Scotsman tops qualifying but suffers abysmal luck in the two-hour race
Ross Wylie cannot wait for the next races in the British GT Championship later this month after suffering abysmal luck in the latest event at Brands Hatch yesterday (2 Aug). The 23-year-old McLaren GT “Young Driver” from Thornhill near Dumfries, sharing his Von Ryan Racing McLaren 650S GT3 car with Northern Ireland’s Andrew Watson, ultimately finished an unrepresentative 10th when a maiden GT3 podium result had looked a likely prospect.
The Wylie/Watson combo claimed their best grid position of the season, Ross setting the outright fastest time in his qualifying group, with the combined times of both drivers resulting in a third place start in the 30-car field. Their McLaren posted the quickest time in the morning warm-up session while Wylie retained third place at the start of the two-hour race with Ross looking for a way into second. With 19mins on the clock, Wylie dived down the inside of the second-placed BMW at Stirlings Bend but the Scotsman was squeezed on to the kerbs, contact was made resulting in Ross spinning.
Wylie resumed placed 13th but challenging for eighth with 25mins gone and at the very same corner as his earlier incident, was involved in a second contact. Ross’s McLaren, running with 50kg of weight ballast this weekend – 20kg less than it has been until now– needed to be towed out of the gravel trap under Safety Car conditions and immediately pitted for new tyres.
The McLaren resumed four laps down in 27th while Ross impressively ran with the leaders before handing the McLaren over to Watson with just over an hour remaining – the Ulsterman taking the chequered flag placed 10th after an eventful 120mins for the McLaren duo around the 2.433 mile Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit. The next rounds of the nine-race series, two one-hour races, are staged at Snetterton in Norfolk on 23 August.
Ross Wylie (GB): Age 23. Born & Lives Thornhill nr Dumfries, Scotland:
“The outcome of the race was very frustrating after a great team effort by McLaren GT and Von Ryan Racing – it certainly feels like a missed opportunity but in the bigger ‘picture’, shows that we can look forward to a competitive run through to the end of the season.
The problem is that due to the similar performance of the cars in BGT, it is very hard to overtake so as a driver when you see an opportunity, you just have to go for it. The pace was good all weekend and certainly had the potential for a podium.
In both instances, the drivers of the cars that I contacted just didn’t see me coming. I can’t blame them – it was just with the nature of the circuit and the one overtaking opportunity so I needed to go for it if we had any chance of winning. Sometimes it doesn’t quite pay off!
Overall a good weekend in terms of stepping forward, a good qualifying and fight in at the sharp end. We will keep fighting and I cannot wait for the Snetterton races.”