Following a disappointing weekend at Snetterton 3 weeks ago, it was time to head to the home of British Motorsport for the prestigious Silverstone 500 – the only 3-hour race in the season’s calendar. I haven’t raced on the full Grand Prix layout of this famous circuit since my first season in racing, back in 2017 whilst driving the Ginetta GT5 Challenge. However, it is a circuit I am a fan of and one that most definitely suits the car.
Saturday’s qualifying was underway, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Slightly nervous as I’d never driven the car around Silverstone in wet conditions. During the test phase it was soaking wet, so qualifying was a bit of a learning curve for both me and the team. Nevertheless, as soon as I got out onto the track, all the nerves vanished. I drove a decent time, enough for P2 in GT4 and with it, my best qualifying performance of the season. Unfortunately, my partner Andrew had a difficult qualifying round with all the traffic. Once our times had been added up, my P2 became less significant as we were going to start the race right in the middle of the pack in P13.
As the lights went out for the race, Andrew started in the car as he was the slower driver during qualifying. Keeping his nose clean, he drove the car into the pits for the first driver change of the race in P14 after 40 minutes. It was my turn now and time to get to work! A seriously enjoyable stint saw me make up an impressive 10 positions including pulling a gap on some of the much more experienced drivers. 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 for the podium. I drove my heart out in that last stint and I can honestly say that it was the hardest I’ve ever pushed in a car race. Each lap being substantially quicker than the cars ahead of us, I made up over 20 seconds on the 3rd placed car in my last 30-minute stint. The flag dropped, and I had to settle for P4, only 5 seconds off a podium in class.
It was a bitter-sweet result for me as I’d worked so hard. I know I’d driven with all my heart & soul and I was really pleased with both my pace and consistency during my two stints. However, even though I felt we deserved a podium finish following the start to the season we’ve had, and to miss out by only a few seconds was a real disappointment for me personally. Nevertheless, it was still a massive confidence boost for everyone at Century Motorsport. 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 fastest BMW GT4 driver during the race backs that up. This is the best I’ve ever driven and as I write this, I’m super excited for the next round at Donnington Park in a couple of weeks’ where I get to do it all over again.
As always, a massive thanks to everyone at Century Motorsport who did an epic job this weekend in providing me with the right tools. A big thank you to all my sponsors, especially my main sponsor Cambridge & Counties Bank and The Classic Car Team.
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