Full Speed Racing disappointed to miss points on FIA GT debut Full Speed Racing finished ninth on their FIA GT debut in the opening round of the championship at Silverstone on Sunday after seeing their chances of a points paid finish dashed by...
Full Speed Racing disappointed to miss points on FIA GT debut
Full Speed Racing finished ninth on their FIA GT debut in the opening round of the championship at Silverstone on Sunday after seeing their chances of a points paid finish dashed by an unfortunate safety car period.
The team's pair of Saleens had run well in practice but endured a testing Saturday qualifying session. While car #11 of Luke Hines and Stephane Lemeret set the ninth fastest time, the #13 sister SR7 of Ferdinando Monfradini and Michel Orts would be forced to start from the pitlane after an engine failure in practice.
A monumental effort from the whole team overnight ensured that the re-built engine and car were ready come Sunday. Monfradini took the start and was able to make significant progress through the field. By lap 12, he was just six seconds behind team mate Hines who was also enjoying a competitive first stint.
The opening round of stops saw both Orts and Lemeret take over without drama and it wasn't long before the pair were producing consistent lap times to remain inside the top ten.
Then, during the final driver change, the #13 car hit trouble. A broken connector meant that the battery was unable to charge and, now empty, there wasn't sufficient power to turn over the starter motor. After an incredible effort by the whole team to re-build the engine, it was a cruel way to finish, the car retiring in the pits.
There were no such problems for the second Saleen however which by now had Hines back behind the wheel. The car was looking likely to score points on the team's debut until an unfortunately timed mid-race safety car period had wrecked the strategy. Despite putting in an excellent final shift, the Briton, who knows Silverstone well, was unable to bridge the gap to eighth, bringing the #11 car home ninth, one place shy of a final championship point.
Full Speed Racing's Team Principal Graham Nash said: "To be honest, we're quite disappointed to leave Silverstone without scoring at least a point as we were very unlucky with the safety car situation. Having said that, we're an all new team and we're still in the learning process. We'll look forward to having everything perfectly in place for Adria -- the car, the set-up and developing the Pirelli tyres. We've got good, solid drivers who know how to get the job done so I'm confident that we'll be better prepared in Italy.
"One of the biggest issues we have at the moment is tyres. The rules insist that we must start on the medium compound which certainly favours the Michelin runners. It takes us a long time to get them up to temperature so we lost some performance in the opening stint thanks to that. The hard Pirelli option works much better though so we're speaking with the FIA and SRO about this for the next round. It's worth about one second per lap to us."
#11 driver Luke Hines said: "The car felt good so it's a shame that we couldn't get the reward of a points finish on debut. I know Silverstone fairly well from my junior motorsport days so I was able to make the most of that experience. Had it not been for the safety car, I'm sure we'd have been there or there abouts for seventh or eighth."
Full Speed Racing will be back in action for the second round of the FIA GT Championship from Adria, Italy in a fortnight's time (May 16).