After a short summer break, Toro Verde GT returned to action as it headed north to Knockhill in Scotland, for rounds seven and eight of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at the weekend (July 30/31).
After joining the team at Oulton Park, Scottish racer Ross Wylie was welcomed back to compete on home soil in the Slot Masters-backed Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. To begin the busy weekend schedule, two free practice sessions were held on Friday, with the team feeling optimistic. The mood quickly changed as an incident during the first period, where Ross took contact, meant he was flipped upside down, causing irreparable damage to the car and taking him out of contention for the weekend. However, in a testament to the camaraderie in the paddock, he was able to race as Team Parker Racing loaned the use of Justin Sherwood’s car in his absence.
With only three tenths splitting the fastest ten cars, qualifying around the unforgiving 1.3-mile circuit would make all the difference. Unfortunately for Pro-Am competitor Angus Whiteside, the disjointed session meant he was unable to get up to speed, finishing seventh in class. Further down the field it was a different story for Peter Kyle-Henney, who was pleased with the performance of the car, and went third fastest in Am. Getting to grips with a new car, Ross was tentative, but still managed to qualify eleventh, with team-mate Jake Giddings just up ahead in tenth.
Race one began with a big incident as Redline Racing’s Matthew Graham stalled off the line, with a subsequent pile up forcing a further four cars to retire. With a significantly smaller grid, the race eventually restarted with a busy opening lap before the cars and drivers began to settle down. Jake and Ross gained one place each as they crossed the line ninth and tenth respectively, while Angus got busy as he looked to take advantage of the smaller Pro-Am field, and charged into third place to take his first podium in the championship. Peter was on the hunt to overtake Team Parker Racing’s guest driver Dominique Bastien, managing to make the move stick at the hairpin, and crossing the line third in class.
With a significantly calmer start to race two, all four drivers made decent starts and maintained positions. Ross came under attack from Nathan Harrison who was piling on the pressure to take tenth place, running only 0.2 seconds behind. The Scottish driver put in a great defensive drive to hold him off, but couldn’t manage to close the gap to Jake up ahead, with the pair taking the flag ninth and tenth for the second time.
Angus found himself in a fight with the Pro class cars, and although unable to gain any further positions, crossed the line third of the Pro-Ams, bringing home a second podium appearance and more silverware. With sights set on nearest rival Nigel Rice, Peter was able to close the gap and sneak past on the inside of the hairpin, where it was smooth sailing from then onwards. Taking his season best finish of second in the Am class, he found himself back on the podium to round off a successful weekend for the team.
With a good haul of points and silverware, the team came back from a rocky start to the weekend and continued to improve its performance. Toro Verde GT will next be travelling to Snetterton in Norfolk to continue its Porsche Carrera Cup GB efforts over the weekend of August 13/14.
Jake Giddings #41 (Pro)
Championship : 11 (7 points)
G1 – 10, R1 – 9
G2 – 9 , R2 – 9
“Qualifying didn’t go to plan. We left a bit out on the table, only a tenth or so, but that’s all you need to drop a couple of places. I was hoping for a sixth and I think if I would have pieced it all together, we would have been up there. At the start of race one, I thankfully managed to miss all the carnage, then there was the red flag. I got away well on the restart and has a little bit of a scrap with [Micah] Stanley off the line before we all fell into position. The cars in front seemed to gap me a bit and then that was it, it just stayed as it was. The car came back in one piece, which is more than some can say.
“Race two was pretty boring from our point of view. I got a good start and had a little go before it all settled down again. We had new tyres on, but about six laps in they started overheating massively, so from then on, it was all about trying to manage the rears. I made a little mistake which let Ross catch me up, but luckily that was on the last lap, so I managed to hold him off. We’ve got Snetterton next, my home track, so I’m looking forward to that. It will be a busy one for us, so hopefully we can get a good run there.”
