Racing – British GT Championship
Rounds One and Two – Donington Park
Last year the
season started for Wood-Scott Racing at Knockhill, in a bright yellow
VW Golf Gti, but the 2004 opener began with the boys gathered around
the immaculately (Jordan-Warnock Racing) prepared Porsche 911 GT3
Cup, in the end garage at Donington Park.
This race weekend
would have it all – unpredictable weather, a packed grid,
drama, race leading driving and disappointment. What a start to
the year, for Steve Wood and Stuart Scott.
New for 2004
is a race format which sees each weekend hosting a double-header:
Practice, Qualifying and Race One on Saturday and Race Two on Sunday.
now a ‘double-header’ too, with each driver getting
15 minutes in the car, in separate sessions. The first qualifying
session dictated both the grid and the starting drivers for the
first race and the second….well, you get the idea!
With the Porsche
running quickly and reliably hopes were high for a good run –
It was a bumper entry of 31 cars, with the majority (18) competing
in the dailysportscar.com Cup Class. After the opening, 90 minute,
free practice session, Stuart and Steve were all set for the rest
of the meeting: new brakes bedded in, tyres scrubbed, everything
The first qualifying
session would see Steve posting a time quick enough for seventh
on the grid for race one with Stuart posting 11th quickest in a
second session, which started dry, rained and then dried immediately
again – the pit crew earned their beer money in those 15 minutes.
Now this would
be a cracker. With tyre choice critical on a greasy surface that
could (or even should!) have dried quickly, it was wets for Steve
in the #77 car - and from the off it paid off in a big way. With
incident (and accidents), ahead he stormed through the field to
get up to second in class (from seventh remember!) on the very first
lap. The leading car in the class, the very yellow DRM Ferrari,
was just a couple of seconds ahead and struggling on slick tyres,
on a track that wasn’t drying nearly as quickly as it had
24 hours before.
Steve just went
away after that, leading the class and climbing well into the overall
top ten - and humbling many of the fire-breathing N-GT runners at
the same time. This was a fantastic start to the season.
After 20 minutes
however the track was suddenly developing a pronounced dry line
and the wet-shod #77 car was suffering as a result: Gavan Kershaw’s
rapid little Lotus was closing the Porsche down. Wets were now very
much not the tyre of choice and with the pit stop ‘window’
still several minutes away, the Lotus powered away.
25 minutes gone
and the Porsche’s wets were finished, the car pitted and the
JWR team went into action. Slick tyres and Stuart were installed
and #77 fishtailed back into the fray. The race win was no longer
in prospect however: the cars which had started on slicks and bided
their time had made hay whilst the sun began to shine.
It was an eventful
run for Stuart with the Porsche seeming to have a supernatural effect
on Chevrolet Corvettes!
the Cup Class car (The Jensen Motorsports Corvette) lost a wheel
right in front of me at the chicane and then one of the N-GT ‘Vettes
spun in front of me through the Craner curves!”
At the flag
Stuart brought the car home eighth in class, mildly disappointed
but my, my, the #77 car had shown some pace. Better things are in
prospect during the season for sure.
In dry conditions,
Sunday’s race would be a dogfight and with a busy track and
some very quick men out there (and a couple of very quick ladies
too!) the gameplan would be a steady run in the first phase of the
race and for Steve to attack in the second half.
The plan came
together very well indeed, Stuart keeping the bulk of the Cup Class
field in his sights and allowing Steve to have a good run at them
after another slick driver change by the JWR team.
off car after car and was looking set for a blast that might even
have troubled the podium…. if he hadn’t come across
the oil dropped by an expiring Peninsula TVR, at Coppice, which
sent the Porsche backwards through the gravel.
were no oil flags,” he said ruefully, “I’m a bit
annoyed, because I reckon we would have finished much better than
Mike Jordan met the same oil, getting his Porsche sideways but finding
the time to notice Steve’s car and even think, “Yup,
he’s going to be able to drive out of that gravel trap.”
Which he did of course.
But sixth it
was and that was a fine result for a pairing very new to the Porsche
911 in this company. They’d made their mark already, with
that race leading performance in the first race.
So a good start
to the season and with many positive signs for the races to come:
the choice to swap Golf for Porsche was the right one, and the 911
is providing much satisfaction for the two drivers. The decision
to take the car to JWR seems inspired.
was just magnificent all weekend,” said a beaming Stuart Scott
Park next time out: can the crew of #77 get more points on the board