Michael Caine hopes his maiden Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup victory at Thruxton this past weekend can be the first of many this season, though admits he and the JHR Developments team still have work to do to continually match the pace of the current series front-runners.
Having visited the Supercup podium for the first time in the final race at Donington Park last time out, Caine followed up seventh and fourth place finishes in the first two races with a last-gasp victory in Hampshire for the JHR team’s first win for over twelve months.
Caine started the race from his third consecutive reverse grid pole position, however his chances of success were hampered when a slow getaway allowed the fast-starting Will Burns to dive down the inside to take the race lead.
“On pole here you can’t really see the lights, you’re so close and the Ginetta has a really low roof, so I wasn’t quite on my marker,” Caine explained. “I got an ok start but I was covering left and unfortunately I just left a gap down my inside, he grabbed the kerb, gave me a little whack and got ahead.
“Starts are something I need to work on, the Ginetta’s are not like a touring car or Porsche to get off the line, which we’re used to, and in GT’s in the last few years I’ve been used to rolling starts. We need to take it up the local high street, light the rears up and practice some starts.”
Caine quickly settled onto Burns’ rear bumper though and after a few laps it was clear his best chance of getting ahead was through the first corner Allard thanks to a better exit out of the final chicane.
After showing his nose a couple of times, Caine finally got alongside on the final lap …..
“Once I was there, I wasn’t coming out of the throttle,” he reflected. “If he shut the door on me we were both going to go off, so all credit to Will really he didn’t close the door or squeeze me too much.
“To finally get past, there was a little cheer in the car which the on-board might show. I didn’t know I was going on to the last lap, so it was perfect timing I guess, all in the plan …”
For Caine, the first win is a culmination of plenty of hard work from himself and JHR after their relatively late entry to the championship left them without a proper pre-season of testing compared to their front-running rivals.
Despite the victory though, Caine accepts there’s still plenty of work to do to if podium finishes and race wins are going to become a regular occurrence.
“A lot of hard work is going into the car from the team, and there’s still a few little things I’m not quite happy with, so hopefully if we can get them sorted then we can get some more wins under our belt,” he concluded.
“When you look at the cars, the way they’re put together, it doesn’t look too complicated and when you initially get in it the car feels really nice to drive. But to get that extra bit of time out the car, that extra half a second you need to be at the front, is tough and we haven’t got a huge testing programme so we’re still finding it.
“We certainly need to improve ourselves in all areas still to be a championship contender, and whether we’re too far behind now we’ll have to wait and see. We just want to be at the front racing with those boys though, when you’re battling for the top three it’s a great feeling.”