Toro Verde GT made its Porsche Sprint Challenge GB debut at Donington Park at the weekend (April 22/23), with the team’s hard work and perseverance unfortunately not being reflected in the results.
Climbing behind the wheel of the two Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport machines were practiced Porsche racer Graeme Mundy and new driver Ed Stanton, both in the Am class.
After a busy day of testing on Thursday, it was straight into qualifying for the pair, with Graeme putting in a promising performance to finish fifth in class. Youngster Ed classified in eighth, a solid effort on his first qualifying session in sportscar racing. In race one Graeme got stuck behind a stalled car, dropping to sixth in class, a position he held to the flag. Ed also lost out at the start but it was a positive race as he continued to find his feet in the car however he was able to regain the place, passing John White before crossing the line in eighth.
Heavy rainfall on Sunday morning created a further challenge for race two, with difficult track conditions bringing out the Safety Car on the opening lap. With racing resumed, both Ed and Graeme were doing well to hold onto their positions, before a small mistake meant Graeme’s car became stranded in the gravel at Redgate. Battling close with fellow Am class racers, Ed crossed the line sixth in class, but was unfortunately later disqualified from the race due to a Safety Car infringement.
The rain returned in time for race three, where both Graeme and Ed had a stellar start, gaining three positions each before the Safety Car was deployed. With eleven minutes left on the clock, the circuit was green again, with both drivers doing well to hold onto their positions in very limited visibility. However, enduring tricky conditions on track, and pushing the car to its limits, Graeme spun at the Old Hairpin, letting team-mate Ed through into sixth in the Am class, where he crossed the line. Unable to recover any places after the earlier mishap, Graeme finished just behind Ed, seventh in class.
Despite the ups and downs of the weekend, it was a great learning opportunity for both drivers, with plenty of lessons to be applied to the next three rounds of the Porsche Sprint Challenge GB, which is due to take place at Snetterton over the weekend of May 20/21.
Graeme Mundy #42 (AM)
G1 – 5 , R1 – 6
G2 – 5, R2 – DNF
G3 – 9, G3 – 7
“We did alright in qualifying, we were only about three tenths off where we wanted to be. It was only because I didn’t put all the sectors together that we were a bit off, but for the first qualifying session of the season, I think we did well.
“For the first race, somebody stalled ahead of me which unfortunately slowed me down. A bit of a gap emerged, and when there’s a two or three car length gap in these machines, it’s difficult to catch back up. It was a bit of a disappointing finish considering where we qualified, but I learned that I need to be more aggressive on the first couple of laps.
“Race two in the wet conditions, we had a good start. I was up racing amongst the guys I wanted to be with and then the safety car came out. I got stuck behind someone that wasn’t really keeping up with the pack, so that gap appeared again. I got to Redgate and just tried to brake too late and ended up in the gravel, so that was the end of my race.
“I struggled with the car in race three. After the first two laps I just couldn’t get the car turned in anywhere. Overall, it’s been quite a disappointing weekend. After a good qualifying it felt like it was going to be a good few races, but it is what it is. I’m glad, given the really tricky conditions, that we managed to bring the car back in one piece. We just need to go away and focus on doing a better job at Snetterton next time out.”
Ed Stanton #8 (AM)
G1 – 8 , R1 – 8
G2 – 8, R2 – DSQ
G3 – 10, G3 – 6
“This weekend was a very exciting experience for me as it’s the first bit of racing that I’ve ever been able to do. I’ve never done any karting or anything, so being able to jump straight into the Porsche Sprint Challenge GB was very new and exciting. I found the qualifying and the practice tough, but it was a great learning curve. I had to learn the car, the track and everything. But I was able to put in a good enough time to put me just in front of a few other cars on the grid, which was probably the best place for me to start with very little experience.
“As I’ve never raced before, I wasn’t sure what to expect with the car. But the team were really good to me and were helping me adjust to the car, with things that I was noticing like the understeer and oversteer. That’s why I was able to get the qualifying time that I did, which I was happy with, but looking forward, I want to be able to push more and get better qualifying times to get me further up the grid.
“The first race was very nerve racking. There’s nothing like it when you pull up to those lights. Having never done it before, my heart was going through the roof. But as soon as those lights went out and we started, everything paused, and my focus was 100% on the task at hand. My start wasn’t bad, although I was slightly hesitant, but then the dive into the first corner felt good and I was able to complete the whole race without losing any places. I got overtaken to begin with, but I was able to regain that position and held it all the way to the flag, which was really promising.”
“The second race was very interesting. I felt like my start was slightly better, although on the first lap, there was a yellow flag, which caused a safety car restart, which is something that I’m not used to at all. That was a learning curve for sure, which I took forward into the final race. The third race was also good. I was much more confident starting with a safety car restart this time. I kept my pace up to the car in front, which allowed me to keep pressure on him and eventually pass him halfway through the race. The car wasn’t quite feeling the same in this race, and I was experiencing a lot of understeer. I couldn’t catch up to the pack, but I was able to hold my position and stay clean until the end of the race.
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