After the success Fareed and I shared in the second of two Endurance races at Snetterton a few weeks ago, I was hoping we might see more of the same at our next round – hosted on the Silverstone International (south) circuit. But given the expect grid numbers were just into the 20s I thought a single class win would be the best we could get – and only then if we could beat the TeamBRIT drivers in their VW Golf.
It turned out that even my greatest expectations were exceeded!
How the weekend was to run had changed from the original plan of a single 3 hour race on the Saturday with two 45-minute Trophy races (which Fareed would do solo) on the Sunday. For whatever reason, this became two 90 minute races, but with the Trophy races combined onto the same grids. We had a discussion on how we were going to time our pit stops. Trophy and Endurance have different regulations, plus we were hoping to be able to do 90 minutes in the Boxster without having to refuel. To suit both conditions, and to allow our races to count for both Trophy and Endurance championships, we decided to do a short stint of about 12 minutes (roughly 8 laps), change drivers then allow the second driver a long stint for the rest of the race. We would then swap roles for Race 2.
We knew from Snetterton that under certain conditions the car could race for 90 minutes and this again proved to be the case in both races, even though in the first race with me doing the longer stint, I did encounter a “fuel low” warning on the final laps.
The day’s racing was delayed by around 40 minutes by fog and we lost 10 minutes of our qualifying session in order to make some of that time up. Fareed had tested on the Friday, again receiving coaching from ex-F1 driver Mike Wilds and together in the car, Mike had posted a best lap of 1:17.4 – my personal best was almost a second slower, but it certainly suggested I’d stand a chance of beating Mike’s time. Having put new brake discs on the car, I took the Boxster out first to both bed the new discs in and warm up the already-scrubbed Dunlop slicks. We each did 7 laps but even my best time only put us last on what turned out to be an 11-car grid – and we were 2.3 seconds down on the next closest car. It was beginning to look unlikely that we’d be collecting any silverware at all.
The Trophy races were to consist of the first 45 minutes of each race and any car only doing Trophy was flagged in after that time. We wanted to do Endurance and Fareed said he was less concerned about Trophy because he didn’t expect to finish particularly high in that Championship anyway, so with the Union Flag waved at the appropriate time – and me now in the car after swapping drivers – I ploughed on to complete 68 minutes of racing – my longest drive to date. Encouragement over the radio from Newbridge Motorsport team manager Richard Tovey, including the incredible statement that we’d taken the car to third overall, pushed me to a new personal best of 1:18.012 (see video below) – about half a second of improvement over last season. I didn’t actually believe what Richard had said until I’d seen it on paper – and not only were we 3rd overall in Endurance but also in Trophy – meaning a load of extra points for Fareed.
We swapped stints for Race 2, with me starting and doing 8 laps before pitting and letting Fareed take over. Again Richard’s encouragement did the trick and he managed a 1:19.327, improving his average from the previous race by a massive 2 seconds. Again the Boxster put in a flawless performance and we took 3rd overall in both Championships, together with first in class trophies as a bonus.
Both races proceeded – at least for us – without serious incident, although we did both have a spin. Unfortunately for them – but lucky for us – it wasn’t the same for many of the other teams where cars were lost to both the result of contact and to mechanical failure.
So altogether we finished the day with a massive haul of eight trophies, split equally between us, Fareed’s little collection returning with him to Toronto. And for Race 2 we shared a podium with two legends of UK motorsport: veteran professional driver Calum Lockie (Ferrari 458) and Andrew Howard, newly-crowned British GT winner – driving the Aston Martin V8 Vantage that had just won the GT4 category of the same championship.
Fareed will race next at Spa in the Endurance Race Series before we team up again for the three hour into-the-night Britcar season-closer at Donington in November.
Photos: Stevie Borowik and Matt Brigden