Well, my 2023 season is well underway and I’ve already scored six podiums so it’s a great start for me in what is my 20th year of motorsport competition!
I’m contesting a full season in the prestigious Porsche Carrera Cup GB courtesy of the Perthshire-based award winning Glenturret Distillery.
I’m driving a brand new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entered and prepared by Middlesborough-based Redline Racing. The Glenturret Distillery is the oldest working distillery in Scotland.
Additional support comes from long-standing, local Thornhill-based sponsors AL-2 Teknik UK, a specialised water treatment service provider, and PyroDry, plus Carronbridge Sawmill.
I achieved nine top-six placings, including one outright win, in the 2020 series and scored some decent results during limited campaigns in 2019, ’21 and last year so I’m hopeful for further success.
I’m immensely proud to be flying the flag for The Glenturret as an Ambassador at circuits around the UK this year. It’s a very competitive series. The cars are identical, all running on Michelin tyres, which often leads the grid to be separated by literally fractions of a second.
Additionally this year, I’m returning to the GT Cup Championship with my sights firmly set on claiming the GTO title that I won in 2021.
The plan was to share the rare Brabham BT62 Competition again with its owner Paul Bailey in the two 50mins pit-stop races at each event – but more of that later! I made my GT Cup debut in 2019 and scored nine GTO podiums, including six victories, on the way to title success two years ago with Paul.
Obviously, the aim is to claim the GTO title that Paul and I won two years ago. So long as we can consistently score podium placings then we should be in a good position in terms of the championship come the end of the season.
Paul and I scored good points by finishing second in GTO in both opening races at Donington Park, so a very pleasing start to our GT Cup season.
Race 1 was frustrating due to first a Safety Car then the race being stopped. It caused the tyre pressures to drop and the lightness of the Brabham made it very difficult for me to generate heat into the tyres when the race re-started for just 10mins.
Race 2 was good fun and setting the fastest race lap was a bonus. As in the opening race, Paul did a very good job. I was catching the leader and another lap or two, I’d have got passed him, but it wasn’t to be.
Paul and I are now leading the GT Cup Championship outright after experiencing another totally bizarre but successful weekend for the second consecutive year at Brands Hatch.
Twelve months ago in the corresponding event, I retired the Brabham with an engine issue from second place in the closing stages of the first race. So we switched cars for the following day and duly claimed GTO class honours.
Incredibly, history repeated itself when I retired the same Brabham with no power with 10mins remaining when second in the opening race. We were ultimately classified fourth in class while I also set the outright fastest lap.
Renting a Mercedes AMG overnight for the second 50mins race the next day, we placed second in class. I’d only completed two laps of the Brands Grand Prix circuit in the Merc prior to taking over from Paul. I set the fastest GTO class race lap but couldn’t quite catch the class leader due to a late Safety Car period. The Merc was a total unknown to me but a car I’d always wanted to drive. It was a great experience and I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.
But we’re now leading the championship outright and the GTO class which is very pleasing so early in the season.
The Porsche Carrera Cup GB season got underway at Donington and I placed the Glenturret Porsche Carrera Cup car third in the Pro-Am category in the opening race and fourth in the second – denied a second podium by a mere 0.647secs.
I topped the Pro-Am times in qualifying at the halfway stage but had to be content with the second fastest time in the 30mins session – 10th overall around the 2-mile Leicestershire venue.
I was moderately happy with what was achieved in what were very difficult and demanding conditions for both races. The track was really greasy for Race 1, very slippery. I had some good battles and was pleased with a podium finish.
The heavens opened for the second race and I came close to achieving another podium. I was catching the top-three Pro-Am guys over the last 10 laps once the tyre pressures came up and also set the fastest Pro-Am race lap.
The next Porsche Carrera Cup GB races at Brands Hatch were even better for me, scoring two Pro-Am victories.
I qualified second in class, eighth overall, in treacherously wet conditions on the Brands “Indy” circuit while race day dawned overcast but dry.
I made a good start at the green light of Race 1, completing lap one behind the Safety Car sixth overall but leading the Pro-Am category. I maintained the class lead for my maiden Pro-Am victory and came home sixth overall.
I lost two places overall to “Pro” drivers at the start of Race 2 in the Glenturret Porsche but importantly retained the Pro-Am class lead prior to another Safety Car period, going on to score another Pro-Am victory.
It was a great weekend and I was very happy to score two class victories for Glenturret. The Porsche was a handful in the very wet qualifying but nevertheless really good fun.
Big thanks to Team Redline Racing for giving me a fast, competitive car for the weekend.