UNLUCKY WATSON REFLECTING ON WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN

Andrew Watson impressively recovered to record a fourth top-10 British GT Championship race finish of the season but was left to reflect on what might have been in the two-hour race at Brands Hatch yesterday (2 Aug). The 20-year-old McLaren GT “Young Driver”, a student at Trinity College Dublin, and sharing his Von Ryan Racing McLaren 650S GT3 car with Scotsman Ross Wylie, lined-up third on the 30-car grid with a maiden GT3 podium result looking a likely prospect.

Watson posted the quickest time in the morning warm-up session while Wylie started the race and dived down the inside of the second-placed BMW at Stirlings Bend with 19mins on the clock but the Scotsman was squeezed on to the kerbs, contact was made resulting in the McLaren spinning down to 13th. Then challenging for eighth position with 25mins gone, their McLaren, running with 50kg of weight ballast this weekend – 20kg less than it has been until now – spun off again following contact with another car.

Wylie, having been towed out of the gravel trap under Safety Car conditions, pitted for fresh tyres and resumed four laps down in 27th before handing over to Watson with almost an hour on the clock. Andrew drove impressively clawing back places, the Dublin-based youngster taking the chequered flag an unrepresentative 10th, the McLaren enduring an eventful 120mins around the 2.433 mile Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit. The next rounds of the nine-race series, two one-hour races, are staged at Snetterton in Norfolk on 23 August.

unnamed (67)Andrew Watson:  “The race outcome was very frustrating but Ross had to give it a go in order for us to get a top result! The weekend was actually really good from my point of view. I was on it from lap one in practice and felt at home in the car which in itself felt great all weekend so hats off to McLaren GT and Von Ryan Racing. Qualifying was mega. I nailed a lap on my first attempt and was only seven-tenths off pole even with the 50kg ballast. Obviously the race didn’t go to plan but we are here to race and Ross had to try for the overtakes. I don’t have any bad feelings towards it at all. When I took over the McLaren, the steering was knocked out but I just put my head down and channelled the anger into my stint behind the wheel! My fastest lap of the race was very good and I was happy with my pace in general. There is no doubt we will get a podium before the year is out because it’s completely in our grasp now! I’m doing my bit and everyone in McLaren GT can see that. So it’s a case of now focussing on the next races at Snetterton and finish the season off in style.”