The Silverstone 500 3 hour race was set to be a hot and sunny one as the biggest and longest race of the year was to be run around the iconic Formula 1 circuit.
In Free Practice 1 and 2, the two Academy Motorsport cars showed great pace - setting them up nicely for qualifying. Tom was out first and put in a lap good enough for P5, in group only 2 tenths off of Will Moore in the sister car in 3rd. In the Pro session of qualifying, Tom’s teammate Jan Jonck, set a blistering time to put the car P2 in the pro group and most importantly on the front row of the grid.
Tom was to start the race and spend the next 45 mins battling
for the podium positions. He made a good start although the very fast starting
number 5 McLaren managed to get the jump into the lead into the first corner.
Tom got a hit from behind into the crowded first corner, costing him 2nd
place. The race settled down and Tom, along with the top 4 cars, broke away
from the rest of the field. 4 laps went by and Tom started to get into a
comfortable rhythm to preserve the car as it was such a long race.
Then Tom tactfully invited the quicker pole position McLaren through. He latched on the back of it and followed him through past his teammate into 3rd position. After 25 mins of racing, Tom was caught out by two GT3 cars lapping him and pushing him wide onto the marbles. This allowed the 4th and 5th placed cars (Will Moore in the sister Aston Martin and Ben Green in the BMW M4) to catch up and pass. One lap before the end of Tom’s stint, Tom managed to gain a place off of his teammate and came into the pits in 4th place.
It was Jan’s turn to drive and he set about chasing P2 overall as the team had done a great job jumping the number 42 BMW M4. Jan spent almost all of his 45-minute stint chasing down the Number 5 McLaren. He tried and tried but it was to no avail so the team made a great decision to undercut the McLaren. Jan made his stop and the tactics paid off. Tom did a brilliant job of setting some blistering pace on the first lap out of the pits. He held his own for 30 mins but with tyre degradation and brake problems costing him precious time he conceded a place to the BMW. Despite the struggles, Tom did a great job of hanging on to the final podium position ahead of the McLaren.
At the end of Tom’s stint, the brake problem was becoming a more prominent problem. When Tom came into the pits to make the final pitstop of the race, the brake pedal went straight to the floor. It was clear the team had to make a brake pad change during the pitstop. Amazingly Jan went back out in P5 overall even with the amount of time lost in the pits. Jan spent the next 40 mins on his own just trying to get the car to the finish. But with just 6 minutes left to run, the engine blew up going down the hangar straight putting a devastating end to our race.
Tom Wood “Although this was very hard to swallow, Jan and I showed our potential putting ourselves in the position to at least get a podium if not win the race. I have a huge amount of information to take to other endurance races to come, with looking after the brakes one of the biggest things to take away. We have a six week break now to de-brief and to prepare for two races around one of the worlds most iconic circuits; Spa-Francorchamps!”
The British GT Championship heads into a short break, with the action resuming at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium for the eighth round of the 2018 Championship.