Jetstream Motorsport completed its maiden season in the British GT Championship with an 11th-place result at Donington Park (22-23 September) to secure seventh in the definitive 2018 Teams’ and Drivers’ standings.
Graham Davidson – one half of the Bruntingthorpe-based team’s Pro-Am driver line-up – reflects on a campaign that featured dogged and captivating drives through the field, mild moments of controversy, a podium finish and a race win, but also a number of missed opportunities.
“Having won the 2017 GT Cup title so convincingly, I had become accustomed to winning, but I recognised that the British GT Championship was a significant step up in terms of competitiveness, and from an exposure and profile-building point of view.
I felt that if you are to progress, you must compete on a professional platform that has a strong following.
I wanted to go into battle with many of the country’s most talented and successful drivers and teams, who have prominent race wins and championship titles to their names, and I never felt out of my depth. In fact, I felt comfortable from the off.
This has a lot to do with the fact that, despite being a British GT debutant, Jetstream Motorsport had a lot of experience, a proven car with championship-winning pedigree, a very skilled engineering team that knew the Aston Martin V12 Vantage well, manufacturer support from Aston Martin Racing and a high-calibre pro driver in Maxime Martin, who would undoubtedly help to squeeze every ounce of performance from the package.
I was in no doubt that the team was as prepared as it could possibly be, and I was delighted with who and what we had pulled together. It was just up to us to take the car across the finish line and achieve some results.
In last weekend’s Donington Decider (22-23 September), we started outside of the top ten on Saturday (22 September), but steadily upped the pace throughout free practice, only for the heavens to open prior to the all-important qualifying session.
Nevertheless, I still completed the GT3-Am segment of qualifying in second position with a time of 1m43.402s, before Max clocked the seventh quickest time in GT3-Pro.
Our combined effort ensured Jetstream Motorsport qualified as the best of the Aston Martin Racing teams in third place, with a very real shot of victory in Sunday’s highly anticipated season finale.
The race started with a brilliantly entertaining three-way fight involving newly-crowned Champion Flick Haigh and Barwell Motorsport’s Sam de Haan.
There was a bit of argy-bargy as Sam made some questionable moves, but while the racing wasn’t as clean as it could have been, Sam defended reasonably well in what was perhaps the most exciting half-hour of racing all season.
Flick, Sam and I traded positions constantly, but I eventually got the better of both, only to then hit a patch of oil on the next run through Redgate corner, where I struck the #43 Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 of Ben Tuck and Ben Green, with absolutely no control over the trajectory of my wayward Aston Martin.
I was just a passenger, the car span and my steering was askew, forcing me to the pits, where Jetstream Motorsport’s mechanics quickly diagnosed and replaced a broken steering arm.
The repairs cost us a lap and, while Max and I made a lot of good passes during the remainder of the race, we were too far back to make an impression on the top ten.
The ‘Donington Decider’ was quite typical of Jetstream Motorsport’s season. There have been several great performances, but we have little to show for them, thanks to things like flat batteries, “foreign objects” penetrating the windscreen and oil slicks.
We have always been near the front, but unable to collect the points to challenge for the championship, although Jetstream Motorsport has excelled in many areas.
For example, it ensured the #47 Aston Martin ran faultlessly all year, the mechanics and engineers performed brilliantly under immense pressure in the pit stops – they were the fastest crew in the pit lane at Spa – or when carrying out repairs, and Max and I haven’t been involved in any big shunts.
The team was by far the fastest GT3 contender in the Aston Martin Racing Le Mans Festival, it possessed race-winning pace at Rockingham, Snetterton, Silverstone and Brands Hatch, while also qualifying on the front row of the grid, achieving a podium result, and a breakthrough win on hallowed ground at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.
That we failed to qualify on pole position is the result of a lack of testing, which would have enabled us to refine the Aston Martin’s setup and extract even more speed from the car, although qualifying second, third, fourth or lower certainly put us at the centre of some intriguing battles that not only highlighted my ‘on-the-edge’ driving style, but also captivated the fans.
Ultimately, Jetstream Motorsport finished seventh in the Teams’ and Drivers’ standings. That isn’t a true reflection of the team’s performances, but while that’s disappointing, there is an awful lot to be pleased about and a good base on which to build a successful 2019 campaign.”