The British FIA GT1 World Championship round turned out to be one of those weekends that didn’t quite go according to plan. In fact I can’t remember ever having a race weekend like it.
We had high expectations going into Silverstone as we were obviously looking for a strong result. Qualifying showed all four Nissans were in the top 10 which we anticipated because we expected the cars to be competitive.
When we got to the first race, I went down the inside of turn 4 and couldn’t stop so I ended up hitting Darren [Turner] and then Peter Dumbreck which was sadly the end of the race for all three of us. I didn’t feel great about that. It certainly wasn’t deliberate but sometimes, when you are pushing like that, you overstretch the limit and I unfortunately caused us not to finish.
Then of course we had to start at the back for the Championship Race. Jamie [Campbell-Walter] did a great job to put us in the position that when we pit under the yellow we could make up a few places. The Sumo Power GT pit crew did a fantastic job of turning the car around and that leapfrogged us from the back to the front and we ended up sixth.
At the restart, I had an Aston Martin right behind me going in to Luffield and he looked like he was about to touch me. I knew if he hit me there I would be out of the race. So I hit the throttle a little bit and the back end came out. I then had to get out of the way of the accident happening in front of me and ended up beached in the gravel, so unfortunately we didn’t finish that race either.
As we have seen this year, in this type of racing there is always some kind of incident going on and there were plenty this weekend. It’s a tough championship and everyone is fighting all the time and sometimes we all overstretch the limit.
Obviously winning the Tourist Trophy was a great result for Nissan, although car 21 didn’t have a good weekend certainly car 23 did. They qualified right up the front and finished second in the Qualifying Race and won the Championship Race. It was a great effort by them and they thoroughly deserved the win. That is definitely a positive that comes out of the whole weekend.
We had a lot of Nissan guests at Silverstone, so it was great for them to share that result. It was also good to see my good friend Mark Webber there.
On Thursday evening, Jamie and I were honoured to be guests at an evening with the BMMC (British Motorsport Marshals Club) and some marshals that were due to be working over the weekend. It was a great evening and I was very happy to give up my time. Our sport couldn’t exist without the hard work and dedication of marshals and we are lucky enough to have some of the best in the world.
As well as the team guests, my son Sam entertained his karting sponsors for the first time at Silverstone. It was good for him to learn how to host guests at an event and he did really well.
Sam is just at the start of his career, tackling national level karting for the first time which is a huge learning curve. I don’t think he’s ever seen his Dad experience such a disappointing race weekend, so in a way it was good for him to see that it can happen to anyone, even his Dad. The important thing is how you deal with it and learn from it.
We’ve got a bit of a gap now until the next FIA GT1 round in Spain and I’ll be using that time to analyse the entire Silverstone race weekend. I don’t believe in bad luck, I believe you make your own luck, so I just need to look at what happened, the positives and the negatives, and draw a line under the event.
By the time I’ve finished I will have turned any negatives into positives, ready to fully focus on Spain. I’m really looking forward to the official test leading up to round six. Apart from a handful of laps before the first race in Abu Dhabi I haven’t actually had any testing time in the car, so it’s going to be a valuable few days.
After analysing Silverstone and running the test, I’m sure we’ll bounce back even stronger at Navarra.
DB by Emma Spearing – photos SRO
08.06.2011 / MaP