McLaren GT “Young Driver” posts third top-nine British GT race finish of season
Andrew Watson recorded his third top-nine race finish of the season in round five of the British GT Championship last weekend (11 July). The 20-year-old Trinity College Dublin student, and Von Ryan Racing co-driver Ross Wylie, claimed an impressive eighth place at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. Watson was racing around the dauntingly fast 4.352-mile Spa track for the very first time and had clocked up less than 35 miles in practice and qualifying behind the wheel of the VRR McLaren 650S GT3 before the race.
The combined efforts of Andrew and Wylie, the latter racing at Spa for only the second time, netted a seventh row start on the 34-car grid. Wylie started the two-hour race and handed over the McLaren to Watson under Safety Car conditions placed eighth with just over an hour to run. An excellent pit-stop by the team saw Andrew resume sixth and with 15mins remaining looked set to better the duo’s best place finish of seventh achieved in the previous round at Silverstone. But a technical issue in the last quarter of the race resulted in Watson cruelly losing two places in the closing stages. The next race is staged at Brands Hatch on 2 August.
“It was a good race! I ran comfortably inside the top-six until a small technical issue developed with around 25mins to go. I adapted my driving around the problem but couldn’t prevent dropping a couple of places which was a shame. Overall I was really happy with my driving, especially having never previously raced at Spa. I made no mistakes while my pace was good. I needed to clock up as many laps in practice on Friday as possible to try and learn the track but unfortunately Ross had an ‘off’ at the beginning of the second practice session. So considering our weight ballast penalty and my lack of track time, I was happy with my qualifying. I’m sure Ross and I will get a podium before the end of the season.”