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Dream GT Cup debut for Rawlings at Donington Park

My 2021 GT Cup Season exploded into action last weekend at Donington Park with Paddock Motorsport, making their GT racing debut with a pair of Mclaren 570 GT4 cars. We made a big impression, bringing home silverware with two class podiums thanks to Paddock Motorsport providing us with a great car.

All photos: Jakob Ebrey

Saturday Endurance Race

Both Paddock cars escaped unscathed from the melee at the start and quickly set about chasing down the leaders. My teammate Moh started and quickly gained two places. A race-long battle with inexperienced drivers in cars from the more powerful class hindered Moh’s progress, but after aggressive moves to clear the slower drivers he quickly set about chasing down the GTH class leaders. A polished move down the inside of the number 1 Mclaren of Orange/Jackson and a drive-through penalty for the leading Aston Martin saw Moh take the lead heading into the pit stops. Unfortunately the Mclaren of Orange/Jackson was then able to leapfrog us and dropped us down to 6th during the pitstop, leaving me now at the wheel and in pursuit of the leading pack. Having only sat in the car for the first time on Thursday it was a baptism of fire, but I managed to have some great on track battles and gained some places to bring the car home in second place and give Paddock Motorsport their first ever podium finish.

Sunday Sprint Race

It was now my turn to qualify for Sunday’s sprint race. I have never driven on brand new Pirelli slick tyres before and was therefore forced to learn on the job. I managed to beat a host of pro and semi-pro drivers, posting a very respectable P8 starting position in my first qualifying in the McLaren; but I know as I learn the car there is definitely more in me.

In the race I had a blistering start, managing to vault up to P4 on the opening lap, and had a great battle with one of the Porsche’s for several laps. This continued for a few laps until going in McLean’s I made a commanding move into P3 in the closing stages of the race, claiming the team’s second podium of the weekend. I managed to set the second quickest time in my class which means we started the endurance race P2 in class.

Sunday Endurance Race

Starting on the front of the grid, I had a mega start and jumped into the lead on the opening lap and set about building enough of a gap to overcome the 15 second pitstop success penalty (issued for the team’s previous endurance podium finish). Just before the pit stop window we were unfortunately caught out by an ill-timed safety car undoing all of my hard work. With the field now bunched up and us having to serve a forced 15-second success penalty, we dropped from the lead of the race to P11. Moh went out for his stint and managed to bring the car home in P8 at the flag, crucially ahead of our nearest team rivals.

Overall, the first event of the season was a success for Paddock Motorsport, founded by British GT Champions Martin Plowman and Kelvin Fletcher. Myself and teammate Moh were able to compete against some of the best GT teams in the country, we had 100% reliability all weekend, and managed to bring home silverware in our very first outing! The next round of the GT Cup will be held at Brands Hatch on May 1st.


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