David Bartrum's Blog
1st July 2011
Porsche Carrera Cup
The first race of the season comes round very quickly. We kicked our heels waiting for the new Carrera Cup cars to arrive, although we were out fairly early with the touring cars; we were out in February.
So we got a good run with the touring cars, but we were apprehensively waiting for the Cup cars. They arrived on 11 March and the press day was 11 days later, so there wasn't a lot of time to do anything. But we got the liveries on, got to the press day and got some test days in. We had a funny sluggish start to the season; getting used to the new car and getting the old car out of everyone's head. Although the new car looks the same as the old car, it is completely different. So it was a hectic start to the season.
The Porsche Carrera World Cup at the Nurburgring with Tim Harvey was great. That was almost a vindication of the re-set button. To win in Carrera Cup GB and take P13 overall was quite an achievement amongst the best in the world in a Porsche. To race the Germans in Germany you know you are up against the entire Supercup grid and most of those guys are top players. Then you take on Carrera Cup Deutschland as well on their home soil. So for Tim to get 13th was quite an achievement. That was the one to win.
I enjoyed the Nurburgring because I had more time to catch up with people. It was very nice to see people like Geoff Turral down there supporting the championship. He's a very busy man at Porsche now, but he took the trouble to come and talk to the teams. The Carrera Cup GB organisation was excellent; they did a really good job of getting us all there and keeping us full of information. I enjoyed it immensely and I think everyone who went enjoyed it.
If you look at the rest of the team; Daniele Perfetti is learning the circuits and George Richardson has gone up a league into Pro-Am1 and he's now found his feet. George did a really good job at Oulton Park. I think he was suffering with learning a new car and it seems that the guys who have come into the championship new this year, and haven't touched the old car, are finding it easier to drive the new car. They haven't got to have the exorcism of the old car. I think George suffered with that a bit. Now he's got over that hump and he's got a set-up that he likes and he's in a window with the car that he likes.
It's the same with Steve Parish. He feels that he has got rid of the demons of the old car and he's now got a set-up he is comfortable with. If he could stay on the track all the time, he'd be winning a lot of races. Oulton Park should have been a double Pro-Am2 win for Steve. He'd done all the hard work and got the car to where it needed to be, but made two little mistakes. Steve is a very, very competent driver and he has clearly got the pace. The biggest thing with Steve is to hide his phone. He voluntarily hid the phone at Oulton Park and he was focussed.
Mr Caine; what can I say? The legend as ever! He came into the season struggling and fighting for his budget, then Mrs Caine was due to deliver little Caine. I've never been to a race meeting before and stood with a phone in my hand and a pit board; if the phone rang I had to bring him in and send him on his way to hospital. So that was Thruxton and there was a little bit of that at Donington as well. At Donington he had a massive shunt on the Thursday and we put the car back together as well as we could, but we knew it wasn't right. Michael did what he could, but he couldn't get the car stopped.
So Michael's season started badly because of circumstances. But their lovely little girl called Charlotte arrived in May and he went to Oulton Park and drove brilliantly. He put the car fourth on the grid in the same tenth as the top three and he said the car was good enough for pole. Two fourth places don't really reflect where he was that day. In the first race we didn't quite get the tyre pressures right and that left him struggling in the second half of the race. In race two, he was in there all the way. James Sutton and Michael Meadows blocked him out fairly and squarely as a team and he couldn't get past them to get to Stephen Jelley. Michael came out of Oulton Park knowing the car was fine. He missed the Nurburgring, which was a shame, but his sponsors weren't prepared to cover him for that, which was unfortunate for us.
Amongst all that at Oulton Park, we didn't have Mr Harvey in the car. Instead, we had Kieran Vernon. That comes out of a choice made by Tim. Kieran's a very straightforward and upbeat lad to deal with. But he had a bit of a rickety start because he went off in testing and that set the weekend back a bit and it dented his confidence slightly, but he recovered himself. The boys fixed the car and it was fine. But he'd have got more out of qualifying if he'd had the time on Friday and not had that apprehension in qualifying. In the second race he drove very well in difficult conditions and there is a load more to come from him. We'll have to see what happens in the second half of the season.
I think over the second half of the season the Porsche team will do what it does and get back to the front. I don't think it was ever far away, there was just a little bit of learning that needed to be done and it took a bit longer than it should have done. I want more of the same from Oulton Park. The results were all good and the times were good.