05 October, 2015
Nick Padmore sealed the 2015 FIA Masters Historic Pre-1978 Formula One Drivers' Championship at Dijon on Sunday with two class wins behind the wheel of Max Smith-Hilliard's iconic John Player Special Lotus 77.
The weekend didn't start according to plan when electrical issues for the #56 entry forced Padmore to sit out the second half of qualifying and watch from the pit wall, although by that stage he had already posted a time quick enough to secure himself 2nd in class on the grid for Saturday's Race 1.
From 5th overall, Padmore's start was compromised when, at the rolling start, the car he was grided alongside created too big a gap from the cars in front. However Padmore used the opening laps to catch up to class leader, Darwin Smith, and Andy Wolfe in the Post-'78 Tyrrell 011.
The trio diced, nose-to-tail, for the remainder of the race, with Padmore finishing 5th overall with 2nd in class. However he was later promoted to the class win after a post-race investigation which handed a penalty to Smith.
Race 2 saw Padmore make an outstanding start as the field went four abreast into Turn 1, going round the outside of Wolfe with a remarkable manoeuvre, before drawing an 8-second gap in the opening stages of the race.
With his tyres starting to degrade and struggling with understeer as the race evolved, Wolfe was able to close in and get back passed. However Padmore stayed with him, retaining the class lead and he crossed the line 1st in class to become Champion of the 2015 FIA Masters Historic Racing Pre-1978 Championship.
"What an incredible feeling! I don't think it's quite sunk in yet; it's unreal - I think this one might take a couple of days!
"A massive thank you to Max, who has given me a dream opportunity to race some incredible cars again this season. It's been great year working closely with him, coaching him and seeing his game progressing throughout the season. And also of course WDK Motorsport have been on the pulse all year so a big thank you to them too. Everyone in the team has worked so hard with late nights and early starts to make this happen - it's paid off and well deserved."
NICK PADMORE RACE RESULTS
2015 FIA MASTERS HISTORIC RACING FORMULA ONE (PRE-1978)
|RACE 1||RACE 2|
|Espiritu de Montjuic, Barcelona, Spain||DNE||DNE|
|Masters Historic Festival, Brands Hatch GP, UK||DNE||DNE|
|Coppa Intereuropa, Monza, Italy||DNE||DNE|
|Silverstone Classic, Silverstone, UK||2||2|
|Oldtimer Grand Prix, Nurburgring, Germany||2||2|
|Historic Grand Prix, Zandvoort, Holland||1||1|
|Spa Six Hours, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium||1||1|
|Dijon Motors Cup, Dijon-Prenois, France||1||1|
DNE = Did not enter