The weekend was set to be the first fully dry weekend of the year for British GT. With the more flowing characteristics of the Snetterton circuit better suiting the Aston Martin, it was looking like a promising weekend for Tom and his teammate Jan. The weekend was a double header, which meant the two would take it in turn to both start and finish the race.
The car seemed to rise up to its expectations in practice with Jan ending Free Practice 2 in 4th place just two tenths off of P1. But Tom and Jan agreed race pace was stronger than one lap pace.
Qualifying was Tom’s second time on new tyres which were to be optimised on the very first lap. Tom’s lack of experience showed through although on the 3rd lap out of 4 he put in a stunning lap good enough for 5th place on the grid. The lap after he put in a purple first sector only to be held up by the Mercedes in the 2nd half of the lap. Either way it was a great position for the race. In the other session Jan qualified a brilliant 3rd on the grid.
In the FP3 on Sunday morning, the engine seemed to be hesitating out of the slower corners. Afterwards, the team looked at all of the telemetry and data to try and discover the source of the problem. The team had a very limited amount of time before the race so they did well to change the number of things that they did to try and fix the problem.
Despite the team’s effort to erase the problem, it was even worse. Tom lost 3 places going into turn 1 and then contact from another driver left him vulnerable. He lost a further 2 places through the rest of the lap.
Despite the problem with the engine, Tom managed to hold 10th place and actually challenged for 9th place. Although the Mclaren in front had a huge straight- line speed advantage over Tom. With 8 minutes left in his stint, he made a pass round the outside at Turn 3. Two laps later the safety car came out.
Strategically, the team made a quick decision to make the mandatory pit stop. After the pitstop Jan started to really struggle with the power issues. He lost 3 places on the first lap after the safety car, which put them out of the points. Jan did a great job of circulating at a consistent pace to ensure they finished the race. But with 10 mins to go, coming out of turn 7, the car cut out completely.
Fortunately, Jan successfully got the car going again, and finished the race near the back of the field.
After race 1, the team tried their best again to find the source of the issue, which again they were unsuccessful in doing, despite multiple changes. Jan, instantly lost places from the start due to the lack of power. By lap 15 he was out of the points and ready to hand over to Tom.
They jumped a few places in the pitstops but instantly fell back after being passed by the HHC Ginetta. He picked up some places, as the Ginetta and the two Ultra tech Nissans fell back due to reliability issues. 15 minutes into his stint the much faster number 10 Mclaren was right behind.
Tom defended his position successfully for 4 laps, even with its huge straight-line speed advantage. At turn 1, the Mclaren went for an overly optimistic move up the inside and ended in contact. Fortunately, Tom managed to keep the car out of the wall and finish the race, but out of the points.
Tom Wood "It was a very disappointing end to a promising qualifying. Jan and I have shown our potential in ourselves, the car and everything as a package. The issue will be fully investigated by those at AMR, and I am sure we wil be back stronger than ever at the next round at Silverstone."
The next round of the 2018 British GT Championship takes place at Silverstone in just two weeks time, on the 9-10 June for the Silverstone 500 Endurance race.
Photo Credit: Danny Walton @ dwmotorsportphotography.com