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David Bartrum's Blog

British GT blog of 20.08.12

"We tested at Snetterton on the Friday a week before the British GT round there. Daniele Perfetti and Michael Caine tested, but Steve Parish was on holiday so Ben Hetherington came and ran Steve's car.

"Ben wanted to get back into a Porsche so we put him in with Steve. Every GT driver we've had this year has come from the Carrera Cup. That's not by accident: that is deliberate. The Carrera Cup has a very high standard of driver and we benefit from that. Ben is a young charger and it wasn't a difficult choice.

"We had a very strange qualifying. It was very sunny and then very rainy, so we didn't get any qualifying. The grid was formed from the times in two free practice sessions on Saturday morning.

"Michael and Daniele finished second and then fifth in the two races. I was really pleased with their pace. Jonny Adam in the Aston chased Michael down in the second half of the race. I know Jonny very well from when he drove for us in touring cars. Jonny is a very good and a very fair driver and I knew he would only do it the right way. We got a second place out of that.

"Race two was quite a battle with four Porsches at the front. Caine and Richard Westbrook tangled early on and Michael then tangled with a Ferrari. He was pushing hard and fell off on his own and he came on the radio and said: 'guys, I made a mistake.' So, unusually, we brought him in early and put Daniele in. He took it from tenth to fifth: It was a sterling drive and he caught all the big guys. They are still in the title race. We only had one problem at Snetterton, which was a broken driveshaft on Steve's car."

"Next we have a three-hour race at Silverstone and then a two-hour race at Donington. In the break before Snetterton we did a bit of damper work and then sent the dampers back to Sachs in Germany to be serviced. We had them on the damper dyno machine and did some work to see what we could get out of them and what adjustments we could make.

"We had a few updates come through from Germany. There was nothing performance related, just some mechanical work to do with endurance. It's to do with things they have found: that's part of the Porsche package. They are very responsive and very good to deal with. They care deeply about the racing and they will do everything they can to keep you racing. That was one of our reasons for staying with Porsche. You know exactly what you will get.

"Rainer Sauter and two of his colleagues turned up unannounced at our workshops one Thursday evening. We were all working away and they turned up. They were at the GT Open race at Brands Hatch. On their way to the hotel they came past the door of our workshops and came in. That meant I had to take them out to dinner, but it was money well spent! Rainer is a very interesting guy and he knows where every one of the 69 GT3 Cup Rs is in the world. He's got them on a chart on the wall in his office. 68 of them are still racing."

"Apart from the routine maintenance, we really haven't had to do a lot on the cars this year. A GT Porsche is a tried and tested product. In the workshops we've got Tim Hull, Richard Warrington, Guy Reardon and Sean Haskett. They are the guys on the Porsche team and under Tim's guidance they run through a set programme after each race. The engine and gearbox come out, they split the driveshafts down: they just keep on top of the cars.

"Because they are endurance race cars, you want to keep on top of them. After every race the engines and gearboxes come out because we want to have a look at them. It is probably overkill, but we want them to be right. Tim keeps that schedule going so that we don't have any problems.

"Generally speaking, Porsches are like tanks: they just keep going. We run them the way they are, because Porsche know best. We did do some tyre development with Avon, which was very interesting. The only development we do is really for our own benefit. We go and learn about what the car does. You can play with dampers and springs. But Porsche develops the car to the point where you just pick it up and run it.

"Porsches are fast, reliable and well backed race cars and that is why we buy them
If you've got a problem, you pick up the phone and there is an experienced man at the other end. And if you need a part, you pick up the phone and the part arrives. That is very, very important. Ricky Martino, who works on our Porsche programme, also works with this type of car in Asia, so he's got a good idea what's going on with them. He understands the car very well and he's got it under control. I'm a Porsche fan!"

David Bartrum