Optimum taste champagne at Silverstone - British GT
Silverstone was the setting for the third round of the BritishGT championship. It was a weekend of mixed results; practice and qualifying did not go to plan, however it ended with the sweet taste of champagne after the #41 car finished 2nd in the GT4 class, moving them closer to the top in their bid for the championship.
With Tania Mann unable to return to the championship in the foreseeable future, Ryan Ratcliffe stepped in as co-driver for Matt Draper. While the pair worked well together, Ratcliffe has other commitments, which prevent him from filling in for the remainder of the season.
The skies over Silverstone looked set to pour as the qualifying session got underway. Due to accidents throughout the previous practice sessions, the set up of the car was incomplete, hindering the driver’s performances throughout qualifying. A last minute effort near the end of the session from Ratcliffe pushed the car up into P7. Qualifying midfield did nothing to hinder the confidence of the team, who were sure that throughout the 3-hour race they would be able to push for positions.
QUALIFYING RESULT: DRAPER / RATCLIFFE - P7 [P30 OVERALL]
Ratcliffe was first behind the wheel and managed to get the car from P7 into P3 after only a few laps. With a large gap both in front and behind, Ratcliffe was able to run in clean air, allowing him to push forward. His efforts were in vain however as the safety car was deployed and the field began to pit. The team took a gamble by fitting new tyres to the car; as the safety car only stayed out for one lap instead of two, this gamble did not pay off. With Draper now behind the wheel, he found himself P12.
Over the course of his first stint, Draper would begin making his way through the field, ultimately getting himself up to P6 before a scheduled pit stop saw Ratcliffe return with 1.5 hours remaining in the race. After picking off a few more competitors, and a number of other cars had completed their pit stops, Ratcliffe was P1; the strategy was beginning to pay off! A final pit stop, with 35 minutes remaining, gave Draper the chance to push until the end where he ultimately finished on the second step of the podium.
RACE RESULT: DRAPER / RATCLIFFE - P2 [P18 OVERALL]
Shaun Goff – Team Principal
“Practice and qualifying didn’t quite go to plan. We did struggle with the set up of the car, but from past experience we have always had good race pace and strategy and I knew that would play into his [Draper] hands throughout the race. The first pit stop actually didn’t work out for us as the safety car only stayed out for one lap and we needed it to stay out for two. We took four tyres which was an extra 70 seconds above the minimum pit stop time. We just changed a few numbers and got the car to the end in P2. The team did a great job and we’re looking forward to the next one at Snetterton.”
“The weekend was mixed. Through practice we thought we were on pace before we had put on new tyres. We thought we were going to find time afterwards during qualifying, which we did, but everyone else found more time and went even quicker. We were really concerned with the race as we were 2 seconds off some of the other Ginettas and we were unsure where the time loss was coming from; whether it was set up or drivers. During the race we were both consistent and had a little luck with an incident in front. We had a solid race and kept it on the track and that is what endurance is all about; staying out of trouble and being relatively quick.”
With an extremely successful weekend behind the team, the hunt continues for another co-driver for Draper in order to help with his championship bid. The next round will take place at Snetterton on 21st June.