Chad McGinley Driver Diary 1.0
Here it was, the first race of the XPLR BTCC Series. Opening round at Silverstone National circuit where the Pirtek Honda felt really good through the practice sessions. We were running consistent times in the 1:00:400 range all day in practice session 1. We were one of the faster teams in this practice and were looking forward to getting on the track again to see if the changes we made would make the car faster. Well, second practice came around, and it felt like a totally different car with times 2 to 3 tenths off pace from session 1. Hours before qualifying we went back to the original tune and decided this was the one to run to set our fastest time.
Qualifying came and after a few decent laps, i decided to start pushing it in the 10 minute qualifying session. I made a few mistakes using to much curb on a few corners which slowed me down and after the ten minutes was up we were sitting on a 1:00:606, a mere 2 tenths off our fastest time in practice. We were really disappointed with that time and got to work on race setup.
Race 1 was here and we were 7th on the grid. When the lights turned off we were off and into turn 1 the Pirtek Honda had a great start and moved up to P4. The top 3 were just too fast for us on this circuit and just could not catch up. After defending for numerous laps, i was able to lock down 4th after the great 19 lap race. We were very happy to move up 3 spots after a lack luster of qualifying that we had.
After a great finish in race 1, we were sitting good in 4th with our turn on the soft tyre option. I had a great start but with more than half the drivers behind me on prime tires I was soon gobbled up. With some great battles with the United Autosports driver Bluejabber, we were looking for a top 5 finish. In the closing laps i went from pushing to move into 4th to defending to stay in 5th. With two to go G. Kynoch was able to push by me down the long straight and move us down to 6th and thats where we finished.
The concluding round was about to start with us being midpack after the top 9 were reversed after the results of race 2. That put us 4th on the grid and what was supposed to be a good starting position. When the lights went off i spun the tires a little bit too much and got gobbled up by some drivers behind me on the grid. The race was going good and we were sitting pretty for a solid top 5 finish after a day that just wasn't ours. With some great racing with Kynoch and Ranger with a few laps to go, Kynoch made his move to get by both of us on the straight and with a move of the race i dove underneath Ranger coming into the second to last corner and with an amazing pass right back on me he got by me off the last corner and was able to hold us off, leaving us in 5th in round 3 at Silverstone.
The next race is at Suzuka East for rounds 4,5 and 6. Where in early test sessions before season the Pirtek Honda was fastest. We are hoping it stays that way and have a solid finish for these rounds to regain some points lost at Silverstone.