May 2017

ELMS Monza


Photo Copyright JMW Motorsport

A win at Monza in its final race against the new generation GTE cars was a fantastic send off for the six year old JMW Ferrari 458 GTE Italia and it was fantastic to be part of the car's illustrious history. Although it was going to be tough to compete with the other cars' one lap pace, the car felt good on long runs and the pace was a lot closer than it had been at Silverstone. As expected the one lap pace in qualifying was going to be a way off as the newer cars generate more heat in the tyres straight away and can "turn them on" better than our 458 but Jonny did well to qualify ahead of one of the Aston Martins.

I started the race and after a fairly chaotic first few laps had worked my way up to third place after 5 laps. A full course yellow after 20 minutes allowed us to stop for a splash of fuel, allowing me to go deeper into the race. The Porsche and both Aston Martins elected to stay out, so I had to get by them again. I passed the TF Sport car out of the first chicane and the Beechdean car after a "switch back" out of the Parabolica, then concentrated on being consistent for the rest of the stint and handed over to Rob Smith from third place. He did a great job, working his way up to second place before taking the lead as the Duncan Cameron Ferrari 488 hit a technical issue.

Rob handed over to Jonny Cocker with an hour and 45 minutes of the race to go and he did a great job holding onto the lead while being chased down by Nicki Thiim who was charging hard in the TF Sport Aston. Jonny handed the car back to me with a lead of about 20 seconds and 50 minutes of the race to run. A few laps later Euan Hankey took the car over from Thiim and maintained the relentless pace of the Aston. I worked on being consistent and driving to a lap time that I thought would be enough to stay in the lead to the end and crossed the line with a comfortable margin. I kept an eye out for the Aston's headlights in the mirrors, but couldn't see them, so knew I was OK. It was a fantastic job by the whole team and to win at Monza in a Ferrari in my first race there is very special! The next round of the ELMS is at the Red Bull Ring in Austria in July with JMW's new Ferrari 488 - a new track to me and a new car - can't wait!