Ollie Hancock continued to impress in his GT3 career, scoring his second podium in as many races as he drove a Fortec Motorsports prepared Mercedes SLS GT3 to third in the opening round of the 2013 Avon Tyres British GT Championship.
Hancock’s first experience of dry-weather running in the Mercedes was in the practice session ahead of the Oulton Park races, before co-driver Benji Hetherington took Fortec to pole position on their sportscar racing debut.
Hetherington drove a strong opening stint despite safety cars denying any chance of pulling out a lead before handing over to Hancock at the halfway stage. The 2008 Formula Renault BARC champion re-emerged from the pits directly in a battle with Phil Keen and factory Porsche driver Nick Tandy.
Despite strong defending from Hancock, Tandy eventually slipped past at Druids corner, forcing the Mercedes wide, allowing Keen to follow Tandy through. Hancock then held station, providing a third placed trophy for the Fortec team in the opening race of the year.
“It’s been a fantastic but challenging weekend for everybody at Fortec.” said Hancock. “They only took delivery of the cars three weeks ago and with minimal testing this weekend has been a step into the unknown. I only got the call to race on Friday afternoon, and although we’re playing catch up, we’ve improved the car each and every time we went on track. To come away with a pole and third place finish is great, especially with our 65kg weight penalty! It’s been a lot of fun and a superb team effort, and the result is really testament to how good Fortec are. A big thank you to Richard and Trevor for having me in the car; I’m really hoping to be back for more at the next round.”
Race two was not as successful for the team, however, having started from 20th due to a poor qualifying session. The two drivers managed to climb up to 13th position before a gearbox issue forced a late retirement.