Ross Wylie #59 (Pro)
Championship: 10 (7 Points)
G1 – 11, R1 – 10
G2 – 10 , R2 – 10
“It has been a brutal weekend. The Friday morning incident certainly knocked my confidence, and was a massive setback for the team as well. It definitely shook me up, but it’s a testament to the car’s safety as I got out completely unscathed. A huge thank you to Team Parker Racing for facilitating the use of a spare car, they’re an incredible outfit. I can’t thank Toro Verde enough for making that happen as well, I have a great bunch of people around me. It was a shame not to be at the sharp end on home turf, but I’d much rather be where we were than on the side-lines.
“Qualifying was quite a hard ask without any testing. Then to jump into somebody else’s car after what happened, there was always something playing in the back of my mind. I immediately felt like I was on the back foot, but we got through it. I wasn’t taking opportunities that I should have done as I just wanted to get through the weekend and hit the reset button. Going into the two races, I had no gas left in the tank and mentally I was done as I wasn’t going for gaps. There was that little element in the back of my mind telling me just to get to the end. I know that isn’t the right attitude from a racing driver, but I’m 30 years old now, a little bit longer in the tooth, and it’s about getting to the chequered flag. Onwards and upwards.”
Angus Whiteside #52 (Pro-Am)
Championship: 6 (29 points)
G1 – 7, R1 – 3
G2 – 3, R2 – 3
“Qualifying was terrible. I was overthinking, put too much pressure on myself, and was trying too hard from the beginning. Everyone was trying to come up behind me or get past me on their warmup laps, so I had no flow to the session. Every time I got to a lap, something happened or someone had gone off.
“Race one turned out great, but I got away terribly on the restart. I had a bit of wheelspin, which let Peter Kyle-Henney and Nigel Rice past, but they were under the Yellow Flag because of the mayhem going on in front. A lot of the Pro-Ams were out, so I decided to just go for it and see what we could do. I managed to make it past two guys in one lap, but my tyres were getting too hot and by the end of the race I had a lot of oversteer. I got my first podium, and even though I wanted it to be under circumstances of destroying all the opposition, I’ll take it.
“It’s pretty hard to overtake here, so I was happy that I managed to stay with the pack in race two. I had Jake, Ross, and Nathan [Harrison] just in front of me, so I was happy to have the Pros in the mix as well. There were a few of the other Pro-Ams behind me who have beat me in the past, so it was pretty sweet to be in that position. My girlfriend told me she had a good feeling about this weekend, which I had doubted after qualifying, but it worked out pretty well.”
Peter Kyle-Henney #22 (Am)
Championship: 5 (34 points)
G1 – 3, R1 – 3
G2 – 3, R2 – 2
“Qualifying was pretty good, we managed to get the car switched on quite nicely. The whole grid was amazingly fast, from the front right through to the Ams was 0.9 of a second, which is quite a significant tightening of the grid. The car was really well balanced and we made right decision on tyre pressures that brought us right into the mix.
“In race one there was complete carnage at the beginning. It’s never great to see, and I’m just very pleased that everyone is okay. You’re approaching the melee at about 100 miles an hour, and there’s cars and bits and pieces everywhere, so you have to be particularly careful. It was all about the restart, and I think everyone was just a little bit more tentative, as you’d expect to be because you saw such a big accident. One of the drivers was sideways at the chicane, so that put me onto the grass and the rest of the race I chased the car ahead down and finally overtook at the hairpin. I got third and another podium, so I’m happy with that.
“For race two, the tyres came in lovely and there was a bit more heat in the circuit to help that. It was a question of getting the start right. Nigel [Rice] was in front, so it was always going to be a little bit difficult to get past him at the start, so I tried to stay with him. I had hoped he’d make an error, but he didn’t, so the decision was to get past down into the hairpin, up the inside, and then I was away. We weren’t going to catch Josh [Stanton] as he’s a fair bit quicker up there with the Pro-Ams. Overall, it was a good day. I had my best result of the season and stood on the podium twice, so it was worth the trip.”