GT Tour Magny Cours
In a last minute deal it was off to Magny Cours in France for a round of French GT with JMB Racing in the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 sharing the car with Julien Briché. I hadn’t been to Magny Cours before and was hoping for a track walk before practice on Friday, but due to delays we got there late on Thursday as it was getting dark - and it was pitch black by the time I got to the first hairpin! With the help of the torch app on my iPhone I found my way around and at least had some idea of the kerbs etc. The first session was on Friday morning and I found my way around on very old rubber to get my bearings. As I was setting out for the second half hour session in the afternoon, the heavens opened, so it was back into the pits for wet rubber. As I headed out with new rubber, the rain stopped, so it was back in for slicks! The track was dry by the end of the session and I was a few tenths off my French team mate, after his 30 minutes, so was happy with that. After being close to 30 degrees on Friday, the temperature had dropped and it was wet for Saturday, so my first experience of a wet Magny Cours was in qualifying. I qualified 7th in my session, only a tenth of fifth place, which was a good start against some quality teams like ART, Sebastian Loeb Racing and Hexis Racing’s McLarens. I started Saturday’s one hour race seventh and climbed through the order up to fourth with a move on the Sport Garage Ferrari through the fast Estoril right hander onto the straight. The pit window opened and as the others pitted a little earlier than me, I led the race before pitting and handing over to Julien. Unfortunately we had to retire the car on the last lap with an exhaust issue, so weren’t classified. After some hard work by the team, the car was ready to run for Sunday’s race which was started by Julien. The race started dry but drizzle soon turned to proper rain, so he had to pit outside the pitstop window for wets (as did everyone else). After the second pitstop for the driver change we were running 16th. I made my way up to eleventh and was fastest car on track at one point. With 3 laps to go I was 13 seconds behind the 10th place Porsche - I closed the gap to just over 4 seconds by the flag but ran out of time to make up any more places. The GT Tour Paddock was very friendly and it was really good experience for me, learning a new track in constantly changing conditions against strong opposition. Thanks to JRM and JMB who did a great job all weekend, especially after the DNF in race one.