Sorry for the late blog, I have been busier than ever!
I had a great start to my British GT weekend racing for Chad Racing in a Ferrari 430 Scuderia GT3, at Brands Hatch GP. Me and Ryan (Lewis) were fifth overall in practice, my pace was very good, and we both adapted quickly to the car. We then had qualifying, and on my second lap I was on provisional pole, but this joy wasn't to last.
Going into paddock the car shot to the right of the circuit, spearing me into the steel barrier on the inside, I hit that at around 140mph and that sent me to other side of paddock hill into the gravel wall. It was a scary moment, and although I managed to walk away with minor injuries, the weekend was to be over as I suffered concussion and the car was too badly damage to race. The main thing was that I was OK and it's how you bounce back from these situations and not dwell on them! I went home that night, and it was really difficult for me, as I know we could have won.
Driving back down to my house in Canterbury the day after I got a call from Dan Welch from Welch Motorsport, he asked me if I wanted to drive in the Britcar 24 Hours in a Seat Leon Supercopa Touring car. I took the offer up straight away and I was looking forward to getting back on circuit!
We did a shakedown on the Wednesday at Mallory Park, that was just bedding in the car and getting a feel for it, I really liked it. The next day we had official practice at Silverstone which went well, we had mixed conditions but I was amazed how much you could chuck the car around, I was straight on the pace.
On Friday I qualified the car nineteenth overall out of 65 cars in the rain, out qualifying many GT3 and GT4 cars was fantastic, but all we were praying for was rain for the race because our car was good in the rain. I had night qualifying at night, which was awesome, you can't see much but it's just a great experience and I was really fast too.
The long wait for the start of the race at 4.30pm on Saturday came and our driver Mark started. My first stint was at 8pm to 10pm and managed to get the car from nineteenth up to eleventh overall in the rain. I was then back on the circuit at 3am to 6am, 2 hours of this was stuck behind the safety car which was very tiring and draining. It was because the fog was so bad, I literally could not see 1 metre in front of me, and under the safety car people were going off left right and centre!
Before the safety car it was very difficult, I was still putting in great times but I had to guess where I thought the corner was and hope for the best, luckily it worked OK. On the safety car period, I was just chatting to the team on the radio asking when it was coming in, they had no idea and I was out there very bored. They cheered me up a bit by playing some music through the in car radio which was interesting, I also asked what was for dinner when I was getting out the car, they said bacon sandwich so I was more motivated!
The team brought me in from the safety car and I handed the car over to Mark. My next stint was at 10.30am so I could get some sleep, I had another good stint and pushed the car up once again to tenth overall, traffic was a problem as ever but this stint it felt even worse, I was struggling to put any good lap times in due to the amount of cars I was overtaking, but I was fast in the traffic which meant we moved up the order. The minutes counted down to the finish of a very long 24 Hours and our team was due to get 2 Seat Touring Cars in the Top 10 overall in a highly competitive field. We all gathered on the Pit Wall to watch Richard bring the car home, it was an amazing feeling and one I will remember. What a team effort!
As a result of the weekend many people noticed my performance in the car, and saw my pace in a touring car in very tricky conditions which was great and unexpected. This has led to better things for me, and I'm due to be testing a touring car on the 26/27 October in Spain at Barcelona. If this goes well you never know this could lead to many things for 2011, probably British Touring Cars and Sportscar racing, but everything is up in the air at the moment.
It's been a great year for me, with many successes and trophies, and would like to thank you all for supporting me this season, and I'm already looking forward to the new racing season starting next year, until then I will have winter testing, and I'll give you my plans for 2011 as soon as I know them!
Photo credit: Chris Gurton Photography