If you’re not at the very front of a championship, especially of a national championship, it is very easy to get lost to all but the most prudent of observers. Thus your achievements pass under the radar and your efforts can be under appreciated. On occasion though, a performance can be so impressive, it becomes impossible to ignore.
Pre-season you would have been hard-pressed to predict the outcome of the Pro-Am1 championship fight in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB. After the first round at Brands Hatch in April, you might still have been scratching your chin. By the conclusion of the eighth race at Croft in June, it was clear. The combination of In2Racing, and the double-act of Euan McKay and Dan McKay was proving to be devastating.
Some end-of-season statistics. From sixteen races, Euan claimed nine victories and an additional five podiums. A fourth and a DNF minor-blotches on his otherwise spotless copybook. Dan suffered with four DNFs. However, when he finished it was invariably on the podium. Eight rostrum results were accompanied by four race victories all claimed in the second-half of the year.
Statistics alone only tell part of the story, yet stand as testament to the dedication and commitment of the In2Racing squad and their drivers. For In2Racing team principle Nick Dudfield, 2016 proved to be a very special year.
“Finishing first and second in the Pro-Am1 points-table with a rookie driver who had no experience at this level as champion, against some drivers who have won races at a much higher level than both of our drivers, showed their talent as well as Euan’s progression and the positive support of the team. 2016 was a very successful year for us.”
He continues, “The early part of the season was tough for the drivers and team. We lost valuable points and development was interrupted by unfortunate incidents. However they bounced back and were dominant in the second half of the season, proving how good they and team could be.”
The Scottish double-act’s journey to Carrera Cup GB was somewhat unconventional, as Euan takes up the story. “I did a couple of years in Legends racing at Knockhill in Scotland and then I did the nationals, so to jump into these [GT3 Cup cars] with the slicks, massive power and lots of weight has been a massive culture shock.”
He continues, “It has definitely taken a lot of getting used to and I think we are finally getting there and improving every weekend which is our main aim. So hopefully if we keep this progression going we can be much closer to the front next year.”
Lack of convention is a theme though, with racing siblings in the same category still somewhat of a rarity. So how does that dynamic play out on the track? Over to Dan, who comments, “To be fair we treat it the same as with everyone else because we are clean with everyone so being clean with each other isn’t too much of a difference. Not to mention we have pretty much always raced together, I think I have only had one year where we haven’t been [together] on the same bit of track. We have always raced together.”
“It is just the norm for us and I can’t really imagine not racing with my brother if that makes sense,” he concludes.
Understandably, the story told by the statistics led to an adjustment of focus during the season. The class success and the silverware that came with it was sweet, but dicing with the Pro classification drivers was more appetising. More relevant for their progression.
Euan confirms this, contributing, “I think during the whole season my focus hasn’t been just on this year. It has been looking at next year, and then the year after. Looking at that progression and making sure we are improving every weekend and getting as far up the grid as possible.”
“The Pro-Am1 championship is great, it is a great incentive and to get trophies every weekend is brilliant. At the end of the day I want to be on the top step of the overall podium at some point so that is my main aim.”
Dan’s title chances took a terminal hit with his early season woes, but like his brother, focus was already turning to 2017 as his luck-changed in the latter half of the year. “Like Euan said we are focussed on next year. I was not going to win Pro-Am1 this year but we look more like Pros than we do Pro-Am1 at times which is a good thing.”
In2Racing added an additional string to their bow for the final two weekends, bringing in Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship star and GT racer Dan Lloyd to bolster their efforts in the series. Lloyd achieved a podium in the penultimate race at Brands Hatch but beyond simple results, it was his contribution to the team in other less obvious ways that was critical to both Dan and Euan.
The latter elaborates on this point. “At the mid-week test [pre-Silverstone] it was really useful because we were able to develop the car quite a bit and we made a couple of good changes that have brought the car on as well as us. With someone like Dan Lloyd’s data we are learning little things like how he uses the brakes in a certain way and details like that… Yeah he has been a big help.”
It is also clear that the bigger the team, the bigger the benefit for the competitors and as Dan McKay alludes to, such as set-up would massively benefit the In2Racing team’s 2017 efforts. “It is what you would like. If you look one team [Redline] has four or five Pros in the team so they’ve got the perfect the set of data to compare against.”
He continues, “You know that the best performance in one particular corner is likely to come from that team. Certainly it is a big strength of theirs. To have a Pro teammate who is right at the front is exactly what you’d want moving forward because up until now it has been a case of Euan’s a little better there and I am a little bit better there. You’re finding a little bit here and there as opposed to a big step which makes it slightly harder but it doesn’t detract from the experience at all. It is a slightly harder way of finding the time.”
To conclude, for team and drivers it is now very much a case of eyes-forward to 2017. The duo hope to return with In2Racing and launch an assault on the Pro category, where you feel success would likely soon follow.
Team principle Dudfield, is clearly delighted by the performance of his young Scottish chargers and full of optimism for the 2017 season.
“We are very confident that, along with some exciting additions to the In2Racing team, Dan and Euan will be at the front of the grid next year and continue their impressive rise from club motorsport to becoming front runners in the fastest one-make series in national motorsport. They have been a pleasure to run and the team are very proud of the boys.”
Finally, over to Dan whose concluding statement sums up the feeling of optimism and ambition for the next challenge, to this writer’s mind, perfectly.
“We are looking for quite an intensive testing programme over the close season to try and bring us all on as a unit because I think there are ways that everything can improve, which is good because if this is where we are now and there is still scope to go then we are looking pretty good for next year.”