GT

BGTC: Ryan Hooker Castle Combe summary

Ryan Hooker (Essex) has at last been able to celebrate breaking his duck in the British GT Championship after a trying start to the season. Racing at Castle Combe (Wiltshire) on 19/20th June Ryan, along with new team-mate Andrew Ward, brought the...

Ryan Hooker (Essex) has at last been able to celebrate breaking his duck in the British GT Championship after a trying start to the season. Racing at Castle Combe (Wiltshire) on 19/20th June Ryan, along with new team-mate Andrew Ward, brought the Team Jensen Corvette home for its first finishes of the season, picking up a championship point on the way.

The team were able to fully utilise the one and a half hour practice session on Saturday morning, during which they fine tuned a number of alterations made since the last round a fortnight ago at Snetterton. As Ryan said, "The difference was marked. I bedded in the new brakes and was able to push on for a good 25 minutes and got the best feel for the car to date. The car has been lowered significantly and whilst it can still be a handful it feels altogether better. Everything seemed to behave itself and we were going forward all the time."

Ryan took part in Qualifying 1 and despite a track that was damp in places was able to post a time of 1.13.438s, seeing him placed 9th in the Cup Class, 17th overall, a huge leap forward from previous qualifying sessions. Andrew, who was new to the car, also managed to put in a good performance to ensure the car qualified in session 2 as he learnt the intricacies of the Corvette C5 on the move.

Race One took place on Saturday evening with Ryan at the wheel for the start which turned into somewhat of a shambles. Due to a problem with the starting light procedure causing confusion as to whether the race had actually started, a number of cars did not get away causing somewhat of a startline jumble and boxing Ryan in, though after a few laps status quo was restored. "I soon got into a nice groove" Ryan said, "and was happy with my section before coming in and handing over to Andrew who safely brought the car home. There was a lot of shouting from us. It was the finish we were beginning to think we'd never see but not only that coming in 8th place we also bagged our first championship point."

Race Two, held on Sunday in cloudy and often wet conditions, proved to further bolster the team and proved a significant corner had been turned. Andrew drove the first half the race ,which saw the safety car brought out, before handing over to Ryan. "I was raring to go when Andrew came into the pits. We had practised driver changes and that paid off as we matched our best changeover time. I had a good stint. I came out with cars around me; I had some great battles throughout my stint. It was great to be out there, at a much better pace (though there's more to come) and be overtaking! My best lap time in the race was over half a second better than I did in qualifying!" The heavens finally opened three laps from the end but this couldn't begin to dampen the happiness of Ryan and the Team.

With a test planed at Oulton Park on Tuesday and further improvements to be made identified, Ryan is confident of even better results to follow. "This has really buoyed the team" said Ryan. "We know there are more seconds in the car still to come."

The next British GT race will be at Oulton Park (Cheshire) on 17/18 July.

Ryan has also announced plans to compete in the world's longest race - the Uniroyal Spa 25hours in Belgium. The Spa 25 hours, 9-11th July, sees over 110 identical race cars based on the VW Beetle chassis take to the track, powered by 1.8l VW/Audi engines. "It's an event I'm really looking forward to" says Ryan. "It's a lot of fun and the chance to race at Spa is one you can never pass up."

-rhr-

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About this article
Series GT
Drivers Ryan Hooker , Andrew Ward