03 June, 2013
Matt Bell and his JRM Racing team-mates Charles Bateman and Humaid Al Masaood finished yesterday’s Blancpain Endurance Series race at Silverstone in fifth place in the Pro-Am category.
The three-hour race was the first time that Matt had driven the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 car since the opening round at Monza a few weeks ago. They finished 10th in that race so to take fifth at Silverstone yesterday was a great stride in the right direction.
Sunday morning’s qualifying session was a tough call for Matt as he was in the car for the final run when most of the fastest times were posted and all he needed was a clear run. He didn’t get one though as every time he slowed to let a gap build up, a car ahead would slow, having had exactly the same idea. This is the downside of races that have 60 cars on the grid and if the luck doesn’t go your way you end up qualifying in traffic.
Despite this Matt bagged 19th place. It was decided that Charles would take the start of the race with the task of getting though as much traffic as possible.
“Charles made a great start but then had to slow to avoid a spinning McLaren so that dropped us to 22nd,” Matt explained. “He fought his way up to 16th, which was third in class, but then started to struggle with the tyres, ultimately dropping to sixth in class by the end of his stint.”
Humaid was up next and he had a strong run, despite having the same issues with tyre management, but he was as fast as all the other ‘Am’ drivers which kept the No.230 Nissan GT-R in contention for Pro-Am points.
Matt knew he would have to manage his tyres well during his stint in order to bring the car home in a strong position. He also knew he had a fast race car and actually took the fourth fastest lap of the entire race.
“I knew I had to look after my tyres from the get go, rather than going for super fast lap time” he explained. “So it was good to find out that even during a controlled run we had one of the fastest laps of the race. I managed to close down the car in fifth place, which was a minute ahead of us, and brought the came home in fifth.”
“The progress made since Monza is fantastic so thank you to Nissan, Nismo and JRM Racing for that,” he continued. “Our one-lap pace was very good all weekend and now we need to tweak the final details so we can challenge for podiums and race wins. If we can maintain the pace we showed at Silverstone over a full stint we will be on for some top results.”