Michelle Debuts at Inaugural 4Pot Trophy Race

June saw the inaugural race of the new CALM 4Pot Porsche Trophy at Silverstone (switched from the GP to the National circuit after Silverstone’s calendar was disrupted for a second resurfacing at F1’s insistence) and the first ever race for famous and successful drift racer Michelle Westby.

In between her first time in the car at Donington back in March, she’d attended a track day at Silverstone and, although the day was dogged by rain, she got some tuition and drove a few laps to start to learn the circuit.

After a very warm Saturday – where I was doing media duties for Britcar – the weather had cooled somewhat so I was relieved I wouldn’t have the same problems with heatstroke that I’d had at Snetterton! The timetable was unkind to us – helpful though for those cars who had gremlins – as our qualifying session was at 09:25 with the race not until 17:05 in the evening. Rarely has a motorsport day felt so long!

Jakob Ebrey – one of the most well-known motorsport photographers in the UK – had brought his silver 944 turbo but ran into problems in qualifying that were later determined to be a failed head gasket. Gary Campbell was more unfortunate, falling ill before he’d even qualified, and his car was to be driven by Matt Holtom from the Civic Cup – once a difficult electrical issue was cured.

Ours was one of two cars on new tyres from sponsor MRF; additionally it had brand new front brakes so we decided I should qualify first, under strict instructions to avoid overheating or glazing the brakes. I only managed four timed laps before Clive brought me in for a driver change and my times were very much off the pace. Michelle, on the other hand, did a fantastic job, posting our three fastest qualifying laps with a best lap over a second quicker than mine.

A long rain shower – that really looked like we would be racing in the wet – stopped about 15 minutes before we were called to the assembly area for the race, by which time the usual brisk Silverstone breeze had started to dry the track. Again I was to take the first stint and by the time I’d completed the two green flag laps, the race surface was almost completely dry. Starting from the back, I held on to the tails of Rick Matthews (yellow car), with only the unfortunate Andy Pritchard behind me – who soon dropped away with a failed battery.

Taking a bit more care than usual with the start, over the period of my stint (watch the video) I overtook #888 double BRSCC Porsche champion Alastair Kirkham, then #47 Rick, then #15 Philip Waters in the sister Moluto car, putting me 2nd in class. Nine of my 15 lap times were consistently in the 1:14s – more than four seconds quicker than I’d managed in qualifying – with a best of 1:14.169.

My 20 minutes were up and Clive boarded me into the pits for the driver change – and the start of Michelle’s first time out in a competitive race environment. She impressed everyone with her driving and concluded her stint with a lap of 1:14.487 – less than half a second off my quickest.

The next 4Pot race isn’t until September, which is to be on the rarely-used Brands Hatch GP circuit. Before then I have two more rounds of the BRSCC Porsches (Croft and Brands) where I hope to land plenty more championship points.

My thanks as usual to Clive Morison of Moluto motorsport for running the car; Philip, Ryan and Karl for organising and running 4Pot and John of MRF for his very generous donation of the two sets of tyres the Moluto cars ran on – we were impressed! And thanks of course to my sponsors WeShield and AMPS UK Ltd.

Photos kindly donated by Jakob Ebrey photography.