I have just had two very good days testing the McLaren at a cold and windy Snetterton, with Gus, my co-driver for our 2020 British GT Championship assault. We had a good mix of wet and dry running over the two days and both put in some very strong race and qualifying runs. Overall I am really pleased with how we both drove, and with how our relationship with the HHC Motorsport team is developing.
The second day was a whole new experience for me “British GT & F3 Media Day”, with a very large number of photographers and journalists present throughout the day. In my first on track session of the morning, I found myself pushed out of the garage only to have six or seven cameras pointed into the open door to take stock photos before I was able to head off on track. Thankfully, and not surprisingly, most of the attention all day was focused on other drivers and teams, but this was a new experience for me to witness. There was also a good public crowd that had braved the weather to come out and watch us put the cars through their paces, with most of the infield public car parks having been filled. In addition to 3 hours of testing that day, we had a 15 minute all cars rolling photoshoot behind a camera emblazoned pick-up truck to keep us on our toes (in which I drove the 58 car rather than the 57 numbered car to ensure both HHC cars were included) and enable a few promo shots to be taken for the series promoters.
The entry list for British GT 2020 was announced that morning, listing a full grid of 35 cars. 19 GT3 cars (the highest entry number for a good few years) and 16 GT4 cars (within which I am confirmed as being in the number 57 car alongside Gus Bowers). For anybody not already aware, there is a mandatory pit stop and driver change in every race in British GT, hence Gus and I will share the car all season.
Having such a large GT3 entry is going to make life challenging for all us GT4 drivers, with GT3 drivers taking no prisoners when passing the GT4 class cars (which run about 8% slower). Letting the quicker GT3 cars past without losing any of my own lap time is something that I will have to work on before we get to the first race at Oulton, Easter Monday.
While it is very hard to compare our lap times with the other GT4 cars that were running on the day (teams running different programmes, new tyres vs old tyres, different weights and power settings etc.), initial indications are that Gus and I are going to be well in the fight and I can’t wait to roll out for the first race.
Many thanks to Charlie, Jody and all the HHC Motorsport mechanics that are giving myself and Gus a great car and helping us get a handle on it. I am really looking forward to the season ahead. Can’t wait to get back out at Oulton for Testing in a few weeks!
Finally a big thank you to: CORE Modular; The Hills Group; and The Race Hut Oxford who are all supporting me this year.