R1: European GT4 @ Paul Ricard


Learning Weekend at European GT4 Championship R1 – Paul Ricard

Our inaugural weekend in the European GT4 Championship proved to be a challenging one for the whole team, but we learned a lot and will come back stronger for R2 in May. The circuit at Paul Ricard is 3.6 miles long with 2 long straights and some very technical challenging corners. The weather for the entire weekend was dry and warm which doesn’t suit Supercharged engine in the Lotus, but is something we will need to come to terms in order to be competitive.

The European GT4 championship is contested by a wide variety of cars including Aston Martin, Audi, Porsche, BMW, Ford, Alpine, Mercedes and Lotus and the organisers apply restrictions to some cars in order to try and level the performance. Because the Lotus is a new entrant and the organisers don’t have much data on the car’s performance, we had a 10% power reduction applied to the car which had a considerable effect because of the long straights at Paul Ricard.

We struggled in qualifying because of the lack of power and were 2.5 seconds of the front row pace which put us down in 37th place out of 49 cars on the grid. After qualifying the organisers reviewed our data and could see that we had been unduly penalised and gave us back a 5% power increase.

I started Race 1 and with the extra power was able to make up some places during my stint behind the wheel and at the pit stop for driver change we were into the top 20 cars, but soon after my co-driver Dexter took over the front nearside tyre failed and Dexter had to limp back to the pits for a new tyre. Dexter rejoined the race only for a driveshaft to break a few laps later and we had to retire the car.

Dexter started Race 2 in 29th and drove well to get the car into the top 20 for me to take over after 30 minutes, but 4 laps into my stint the same left front tyre failed and I had to limp round to the pits for a new tyre. I rejoined the race down in 42nd place and managed to get back up to 36th at the chequered flag.

It was a disappointing weekend, but we made progress with both cars finishing race 2 and as a team we all learned a lot to take onto Misano for the next round

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