The GT Championship Race at Castle Combe
We enter our GT3 and Boxster in the last round of The GT Championship Race at Castle Combe.
Read all about it below, watch the video with Richard in action, and browse some of the pictures captured on the day.
Here is the inside story of our time on track.
This was the first race for Richard in his GT3. We chose this particular event as it was the only one at this point in the season that both Richard and Adrian could enter together. The GT Championship regulations are open, which meant that anything could enter. The downside was that it meant that all manner of more powerful cars were on the grid.
In the race, there was a huge variety of really fast machinery, a 7-litre Viper, 6-liter Ginetta, a Lamborghini Hurricane, Ferrari, TCR Golf, Ariel Atom and other swift kit. Although we love waving the Porsche flag, there is no way it has the power to weight ratio of that machinery, and Castle Combe is one fast venue.
We understood from the beginning that we would not have the power needed to be at the front of the pack, but that doesn’t stop us from having a good time. For qualifying we fitted new tyres in the hope that it would give us a little ‘extra’, though the rest of the grid also fitted fresh rubber.
Qualifying went without incident and revealed the true situation. For example, the Viper was doing a 1 minute & 6 second lap, whilst Richard in the 997 GT3 Cup car with 420 hp was another 9 seconds back, putting him onto the fifth row. As for Adrian in the club spec Boxster, 260 hp was never going to cut it, and a qualifying time of 1:17.3 was the best he could manage. 6th row for Adrian.
But before you even think about the race, you must think about finishing it, and that happened in the weeks prior at Williams Crawford. Our team checked, adjusted, and tested the cars, something they are good at… the result, on the day only regular checks and a tyre change were all that was required. Result.
Richard knows Castle Combe well, and has been competing in his GT3 all year, but more typically seen at sprints, hillclimbs, and rallies. The GT3 has about 420 hp and a sequential gearbox. A rolling start for both 20-minute races was a new concept for Richard, but he put not a wheel wrong finishing 2nd in class with a massive smile on his face, and nerves more settled. Race 2, a similar result, but a bit more dicing with a pair of BMW meant he worked harder, moved up a couple of spots, and got …another 2nd spot for the class.
Adrian formed up on the grid behind Richard. The Boxster S has 260 hp, and although sweet handling, it was no match for the power in front. A little excitement in the first race resulted in finishing in exactly the same spot as started, and the same occurred for race two. The Boxster though was stretched to the limit, but never missed a beat. Bravo.
It really is worth praising our team at Williams Crawford. Just imagine climbing into a racing car, immediately feeling confident that it won’t let you down when you are heading for Avon rise at 145mph, needing to lose 100mph, facing a tyre wall with no runoff and get around the right hander and onwards…confidence in the equipment is paramount.
The cars and set-up.
TYRES: Both 997 GT3 and 986 Boxster S ran initially on Toyo 888R for practice, swapping to Pirelli Trofeo R tyres for qualifying and the races. The Trofeo R is a Porsche approved treaded track tyre, and once pressures were adjusted to suit the conditions these worked well and lasted.
Pressures can rise from cold to hot by over 10 psi in the left rear, bleeding them down to broadly ‘road spec’ hot pressure was the key. Making further small adjustments for handling balance and track temperature once settled.
BRAKES: The Boxster S runs standard sized discs and callipers, we run EBC Orange race material, and they never falter. The 997 GT3 is fitted with the Ferodo competition pad.
ALIGNMENT: Both the Boxster & the GT3 were set up on our Hunter alignment rig prior to the race, increasing camber to suit the styles and reducing ride height. Accurate wheel alignment is one of the very best things you can do to a car, and we have the expertise with our in-house Hunter alignment to accurately adjust your car and advise on personalising the specification.