James takes first GT5 podium at Silverstone GP

Tuesday 2nd June 2015

As the British GT took to the home of the British Formula 1 Grand Prix for the Silverstone 500, James took the opportunity to shine in the opening two races of the weekend.

With mixed conditions during Friday testing, it was not clear what to expect from the weather all weekend. After a strong start to his GT5 campaign, qualifying 3rd at Rockingham and converting it into three 5th place finishes in wet and dry races, James was confident for another successful weekend, no matter the weather, as he developed his understanding of the Ginetta G40 GT5 race car.

After a very wet end to Friday and an early start for the 9am qualifying on Saturday, nobody was sure how qualifying would pan out and what the target lap time was. After a successful test two weeks prior to the event, James was confident he could qualify in the top 5 in the highly competitive grid full of aspiring GT drivers. He quickly got up to speed and was battling for a top three position. With lots of chopping and changing in the order, James managed to secure P4 in qualifying before his tyres went off in the latter stage of the session.

Whilst the car was at its best, every time I crossed the finish line I was in the top 3, and not far off the pole time. Unfortunately we peaked a little early and as the session drew on, and the track started to rubber in, I suffered from the rear tyres going off generating oversteer. After a couple of slow-down laps, I aimed for one final flying lap. However, despite being faster on the lap I was unable to improve as I got caught up in traffic, losing me 0.4s to put me 0.05s off my previous best time.

For the first race, on Saturday afternoon, James would start P4 on the grid. After a strong re-start, James got up into 3rd which he held for a number of laps before 2014 vice champion found a gap into Village corner and demoted James to 4th. James was able to stick with the leading trio for the remainder of the race, but was unable to get into a position to make a move to get onto the podium, as they pulled a gap to the 28 cars behind. This left James in P4, his best result in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge so far.

With the weather forecast proving to be correct for the Sunday, the Ginetta GT5 Challenge headed out on the wet track for the second race of the weekend. Showing his confidence and ability in the wet, James made his way up into second place by the end of the first lap with a slight gap to the leader. James held onto his position for another 2 laps before Chadwick made his way past James into Brooklands. For the next 4 laps James was hot on the heels of Chadwick, applying the pressure, ready to make a move for P2. At the checkered flag, James took P3, his first podium in the Ginetta GT5 challenge on only his second race weekend in the car.

To get a podium after such little time in the car is a real testament to my ability to adapt as well as Optimum’s ability to setup a car. There wasn’t much of a difference between my pace and Ollie Chadwick’s, who was vice-champion in 2014, as I was quicker in some areas of the track, and he was quicker in others. P3 is a great result, and I’m really happy to be right up the front already!

Race two was James’ final race of the weekend as he was unable to make the start of Sunday’s afternoons race. The GT5 Challenge heads to the 2015 european round at Circuit de Spa Francorchamps between 8th & 10th of July. Home of the Belgium Formula 1 Grand Prix, Spa is a favourite track for many drivers; James included.

I’m really happy to come away from a tricky race weekend, at such a prestigious track, with my first podium in the series. I’m still learning a lot about the car and the racing, so to get a podium at this early stage is really awesome. I can’t wait for Spa in July - it’s a really awesome track! I’m really proud to be representing Professional Motorsport World EXPO, which takes place in November, and hopefully I can take them to the top step on the podium very soon!

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