Ross shines on Le Mans début after last-minute race call-up
Ross Wylie claimed a very creditable 13th placing overall in his first-ever race on the legendary Le Mans track today (17 Jun). The 25-year-old Scotsman from Thornhill near Dumfries was also classified a mighty fifth in the Porsche GB rankings in the 61-car Porsche Carrera Cup field after getting a last-minute call-up for the 45-minute race staged in front of 200,000 spectators.
Wylie, who is contesting the Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain for the first time in his career, had looked set to miss out on the prestigious race in France. His SlideSports entry was listed as a reserve in March until Ross received an unexpected phone call just five days before the race inviting him to join the massive field from Great Britain, France and Benelux.
Ross, who scored two top-eight placings in the last GB races a month ago, had only previously visited Le Mans as a spectator once before – last year following the fortune of fellow Scot Jonny Adam in the 24 Hour race itself. He took to the 8.47-mile circuit comprising of closed public roads for the first time on Thursday for two practice sessions and then qualified a creditable 21st – eighth fastest of the GB contingent – in his regular Carronbridge Sawmill (Dumfries) Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.
In today’s race, staged less than five hours before the start of this year’s 24 Hour race, Wylie made a fantastic start in his Fuel Card Services supported Porsche, completing the opening lap 12th prior to a Safety Car period after multiple incidents following the green light. And although Ross dropped a place, it was nevertheless a fantastic achievement.
Wylie’s next competition is in Britcar Endurance Championship in the MJC Ltd Ferrari 458 GT at Silverstone next Saturday (24 Jun) with co-driver Witt Gamski – having won the previous race at Snetterton. Ross’s next Porsche races are at Snetterton over 29-30 June.
Ross Wylie (GB):
Age 25. Born & Lives Thornhill nr Dumfries, Scotland:
“I’m over the moon with today’s race result. I had no [race] expectations due to the late call up – I was just happy to be at Le Mans. I was pleased with my qualifying position. The aim was a top-20 place and I was 21st and with only three days’ notice for the team and I, neither of us having previous Le Mans experience, was a decent effort. The race start was chaotic with cars going off at the first corners but I came through unscathed. The race featured a couple of Safety Car periods and ‘slow’ zones after on-track incidents which cost me some time.
“I’ve been a big fan of the actual 24 hour race since I was a child watching my ‘local’ hero Allan McNish racing there. Incredibly one of the first people I bumped in to was Allan. So the week has been quite surreal. When I first signed up to race in the 2017 Porsche Carrera Cup GB in March I was third reserve but on Monday afternoon I received a ‘phone call to say I was in! I literally dropped everything and drove to Le Mans on Tuesday evening – just like the team who hadn’t expected to be racing either! One of the most difficult elements to adapt to around the ultra-fast Le Mans track were the braking points compared to racing in the UK where you’re travelling at about half the speed! It’s definitely my goal to one day race in the 24 Hours and so this was an ideal way to prepare and to get some track experience in the support race.”