28 July, 2013
The 2013 Spa 24 Hours was one of the toughest race weekends yet for Matt Bell and ultimately ended early for the Geordie racer.
The race is a round of the Blancpain Endurance Series, in which Matt competes in a Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 for JRM Racing. For this race he shared the car with Jody Fannin and his regular team-mates Charles Bateman and Humaid Al Masaood.
After a troubled qualifying session Matt started the race from 51st position on the grid but he made incredible progress, moving right up into the top 20 overall during his opening stints.
“I was in the car for the start and we had a fairly good first stint, despite the cockpit being absolutely roasting!” said Matt. “It was hotter than we expected and it was hard to drive, particularly as the car was pretty sensitive under braking, but it didn’t seem to make a difference to the lap times – I could get past cars in traffic fairly easily, which was good as there was a lot out there!
“After the safety car it was pretty much the same, although the brakes did start to go off a little. When I got out the car we were in a strong position – P7 in class – and I think we could have held this, but then the issues started and ultimately we lost a lot of laps. I had another stint around eight hours in and the lap times were still competitive, but we were just too far back to make an impact, and then the car stopped when I handed it over to Humaid.
“Our race pace was good, which means we made progress through the weekend,” said Matt. “We had some unfortunate issues that can come along in 24 hour races. It’s good though to see other Nissans running strongly so congratulations to the car #35 crew who took a Pro-Am podium. This just shows what the car is capable of.”
Matt will be back in action in two weeks’ time for the Brands Hatch round of the British GT Championship on 11 August.