Mans Endurance Series – Silverstone– August 13
All Sorts Of Dramas At A Sodden Silverstone
LNT was back with a vengeance at Silverstone, on August 12-13, for
the third round of the LMES 1000 kilometer races. Monza had been
a tale of woe for the British team, but there were three of the
TVR T400Rs present on Friday morning - the regular race cars joined
by the test car, standing guard at the team’s hospitality
awning in the paddock.
There was track
time galore available on Friday, with four lengthy practice sessions.
The fourth of these was another hour-long session, beginning at
21.00 – in darkness of course. All the drivers were supposed
to complete three laps in the dark (because Saturday’s race
would finish in darkness – very dark darkness it was too.
There was bad
news in session one for the #81 Team LNT TVR, Warren Hughes finding
the straight six erupting in flames at the front right corner, after
a rod punched through the side of the block. Team owner Lawrence
Tomlinson, following close behind in #82, saw it happen:
know what caused the breakage, but just as I followed Warren into
Luffield there was a ball of flame from the front of the car. I
thought, should I stop or finish this lap?! (it was his quickest).
Warren's absolutely fine and even though it looks a bit like a barn
find at the moment, we'll be back out later, we have plenty of spare
engines this weekend."
The two LNT
T400Rs were lying third (#81) and fourth (#82) at the time, a red
flag being thrown as the circuit firefighters dealt quickly with
the stricken TVR.
The engine change
would see the #81 car sitting out the second session but it would
be back out and running after the morning's woes and Jonny Kane
was flying, up to fourth in class at the halfway point, with the
sister #82 car just half a second slower. And then suddenly #81
was third fastest in GT2, on its last lap of the session. The pace
was there for all to see.
It had been
a fast but relatively uneventful day for the for Pat Pearce, Marc
Hyne and Lawrence Tomlinson car: exactly what was wanted.
was more encouraging news for the boys in purple and orange (and
their team boss, left) as the #82 Team LNT TVR, Marc Hynes at the
wheel, set fourth fastest time in class in a quickfire 20 minute
qualifying session on race morning (Saturday). Marc’s lap
of 1:53.0 was well in touch with the leading cars.
Marc Lieb in
the 2004 Championship-winning, Sebah Porsche was sandwiched between
the LNT boys, the #81 T400R just half a second shy of #82.
was delighted with teammate Marc Hynes' qualifying effort aboard
the #82 team LNT TVR. "Very pleased with that, and on his first
It's good to get one over on the other car from time to time."
There was a six hour wait for everyone before the 16.00 race start
– and in that period, the weather changed – dramatically.
It started in
truly atrocious conditions, made worse for the #82 car, started
by Patrick Pearce when the windscreen wiper failed just before the
start. The team attempted to effect a fix, but to no avail. Worse
still the work had gone on after the three minute board was shown,
meaning that a two minute stop go penalty was inevitable. That was
to come a little later however and, as the lights went green the
race was on, torrential rain or not!
were appalling, with cars struggling for grip everywhere. #81 though
made immediate progress, the combination of Dunlop wets, Jonny Kane,
and the bigger cars struggling for traction, firing the car up the
Pat Pearce meanwhile
still had no wipers in the #82 TVR. He ended his stint and described
what it was like to race in the wet without a windscreen wiper.
"I couldn't see a thing! When I was following the safety car
down the pit straight, I actually had to open the door and stick
my head out to see where I was going. At other times I had to go
across the grass. Basically, whenever I was following a car, I couldn't
see past the bonnet. I certainly wouldn't want to drive another
stint like that!"
problem, and the related stop/go penalty, Pat Pearce reckoned that
he would have been challenging for the class lead.
was very hard, especially as we are still not sure exactly what
it was for. Officially the mechanics had stayed on the grid too
long because they were trying to fix the wipers, but that doesn’t
account for the full two minutes of the stop-go.”
The second hour
featured a bizarre occurrence: the sister cars collided –
but neither driver knew they had touched each other! Conditions
were so bad that neither LNT man knew which other car he had made
contact with. Truly extraordinary.
Marc Hynes was
at the wheel of #82 at the time, with Warren Hughes in #81. The
#82 came off worst, and a long stop for repairs (which also gave
the crew a chance to fix the wipers) meant that a points-scoring
finish was out of the question. But the three drivers put some reliable
miles on the car, and brought it home without too many other adventures
– in eleventh place in class.
was not well with the Jonny Kane / Warren Hughes car.
“We were having a really good run. Having got us up to third
place, then handing over to Warren, I was inclined to think that
they were going to stop the race. Warren couldn’t see, which
was how he and Marc collided.
was OK though, so we pressed on. Then the thottle started sticking.
We don’t think it was to do with the throttle body –
it was something in the pedal assembly, which might well have been
caused by all the water that was sloshing around. Basically, it
was too dangerous to carry on with the throttle like that, in those
conditions. The only sensible choice was to withdraw the car. You
can’t drive in pouring rain with a stuck throttle.”
So the team
that galloped off to a brilliant start at Monza - first and second
in GT2 - has struggled to get near the points since then. One or
two other GT2 teams have had some miserable misfortune too –
it’s not all aimed at Team LNT!
luck is surely not too much to ask at the Nurburgring next month