Round 3 of the Production BMW Championship @ Silverstone National is now over, and one word: fantastic!
Headlines: I qualified 5th for Race 1, 6th for Race 2. I finished race one 6th (after fighting for a podium 3rd) and race two 7th out of 25!. Beyond expectations!!! Full TSL Results for the day are here.
The weekend started on the Friday, my first test day. It was pretty clear the car was understeering during the first session, so we stiffened the rear and the front dampers quite a lot. By the end of testing I had done a 1:31:1 which I was fairly happy with. Rob Cooper had managed a 1:12:6, a great time and something I could not equal. We assumed the front runners would be in the low 1:12s so I was hopeful for 10th qually. The bad news was the engine had developed an overheating problem, and was getting to the red line during a long run. GFR put in some K seal to try and fix any micro crack that might be present and get the car stable enough for the racing.
Sunday came around quick and we were chatting with Matt Swaffer about his best time on Friday; 1:12:4. Wow, not as fast as feared and something in reach if I can get the perfect lap. Qually started and with the circuit being so small and with so many cars we were all struggling for space. I did a 1:13:3 on my final lap and I jumped from 7th to 5th. I was so happy with that, a big jump in performance from Brands and I was finally getting in contention with the really fast guys.
Race 1 was an absolute blast. I had a great scrap with Owen Darch and Andy Gay for 3rd place for most of the race, then the rain that had been threatening finally came. I was worried about the grip levels so we were cautious. I made a small mistake running a car length wide and opened the door to Mark Palmer, who had been really close behind me for laps. We were side by side down the straight and round Copse, Mark eventually passing as I left enough room to avoid an incident. I finished 6th. The team were thrilled, I had demonstrated I can race in a fast pack, defend where necessary and keep cool and consistent. Fighting for a podium is a dream for my third ever race meet.
The race was followed by a very long period in the scrutineers as they checked my cams were stock. Eventually I got the all clear and had a late lunch. After a 30 min rest in my car I was ready for race 2.
The race started well enough, but the engine hesitation that had dogged me at Cadwell at the beginning of the year was back, this time showing itself on the straights. This was just enough of a pace disadvantage to allow Dave through. The engine behaved for a few laps and we had a really close fight. I finished 7th and we shook hands. It was great to have no contact and a fair scrap, we both left enough room for the battle.
Overall a great weekend, my target is qually 3rd-5th at Silverstone GP in 4 weeks. I have asked GFR to resolve the engine issue, not sure how bad that will be, there are 2 issues at the moment so it’s gotta be resolved as I have 8 races to go this season. Sooner rather than later I am going to grab a cheeky podium, I just need to push 100% everywhere.
I managed to get some great footage of both races.
Production BMW Silverstone National – Round 3 – Race 1
Production BMW Silverstone National – Round 3 – Race 2