Contact took Jetstream Motorsport out of podium contention during the first 45 minutes of the British GT Championship Silverstone 500 (9-10 June) and the team was ultimately resigned to a 13th-place result, although it took consolation from the fact it once again possessed race-winning pace.
Jetstream Motorsport looked to Aston Martin Racing works driver Maxime Martin for inspiration and guidance with its car setup at the start of free practice on Saturday (9 June) morning and there was an air of quiet confidence about the team after its initial assessment of the changes.
The Bruntingthorpe-based outfit was eighth and nearly one second adrift of the pacesetters at the end of first practice, but its new “aggressive setup” complemented both Martin and Graham Davidson’s driving styles, enabling them to extract every ounce of performance from the #47 V12 Vantage GT3 on Silverstone’s wide, smooth, fast and flowing configuration.
Davidson and Martin were overtly comfortable with their Aston Martin’s balance on high and low fuel and they duly topped the timesheets while running qualifying simulations in FP2, before going fourth and second in GT3-Am and GT3-Pro qualifying respectively.
The result put Jetstream Motorsport third on the grid and in the frame for the Silverstone 500 victory, and a tentative start to the three-hour race on a sunny Sunday (10 June) afternoon was an early indication that the team was playing the long game.
Scottish Am Davidson lost two places to the Bentley Continental GT3 of Ian Loggie and the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT3 of Richard Neary in the opening exchanges, but quickly fought back from fifth to third and used his superior speed to chase down the second-placed Aston Martin of Mark Farmer.
However, contact ensued when Farmer closed the door on an ambitious passing attempt at Becketts.
The TF Sport driver was tipped into a spin by Davidson, who sustained steering damage in the incident, which occurred just one lap prior to the first scheduled driver-change.
Jetstream Motorsport was served with a ten-second driver-through penalty for its part in the incident, but the damage forced the official Aston Martin Racing Partner Team to curtail Martin’s opening stint and carry out a full service, during which it diagnosed and rectified a bent steering arm.
Six laps were lost during the protracted pit stop and, while Martin matched the leaders for pace for much of the final hour, he could only recover to 13th in the overall classification.
“The start was a bit of a mess, but I just tried to keep it clean and avoid contact, and the top five cars started pulling away from the rest of the pack,” said Davidson. “Once the car was warmed up, I found a good rhythm. I passed Richard Neary’s Mercedes for fourth at Stowe, then Ian Loggie pitted from third, enabling me to chase down Mark Farmer. My pace was good and it was close; I tried an overtake at Becketts because the door was wide open, but he turned in on me. He span and the contact bent our steering arm, but I’m pleased he and Nicki (Thiim) still managed to recover the win.
“The drive-through penalty and changing the steering arm put us several laps back, ruining the race, but the repairs were a necessity. I’m disappointed in myself, and I’m disappointed that we didn’t come away with any points, but lesson learned. This is still new for me and our pace was better than the winning car, so there are a lot of positives.”
The British GT Championship’s annual ‘flyaway’ at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is scheduled to take place on 21-22 July.