Dublin student makes debut on famous Silverstone Grand Prix circuit in longest race of his career
The 20-year-old McLaren GT Young Driver, a student at Trinity College, and Wylie despite early season setbacks, is setting his sights on a top-six finish – or at the very least a point-scoring performance on Sunday (31 May).
Watson and Wylie race their Von Ryan Racing McLaren 650S GT3 sportscar in a three-hour race around the dauntingly fast 3.66-mile Silverstone “Grand Prix” track. It will mark Watson’s debut on the famous circuit that is used for Formula One Grand Prix races and is the longest race the British Racing Drivers’ Club [BRDC] “Rising Star” has contested in his eight-year motorsport career.
Watson and Wylie have just a ninth place finish to show as the duo head for the fourth round of the British GT Championship. Andrew crashed out of the opening race at Oulton Park when challenging for the lead. In the second race at the Cheshire venue, the repaired Watson/Wylie McLaren finished ninth. Most recently, Wylie started the two-hour race at Rockingham but was harpooned on the opening lap causing terminal damage with a hapless Watson looking on from the pits. What this means is that Andrew has clocked up just 24-laps, equating to 65 racing miles to date in the McLaren 650S GT3 sportscar.
“Our aim has to be a top-six finish but at the very least a point-scoring finish. Rockingham was a shocker for Ross and I – the accident was completely out of our control! It was doubly annoying because I had performed well all weekend. It’s important to get a race finish – I haven’t actually done much actual racing this year in the number of laps I’ve clocked up since the season began at Easter.
“Silverstone was the scene of my first major car race win, in the Ginetta Junior Championship in 2012, so the place will always hold a special memory for me. I also have the lap record around there in a Ginetta Junior. It’s also the ‘home’ of the BRDC and I’m part of its prestigious ‘Rising Star’ programme.”
“This race is staged on Silverstone’s famous Grand Prix track layout. I’ve never previously raced on that – but have obviously watched Formula One racing there on television. At three hours duration, the race marks the longest one I’ve ever done, so I certainly have the opportunity to clock up some miles in the McLaren!”