After making its Porsche Carrera Cup GB debut at Donington Park in April, where it scored a maiden podium finish, Toro Verde GT continued its run of form with another podium at Brands Hatch in Kent over the weekend (May 14/15).
The team was keen to bring everything they had learned to the technical 1.2-mile Indy layout, aiming to continue its championship efforts. Things looked positive during Friday’s practices and Saturday’s qualifying session and, with times so close and only two tenths of a second covering the top ten cars, the half hour session would prove to be crucial.
Jake Giddings put in a great lap to go ninth fastest, just 0.029 of a second behind 2021 title challenger Kiern Jewiss. Fellow championship newcomer, Angus Whiteside, lined up sixth of the Pro-Am runners, just ahead of Peter Kyle-Henney and Peter Mangion, who claimed the second and third fastest times in the Am class.
It was a different story on race day as Sunday featured rainy conditions, meaning the team and drivers had to make an educated guess on the setup as light rain intensified at the start of the race. Quick off the mark and passing several cars on lap one of the scheduled 34, Jake was doing well to keep the car on track in the slippery conditions, moving up into sixth place in the Pro class. Battling with Jack Bartholomew, his pace was strong, before conditions took a turn for the worst, bringing out a red flag so teams could fit wet tyres.
Peters Kyle-Henney and Mangion both dropped back down the order as the rain got heavier during the first part of the race, while Angus held station. Mangion and Jake unfortunately would not last a lap of the restarted five minute race, leaving Kyle-Henney to put in an impressive recovery drive on fresh tyres to eventually cross the line third in Am, bringing home the team’s second podium appearance of the season.
Race two began in fully wet conditions, with drivers having to contend with a wall of spray as they raced around the compact circuit. Jake, using his experience, did well to make progress through the field, gaining four places to finish tenth overall and ninth in the Pro category. Angus claimed another sixth in Pro-Am and the two Peters, keen to keep their cars pointing in one direction and conclude the race in one piece, finished fifth and sixth respectively to add to their championship point tally.
The Porsche Carrera Cup GB side of the team now has a break before racing resumes on the weekend of June 11/12 at Oulton Park in Cheshire, while Mark Steel will be back in action in the Ginetta GT Academy at Donington Park later this month, on May 28/29.
Jake Giddings #41 (Pro)
G1 – 9, R1 – DNF
G2 – 14, R2 – 10
Championship: 10 (3 points)
“Qualifying wasn’t too bad, it was frustrating but it was so close so you couldn’t really fault where we qualified. The first race was going really well, I got some overtakes in and when the rain came, we managed to keep it on the track. Going into the restart, I just outbraked myself a little bit going off the guys in front and we all ended up going off.
“I was a bit nervous going to race two with the conditions, but I got off the line well. It was tentative to start with but then when I got my head down, I found some good pace, the car felt good and I made up some places.”
Angus Whiteside #52 (Pro-Am)
G1 – 6 , R1 – 6
G2 – 6, R2 – 6
Championship: 7 (13 points)
“Overall, I’m quite disappointed with the weekend. The plus side is that we’re racing against the big names, but I just want to be higher on the grid. It takes time so we’ll see how we get on. For qualifying, I drove the car well and I’m improving every time. Everyone on the team is happy so I trust their judgement.
“Going into the wet races, I had only had half a day’s practice in these conditions and on a different circuit. It was about trying to work it out for every lap and following the faster guys at the front, but they were still pulling away. Overall, we had some decent pace but there is work to do before we head to Oulton Park.”
Peter Kyle-Henney #22 (Am)
G1 – 2, R1 – 3
G2 – 3, R2 – 5
Championship: 4 (20 points)
“I was really happy with qualifying, I was leading for a bit and only lost it for the very last 20 seconds, which is a bit frustrating. Race one was a bit dicey to say the least, as we were trying to work out how to set up the car. We went with a stiffer setup, which caused a few problems, but we still got on the podium, so that’s the main thing and we were happy at that.
“For race two we decided to go full wet, but I think we set the front too stiff for the camber that we had, so the car just wouldn’t turn. Therefore, it was a question of just trying not to throw it off. I’m glad the car is back in one piece, but we’ve got some work to do to work out how to set one of these up for the wet.”
Jules Westwood, Team Manager
“It was a weekend of two halves really. All the preparations went well on Friday during free practice, and qualifying was good. The cars all performed well and we had happy drivers.
“Race day was a wholly different story though and was a tough one due to the mixed conditions. One of our drivers has never driven the Porsche in the rain before, and the others are still getting used to the new 992 type car, so it was a case of learning on every lap. Overall, it’s been a tough weekend, but it has given us a lot to work on before the next rounds at Oulton Park in June. There’s plenty to get done but we’ll be ready.”
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