievable and was without question the highlight of my weekend.
Later on that day was the first race of the season and lining up P2, I was unsurprisingly feeling the nerves especially when I was surrounded by 3 other very experienced drivers. The lights went out and my start was slow with far too much wheelspin and I instantly fell to 5th before I’d even got to turn 1. I held my car round the outside and got back into 3rd before turn 2 but on the apex of the 2nd corner, I got hit from the car behind spinning me out and into the middle of the track in front of the chasing pack who had nowhere to go and just like that, my brilliant grid position had been ruined and I scored my first DNF of the season in the very first lap.
Off the back of my DNF in race one, I was determined to ensure that I got some points on the board in race 2. Unfortunately, the weather had turned overnight and the track was now soaking wet. My start was better than race 1 and I held position into the first turn and from that point on, slowly made progress on a now sodden track. My pace was getting better every lap but in order to achieve my target of finishing, all I had to do was not take any unnecessary risks. As a result, I was fairly cautious with my overtaking and climbed 4 places in the race total to finish P7.
For the final race of my first Ginetta GT4 Supercup Weekend, the track had mainly dried but a few damp patches were still dotted around the track. Slicks were fitted to the car and I knew I had the pace to make some good progress. My start was mediocre but I held position into turn one again, and on the slippery track, began asserting some authority on the race making 2 overtaking manoeuvres in the first 3 laps. Unfortunately, around the mid-point of the race I hit an uncleared oil patch in the middle of the last corner after a car in a previous race had crashed, and slid off the track into the gravel and lost the two places I’d gained early on in the race and finished an average P7.
To summarise, my debut weekend in Ginetta GT4 Supercup was a complete baptism of fire. To put the car on the front row of the grid in Qualifying was absolutely absurd and felt so amazing but my lack of racecraft in this car caught up with me in the races and my raw pace wasn’t able to be transferred into a racing scenario. As always, a massive thanks to the guys at Century Motorsport who always turned out a top car and I definitely fired some warning shots to the competition as I’m only going to get faster!