Logo

Latest News

29-06-2008

Victory again! Rounds 9 & 10 of the 2008 Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Thruxton

Saturday Morning Free Practice:
Due to a restriction on test days at Thruxton, the testing that would usually take place on the Friday of a race weekend actually happened the day after the Rockingham race back in May. With the Trimite car severely damaged from the second race at Rockingham the team could not attend this test and so Saturday morning was the first chance to try out the new compound Avon tyres, specially developed for the demands of the UK's fastest circuit, Thruxton.
At the start of the session a rear wheel arch liner worked loose, detached from the car, and broke the rear diffuser on its way. James returned to the pit lane to diagnose the problem while the session was red flagged to retrieve our debris.
In the last fifteen minutes of the session with Jon at the wheel the Viper developed an Anti-lock Braking System fault. Due to the high speeds achieved at Thruxton and the fact that the Viper has servo assisted brakes, it made slowing the car down from over 150mph a very difficult task. The net result was slower lap times due to increased braking distances and increased tyre wear due to locking up wheels.

Qualifying One:
With the team unable to resolve the ABS issue before qualifying, James & Jon would have to run without ABS for the rest of Saturday. James took to the track in unusually dry and sunny conditions. A 1:17.55 put James in 6th place for the race that afternoon, a very respectable time given the braking problems.

Qualifying Two:
For Jon's session, a 1:16.98 placed him 11th for Sunday's grid. With little time left in the car, Jon brought the Viper in after just five laps to conserve the tyres.


Race One:
From 6th place with a lot of fast cars behind him, James had his work cut out for the first half of the race with a wounded car. In the opening few minutes, James took advantage of chaos ahead of him to run 3rd after just four laps and held position until the predictable safety car period to recover a stricken Lamborghini. Over fifteen minutes behind the safety car played right into our hands, enabling James to cool the tyres down and conserve fuel. So prolonged was the recovery that the pit window opened with the pack still under the control of the safety car.

The entire field of GT cars, bar one, filed into one of the smallest pit lanes on the calendar. Utter chaos ensued with driver changes taking place in the pit lane rather than the apron in front of the garages. However the Trimite crew conducted their stop efficiently and were ready to go but boxed in the pit lane by cars stopped all around them. A further ten seconds stationary and a significant amount of shuffling got Jon out in what appeared on the timing screens initially to be 2nd place. While the team on the pit wall waited for the order to clarify after the rest of the field made it out of the pit lane, Jon posted consistent times to crystallise his 2nd place. As the race progressed it became clear that the tyres were deteriorating and Jon had to brake progressively earlier, affecting his lap times. Unable to hold back the charging ABG Viper of Aaron Scott, on lap 27 Jon sensibly let him past to chase Allan Simonsen in the #23 Ferrari. From 3rd Jon had a healthy gap back to 4th place and was able to bring the car home safely in a very hard fought and well deserved 3rd place.



Sunday Warm-up:
Throughout Saturday evening and Sunday morning the Trimite mechanics worked to resolve the ABS problem. A number of other Viper teams would not be running on Sunday due to failures in Saturday's race and donated parts to help to resolve the issue. However nothing seemed to help and it became clear that the fault lay deep in the wiring loom of the car, and was beyond resolution for Sunday's race as well.
Jon took the Viper out to bed in new discs and pads. After three laps the car returned to its awning to await the afternoon's race.

Race Two:
With a grid position of 11th , Sunday's race would be even more testing than the day before but it was essential to score some points to maintain our championship lead. Jon took to the wheel for what was to become possibly the most chaotic race of the season. After just two laps the Trimite car was up five places to 6th and a further two laps saw Jon move up to 4th. On the 5th lap yellow flags were waved for an accident at the last chicane involving Bradley Ellis in a Ginetta G50 and subsequently the safety car was deployed while debris was cleared.
It soon became apparent from Jon's radio transmissions and news in the pit lane that Bradley's crash was somewhat more serious and the race was red flagged. The field of cars reformed on the grid while Bradley was taken to hospital and the Ginetta was recovered. After twenty minutes stopped, race control scheduled a re-start and reduced the race time to thirty minutes.
Prior to the re-start, rain began to fall on the start/finish straight and it seemed like the team's nightmare scenario was becoming a reality, a wet race and no ABS. However the rain cloud passed over Thruxton before the race got underway. Three laps into the re-started race and the #20 ABG Viper & race leader was called into the pits due to loose rear bodywork, promoting Jon to 3rd. The pit window opened but the team left Jon out to continue battling nose-to-tail with 2nd and 1st place. After five further laps Jon was called in, the first of the leading pack. A seamless hand over to James saw the Trimite car rejoin the race in 6th.

From 6th James battled hard to take 5th place on track while the leading cars dived into the pit lane at the last opportunity. James was promoted to 2nd place and within striking distance of Tom Alexander in the leading Aston Martin. Another lap passed and James took the lead from Tom and built a gap over the #16 Ferrari now in 2nd place. From here James was able to hold on to 1st place and take another fantastic victory for Team Trimite in very difficult conditions.
As the team crowded around the podium there was one final twist to the race. The race stewards had deemed the Trimite car to have been speeding in the pit lane, exceeding the 60 Kph speed limit by 4Kph. As such a 4 second time penalty was imposed on the car, demoting Jon & James to 2nd place. Slightly subdued podium ceremonies took place but the Team Trimite management and drivers immediately appealed the decision and the evidence of the car's data logging system proved to be our saviour. 1st place was reinstated to the deserving Trimite car!