After the dream start to the season at Oulton Park, and the continuing success at least in part at Knockhill, Round three at Silverstone was a chance for both drivers to score further championship points. Thanks to the swift provision of a new turbo for Paul Whiffin’s stealth bomber from AET turbos and frantic spannering by Paul himself swapping out the old GT42RS, both cars were running well when they arrived at the circuit on Saturday. Richard from Triple T Services must receive the gratitude he truly deserves as his job is one of the most important of all, without the big man, there would be no cars and thereby no team so on behalf of all the team, thanks for your continuing efforts Richard, we wouldn’t be able to do it without you!
Paul stuck to his plans to downsize the original turbo given it’s size and suitability towards drag racing more than circuit work. Andy Taylor from AET Turbos was with the team at Knockhill and shared the frustration of not having a means to get the stealth bomber back in the hunt for some points. In addition to helping spec a suitable replacement, Andy and his wife were kind enough to bring several spare turbos to Silverstone just in case we had any issues on the day. It’s this level of support that really keeps the team going and we are very happy to have AET on board as they are a credit to themselves and we are very grateful for everything they have done so far and will continue to do in the future. The new turbo is a Garrett GT4094R which uses a GT42 compressor wheel which gives more power at the top end than the smaller GT40 wheel. During the mapping phase, both Darren Robinson the workshop manager and Paul himself noticed less of a shove in the back but were open minded to the possibilities as the turbo was spooling up lower in the rev range which would be a real benefit in getting the power down sooner after exiting the corners.
When we arrived at the circuit, the cars were already unloaded and scrutineered thanks to Richard getting them there on the Saturday which always helps the team as we can focus on getting the cars ready for the work ahead and the drivers over to their briefing on time. Motul, one of our newest sponsors were setting up their stand for the day as we were sharing the event with a tuning show (JTS 2009) as we did last year. Both Paul and Steve Linton (our drivers) approached the guys and asked if they could get some oil for the day as they hadn’t brought any with them. Not only did we get a 5 Litre bottle of oil, we also received some rather snazzy red Motul caps which were worn throughout the day to keep the worst of the sun at bay as it turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far! Thanks again guys!
Practice went well for both drivers with Paul Whiffin finishing 1st in class and 4th overall and Steve Linton finishing 2nd in class and 5th overall. Paul’s best time was a 1min 04.743sec with Steve close behind with a 1min 05.406sec lap. Whilst Practice is not normally a true reflection on the abilities of either car or driver, the team were pleased with how things were going.
Both cars were performing surprisingly well given the high temperatures and neither suffered any issues with oil or water temps which is a real testament to both Paul and Darren who have added additional oil coolers and ducting for this very purpose after experiencing issues in the past.
Qualifying came next and both drivers waited patiently in the garage to join the others who were lining up in the pitlane. A strategy was in place to bring both cars in after the parade lap to hold them briefly in order to gain a free space and prevent any delays from catching up with traffic as they attempted to set quick times to qualify for the final. The plan appeared to work well and gradually the lap times came down with a final best of 1min 04.315sec lap for Paul and a 1min 05.362sec lap for Steve. Paul had qualified 1st in class and 3rd overall (a great achievement with all the 4WD cars in class) and Steve was 2nd in class and 6th overall which was also a superb result.
This was Paul’s first drive of the challenging Silverstone circuit so the team were very pleased to see him doing so well. The new turbo was also doing a good job and the improved response seemed to help put more power down sooner than the old setup.
Both drivers had achieved excellent times both in terms of their own specific class (RWD) and also overall, out qualifying a number of the 4WD cars which is always nice to see given the greater challenge provided by a RWD car when pushing to the limits!
The whole event seemed to slow down considerably after qualifying due to the drifters over-running and the public track time taking longer than expected. When the air raid siren sounded to signal it was time for the final, both drivers gathered their nerves and prepared for one final drive and a chance to complete a great day with another 1-2 podium finish.
After completing the now familiar sighting lap behind the pace car, both drivers peeled off from the pack to holdback for a clear stretch on the circuit and an opportunity to set their fast laps as catching up with traffic can ruin what might have started as a fast lap time. With the warm up laps out the way and headlights blazing, all eyes were on our pit television waiting for TSL (the timekeepers for Time Attack) to post the times. First up was Paul with an incredible 1min 03.433sec lap! Which would be good enough to achieve the win overall in class and a very respectable 3rd overall in group. Steve also dug deep and managed his best time of the day, 1min 05.225sec giving him 2nd in class and 7th overall in group even though he hadn’t managed to get a clear lap.
Paul had returned to the garage due to a loss of boost which he thought could be down to an air leak. After checking and tightening the connections from the front mount intercooler, he was ready to go out again. Steve, mean while, had returned to the pit-lane due to a red flag incident out on circuit and was waiting patiently, desperate for another chance to lower his time further, but sadly the final ended under the red flag with no further opportunity to set another lap time for either driver. The encouraging news however was Paul felt he could have done an even quicker time which is great news for the stealth bomber and should be worth a watch at the next round in 4 weeks at Brands Hatch.
The award ceremony was well attended and also very messy with the top 3 competitors from every class choosing to celebrate in style with the always well received champagne fights! Steve was quick to capture his time advantage by reaching the podium that bit sooner than Paul so his bottle was unwrapped, shaken and ready to go! As you’ll see from the photographs, both drivers provided a visual spectacle worthy of Formula One!
With Paul securing the round win, he managed to boost his overall championship points to close up the gap to Steve who is still ahead overall thanks to his superb performance at Knockhill. With only 2 rounds of the season remaining, it could go either way but the likelihood of a Team Garage Whifbitz driver winning the class seems stronger than ever! Will the team manage another fairytale like 1-2 finish at Brands Hatch? We certainly hope so and look forward to seeing all our sponsors and supporters at the legendary circuit on Sunday 28th June. If you haven’t been able to get along and see the guys before, why not come along and say hello as it promises to be yet another great event! See you there.