28 October, 2012
Matt Bell got a taster of GTE competition this weekend when he took part in the final round of the FIA World Endurance Championship in the JWA Avila Porsche. Racing in the GTE Am class in Shanghai the young British racer handled the step up to the world class professionally and enjoyed every moment of the experience.
The weekend got off to a good start when Matt was running in P2 of his class during the free practice session on Saturday morning. Considering this was his first weekend in the car, his first trip to Shanghai and his first run amongst prototype sportscars, Matt did a great job.
Qualifying duty came down to Joel Camathias who bagged fourth place for the start of the six-hour race. Matt jumped in for the third stint of the race and had a good run.
"I didn't have any dramas during my stint," he said. "The surprise for me was the traffic as it didn't faze me at all. I thought it would take a lot longer to get used to running with the prototypes. I actually really enjoyed that aspect of the racing as you can really gain time if you deal with the traffic well."
Matt was due to go out again in the latter stages of the race but the car suffered a hub failure during Joel Camathias' second stint and had to go back to the pits for repairs. With little time left the driving duties fell to the team's regular driver Paul Daniels.
Despite the hub failure the Porsche finished the race in sixth place in class. Having had a taste of GTE racing Matt is now on a mission to do more racing of this type in the future.
"It was a shame not to do another stint but I definitely learned a lot today," said Matt. "Racing without ABS was fun; it was good to use 'proper' brakes again! I would love to do more GTE racing at this level."