British GT Championship, Round 9 - 2-hour race, Sunday 11 Sept
FINISHING THE BRITISH GT SEASON ON A HIGH, WITH ANOTHER PODIUM
A fantastic second-placed GT4 podium finish in the final race, capped a wonderful debut season in British GT for Generation AMR Macmillan Racing.
It was a race that almost produced that elusive first win and the seeds for success were sewn right from the start.
“I made another great start,” beamed Jack Mitchell, “and managed to get up into second place, with only the McLaren in front of me.
“I had a couple of looks at the McLaren but I had a number of Ginettas behind me, all trying to have a go, so I had to keep my eyes on my mirrors, as I really wanted to bring the car in, to hand over to Matty, still in second place.”
Despite a number of rivals continually attacking him from behind, Jack held onto second place, bringing the no 42 Aston Martin Vantage GT4 into the pits in a strong second place, around 8 seconds off the leader.
Generation AMR Macmillan Racing pitstops are normally well-oiled perfection but this time, Matty Graham was hammering on the driver’s window to gain attention.
“As the boys were changing the tyres,” said Matty, “I realized that my left-hand shoulder strap wasn’t fastened. With one the rest of the belts on, a HANS device and my helmet, I couldn’t look down to fix it, so one of the lads had to sort it out. Luckily, I don’t think we lost much time.
“But as I charged out of the pits and down to Redgate, the first corner, the brake pedal went right to the floor and I went off over the gravel! Obviously, the brake fluid had boiled during the pit stop and it took a couple more laps, pumping the pedal before the brakes gradually came back a little. I had to wind the brake-balance more to the rear, to help nurse the front brakes.
“Towards the end of my stint, I started to close on the McLaren again but without proper braking, I was never going to get past him… but you can’t give up trying, can you?”
Up and down the pitlane, the late-race talk was all of fading brakes and low grip levels, as the hot afternoon made life even more difficult in the physical, hot GT racers.
Even more impressive, then, for the crew to grab another second-placed finish, to round out the season on another high note.
“What a year,” said Team Principal David Macmillan. “I’m not quite sure what I really expected from our first season – all our pre-season efforts went into trying to get the team off the ground, find the right car, the right drivers, and getting the package right.
“There are new – and established - teams in the pitlane who’d have happily paid for even one podium this season, while we’ve had about a 50% hit-rate on podium finishes – which is amazing!
“I may have said this every weekend but it’s true… I’m so proud of everyone and I want to say a huge Thank You to David Appleby and the team, to Pete Weston, our engineer, and to our drivers, Jack and Matty, as well as everyone who’s supported them – and us – on our journey.
“We already have exciting plans for next season to become even more of a threat to our rivals. We want to win races – and titles. It’ll take time, but this season has set us on the right course. It’s been simply amazing. I want to do it all again. Right now!”