Nick was back on track last weekend in the longest race of the season for the British GT Championship, the three hour, 500km race at Silverstone on the Grand prix circuit with a whopping 51 cars!
He and co-driver Scott Malvern were also able to meet and greet many colleagues from S&D Sealants who were guests for the Sunday race day.
With the car not yet having the full race homologation pack fitted, and very limited testing having taken place, it was most definitely going to be a challenge for the weekend but one that Nick and Scott most definitely rose to.
Qualifying times among the GT4 runners were very tight and Nick and Scott found themselves down in 44th place on the grid and as Scott commented after on his @ScottMalvern Twitter feed “It’s a long way to the front form here.”
The weather most definitely decided to take a turn for the worse on Sunday and the organisers elected to begin the race behind the safety car in near monsoon conditions. After two laps of the long Silverstone Grand Prix circuit the safety car pulled in and the race was under way. Nick soon found himself moving up the order and keeping his nose clean he rose to an encouraging 36th position when after 50 minutes he handed over to Scott during a long safety car period.
The rain had now eased somewhat and the track was very greasy but when the safety car pulled in Scott wasted no time in getting the hammer down revelling in the tricky conditions. The earlier part of his long, almost 70 minute stint, was a joy to watch as he passed car after car, moving up the order lap by lap.
However, as the stint wore on the track dried rapidly meaning Scott continuously having to drive on the wetter parts of the circuit to protect his tyres from being shredded. Scott commented afterwards: “I was on the radio screaming at the team to bring me in and send Nick out on slicks but they wanted to gamble on waiting for another safety car period.”
That safety car period did eventually come but by then it was raining again. Nevertheless, Scott handed back over to Nick in a highly respectable 13th place overall and 2nd in the GT4 class. With Nick back out on another set of wet tyres hopes were high for a decent finishing position.
Unfortunately, race officials scuppered that hope somewhat by handing Nick a ten second stop and go penalty as one of the team mechanics had not had his helmet visor fully shut during refuelling at the preceding pit stop. This seemed incredibly harsh for such a small misdemeanour not committed by the drivers and certainly not offering any advantage but these are the rules and everybody knows them and signs up to abide by them.
With the track drying again and Nick being out on wets, the team brought him in to swap drivers for Scott’s final stint and to switch to slick tyres. By now the car was placed 30th overall and 14th in class. With Scott barely a lap into his stint, guess what? It started to rain again! With too much time being lost by another pit stop the decision was made to keep Scott out on slicks and he was able to find pace that others were not as a particularly impressive final lap saw him pass three more cars to eventually finish a respectable 26th overall and 10th in class.
Nick stated afterwards: “I know there are plenty of positives this weekend but I cannot help feeling a little deflated and frustrated knowing that we could have done better and I know that Scott feels the same.
“He and I will sleep on this and then have a serious talk during the week to see what can be done to improve the situation. We are both fiercely competitive and want to achieve the best results that we can so anything we can learn from this weekend that will help to improve the show going forward will put to good use.”
The next event for Nick & Scott takes place at the legendary Spa Francorchamps circuit in Belgium on the 8th & 9th July.