ANOTHER PODIUM FOR INVICTUS GAMES RACING IN THE BRITISH GT CHAMPIONSHIP
Paul Vice MC and Matt George claim 3rd in GT4 Pro/AM at the second Snetterton race after gearbox issues forced them out of the first race.
The Invictus Games Racing mechanics install a new gearbox in under 20 minutes, completing it with 5 minutes to go until the start of the second race!
Free Practice & Qualifying
The Invictus Games Jaguar GT4 ran perfectly during both Free Practice sessions on Saturday morning. In fact Matt George topped the timing chart during the second session, although it was difficult to gauge their true pace due to a lot of the other teams driving very tactically!
The first frenetic qualifying session saw the top-13 separated by less than one second. Paul ‘Vicey’ Vice put in a sterling effort to place the Jag 8th in class and 21st overall after a fast a furious 10 minute qualy session. The second GT4 qualifying session proved just as competitive after 12 drivers lapped within a second! Matty George initially led the charge with a super fast lap, however, the other teams showed their hands later in the session, with Matty qualifying 5th in class and 9th overall.
Vicey made a solid start to his first race of the season, however, his life was made difficult by a fellow driver crashing into him twice during the first few laps! Consequently, the steering was off due to front-end damage, but he cracked on until the mandatory pitstop half way into the 1 hour race. After a slick driver change, Matty was behind the wheel and started reeling in fellow racers, although he soon recognised there was an issue with the transmission. Fifteen minutes into his stint it was decided that he should bring the car in for a DNF in order to avoid further damage and the potential of not starting the second race.
As soon as the car was in the garage the mechanics set about stripping down the damaged areas and also assessing the transmission issue. They soon identified that one of the impacts caused by another car had indeed damaged the steering, so those parts were replaced. Concurrently, Team Principle James Appleby was on the phone back to base in Brackley in order to get another gearbox sent up. ‘Big Dave’ Appleby was immediately on the road with the gearbox from the test car, but only time would tell if he would make it to the track for the second race!
Big Dave arrived at the track with literally 25 minutes until the cars would be called to the grid. The mechanics had already removed the broken gearbox and managed to install the delivered gearbox in just under 20 minutes. Everyone crossed their fingers as she fired up, as it was a used gearbox and there was no time to strip and inspect it before installation. Thankfully it worked fine and Matty got out to the grid in preparation for the start of Race 2.
As soon as the lights went out on the rolling start Matty made up a number of places on the first lap, placing him P6. During a hard fought 35 minutes of racing he managed to remain secure in P6 overall and P3 in class. With no pitstop penalty to delay the team, Vicey started his second stint 2nd in class, however, on his opening lap he was hit off the road by a McLaren. Although the car was not seriously damaged, he was on the grass and by the time he could get back up to speed on track he had lost 30 seconds and a number of places, dropping him down to 6th in class and 13th overall.
With 5 minutes of the race remaining, the driver who had knocked Vicey off the track was called into the pits for a ‘stop/go’ penalty due to the incident, which moved Vicey up a place. Then, on the last lap of the race, the leader tragically got a puncture, which meant the Jag moved up to finish the race 4th in class and 11th overall.
Incredibly, a couple of hours after the race and when the team were on the road heading home, it was announced that one of the other cars was subsequently disqualified for a technical infringement, which moved Vicey and Matty up to 3rd in class and 10th overall!
“It was a highly emotionally charged weekend with some questionable driving standards being displayed by some people! That said, the mechanics and ‘Big Dave’ pulled a near miracle by getting the car ready for Race 2. With more avoidable collisions from other drivers, we left Snetterton chuffed with 4th, but gutted to have missed out on a podium, only to be called and told we’d be promoted to P3!
For me it was an extra special weekend, as not only was it a year to the day I actually obtained my International C race licence, but I also had to overcome some serious nerves after an encounter with a concrete wall the week prior during testing!”
“We showed good pace throughout, but it was a tough weekend. The car took bit of a beating during the first stint in Race 1, which ultimately resulted in a DNF. The team once again proved they are the best in the business, not only repairing the crash damage, but changing the gearbox in no more than 20 minutes to allow us to start on the grid.
Race 2 was tough after some contact early on in the second stint, which took us out of the sharp end of the field. To then get a phone call to tell us we’d been promoted to 3rd, it was a true testament to the highs and lows motorsport provides. We’ve still got some work to do, but I’m looking forward to Silverstone in order to be able to put everything we’ve learnt into practice.”