A bump in the road | Race report from Ciaran at Brands Hatch

A bump in the road | Race report from Ciaran at Brands Hatch

British GT Round 6 | Brands Hatch | 6th August 2017

It was a good feeling to be back at Brands Hatch for the penultimate round of British GT. With the championship win still mathematically possible we were looking to claw back some points and move up from 5th in the standings. With this race being the first round last year, when the car was just in its development stages, I was looking forward to seeing how the fully developed car would feel around this very technical circuit.

During practice we managed to get some good data and worked on the setup of the car to find one good for qualifying and the race. There were a few red flags during the sessions for other cars going off but we got everything done that we wanted to and were ready for qualifying

Just before the qualifying session there was a huge downpour which left the track soaked. Amazingly though by the time Sandy went out for the first session the track was just damp and dry patches were appearing on his final lap. His time was good enough for 2nd. For my session we decided to start on the wet tyres to be safe but after one flying lap I called on the radio to pit for slicks. I came out of the pits with 4 laps to go and got a good lap in, although I made a mistake on my last one at Hawthornes. Combining both our times we ended up qualifying 2nd in GT4 which put us in a good position for the race.

Race day came with the sunshine. Sandy was starting the race and I would take over half way through. The start went really smoothly and he maintained 2nd for the opening laps but after the race settled he made a move on the leading Aston Martin to take the lead. He managed to gap the Aston while it held up 3 very quick Ginettas. All through his stint the Ginettas battled hard with the Aston which allowed Sandy to build up a good buffer before the stop. We pitted on the hour from the lead and I took over, rejoining still in the lead.

I had a good gap when I came out of the pits from the Aston in 2nd but I quickly realised we had went the wrong way on setup and I started struggling for grip. This allowed the Aston to get closer until he was right on my bumper. With 45 minutes left of the race it was going to be tough to hold him off. I did the best I could in defence and kept the Aston behind for almost 30 minutes, and by this time the tyres were completely shot. He eventually managed to make the pass under braking for Druids and dropped me to 2nd with the other McLaren of Joe Osbourne just 4 seconds behind.

I tried to hold him off but the tyres were really starting to let go and I dropped to 3rd. On the penultimate lap the Ginetta of Tregurtha managed to squeeze past too but I got a good run up to turn one on the last lap and made a late move down the inside of Paddock Hill bend. As I hit a bump the car went into ABS and wouldn’t slow down. This caused me to go into the gravel and I tried my best to keep it out of the wall but I was carrying too much speed. This put an end to our race and championship chances.

With all the hard work and effort that went into this weekend from the team, I was gutted I couldn’t give them a better result but that’s racing. With only the final round at Donington left in September we’ll be looking for the best result possible to finish the season. Thanks to the team for their efforts and all my sponsors for their continued support this season.

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