Porsche Club Championship
Testing and Qualifying
The first round of the 2016 campaign saw us at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit. We were well prepared for Friday’s test session and everything went as expected. Both drivers were happy with the cars and were able to put some quick laps in once final set up had been decided upon, so things looked good for the meeting.
Saturday dawned fine and sunny and early qualifying awaited. We were a little unlucky in qualifying due to a red flag which left both cars in unfortunate positions that meant we were unable to get a clean lap in once the tyres had got up to temperature. A little dejected at the times, both drivers knew they could do better and resolved themselves to putting in a good effort in the races. Paul qualified in 5th for both races and Tim 2nd in class for both races.
With the weather still set fair the grid lined up for the 1st race of the day. 996’s seem to be the car of choice this year in class 1 with 8 making it to the start. Paul got away with a little too much wheel spin but after an inspired move in to Druids he had worked his way up to 4th. After some close racing which saw places change a couple of times, Paul consolidated his 3rd place and started to put pressure on Kevin Harrison, gaining a fastest lap along the way. Harrison soaked up the pressure well and after some spirited racing and an “eventful” moment coming into Paddock Hill Paul finished 3rd which he was very pleased with.
Tim had a brilliant start, getting between and in front of two 996’s off the line. This was useful as it put some space between him and the next class runner of Andy Toon and even when the 996’s inevitably passed him he had a clear road ahead and was able to get his head down and put in some consistent times. After a brief safety car period Tim pushed on and got fastest lap in class while Toon kept him honest for the rest of the race. Tim came 1st in Class.
The start was delayed because of a heavy rain shower which saw some frantic wheel changing in the pits by all the teams. The weather presented some unexpected challenges to our drivers but both got away well on a very slippery track. Paul manoeuvred his way up to 2nd place and drove well throughout the race, holding his position from a fast Mike Johnstone toward the end.
Tim felt the weather wasn’t quite enough of a challenge and decided to spice things up a bit by getting some sideways action that turned into an elegant spin coming on to the Cooper straight. No damage done, he rejoined at the back of the field but had lost 16 seconds with his pirouette. Having explored the limits of grip, Tim focused on getting as good a result as possible, passing many cars in taxing conditions and eventually ended 2nd in class with Andy Toon taking the win.
Class 1 looks like it’s going to be as competitive as ever and with the amount of 996’s out there the grid looks impressive. Paul is relishing the competition and looking forward to a season of close racing with drivers of a similarly high standard. We were extremely happy with a 3rd and 2nd and although we realise some things went our way this meeting, we hope to finish consistently on the podium in 2016.
In class 2, there is only one other 968 this year and it looks like a car to watch out for in the future. All of the other class competitors have moved into Boxsters and we’ll have to see how well they go at tracks that suit them better. We knew from the last race in 2015 that Andy Toon would be quick once he gets used to his Boxster and it showed at this meeting. Tim is as excited as ever to be out racing again and was ecstatic with a 1st and 2nd. We hope we can keep the car in front of the Boxsters in the coming meetings – only time will tell.
Next meeting: Silverstone GP 5th June 2016
Photos courtesy of Porsche Club Motorsport