BRITISH GT 2020

RD.4 DONINGTON PARK GP

It was back to Donington Park for the 5th round of the 2020 British GT Championship. A track we were immensely quick at last time we were here just over a month ago, but a good result went missing on that day due to circumstances outside my control. As always though, I was excited to get the chance to show my speed and drive this awesome McLaren 720S GT3 around some of Britain’s best circuits.

Entering the weekend, I was optimistic that our race pace would be really strong. We’ve always had race pace to match the best this season and throughout testing, this appeared to be the case throughout practice as our long run, used tyre pace was really strong. As is also a trend this year though we seemed to be unable to really use the full capability of a new tyre, qualifying run where we seemed to be losing a fair bit of time compared to cars we were significantly ahead of on our longer run pace. As a result of this, even though mine and Dean’s laps in qualifying were really strong with me being 3rd in my qualifying session, we’d have to fight our way through from 8th on the grid on Sunday’s first 3-hour race of the season.

As the lights went out, I made a great start, avoiding all the chaos at turn 1 and gaining 3 places by the end of the first sector up from 8th place, to 5th! I knew our long run pace was really strong, so being able to make up some places early was just what the team and I needed. After this, I settled into a rhythm and kept the pressure on the cars ahead as best as I could. A small tangle with some GT4 backmarkers promoted us to 4th with one of the cars in in front spinning off into the grass but apart from that, my first stint was fairly dull with overheating issues on our front tyres in the dirty, turbulent air of the cars ahead blunting our long run pace. I jumped out around 45 minutes into the race and Dean jumped in for a longer stint on new tyres next. His times were strong, and we were able to hold onto our 4th place for the majority of our stint, but a mistake from Dean saw him push the Full Course Yellow button on the steering wheel instead of the radio. This limited our car to 80Km/h for until Dean was able to find the button and turn it off again but by this point we’d lost over 12 seconds to the cars around us and had fallen down to 6th. We stayed there until it was time for my second stint, but the team did a great job in the stop jumping one of our rivals in the pit stops and moving up to 5th immediately. Once again, I found my rhythm and put in a string of qualifying laps to jump 2 more cars in the stops and moved up into 3rd place where I sat comfortably for the rest of my stint. I got out once again with around 40 minutes to go and Dean hopped back in with another brand new set of tyres to give him the edge for this final push to the flag. We looked in really good shape for a podium or even better but 2 laps into his final stint Dean hit the kerb hard at the old Hairpin, broke the right rear suspension and spun into the gravel. He was able to recover but any chances of a good result were gone. The team did a great job but the best we could do was get back out and bring the car home in P12.

 

Points are points at the end of the day, but these days happen in motorsport. Nothing lined up for me this weekend and leaving the circuit knowing how much we deserve these strong results only makes me push harder to make sure luck does sit on our side next time. It’s not long until Snetterton and the penultimate round of the season and as always I’ll be there giving it my all to finally get the result the team and I all deserve.

 

Finally, a massive thanks has to go to all my sponsors, especially my main title sponsors Cambridge & Counties Bank and Classic Car Finance. This year has been nothing short of crazy so to be given the opportunity to fight at a level such as this is incredibly humbling and I’m so thankful for all their support.

 

Roll on Snetterton!

©2020 Angus Fender. All rights reserved.
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