Pic: Copyright 2017 LOU JOHNSON / SPACESUIT MEDIA
We managed to bring the car home to score points after a hard fought race at Silverstone in what was ultimately a damage limitation exercise. After a good test at Monza, in Free Practice on Thursday afternoon, the car felt very different and difficult to drive in the colder UK temperatures. Some changes were made overnight and the car was improved in Friday morning's session but there was still work to do. Rory did a good job in qualifying but the deficit to the other, mainly new generation GTE cars, was too much to breach and we qualified sixth.
We were several seconds off the Aston Martins, so the aim was to score as many points as we could and hope that the BOP would be more favourable from Monza onwards. Race day was sunny but still quite cold and I started the race. I spent the first few laps settling down and looking for a way past Andrew Howard's Beechdean Aston Martin. He was defending, and the Aston is quick, so I bided my time and took advantage amongst the LMP2 traffic with a move up the inside into Vale. The next car up the road was the No 77 Porsche and after 5 laps I had caught and passed it and was up into third place after the Roda Ferrari had been delayed. I set off after the TF Sport Aston Martin which I caught and passed, again in traffic, into Village corner. So I was into second with a 10 second gap to the Aaron Scott Ferrari 488 and that's how it stayed until I handed over to Rob Smith around the hour mark. With Silverstone having mainly right hand corners, the team elected to change only the left hand tyres which saves time at the pit stop. Rob fought hard but was overhauled by the faster Astons and after a battle with the Ferrari 488 of Duncan Cameron handed back over to Rory in fifth place. Rory put in a great stint and handed back over to me with less than an hour to go in fifth. We gained time at the pit stop by once again changing two tyres and I came out of the pits behind Matt Griffin in the Spirit of Race 488 but slowly drifted away from him and with a big gap to sixth place settled down to bring the car home.
I was happy with my introduction to the ELMS, particularly the first stint, but hope that we are closer to the rest of the field for the next round at Monza in 3 weeks time. Everyone at JMW Motorsport did a fantastic job and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season.