SD Sealants drivers Nick Jones and Scott Malvern wrapped up their second British GT Championship campaign with the best finish of the year at Donington Park this weekend.
The pair drove home the potential for an exciting 2018 as they headed into the final race of the season. Determined to give the Team Parker Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport a positive send-off, Nick and Scott will be seeing a change of vehicle next season, after two years with the Stuttgart brand.
After a wet-dry practice session, hopes were high as Nick showed consistent long-run pace, which would stand them in good stead for the two-hour race. Scott then demonstrated the car’s outright speed by finishing the dry 2nd practice session in fourth position.
“We’ve worked hard to extract speed from the car as the Porsche hasn’t been the quickest GT4,” said Scott, “our engineer Ben Newman has worked miracles this weekend.”
Confidence was high ahead of qualifying, but drama lay ahead as Nick was hit by an errant Ginetta on his fastest lap, the impact knocking both the tracking and camber out on his right-rear wheel.
The Team Parker crew managed to re-track the car during the short break for driver changes, and sent Scott out hoping for the best. He delivered by setting the third fastest lap of the entire session. The aggregate time meant that the car would start 12th in GT4, but it was clear the pace was there to move forward.
For the race start, Nick got his head down and was determined to stay out of trouble as many drivers around him lost their cool. Some turbulent early laps helped the SD car move up the order, despite Nick having his own troubles.
“My predictive lap timer had stopped working so I had no reference and I was still trying to get back into the rhythm after the qualifying hit unbalanced the car,” said Nick, “There was so much going on in the first stint, I just tried to keep things clean and tick off the laps.”
Nick pitted to hand over to Scott at the one-hour mark and, with the pro driver installed and the car running consistently, Scott continued to scythe up the order.
Heading into the final few minutes, Scott was on a charge just outside the podium places as he chased down the two Century Motorsport Ginettas ahead. Time just ran out for him to catch the top three runners, but a result of third in the GT4 Pro-Am class ensured the year ended on a high. Nick and Scott’s fifth overall in GT4 also marks their best finish of the year, with Scott’s fastest race lap being the fourth fastest overall. Nick and Scott also finished the year fourth in the Pro-Am Championship points.
“I was pushing like mad as I knew we could get a strong result,” said Scott. “I was really hanging on to the car at points, but it was great fun. Nick kept it nice and tidy in his stint under difficult circumstances, so all in all it was a successful weekend.”
Nick added: “Donington was a tough weekend but we came away with a great result to finish the season. It’s good to send the Porsche off on a high, now it’s on to next year when we’ll have a whole new beast to play with. Roll on 2018.”