After the final round of the 2016 British GT Championship at Donnington, SD teams’ MD Nick Jones felt that real progress was made, as he and co-driver Scott Malvern showed much improved pace in the Team Parker run Porsche Cayman.
A very competitive grid of 30 cars, of which 18 were in the GT4 category that Nick & Scott compete in, took to the track. Conditions were mixed: wet in the two Saturday practice sessions, and then dry, warm and sunny in the early Saturday evening qualifying session and the Sunday afternoon race.
The pairing qualified 15th in class and 27th overall, but with so little running in the car, and without the all-important full GT homologation kit available, this was to be expected.
Nick commented: “Lack of testing mileage this year has really not helped but without the car being in full GT spec, it was felt that wasting valuable budget testing would not be beneficial. It’s really been a development path and we have had to learn on the job, but I really think we turned a corner this weekend. Some slight set up changes that the team were able to make between qualifying and the race really helped with the performance and the pace of the car.”
In the two hour race, Nick handled the first stint and was involved in a titanic battle with celebrity baker turned racer Paul Hollywood in the powerful Aston Martin car, which won the 2015 GT4 Championship, with the pair even rubbing door panels at one point.
“I managed to get alongside Paul a few times,” said Nick “but his superior power really made him difficult to pass! But hey that’s a very well developed and proven car; it won the championship last year and they’ve done a lot of testing so, to be able to battle with it shows how far we’ve come. I was also very pleased with my pace as I was able to lap within two seconds of Scott which is a good pace for an AM driver.”
Scott took over at the 50 minute mark of the two hour race and soon set about catching and passing the rear end GT4 cars as he was able to achieve a fastest lap tie a mere 4/10ths of a second off of the very fast race winning McLaren.
Eventually, the pairing finished a highly respectable 8th in the GT4 class and 16th overall in the 30 car field.
Scott commented after the race: “I really enjoyed that.
“Nick did a great job in his opening stint and handed over to me in a position where I was able to gain several places. The improved pace that we found was really down to set up as we are still too heavy and lacking power which really showed with our lack of straight line speed.
“But we have to be very encouraged after this showing and we now know that if we can just get all the updates we need for the car we can be a very strong pairing next season. Nick has come on leaps and bounds which, without testing mileage, is no mean feat and this project wouldn’t be possible without his dedicated support, and that of his partners, which I am very grateful for. I’m very much looking forward to next year.”
Nick added: “It’s a pity we’ve run out of races now as things have really started to come together but the plan is to get the rest of the much needed update parts on the car and then go testing through the winter months so we can really hit the ground running in 2017. It’s also possible we may enter the car in one or two other eligible events just to gain some more race track time if the team and Scott and I can all fit it into our very busy schedules.”
Nick & Scott would like to thank Team Parker Racing and all of the friends and supporters that have come along throughout the season to cheer them on and are now very much looking forward to 2017.