Michael Lyons and his Scuderia Vittoria co-driver Charles Bateman endured a trying weekend at Spa-Francorchamps, battling mechanical failure and tyre issues during the Avon Tyres British GT Championship's only trip outside the UK this year.
It was a busy raceday for the team, with both races crammed into Saturday's running at the Belgian track, and the GT3 drivers of the British series' premier class had to contend with traffic from a number of GT4 championships on track at the same time – as well the GT4 cars that are actually part of the British GT Championship.
20-year-old Lyons got the team's weekend off to the best possible start, qualifying their Ferrari 458 second overall for the first race, only lining up behind the McLaren MP4-12C, which was running as an invitation entry and so not eligible for championship points.
Lyons showed good pace in the opening laps, despite briefly dropping to third, but on lap 4 the Essex-based driver was pitched into a spin when a rear tow-link broke at Stavelot. Though, impressively, he rescued the car from the spin to return to the pits, the necessary repairs meant any meaningful result was impossible.
The bad luck continued in the second race, where Bateman almost immediately faced a race with a set-up that used the tyres too much. Thus, when Lyons took over the car for the second half of the race he was lapping up to 20 seconds slower than his teammate had done earlier as the tyres were worn to the metal structure normally covered in rubber.
Still, Lyons finished the hour long race in ninth position, picking up always welcome points for the team after a tough race.
“Today was just one of those days, and as hard as it is to accept, that is just how motor sport is sometimes,” said Lyons. “Even though the results weren't there, there are still some positives to take from this weekend; such as getting back to the front in qualifying and racing hard.”
“We now have to look at the rest of the year, and hope for some luck, and try and win as many of the remaining races as possible.”