McLaren GT “Young Driver” places ninth despite unfavourable weight penalty

Ross Wylie got his 2015 British GT Championship campaign off to a points-scoring finish in the opening race meeting of the season at Oulton Park on Easter Monday (6 Apr) – his maiden GT3 sportscar event. The 23-year-old from Thornhill near Dumfries recorded ninth place in the second one-hour race of the day at the wheel of a McLaren 650S GT3 sportscar he shares with Andrew Watson (N. Ireland).

The achievement of Wylie and Watson was particularly praiseworthy. The duo’s top-10 result was recorded despite the organisers loading an 80kg weight ballast onto the McLaren due to both Ross and Andrew being graded “silver” rated drivers. Furthermore, with both Von Ryan Racing McLarens clocking the slowest speeds in each of the three “sectors” around the 2.692-mile Oulton track in qualifying, the organiser’s “Balance of Performance” would seem to be out of kilter in terms of the McLaren’s true performance.

Additionally the Von Ryan Racing team found themselves in a race against time to get the McLaren on the grid for the day’s second race. Starting fifth on the 34-car grid, Watson forced his way into second place and was challenging for the lead at one-quarter distance but crashed heavily incurring significant damage. The team, with a little over an hour at their disposal, made considerable repairs to the McLaren allowing Wylie and Watson to finish the day in style. The third race in the 9-race series is staged at Rockingham, Northamptonshire, on Bank Holiday Monday (3 May).

Ross Wylie (GB): Age 23. Born & Lives Thornhill nr Dumfries, Scotland:

“It was a tough event but ended well with a ninth place – just reward for the McLaren GT an Von Ryan Racing guys who have worked really hard over the winter with the new 650S GT3. The undulating nature of the Oulton track was always going to make carrying the extra 80kg ballast hard for us while the Balance of Performance doesn’t seem to be particularly level either so it’s currently a double whammy for us.

“Despite these drawbacks, Andrew’s pace in race one was encouraging after the team made some changes to the McLaren following qualifying. Unfortunately Andrew made a small error in the opening race when challenging for the lead in what was his first GT3 race. Damage was pretty bad but the team did a great job to get me onto the grid for my maiden GT3 race with just two minutes to spare later in the afternoon. It was good to record a finish in race two coming through from 15th on the grid and we can look positively ahead to the next race at Rockingham.”