BRITISH GT 2019
RD.3 SILVERSTONE 500
After a disappointing weekend at Snetterton 3 weeks before, it was time to head to the home of British Motorsport for the prestigious Silverstone 500, the only 3 hour race on the season's calendar. I haven't raced on the full Grand Prix layout of this famous circuit since my first season in car racing, back in 2017 in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge, However, it is a circuit I am a fan of and that on paper, should suit the car.
As Saturday's qualifying got underway, I wasn't sure what to expect however as I'd never driven the car in the dry around this track. All of the testing had been soaking wet so qualifying would be a bit of a learning curve for myself and the team. However, as soon as I got out on track, any nerves beforehand vanished and I put in a time good enough for P2 in GT4 and with it, my best qualifying performance of the season. Unfortunately, Andrew had a difficult qualifying with traffic and after our times had been added up, my P2 became less significant as we'd have to start the race right in the middle of the pack in P13.
As the lights went out for the race, Andrew started the car due to being the slower driver in qualifying and kept his nose clean, bringing the car into the pits for the first driver change of the race in P14 after 40 minutes. It was my turn now. Let's get to work. A seriously enjoyable stint from me saw me make up an impressive 10 positions including pulling a gap on some of the much more experienced, paid professionals. I brought the car back into the pits in P4 having taken over the car an hour ago in P14 and had a lot of fun in the process. Andrew's stint was solid again and by bringing the car back into the pits P5 in class, I'd have a good chance of making up more time and potentially being in with a shout of the podium. I drove my heart out in that last stint and 100% was the hardest I've ever pushed in a car race, every lap being substantially quicker than the cars ahead of us and I made up over 20 seconds on the 3rd placed car in my last, 30 minute stint but as the flag dropped, I would have to settle for P4, only 5 seconds off of a podium in class.
It was a bitter-sweet result for me in honesty. I know that I'd driven my socks off and I was really pleased with both my pace and consistency in my stints. However, I felt as though we as a team deserved a podium after the start to the season we've had, and to miss out on that by only a few seconds was a disappointment for me, but it's still a massive confidence boost for everyone at Century Motorsport. Both of our GT3 cars had mechanical issues and didn't finish the race, so to give the team something to smile about meant a lot to me. From a personal point of view, I know I'd driven well, and to be on average 8 tenths of a second quicker than the next faster BMW GT4 driver during the race backs up my opinion. This is the best I've ever driven at this moment in time and I'm super excited for the next round at Donington Park in just two weeks where I can do it all over again.
As always, a massive thanks to everyone at Century Motorsport who did an epic job this weekend to give me the tools to play with and to all my sponsors, especially my main sponsors Cambridge & Counties Bank and The Classic Car Bank.