At last the waiting was over – the season finally kicked off at Donington Park with the first 3 rounds of the GT Cup. This was to be the Saker’s inaugural outing in what had to be described as very esteemed company. Initially placed in the GTB classification, the competition looked fast! Qualification was a challenge in itself – the car went to the holding area on slicks but by the time qualification started 10 minutes later, we pitted immediately to change to wets – it was going to be one of those days.
The strategy for the day was simple – start and finish and see how we got on with the endurance side of racing. Qualifying in a solid 6th place (in group), Gary started and was able to make some progress through the pack. Pitting after 20 minutes under the Safety Car for the compulsory pit stop (and in our case, driver change), Alan went out for a longer 30 minute stint and was able to bring the Saker home in 6th place. So far, so good! Sunday was a totally different day – sunny and warm, giving a general feeling of optimism throughout the team.
Alan started the first sprint race from 21st on the grid and made good progress, racing with the GTA’s & B’s around him in class. He had made it up to 4th in class before being ‘nudged’ going into Old Hairpin. Despite this racing incident (plus spinning on oil in the chicane), he came in 5th in class, so improvement there.
Gary went into the second sprint race determined to show that the Saker could survive at this level. Starting way down the grid, Gary found extra pace out of our 2.0 litre power unit and got up to 3rd with just a few laps to go. Unfortunately, a fuel starvation problem took away his chance to finish in that position, surrendering 3rd spot to a 997 on the penultimate lap, ultimately finishing 4th. However, all in all not a bad weekend – steady progress, 6th, 5th, 4th – and we stand 3rd overall in the GTB group!
Well done everyone – looking forward to Brands on 9th and 10th May.