2016 Britcar Dunlop Endurance Championship – Snetterton 300
of great endurance racing.
Production races to start their season.
per mile on Phil Hudsons' fastest race lap.
Client: TCF Sportscars
Location: Snetterton 300, Norfolk.
Winner: #9 FF Corse Ferrari
Last time I went out for the British GT Championship at Rockingham I didn’t write a blog post, mainly because I had nothing to add to the record already on here. This time I feel the need to contribute a bit more to the record so here we go.
We finally have all three Britcar Championships underway for 2016! The addition of the Britcar Dunlop Production Championship to the roster happened at 0925 on Saturday morning when a disappointing eight cars took to the Snetterton 300 circuit in Norfolk.
The disappointing turn out was partially rectified by qualifying when an additional car took to the track but there is no denying that the poor grid was a set back. There are suggestions in the paddock that the Production championship may be rolled into the Endurance championship at future events allowing the Britcar Prototype Series to join its stablemates on the same weekends.
Also being fair the Endurance championship was down on numbers too, only fifteen cars this weekend compared to the 26 we had at Silverstone which could be due to the distance to the circuit or it could be indicative of the same problems which affected ‘old Britcar’. The Britcar under James Tucker had the same issues, a strong turn out for round 1 of the championship and a strong turn out for the finale with paltry grids for the rest of the year.
I hope it doesn’t go that way because aside from the lack of numbers the series is in good health. There is a much better atmosphere in the paddock and people have purpose. It does help that the Britcar media team have gone through the media list kicking anyone who doesn’t have a reasonable claim to a pass, but the media centre was a lot more focused this weekend too.
Yes, I said media centre!
Unlike at Silverstone we actually had somewhere to work this weekend. Granted there was only a table in the corner of the venue office and a single timing screen but after Silverstone anything would have been an improvement. For next time if the series can only arrange for some coffee, I’ll be in tog heaven.
So really all this little blog post update was for was to apologise to Britcar. Last time out I gave them a lot of blame for the poor facilities available to us but out from under Silverstone’s despotic thumb things got a lot better. While I am being so free with the support for Claire Hedley’s team I’ll also add that having one of the biggest GT series in the world down in Kent probably didn’t help with driver and car recruitment either.
Add to that the fact that the new Pro-Am rule rather than gentlemans agreement meant that Calum Lockie couldn’t come to Snett alone as David Mason was unwell cost us a GT3 car. Here there is some questions too, like have the team got the car back in condition to race? There was talk in the paddock that they haven’t.
Next up on the list of little gripes are the tyres. For the first time in far too long all the Britcar teams are running on the same control tyre, Dunlops. No longer are FF Corse able to get way with running Pirellis on their favoured car which is a good thing. The bad thing is the quality of the tyres being supplied.
Synchro Motorsport suffered two punctures over the weekend running a conservative line around the 300 circuit. Looking at the remnants of the tyre which failed during the endurance race it was clear from the damage that the tyre didn’t go because of wear and equally clear it wasn’t due to clouting the kerbs to hard either. Nothing at Snetterton is capable of punching six equidistant holes into the sidewall of a tyre.
That leaves manufacturing defects as a probable cause for the tyre failure. I say probable because Dunlop had cleared up and buggered off by the time the endurance field left the pit lane for race start. We do know however that some of the teams were supplied with tyres that were produced to a BTCC spec that is four years old. Some of them were even marked up as having been produced in 2012.
My thoughts, and I point out that I am not a tyre engineer by any stretch is that a manufacturing defect, compounded by age caused the failures.
The final gripe is administrative. You can understand why the SuperKarts and Caterhams wern’t kept hanging around during a 4 hour race to have a go afterwards. You can also understand why they planned the races so tightly that both the second production race and the endurance race were planned to finish just minutes before the curfew.
What I can’t understand, and I have been thinking about it for quite a while, the race was four days ago after all, is why they had to put the Dunlop Endurance Championship free practice on a 0900 on Sunday morning. My mind says that if a group of people have to be at the track to the very end, you schedule their free practice for about 1030ish, qualifying for the first session after lunch and then the race in its end of the day time slot.
I had little interest in the support categories. I was there to shoot and write Britcar and that was more than enough to be getting on with, So I was stuck there with several hours to kill between sessions. Can we please plan a little better next time?
Which is impressive for a one day meeting where I only shot one series.
Thats a round trip and doesn't include driving around the circuit.
Cups of Coffee
But none available in the media centre.
View all the images on our archive.