ADAC GT Masters Hockenheim
I got a last minute call up from JRM to race in ADAC GT Masters Championship at Hockenheim when the original driver was unable to make it due to personal reasons. I was looking forward to my fourth different championship this season, all on different tyres. It turned out to be a tough weekend at Hockenheim doing a one off round in a very competitive championship on Yokohama rubber - we also started off with 50kg extra ballast! I was looking forward to sharing the car with Steven Kane who has been in the other JRM car this season in BES.
We had a couple of one hour sessions on Friday followed by qualifying for both races. It soon became clear that the extra ballast was killing us and we would have to wait until the second race where we lost 30kg of it to be more competitive. We qualified with the 50kg for both races though, so would be playing catchup - Steven and I qualified 26th & 25th for the two races.
Race 1 started rather dramatically with me narrowly avoiding a huge startline crash. A Corvette got squeezed into me, bounced off me, then into another car and got turned into the pit wall. I looked in the mirror to see a ball of flame coming towards me! Luckily it missed me as I braked for the first corner but there was the inevitable red flag. The car had light damage, but the JRM guys soon had that sorted and we were ready to go again. At the restart I did my best to hold on to the group of cars ahead and, due to a shortened race, I pitted after 10 laps to hand over to Steven. He also had a lonely race and we finished 18th. We couldn’t wait to get rid of the ballast! Race 2 was started by Steven and he made up some positions in a manic start but was tipped into a spin on lap 3 so had to start the hard work all over again. Steven pitted on lap 20 and once the pit stops had shaken out I was in P18 and a little way off a group of cars ahead. I made it up to P16 and got onto the back of the Chevrolet Camaro which was very difficult to pass as it was ridiculously quick in a straight line but I was tripping over it in the twisty bits. After shadowing it for several laps, the Porsche of Michael Christensen had closed in and I was having to defend while I tried to find a way past the Camaro. I eventually got a run on it out of Turn 1 and was finally past. The Porsche also got by the Camaro at the next corner so I spent the final three laps making sure I covered my lines and brought it home in 14th. So a difficult weekend but the Nissan didn’t miss a beat in spite of several assaults by other cars, so thanks to all the guys at JRM once again.