Tom Wrigley has closed the gap at the top of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Rookie class standings after overcoming the odds to secure some crucial championship points with a battling drive at the legendary Le Mans this past weekend (15-17 July).
Wrigley’s first ever opportunity to compete at arguably the most famous race circuit in the world came as part of a mammoth 61 car grid, as the Carrera Cup GB, France and Benelux championships joined forces for an incredible spectacle ahead of the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Following his huge incident during the last rounds at Oulton Park in May, a herculean effort from the In2 Racing team saw them travel to Germany to get a new shell before completely rebuilding the car to ensure the Chirk-based racer could compete at Le Mans.
Wrigley aimed to reward their efforts with a front-running performance in France, and he kicked off proceedings in hugely positive fashion during the opening free practice session on Thursday, immediately getting to grips with the circuit as he finished an impressive eighth fastest overall.
Unfortunately for the 24 year old though, contact with some debris on the circuit late in the session led to damage to his front bumper, splitter and radiator, leading to a frantic repair job for the In2 Racing team in the short period before the second session.
A brilliant effort from the team saw them fix the damage, but unfortunately they missed the window to leave the paddock for FP2 by mere seconds and were forced to sit out the session; with the subsequent loss of track time putting Wrigley massively on the back foot for qualifying.
It would get worse for the Rednal Karting-backed driver however as the sweltering thirty degree heat intensified an existing illness ahead of the session – a problem that was later diagnosed by the Porsche medical team as a low level viral infection.
Wrigley fought on though and gave it his all in qualifying, with a best lap time of 4m 13.381s around the 8.47 mile circuit placing him 29th overall and 12th of the Carrera Cup GB contenders for the live-televised 45 minute race on Saturday morning.
Skilfully avoiding some incidents ahead as the field headed under the iconic Dunlop bridge for the first time, the reigning Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup champion would eventually emerge from a chaotic opening lap in a fantastic 19th position.
After gaining those ten positions on the opening tour, Wrigley would remain in the battle for the top twenty throughout the remainder of the race, with a battling display seeing him bring home his In2 Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car in 21st overall.
That result would also place Wrigley seventh in the Carrera Cup GB classification, securing him some more crucial championship points and putting him just five points shy of the Rookie class lead ahead of the next rounds of the season in six weeks’ time (29/30 July) at Snetterton in Norfolk.
Tom Wrigley: “It’s been an amazing week and my dream of driving the Le Mans circuit has been fulfilled. It’s an opportunity that not many drivers will get in their career, so I’m delighted to have had the opportunity, I just wish we could have come away with a stronger result.
“Our run of bad luck in the championship continued, with not being able to do the second free practice session really putting us at a disadvantage compared to our rivals, which was compounded by the viral infection meaning I wasn’t at my best.
“Therefore, I’m pleased to have come away from the weekend with a strong race finish under our belt, no major damage to the car, and to have closed the gap in the Rookie class standings. Our focus now is on pushing forwards next time out at Snetterton.”
Source. Simon Paice Media/Photo. Dan Bathie/Porsche