Andrew Watson strung together an impressive performance in the Blancpain GT Series as he led the Garage 59 #58 McLaren to a 15th place finish at Silverstone in the second round of the Endurance Cup.
Joining Come Ledogar and Ben Barnicoat in the #58 McLaren for the second round of the Endurance Cup, the Garage 59 team got off to a productive start in Saturday’s practice sessions. Finishing pre-qualifying up in 10th place, Andrew was pleased with the start the team had gotten off to at Silverstone.
“Practice went really well, the team worked really hard to give us a good package. The car is feeling great and really competitive so that bodes well for the rest of the weekend. The series is so tight so it’s good to be in the mix so early on in the weekend.”
Sunday’s busy day of action started with qualifying, where all three drivers set a lap time in three sessions and the average lap time is worked out to determine the grid for the three-hour race.
After qualifying in the third session in Monza, normally the quickest, Andrew was rotated to drive in the first qualifying outing and instantly shone in the #58 McLaren. Recording a 1:57.810 lap time, Andrew put the team in 13th place after the first round of qualifying.
Following Andrew handing the driving duties over, the team encountered problems on their out-lap of qualifying two as the car picked up a puncture - setting the team back and leaving them with little time to record a time.
With all three drivers setting their respective lap times, the team qualified in 20th place overall with a 1:57.999 average lap time and with Andrew recording the fastest qualifying time in the team for the second race in a row despite qualifying first.
“Qualifying was a little disappointing as we knew we had the pace to be a bit further up. I was really pleased with my performance and could have gone faster, maybe P3 or P4, after going green (personal best) in the first two sectors before the red flag - but that’s part of the sport! Overall, to be inside the top-20 is a positive result so gives us a good foundation to work on in the race.”
In Sunday’s three-hour race, the team worked well despite the car feeling out of balance compared to Saturday’s session. Andrew and the team made solid progress through the race and kept the car out of any drama to bring it home five places better off in 15th place.
“It’s a bit frustrating to not pick up any points here at Silverstone, especially after the car was feeling so strong on Saturday. Seems like we lost some performance over the weekend so we’ll be working hard to find out what the issues were. At the end of the day, this is good practice for Spa 24 Hours and Paul Ricard where we’ll be working really hard to score maximum points. I’m pleased with my personal performance and how hard the team worked all weekend - it’s filled me with confidence as we enter a crucial part of the season!”
Next up for Andrew is the Circuit Paul Ricard (1st - 2nd June) for the third round of the Endurance Cup where he and his Garage 59 team will be looking to return to the points in the build-up to the Spa 24 Hours in two months’ time.