30 September, 2013
Matt Bell was on track at Hockenheim in Germany last weekend, competing in the ADAC GT Masters for the first time for JRM Racing. In a break from the regular line-ups Matt paired up with sportscar ace Peter Dumbreck for the two sprint races in the No.24 JRM Nissan GT-R.
Expecting a tough initiation into one of the most competitive GT championships where works teams from the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes compete, the British duo were not disappointed. In addition to going up against some fierce competition they also had to contend with 70kgs of ballast for being a single event entry.
Matt started the first race on Saturday from 16th place on the grid and had a great start, immediately moving up to 13th place. Unfortunately though the race was then red flagged so all of Matt’s hard work was undone and he had to do it all over again.
At the pit stop Dumbreck took the wheel and joined the race in 14th position. The Scot reported that he had the pace to stay in the top 15 but then he was spun around by another car, which forced him down the order and he finished in 19th place.
For race two on Sunday 30kgs of ballast was removed so the GT-R had a fighting chance of a good result. Dumbreck started the race and managed to avoid all the incidents in the opening laps before handing the car over to Matt in 11th place.
“I left the pits and was tucked up into a group of cars but then the No.7 Porsche came from nowhere,” he explained. “I was going into the hairpin in the stadium section and was half way through the corner when he just came up on the inside. He hit my left rear wheel and spun me right round. I went onto the grass and was just watching people go past – it was really frustrating, particularly as I then got the call about the penalty for not respecting the minimum pit lane time.”
“After taking the drive through I was right at the back but I was in clear air so I could push quite a lot,” Matt continued. “In the last couple of laps I was reeling them back in and with a few more laps could have made up a few more positions. It’s a shame we got caught by those two incidents as we had the pace for a top ten finish in race two.
Matt finished the second race in 20th place, which didn’t represent the pace of the car or the effort put in by both drivers.
It may have been a tough initiation to the ADAC GT Masters but Matt was pleased to discover that he could hold his own in the most competitive series he has ever raced in and delighted to find out he was the fastest of the JRM drivers in qualifying.
He returns to familiar territory this weekend for the final round of the Speedmaster Replica British GT Championship at Donington Park.