Dublin driver watches from pits as “his” McLaren is punted out of race on opening lap of two-hour race
Andrew Watson is already counting down the days to the next round of the British GT Championship after suffering heartache in the latest race. The Trinity College Dublin student was well placed on the 31-car grid in seventh position after the combined efforts of the Northern Irishman and co-driver Ross Wylie (Scotland).
But their race ended literally minutes after the green light on the first lap of the two-hour race at Rockingham (3 May) when another car torpedoed into the driver’s side of the Von Ryan Racing McLaren 650S GT3 driven by Wylie at unabated speed as the Scotsman began to turn left in to the chicane section of the 2.05-mile track in Northamptonshire.
Damage to the car was too severe for Wylie to continue leaving a frustrated Watson in the pits distraught and counting the days down to the next race at Silverstone on 31 May.
“In practice we knew we had good speed in the McLaren for qualifying. I pulled a good lap out of the bag when it really counted and got the most out of the tyres to go fastest in the my section of qualifying. Grid positions we set with the aggregate times of both drivers and so with Ross’s time, we set the seventh overall fastest time. The warm-up on race morning was extremely wet, in fact it was the worst conditions I’d ever driven in. But I needed to complete some laps to gain experience in case the race later in the day was affected by rain. So I was extremely happy to set the second quickest time, which bode well for a good race. Ross started the race, as I had been the faster in qualifying, and he made a good start in tricky, damp conditions. But another car barrelled into the side of Ross causing significant damage and ending our race on the spot. Although it was a massive disappointment, there are many positives to take from the weekend. Our pace was good, which is encouraging for the rest of the season, and the team is doing a great job engineering our car. It’s a case of now just counting every day down to Silverstone.”