BRITISH GT 2019
Following on from a first round at Oulton Park which showed promise for the season ahead, I was optimistic heading into the Snetterton weekend, a track that should in theory, suit our car, and is one I've enjoyed in the past when I raced there in Supercup last year. As practice got underway on Saturday morning, the car balance felt good and we were competitive on the times. Our used tyre pace was more competitive than our new tyre pace, but heading into qualifying, I was hoping that a top 6 or 7 position would leave Andrew and I in good stead for the races on Sunday.
As qualifying got underway, we looked oddly off the pace in Andrew's Am session, and despite setting personal bests, he was only able to qualify in P12 for race 1. That concerned me, I knew Andrew was better than P12 in the amateur session, so I was worried that our pace had vanished and we would be uncompetitive all of a sudden. As it was my qualifying session next in the Pro session, I knew all I could do was give it my all and get as much time out of the car as I could. On my outlap, I immediately realised the issue, between practice and qualifying, the car had developed a differential problem and was just spinning the inside wheel through the faster corners and was losing us a lot of exit speed and time. I gave it my all though, the balance of the car was really good, but my best lap was only good enough for P13 overall in pro, despite being 2 tenths faster than 2018's pole time. It was really deflating for us as a team to be so far down the order when our pace in testing and practice had been so competitive. However, the points were won in the races, so I'd just have to refocus and give it my all on Sunday.
The team changed the setup of the differential on both cars on Saturday night, and in the Sunday warm up, the car felt much more driveable so I was hoping that Andrew would be able to make up some time in his stint before handing over to me in race 1. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Immediately off the start, one of the Mustangs ahead of us messed up his own start and braked instead of accelerating when the lights went out and Andrew was left nowhere to go and contact was made, leaving was out of the race before turn 1. The DNF didn't bother me too much as it was only race 1 and it wasn't Andrew's fault. The biggest issue for me is that the entire front right corner of the car took damage and changing it in time for race 2 would be a tall order for the team. They did an amazing job and got the car repaired in time, but only just. As a result of the repairs, I was forced to start from the pitlane and thus, start last. As the rest of the pack were in turn 1 on their first lap, I was allowed to finally set off in pursuit. Those first laps I was completely on the limit. It's probably the most fun I've had in my 3 years of car racing. In the first 7 laps, I gained 7 places as I cut my way through the GT4 field. However, it would all come to nothing as on the start of lap 8, I would be involved in an incident that resulted in me being spun into the wall, further damaging the car and ending my race on the spot.
From all the promise testing had shown, having to face a double-DNF at a track we should've been strong at was a real shock and really disappointing for me, and all the Century Motorsport team. As always, thanks to all my sponsors, especially my main sponsors Cambridge & Counties Bank and the Classic Car Bank.
The next round is on the 7th and 8th of June at the prestigious Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit. It's the Silverstone 500, the only 3 hour race on the calendar. I can't wait to put our bad luck behind us and finally get some really strong results on the board.