GT Cup Brands Hatch

Brands Hatch - Indy - June 16/17 2012

Brands Hatch Circuit - Fawkham, Longfield, Kent DA3 8NG

Location: off A20 from j3, M25 or j1, M20

Tel: 01474 872331

Website: www.brandshatch.co.uk

Smallwood takes class pole

Media release: 16th June 2012

The weather was overcast but the track was dry as qualifying got underway for rounds 7, 8 and 9 of the GT Cup. The thirty-minute session was always going to be a fraught affair with all the cars vying for space around the short 1.2 mile Indy circuit. The session stopped almost before it had started when the Mosler of Dave Shelton spun into the gravel bringing out the red flag. Pete had only just managed to start his second lap when this happened, so he had to slowly return to the pits as the car was recovered.

By the time the track went green again he had lost the best part of ten minutes and so had to get on it quickly. Times started to drop as he set a sequence of faster laps over a five-lap run. He set his best time on the last lap of the stint on a 49.75 before returning to the pits to have tyre pressures checked.

Pete rejoined the track soon after and went faster again on his third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh laps setting a time of 49.240 and class pole. The time was also good enough to start fourth overall on the grid with only the class one Molser, Ferrari 458 and Chevron starting in front of him.

Witt wins as Smallwood takes third

Media release: 16th June 2012

The first of Saturday afternoon’s races got underway with the Chevron of Jordan Witt making the most of his pole position to lead the first lap, followed by the Ferrari 458 of Derek Johnston and then Pete. “I got a great start,” said Pete who had gained a position off the line when the Mosler of Kevin Riley failed to start due to fuel injection problems.

For the next eleven laps Pete had a great scrap with Dan Stringfellow in his BMW who managed to get past at Clark Curve. For the next four laps Pete had a view of the racing 3-series as it proceeded to dump oil onto the track and the front of his Porsche. “I backed off when I saw the oil coming out of Dan’s car. The problem is oil getting on the windscreen but mainly the danger is on the slippery track,” said Pete. Soon after, the BMW driver pulled over at Graham Hill Bend and into retirement. “It was a shame that happened as I was confident that when my tyres came in I would soon be back on terms with Dan and we could have a good fight," added Pete.

With his only challenger now out of the race Pete was left to run a lonely race in third place overall, comfortably leading class two. The leading class one Chevron was lapping between two and three seconds faster than Pete’s class two 997 so was lapped on lap 21. After that, he completed the remaining nine laps of the twenty-five minute race to claim class victory and an overall podium, very happy with his race.

A class act for Smallwood

Media release: 17th June 2012

The second race of the weekend got underway on late Saturday afternoon. Despite his amazing race one performance Pete would start race two from fifth on the grid as the two class one Moslers were up to full speed and just ahead of him. Ahead of the Moslers were Pete’s fellow race one podium visitors Derek Johnston and Jordan Witt.

Pete again got a good start and was able to pass the much more powerful Molser of Dave Shelton and began to pull a gap on him. The battle lasted for half the race with the margin never more than a couple of seconds. On lap seventeen the blue Mosler was able to slip by, although there was some confusion as this happened whilst the marshals were waving blue flags. The blue flag is used when faster cars are coming up to lap slower cars. The marshals must have been unaware that Pete was doing so well in challenging the faster class one cars!

What followed was a lonely second half to the race for Pete as he brought the car home for another class win. “I had a brief battle with the Mosler which was fun, although I’m not sure what was going on with the flags,” said Pete. “It was a straight run to the flag after for my second win of the weekend so I’m really happy.”

Smallwood completes hat-trick

Media release: 17th June 2012

The final race of the weekend took place on early Sunday morning in similar weather to Saturday’s races. Pete once again started the race in fifth place behind what had now become the usual suspects. With the grid already heavily depleted due to drivers having other commitments and the loss of Dan Stringfellow’s BMW only eight cars would start the final race of the weekend.

This would not deter Pete who was fired up to run faster than he did in race two. He got a solid start from fifth on the grid to hold his position and resume his race two battle with the Mosler of Dave Shelton. On lap five the engine let go on the number 97 Chevron of David Witt at Paddock Hill bend leaving a trail of oil on the track. With waved yellows deployed to warn the drivers as the Chevron was moved to safety the gap to the Mosler seemed to increase.

When the circuit went green again Pete was able to reel in the faster Class One Mosler, a chase that would last the entire race. The only interruption to this was when race leader Jordan Witt came around to lap the Class Two leader on lap 15. On lap 22 Pete set his fastest lap (50.465) of the race as he was committed to passing the Mosler. The power difference was just too great though, as Pete was able to hold him in the corners but on the straights the Mosler would just stretch way. He persisted until the flag fell on his thirtieth lap and the hat-trick of class wins for the Parr Motorsport driver. "It seemed a bit strange how the gap got big under the waved yellows but I soon caught the Mosler again,” said Pete. “With such a big power difference as soon as we got on the main straight I could not get near him. Round all the bends I was over him like a rash - not to worry, another class win"