We had limited time for testing on the Friday, quite a few issues with the new car and hopefully these will be sorted out for NLS2. Team WS racing were brilliant and worked on the car to get it competitive. So track time was limited and we went into wet qualifying at 8.30am on a wet/drying track. We were 2nd in the car.
The track was partly dry when we took over and we had a couple of warm-up laps on the GP circuit and then 2 flying laps on the Nordschleife. Not too bad, we qualified 8th in class, 103rd overall, but still some issues with the car.
After lining up on the grid at the rear of group 2, we were actually out of position in 14th in class as the team were changing springs on the grid still! It really helped the handling of the car so was worth the effort. We lost positions and time from the start so when I took over for my double stint we were in position 110 overall, 14th in class.
So I got into the zone, felt reasonable in the car and pushed as hard as I could. We climbed up to position 77 and 4th in class at the end of my stint, very happy with that progress. My teammate took over and brought us home in P79 and 7th in class at the end.
That gave me my top 50% in class finish to go towards my Permit A licence.
A great first race for us as a team, great progress from me personally and looking forward to NLS2
See my fastest lap here, commentary to follow
We had limited time for testing on Friday again, the weather was quite bad. Some of the issues from NLS1 had been solved, still not perfect as the Team is awaiting back ordered parts. Team WS racing were brilliant again and worked on the car to get it competitive. We went into wet qualifying at 8.30 am on a wet/drying track. We were 1st in the car and our teammate Max was 2nd in the car.
The track was quite wet and we had a couple of warm-up laps on the GP circuit and then 2 flying laps on the Nordschleife. Not too bad, we were 4th in class after my stint, and we dropped to 5th in class with Max in the car as the Hyundai Team picked up the pace. We then decided to save wet tyres and sit the rest of qualy out, meaning we ended up 9th in class.
Lining up mid-grid in the 2nd group I started the race for the team on mixed tyres, wets on the rear and cut slicks on the front. Tricky conditions but I managed to climb into 4th place with a really good pace in the class before my pit stop for slick tyres. My tyres were really shot and I was glad to get a new set of slicks. Unfortunately, I exceeded the pit lane speed limit which meant I had a penalty of a 60-second stop-and-go. I served that and managed to stabilise back into 9th place in class.
We lost some more places when my teammate took over but the final stop for my other teammate brought up back into the top ten. Another great result.
Results by classes here
That gave me my top 75% in class finish to go towards my Permit A licence, but the penalty for the pit lane speed infringement between exit line 1 and 2 meant it doesn’t count.
A great second race for us as a team, more progress by me personally and looking forward to NLS3.
More progress on the car and we had some good laps on Friday, pace looked good and the car seemed pretty good.
On a ‘green’ track, with still some dampness in parts, 2 flying laps on the Nordschleife brought us 6th in class from my stint but we faded to 10th with my teammates having some issues. The team identified a driveshaft issue and that was replaced just in time for the start of the race.
I was nominated to start the race and had a good start and made progress through the pack into 5th in class, we had pace for 8th overall so I was quite pleased with that. I was getting some symptoms of long brake pedal but it was fine. However, when my teammates took over we experienced persistent braking issues, at one stage the left drive shaft lock nut came loose and a slow lap and pit stop set us back. So an eventual 11th place class finish didn’t really reflect our true pace, but more experience and laps gained.
Next weekend are the 24hr qualification races so really looking forward to that in the Breakell Racing Porsche Cayman with teammates Grant Dalton, Grant Woolford and James Breakell.
No testing on Friday for this weekend but an early start and late finish Saturday with a 2hr evening race. So we concentrated on seat fitting and car preparation on Friday, making sure all was good with the car and getting used to the new team engineers.
Some sterling late Friday and early Saturday work by Team Breakell saw us ready for free practice on the GP circuit Saturday morning. After never having driven the Porsche Cayman at all it was a welcome learning session, and we were quick. Both of my teammates gained valuable testing time in the car so we were looking forward to the evening race.
Qualifying took place just after dinner time and really the first time in anger, in Permit B spec. A good flying lap saw us 41st overall and 2nd in class, almost as fast as the Permit A cars. I let my teammates have the majority of the laps for the experience. I needed a clean result as a part of my Permit A licence qualification.
Again, looking for a clean result for my Permit A qualification, I was nominated to start the 2hr evening race at 19:30hrs in the wet conditions and managed to climb as high as 21st overall, and 1st in class, before the end of my stint. I handed over to my teammates and they brought us home in 4th place in class, unscathed and clean laps and on worn wet tyres on the almost dry track.
The car had some headlight issues going into the evening, they were not working correctly giving vision problems, but apart from that it felt really good.
This meant I gained my Permit A licence, a result we needed.
Some great late-night and early-morning shift by the team, after a long wait to receive the car from post-race scrutineering, saw the car with an extra 100bhp in Permit A specification, excellent.
So Sunday dawned and another early 1.5hr qualifying session for the 4hr race.
Harley went out first to see what the track was like and it was pretty wet from the late overnight rain, but no large standing water. We did expect the track to dry out eventually with 70 cars circulating. Both Grant Dalton and Grant Woolford went out after those exploratory laps to gain more experience.
