Conditions on track proved challenging from the start and the race eventually ended under red flag conditions 38 minutes before the scheduled time.
Today's opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at the Silverstone International circuit ended up a mixed event for Ram Racing.
Conditions on track proved challenging from the start. With the onset of rain and, with six-hours of competition ahead, the team was comfortable that good progress could be made during the race. However, the weather got the better of many of the competitors, and the race eventually ended under red flag conditions 38 minutes before the scheduled time.
The No.52 entry of Matt Griffin and Alvaro Parente finished the race sixth in the LMGTE Pro class despite a handling issue which forced the car off the track. Matt, who was behind the wheel at the time, managed to get the Ferrari back to the pits and the Ram Racing squad quickly set about turning it around, but valuable time was lost on track.
A superb opening stint with some very competitive lap times by Ben Collins in the No. 53 saw him take the lead of the LMGTE Am class just after the hour mark. The car was running well and looking good until the adverse weather conditions kicked in, eventually forcing the race to be halted, so the trio had to settle for a fifth place finish.
Dan Shufflebottom, CEO Ram Racing: “This was a really challenging race for us. It has really shown us what it will take to be competitive in this championship. On saying that, there are a number of positives that we can take from the weekend, not least that we are able to run at the same pace as our competitors. This was such a difficult race to call today because of the conditions, but we are happy that both cars finished the race. We still have a lot to learn about how best to manage the tyres, but we will go away from here and look at the information we have and prepare ourselves for Spa.”
Matt Griffin, Ram Racing Ferrari 458 Italia No.52: “It was a really tough race. We have had wet, dry, and monsoon conditions, which makes it difficult for everyone. Our car was running well, particularly in the dry, and getting better and better. In my last stint, I was getting some good lap times but I suffered with a gearbox issue which meant I was stuck between gears and I spun off the circuit. I managed to get back to the pits, and the team turned the car around and Alvaro was able to rejoin. We are not quite where we want to be yet but we are not too far away.”
Alvaro Parente, Ram Racing Ferrari 458 Italia No.52: “We didn’t have enough pace today but there are signs that we can make progress so that is positive. Conditions during the race were very tricky, but we finished the race and amassed points and that is important for us.”
Johnny Mowlem, Ram Racing Ferrari 458 Italia No.53: “It was a tough race but, looking at how the weekend started, finishing in fifth with a solid haul of points is a good result. Obviously, we would have liked to have been on the podium, and I was thinking at one point we might achieve that. When it started raining the car came into its own and Ben was leading our class. Mark took over and was running solidly in fifth. I took over when we were a lap down, and luckily managed to un-lap ourselves from the lead Aston Martin. The conditions were really difficult so the decision to red flag the race was the right call.”
Ben Collins, Ram Racing Ferrari 458 Italia No.53: “I had someone run into me at the start and I lost a wing mirror so that was interesting. I decided to let the race settle down and wait for opportunities to come to me. We were still a little off the pace on the dry tyres but, once we changed over to the wets, the car was really good. I made my way into P1 so that was a nice feeling. The guys in this team are amazing; the pits stops were quick and flawless and they really did a great job. I have not raced for two years so to get back into a car and cover nearly three stints were fun. I had some great battles out there today. We are a little shy on pace, but we know now what we need to work on so we can look forward to Spa.”
Mark Patterson, Ram Racing Ferrari 458 Italia No. 53: “The sprinkler device up in the sky really made if difficult for us today. Our secret driver, “The Stig”, did an astounding job to move us up from the back and into the lead at one point. I jumped in, and it started to rain and I unfortunately spun at Luffield, which dropped us down the order slightly. It was really tricky on track and when it again dried I started to put in some good times. The car felt good, but it was harder than I imagined it would be.”
Mark Schomann, Technical Director: “In qualifying I made the gamble of running medium tyres instead of the softs and I think on reflection that was the wrong call. Our drivers did a phenomenal job of keeping the pace with the soft option but it made it very tough for them. Without doubt the weather conditions made it very challenging. We did learn a lot about the new tyres, and we did the best job we could in the circumstances.”
The team now head to Spa, Belgium, for the next round of the FIA World Endurance Championship in two weeks time. (May 2/3rd).