To say I was nervous entering the Brands Hatch weekend of the 2019 British GT Championship would be a massive understatement. A brand-new car, a brand-new team mate, and overall, a brand-new experience for me. Having stepped out of the M4 GT4 and into the bigger and faster M6 GT3 for this weekend, I had to get up to speed very quickly having only driven the car for 1 hour on an airfield before this weekend, but I always relish a challenge and this weekend was no exception!
Rolling out of the pits on Saturday morning was a cool experience. The last time I raced at Brands Hatch was the end of my Ginetta Supercup campaign last season. I had a 2nd and a 3rd that weekend, so I liked the track, but how quickly would I be able to get to grips with almost twice the power of the little Ginetta? Qualifying was on Saturday evening, so I’d find out soon enough. My team mate and 2018 British GT GT4 champion, Jack Mitchell and I grappled with setup during the two free practice sessions but regardless, I was still within half a second of Jack in practice having only driven the car for just under 2 hours. We made a dramatic change with the cars setup, changing all 4 springs to try and make the car more stable around the bumpy, GP section of the circuit so I was having to learn on the fly. Nevertheless, I was really enjoying the M6 and qualifying went better than I ever could’ve imagined and put in a time good enough for P2 in my session. Considering everyone else in the field had driven their GT3 cars all season, I was elated with that result from my qualifying. After Jack’s session, we would start at P5 for the race on Sunday and P2 in our sub-class, GT3 Silver.
Race day came around quickly and I was nervous, really nervous. I knew the team and I needed a good result from this weekend. None of the Century cars had been on the podium this year and we all knew this was our best chance. I was starting the race really feeling the nerves. However, when the visor goes down, and the engine fires up, you lose all those nerves instantly. It was time to go racing! Lights out and I made a great start instantly attacking P4 into turn one, and later round the lap pulled off a daring move around the outside of the fastest corner on the track! I progressed from P4 to a podium place just a few laps later and set off in pursuit of the leading two cars. From that point on, I got stuck behind the Balfe McLaren 720 for the rest of the stint but still stayed on the coat tails of the top two bringing the car into the pits 63 minutes in, in 3rd place. Jack jumped in and held P3 comfortably for the first half of his stint, a safety car bunched the pack up however and in the dying laps of the race Jack’s tyres went off and he was under serious pressure from three Lamborghini Huracans, all fighting for that last spot on the podium. At the line, it was almost too close to tell, but Jack held on by just 0.2 seconds and for the team’s first podium of 2019 got an amazing 3rd placed finish and finishing 1st in our sub-class.
It had been almost a year since my last podium and having been unfortunate in GT4 for the first 5 rounds of the season, on my GT3 debut I was back on the rostrum.
Thank you so much to all the team who’ve put in so much effort this year and I’m so pleased their efforts have been rewarded. In addition, I’m thankful to all my sponsors for supporting me this season, especially my main sponsors, Cambridge & Counties Bank and The Classic Car Team. It’s been a challenging one but such an amazing feeling to be back up in the front. There’s a little break now until the last round at Donnington on September the 14th and 15th. I’m raring to be at the front again having had a proper test in the car and I can’t wait to get back out on the track!
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