Following a positive test at the circuit on Wednesday, the 2018/19 Porsche GB Junior driver went on to make a statement of intent for the weekend ahead as he topped the timesheets in blisteringly hot conditions during Fridaypractice. The sunshine continued for qualifying on Saturday, and although cooler temperatures would lead to Harper having some braking issues, it didn’t appear to slow him down much as a superb effort of 1m 50.929s put him third fastest overall in his JTR Porsche.
There would be a dramatic change in weather conditions overnight ahead of race day though, meaning the IFS Global Logistics and fonaCAB supported driver faced a treacherous, wet track for the opening race on Sunday morning.
A slow launch off the line dropped Harper to fifth initially, but he was immediately back on the offensive and after piling the pressure on the drivers ahead for a few laps, a simply sensational move at the high-speed Coram corner saw him storm around the outside of two cars. An incident for a driver ahead moments later meant Harper settled into second position, five seconds behind the race leader, however that gap didn’t phase him as a run of blistering lap-times saw him half the deficit in only three laps.
The seventeen year old wouldn’t be able to maintain that pace however as his tyres started to drop off, leading to him making the decision to back off and preserve second position to the chequered flag for a brilliant podium result.
The reverse grid for the final race placed him fourth on the grid in front of the live ITV4 television cameras, and it unfortunately proved to be a similar story at the start as a poor getaway initially dropped him back to seventh.
The Daily Bake and McGaughey Refrigerated Distribution backed racer would slot into sixth by the end of the opening lap and go on to post the fastest lap of the race as he hunted down the top five, with a sublime overtake into Nelson corner giving him fifth.
Running as the fastest car on track, Harper soon loomed in the mirrors of the fourth placed driver and an opportunistic move into the fast Bomb Hole corner secured him the position and a chance at challenging for the final podium position.
Harper pushed hard in the closing laps to try and create an overtaking opportunity, but he would eventually have to settle for fourth at the finish, completing a fantastic weekend that has filled him with confidence ahead of the next rounds at Knockhill in Scotland on August 25/26.
Daniel Harper: “I’m delighted with the weekend. We got a good starting base with the car during the Wednesday test and we made some good improvements on Friday, which put us in the position to secure a really strong result in qualifying.
“The wet weather on Sunday was certainly a challenge, but it was great fun trying to tame the 485bhp Porsche in such tricky conditions. My race starts were disappointing, so I’m pleased I was able to fight back in both races and still finish where I started or higher.
“The races were enjoyable, I had great pace in both and I was able to pull off some good overtaking moves. If we’d have had an extra couple of laps in race two, I’m confident I could have got another podium, but I certainly can’t complain at second and fourth for the weekend.
“It’s been a really good meeting and hopefully we can carry this pace into Knockhill. It’s a meeting I’m excited for, having enjoyed some great races there in the Ginetta Juniors last season, but I know the circuit is going to be a tricky one to master in the Porsche.”
Ahead of the Snetterton weekend, Harper was invited by Porsche GB to take part in the Goodwood Festival of Speed (12-15 July). Handed the keys to a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, Harper would take part in timed runs up the world-famous Goodwood hillclimb across all four days of the event, competing against a diverse mix of race cars including historic Formula 1, Pikes Peak, DTM and BTCC machinery.
Daniel Harper: “It was an honour to be invited to take part in the Goodwood Festival of Speed and be part of the 70 Years of Porsche celebrations. It was a fantastic event and I loved being able to go full throttle up the hill in the Cup car and compare my times to some incredible racing cars. I can’t thank Porsche GB enough for the incredible opportunity.”