British GT Oulton Park
Pic: Jakob Ebrey
Two finishes just outside the points was an encouraging start to my 2013 campaign.
After just 20 laps in the car at Snetterton on the Wednesday before the race meeting, I was looking forward to making full use of extra time in the car as I would be running without a co driver for the weekend.
In the first session on Saturday I was 14th quickest as we worked on set up and got me comfortable with the car. In the second session we carried on with set up work before qualifying late on Saturday.
First qualifying session was red flagged after 4 minutes – which meant when the session was restarted there would only be 11 minutes to get up to speed and put a lap in. With 34 cars on track I was stuck in traffic for most of the session but managed to put one flying lap in at the end, which put me 6th on the grid. Session 2 followed soon after and I found an extra 1.3 seconds, which put me 17th in what is a very strong field – if I had done this time in session 1 it would have been good enough for pole.
Race day was even colder than it had been on Saturday and it was also overcast. During the 10 minute warm up the tyres hadn’t got up to temperature by the time the session finished, due to the very low ambient temperature (not to mention the odd spot of snow!).
Race one started under safety car but once we got going I was soon past a couple of cars and was running in 4th chasing down last year’s championship winning Porsche, which I caught as the pit window opened. I was running second, which became the lead as the pit stop cycle started. I then pitted, but due to driving solo I had to take an extra 20 second penalty, which meant I exited the pits in 11th place. I tried to keep as consistent as possible to the end and finished 12th.
In race two I was running in 16th place, chasing the Fortec Mercedes and this remained static until the pit stop window opened. I pitted at round the half way mark & came back out in 23rd. After overtaking several cars and once the pit stops had been completed, I was running 14th and was faster than the majority of cars ahead of me, so was looking to make up more places, when a safety car was deployed. Unfortunately the safety car was out for a long period, due to a fire on track and I was left with only had 2 laps to make up more places. On the final lap I passed the Ferrari of Scott /Dillon to be classified 11th - one place away from the points!
The Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 ran faultlessly all weekend and I’d like to thank JRM for all their hard work and doing a top job with the car.