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GT Cup Silverstone 2010

Given the brief to find and follow TVRs and TVR drivers in motorsport saw multiple interests this weekend with both Britcar and the GT Cup. Johnny Wilson and Mike Saunders had already taken their Cerberas to the challenge presented by the Porsche and Ferrari dominated world of GT Cup in 2009 and this year they have been joined by Danny Winstanley and the mean green Tuscan.

The first rounds of this year’s championship saw the guys at a Silverstone circuit amongst a huge amount of circuit  modification for the needs and wants of the F1 circus, with minor track changes and loads of infield building work.

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The weekend was one of mixed fortunes, practice and qualifying had John Wilson in 31st place and Mike had engine problems that saw them rushing over a replacement road engine from Castle and an overnight fitting ready for Sunday. The lack of a qualifying time put Mike at the back of the 42 strong grid for Sunday afternoon and to make matters worse the replacement engine was down on power by about 120 bhp. Danny and the Tuscan faired better and although they had some gremlins to overcome with an overnight engine removal and re-fit, they qualified in a creditable 7th albeit just under 3 seconds behind the Gaw/Drysburgh Porsche 997 in pole position. Danny isn’t the most expressive of guys but even he was amazed at the straight-line speed of the some of these cars, although he was able to match them on the corners and slipstream them they were still managing to pull away from him on the straights. (And Danny’s car is smack on the power to weight level, maybe a sequential is required? – Ed)

The highpoint of the weekend is though was the absolute disbelief expressed by the owner of the BMW M3 V8 in the next pit garage when asking about the cost of the Tuscan. When told it was £17k to buy, he related his cost £120k. He finished 6 or 7 places behind Danny in both races. Add to that the BMW would be a cheap car compared to a Ferrari 430 GTC or a Porsche 996 Cup and you get the idea of what our guys are competing against.

Race 1 saw the early retirements of both of the Cerberas, John Wilson managed just two laps when an electric water pump failure forced his withdrawal and Mike pulled in after 4 laps, the lack of power made it clear he wasn’t going to compete and rather than risk another engine he retired to fight another day.

Danny, however, was soon making a name for himself, the Tuscan moved steadily through, the Lotus Europa of Chris Randall pulled out on lap 5 and just pure pace allowed him to claim the positions of car 87 Alex Martin Porsche 997 and car 12 the Ferrari 430 GTC of Steve Quick. Interestingly Danny’s race pace was quicker than qualifying with his best race lap around a second faster, in the race the pole sitter 997 was only 0.2 of a second faster on best lap comparison. The safety car was called out on lap 6 as the Porsche 996 of Rupert Martin span at Club Corner and collected the new pit wall. They ran for two laps under the safety car but the race was stopped on lap 8, the situation not being helped by another Porsche 996 sitting in the kitty litter at Copse. The race was won by the very experienced Jim Geddie in a Porsche 997 some 5.6 seconds ahead of the Ferrari 430 GTC of Jeff Leadley. Third place was taken by pole sitter Phil Drysburgh in the Porsche 997, a further 3.7 seconds back. Danny took 4th position just 0.6 seconds behind.

The grid for race 2 was based on the results of race 1 and saw Danny on the second row alongside the Leadley Ferrari. Both Mike and Johnny were absent from the grid, their earlier problems preventing them making the start.

Danny was quick from the off and was in 3rd place at the end of lap 1 behind the Gaw Porsche and Leadley Ferrari. The battle between the Tuscan and the Ferrari was immense with positions changing through the early laps with Danny making 2nd position for a while only to be passed again, all the time this allowed the Geddie Porsche to close the gap and the Gaw 997 to open a lead. As they came out of the Hanger Straight and into Stowe on lap nine a missed gear resulted in a 360 spin and stall for the Tuscan and allowed Jim Geddie through into third. At this point it is worth noting that all of the top cars run sequential boxes, Danny doesn’t as they were told they weren’t allowed, however that’s for another time. Once he’d recovered from the spin and restarted the engine Danny was soon back on the pace although a podium looked unlikely with just three laps to make up the deficit.

The race finished with car 81 John Gaw’s Porsche 997 in first with the Leadley Ferrari 430 in second some 13 seconds behind. The Jim Geddie Porsche 997 took third 6.9 seconds behind and Danny took fourth just under one second behind despite the spin. A longer race would have undoubtedly seen him challenging for third or even second.

It may not all end there though, in parc ferme scrutineering there were some rumbles around one of the cars and weights. We know Danny was OK but we wait to hear anything further and will let you know if anything changes in the results.

Next round is Thruxton on May 8th where the high speed and aggressive nature of the surface is sure to have some effect on tyres and may well affect the outcome of the races.

Mal from for TVR Monster.

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