Harley took over to do 1 fast lap at the 1hr mark, and we went to slicks. It was planned to let both teammates get another timed lap. I pushed as hard as I could on the slightly damp track and put us on the class pole by 32 seconds at that time! 9 mins 8 seconds, my fastest lap there. The track was drying fast and I passed the car back to my teammates. We were pipped for pole 20 minutes later by 1.5 seconds by a last-gasp effort from the Huber Racing Cup 3 car. So second in class, just, and 34th overall, a great effort.
The team decided I would start the race, 7th row in Group 2. Had a pretty good start but lost a couple of places to the leader in our class. Pushed along as hard as I could and caught and passed the class leader after 3 laps or so and pulled a substantial lead in the class. After posting the fastest lap and up to 25th overall and right behind another 5 cars, I passed over the car to my teammates who managed to hang on and bring the car home in 38th place overall, a great experience for, Grant Dalton and Grant Woolford. Great preparation for the 24hr race in May
Race 1 So having settled in on the qualification weekend the big weekend had arrived.
The car looked great and couldn’t wait to get down to practice and qualification runs. Some good laps on the GP track then onto the Nordschleife.
So the first qualification run on the 18th just after dinner time saw Harley post a time of 9.10.339, backed up with solid laps from teammates. This was good enough for 57th place overall, and 2nd in class.
Then for the evening qualification on the 19th, a superb run by Harley, again backed up by his teammates, same an improvement in time to 9.06.530 and 61st place overall and 3rd in class, right on the tails of the class record holder and the qualification race winners.
We decided to do fast laps in race trim to conserve the car and save new tyres for the race, we maintained 3rd in class but slipped to 64th overall.
Overnight the car had some ‘lifed’ components replaced and for the warm-up we did 2 laps of the GP circuit to bed brakes in etc
It was decided by the team that Harley would start the race, a big and prestigious task for the youngest driver in the team, and of every other driver in the race. So on new tyres the warm-up lap was completed and off he went, mid-grid in the 2nd group. After being held up in traffic we settled into a good pace and moved into 2nd in class at the end of his stint. Handing over to his teammates they continued to make solid progress, but then some issues became apparent. The first issue was when a GT3 car came to pass us but contact was made on a front wheel, which caused a bad vibration so the car was brought back to the pits and a new wheel was fitted.
By now it was getting dark and the third teammate was in the car for his stint. He radioed in to say there was a vibration so he was brought in early from his stint to have the issue looked it. It seemed to be an excess of rubber pickup on a tyre.
It was around 22:30hrs so it was decided that Harley would start his stint in the dark. But fate intervened and he was back in the pits after just one lap after being towed back off the circuit. A drive shaft problem had meant no drive. The team worked at pace to replace the shaft but it took till nearly midnight to get it sorted, snapped bolts in the diff output flange. 7 or 8 laps were lost, so we were in the hands of all the other cars in our class.
Harley jumped back in the car and off he went, immediately lighting up the timing screens with lap after lap of searing pace, the fastest in the class by a good margin, only 3/10ths off his dry qualifying pace. The team then decided he would double stint which he did at an unrelenting pace.
A stunning performance for his first night driving stints. At about 03:00hrs, he handed the car over to his teammates but again fate intervened. 2 laps into the next stint his teammate suffered engine failure, a radiator had failed losing its coolant and the engine seized.
So we made about half the race, Harley was third fastest overall in his class in the race, his teammates backed him up with improving times and it was such a shame we didn’t make it to the finish.
Silverstone hosted the Ginetta G-Fest 2023, a 3-day festival of past and present Ginetta cars.
We were not planning to race but one of the drivers had to pull out due to personal reasons. So an early morning phone call from Breakell Racing on Friday led to Harley making a dash from Anglesey back to Stockport to pick up race gear and then off to Silverstone.
It wasn’t possible to get there in time for qualifying for the Friday races so it meant that we would be straight into qualifying on Saturday morning in a car we have never even sat in! We love a challenge.
Brand new car supplied by Ginetta, first time out in the car so ended up about 6/10ths off pole in 7th, so some work to do. It would be 7th place start in race 2 as well, the car felt very good though so looking forward to the races.
Had a reasonable start and pushed hard to eventually finish 3rd, only 1/10th off the fastest lap. Very pleased with that, getting used to the size of the car and it’s characteristics. On the podium first time out felt good.
Again, a good start and the chase began. Managed to work my way through the traffic quicker so ended up in 2nd place at the finish with the fastest lap and another podium. Excellent. A brilliant day.
Take a look at the races on YouTube, race 1 is at 2 hours 58 minutes and race 2 is at 6 hours 10 minutes in the video.
Felt a lot more together with the car and managed to qualify in 2nd place for race 1 and 3rd place for race 2, only a couple of tenths off pole.
What a race, a race-long battle with the eventual winner, fastest lap and 2nd place finish right on the leaders tail, another podium.
Another chance to go for the win, all felt really good and the battle commenced. Just about to go for the lead and disaster struck in the form of a front right puncture! So lost a lap getting a replacement wheel and tyre but still finished 10th.
Take a look at the Sunday races on YouTube race 1 is 3 hours 20 minutes and race 2 is 6 hours 14 minutes in to the video.
A really enjoyable 2 days racing thanks to Breakell Racing and Ginetta, 3 podiums and 2 fastest laps in a car I had not sat in till Saturday morning.
HRT Performance offered us the chance to compete in the 24hr race, in Spain at the Circuit de Catalunya Barcelona. A great opportunity with a really experienced team.