The post Covid lockdown 2020 British GT Calendar, which has shifted the race events to later on in the calendar year, presented some new weather related challenges to MPS and the Team Parker Racing team, with the Big British Brute of the Bentley struggling in comparison to it’s more nimble German rivals once the Wet Weather tyres are bolted on.
With the MPS derived setup that was implemented by the TPR crew performing well in practice and qualifying, whilst running with slick tyres on the dry Donington GP track, confidence was high for two good results for Sunday’s race day.
Come race day however, the weather God’s had other ideas, and wet weather rain tyres were required for Race 1 of the day – a scenario which saw the team and drivers struggle to compete at the sharp end of the GT3 field for the first hour long race.
Throughout the day however, the weather subsided, and the resulting damp and greasy track conditions left a tricky decision as to what tyres would be best to start the second race on.
After a strong qualifying performance the team’s Pro driver, Scott Malvern, was starting this second race of the day from the front row. With known poor performance on the wet tyre, it made it an easier strategy call to take the risk to swap to slick tyres on the still damp track.
With excellent car control, Scott jumped the pole sitter from the start and built a short lead over the first lap, despite it being obvious that the slick tyre wasn’t the fastest tyre to be on at the time.
In the following opening minutes of the race however, the competitors behind that chose the wet weather tyres caught back up and passed Scott on his slick tyres.
Studying the Tyre Pressure data sent live to the Team’s Data station, via the Control Telemetry Solution and displayed in the Pi Toolbox Data Analysis software, MPS’ Ben Newman could see that the slick tyres weren’t yet up to temperature on the cold and damp track, which was causing the current poor performance .
Ben provided race engineering advice over the pit to car radio to Scott to work the brakes and to try an develop as much tyre temperature as possible as the track continued to dry.
Shortly after, the temperature in the slick tyres began to rise on the telemetry screen and all on the pit wall watched on with excitement as we saw the lap times start to drop.
Scott then came in to his own, catching back up and passing the wet shod competition in the still tricky conditions.
He continued to build this lead as his stint went on with MPS’ Ben consulting the live telemetry and his own developed Excel based Run Sheet software (available for purchase) to ensure that Scott stayed in the car for as long as possible within the regulations, continuing to build his lead as he did so.
Another dependable Pit Stop performed by the Team Parker racing crew, car controlled by MPS’ Ben, saw Nick ‘Jonesy’ Jones return back on track still with a healthy lead.
The weather worsened and rain began to fall on the track in the closing minutes of the race.
Aided by Engineering calls on the radio to increase the support from the Traction Control System and the ABS, Jonesy drove the stint of his life to keep the big brute on the track in the increasingly worsening conditions, at the same time increasing his lead over the rest of the field.
In a tense final lap, as the heavens fully opened, MPS and the rest of the TPR team were overjoyed as they hung off of the Pit wall to congratulate their man coming across the finish line for their first overall British GT win together.