Porsche Carrera Cup GB Pro Am Champion R8 – Brands GP
My first season in the Porsche Carrera Cup came to an end at the challenging Brands Hatch GP circuit. I entered the weekend 18 points in the lead in the Pro Am championship, but with 24 points available I couldn’t afford to relax and in a way I had everything to lose and my rival nothing to lose. The weather for the whole weekend was dry, sunny and really warm for the time of the year. The Grand Prix part of the circuit is extremely fast, with some blind corners where the apex isn’t visible when approaching the corner. I have raced on the track before but in a Mini which is somewhat different from the Porsche. I absolutely love the track and in the free practice 1 on Friday I was on the pace throughout. Free practice 2 wasn’t so good, I had problems with the brakes and ended up spending time in the pits trying to solve the problem, which we didn’t manage to do, so the team used Friday evening to strip the brakes and prepare for the qualifying on Saturday.
Saturday weather was fine and hot. It was decided to replace the brake pads in my car and to use an old set of pads because in qualifying there would be no time to bed in another new set. With Brands Hatch GP being a longer circuit than the Silverstone National where we raced last, there is a much greater gap between the fastest and slowest on the grid. On my first run I managed a time that put me 11th on the grid and 2nd in the Pro Am category. My second run was a bit hampered by a slower car that spoilt my first quick lap and I dropped back to give myself more space for another attempt and I managed to improve my time but dropped to 3rd in Pro Am, just behind my championship rival which I was happy with, but he got 2 points for qualifying fastest which reduced my lead to 16 points.
Sunday was very warm and it was great that so many people came to Brands to support me and it really helped me to raise my game and keep focused on the goal. Starting race 1 in 13 on the grid, I was on the inside line for the first corner, I made a good start but lost 1 place on lap 1 as everyone sorted themselves out. I moved up to 11th place on lap 2 when 2 cars in front of me crashed on fluid that had been dropped on the track, which luckily I managed to avoid. A big accident on lap 6 brought out the safety car and due to the damage to the barrier the rest of the race was run under the safety car. My rival for the championship scored the maximum 11 points for a Pro Am win and fastest lap and I got 6 points for 3rd place leaving me 11 points in the lead of the championship. This meant that I needed 1 more point to be sure of the championship, because if my rival won race 2 and set fastest lap he would get 11 points which would mean a tie on points and he would win the championship because he has had more race wins in the season.
For race 2 I just needed to stay out of trouble, finish the race and get at least 1 point to guarantee the Pro Am championship. I started 3rd in the Pro Am category, I made a good start but dropped 2 places as the race settled down on the 1st lap, just by finishing in this position was enough to claim the title, so I settled in to 5th place in Pro Am, I had to manage the gap to the cars behind me and kept that at about 2/10th second for the entire race. What I didn’t know until after the race was that my rival in the championship had dropped down to 2nd in Pro Am and didn’t have the fastest lap and so in that position he couldn’t win the championship and I didn’t actually need the extra point.
It has been a long hard road getting to this point, but I am now the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Pro Am champion of 2023, I can hardly believe it!! I couldn’t have done all this with the support of my team at Redline Racing, all my sponsors and partners and most of all my mum and dad, without whom none of this would have been possible.
I can now relax just a little bit and start thinking seriously about 2024.
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