Andrew Watson took away many positives including scoring his best result of the season despite suffering cruel luck in the latest races in the British GT Championship at Snetterton last weekend (23 Aug). The 20-year-old McLaren GT “Young Driver”, a student at Trinity College Dublin, sharing his Von Ryan Racing McLaren 650S GT3 car with Scotsman Ross Wylie, posted sixth and 13th positions at the Norfolk venue.
But despite Watson netting his fifth top-10 placing in the seventh race of the year, the Dublin-based Ulsterman was left to reflect on what might have been. Challenging for the lead around the fast, sweeping 2.97-mile Snetterton circuit, Watson was forced to serve a “stop-go” penalty for a pit-stop infringement with just 15mins remaining. Then early in the second one-hour race, Watson incurred a puncture necessitating an unscheduled pit-stop after contact with another car on a treacherously wet track.
The ninth and final round of the British GT Championship, a single two-hour race, is staged at Donington Park in Leicestershire on 13 September.
“The Snetterton race weekend proved to be another weekend full of learning which is great for me as a young driver. We were again unlucky with the actual race results but I came away feeling stronger and more well rounded as a race driver and I cannot wait for the final race at Donington in a few weeks.
“Qualifying was good for me. Obviously it’s hard with the 50kg weight penalty but I did well to get within two-tenth’s of the ‘sister’ McLaren which carries no weight. Ross qualified fourth for the first race in the ‘AM’ category and I posted the 10th fastest time in the ‘PRO’ time trials which was pretty solid.The opening race could have been so good. We were second after the mandatory pit-stops and I was battling with the leaders but I got a call over the radio to say our McLaren had not been stationary at the pit-stop for the required amount of time. I had to serve a ‘stop-go’ penalty and I finished sixth so a podium was definitely on the cards. I started eighth on the grid for the second race and the heaven’s opened. The opening lap was chaotic with numerous cars going off – the conditions were pretty bad. On the second lap I went for a move at the second hairpin, contact was made and my McLaren unfortunately collected a puncture. I limped back to the pits for a new tyre and so after that it was damage limitation with us finishing 13th.”