Across the opening two events of the year the SD teams-backed duo have been on a bit of a journey of discovery as they adapt to their new Porsche 911 GT3 R. The switch to the German machine essentially made the drivers, and the Team Parker Racing technical crew, start from scratch as they build up both setup and performance knowledge of the new car.
Regardless of the challenges, Jones and Malvern scored sixth-place finishes at both Brands Hatch and Silverstone, and currently sit just 25.5 points away from the championship leaders. With this weekend’s 2-hour race awarding 37.5pts for a victory, it’s still all to play for.
The return to Donington also brings good memories for Jones and Malvern, who took advantage of mixed conditions to snatch a race victory at the track last season aboard a Bentley Continental GT3 (pictured below), marking their breakthrough success in the class.
While this year’s Porsche holds more potential, there is plenty of work still needed to find the car’s ultimate performance. The crew recently conducted an extra day of testing alongside former Porsche factory driver Nick Tandy to try and unlock more of the car’s secrets ahead of this weekend. Plus, the threat of mixed conditions on Sunday could also play into Jones and Malvern’s hands, just as it did last season.
Nick Jones said: “I’m loving our British GT journey this year, and Donington is one of my favourite tracks, so I’m fired up ahead of the weekend. Obviously, we have great memories from last year with the Bentley, but this year is a whole different ball game. It’s no secret that we’re still learning the tricks to the Porsche and we’re not quite there on setup just yet. That’s why we wanted to squeeze in the extra test with Nick Tandy, who knows the car perhaps better than anybody, so his experience was massively useful for everybody. As far as the race goes, it will be tight – British GT always is and the pace this season is incredible. The key is just to not put too much pressure on ourselves at this stage and go in aiming for another solid result.”
Scott Malvern added: “Donington last year was huge for us, and it shows how nothing is certain in this sport. I’m looking forward to getting out there in the Porsche and I’d love it to be wet or mixed as that definitely evens the playing field and brings driver skill far more into play. For us, we’re still testing as we’re racing and learning something new with every outing. It was great to work alongside Nick Tandy for a day too, as it gave me a great benchmark for my own driving style with the Porsche. I’m confident that we’re moving in the right direction with development of the car, and Nick’s driving technique is now closer to mine than I think it’s ever been, so sooner or later everything will click and we’ll find some big improvements very quickly. It would be nice to shake up the pecking order again this weekend.”
The Donington Park round begins with two free practice sessions on Saturday before qualifying at 16:00. Sunday’s 2-hour race is scheduled for 12:45 and will be streamed live via the British GT website. Live timing is also available all weekend via TSL Timing.