David Bartrum's Blog
British GT Blog, June 2012
We came out of Oulton Park after a reasonable first weekend back in British GT. We had a little bit of damage and the weather was atrocious. But we were quite buoyed. The next round was the Nurburgring, which was off-patch and away. The decision to stay with Nick Tandy was a good one, because local knowledge over there was going to be key. Nick is fantastic in a Porsche full stop, let alone at the Nurburgring, where he seems to live.
He was a very important part of the team for that weekend. We'd been denied our Nick Tandy versus Richard Westbrook shoot out at Oulton Park, so we wanted to see at the Nurburgring what the status of play was. Needless to say, Mr Tandy went out there and did the best job you could do and stuck it straight on pole, which was our first pole in GT since our return.
Mr Caine and Mr Perfetti were exceptional down there and both went out and qualified fourth. Off the line in race one Danielle got tagged at the first corner and was sent to last from second, which is where he'd got to. It was a bit of a blow and we were all disappointed, but Danielle got his head down and drove a stormer. He gave the car to Michael well inside the top 10 and Michael took it to second. That was our first GT podium, which was very special, especially to do it in Germany with all the Germans watching.
Nick got the better of the shoot out with Westie, so that was another little brownie point for Motorbase. In the first race, Steve Parish got taken out: he got tangled up with an ex-Carrera Cup Scholar's brother, who hit him and was deemed to have been at fault. Steve's had a run of luck that has not been great and that was another example.
Steve and Nick managed to get a fourth in the second race, which was good and Danielle and Michael got a third, so we had a second, a third and a fourth at the Nurburgring, which was brilliant. I really enjoyed going there: it was my second time there. Last year, in a year that wasn't going our way, Tim Harvey got a Carrera Cup win, so the Nurburgring has become a happy hunting ground for me. I hope to go back there next year.
We then went to Rockingham and had an excellent Saturday. We brought Stephen Jelley into the Parish car as Nick Tandy had duties elsewhere with Olaf Manthey. Jelley put the car on pole and Michael put the other car third, so it all looked really, really good for the first two-hour race of the season.
Unfortunately, it didn't quite go like that in the race. We've got a bit of work to do on our pit strategy, which went a bit wrong on one car and the other car had a failure. The Caine car had to pit and lost three laps and the Parish car finished about eighth, so it wasn't a great weekend. But it started really well. The team is growing and learning and it's relishing what it is doing. That was our first long-distance race with refuelling for a long time. It was a little bit disappointing for me, because when I left the circuit on Saturday to head up to Oulton Park and the touring cars, we were P1 and P3 and all very buoyant.
The next GT meeting was at Brands Hatch and another clash with the BTCC at Croft. In qualifying we got pole and fifth with Mr Jelley on pole again. All in all, our GT team is excelling in some of our expectations, but we haven't quite had the race results yet.
I'd just like to mention that we had an off at Rockingham on the Saturday with Steve Parish and we were stuck for some exhaust parts, which we didn't have. But Trackspeed very kindly lent them to us and all I could offer in return was beer and muffins! I'm very grateful to Trackspeed for that.
I'm really looking forward to what comes next in British GT and we've got time to think about it. We've now got a gap to the Snetterton race in early August, then Silverstone and Donington. I'm enjoying British GT immensely and I think the championship has moved on a great deal. They've done a great job to get an excellent grid of cars and Benjamin Franassovici is working the patch very well to make sure you want to go to the championship. We'll catch up with the race at Brands in the next blog.