On the last weekend of August, our Swindon and Cardiff teams made their way to Oulton Park for the final round of the Restoracing season. The practice rounds on the Friday had proven eventful for the 15 Classic Boxster’s that were taking part.
Before team Cardiff could make it to the track, they were already facing adversity when the transporter which was towing their beloved Fletcher Aviation Boxster had broken down on route. Scot and the team wasted no time in collecting the car and connecting the tow hitch to the Cayenne to see it through the rest of the journey. Unfortunately this meant that Scot missed the first two sessions of practice, but he was ready in time for the second two sessions.
The practice day saw Glasgow out of the final race as their car took a spin and could not be repaired in time for the next day. Another unhappy victim of the practice sessions were Hatfield. Their engine had failed but the team worked tirelessly to try and get their car back in the game for the Saturday rounds.
Ollie, driving for Porsche Centre Swindon, was enjoying the practice sessions and was settling into the long straights and tight chicane of the less familiar track. Porsche Centre Cardiff were trying to make up for missing the first two sessions but the difficult track was proving to be a challenge for novice drive Scot Adams.
In the first practice session, Scot spent 9 of the 30 minutes in the pit lane working out some kinks with the Boxster S and in the second session, Scot span the Boxster while pushing for more laps on the track.
The race day certainly would be an interesting one.
The final race day was upon the teams and with Glasgow out of the race and Hatfield’s gearbox still in pieces, 13 cars lined up for qualifying. The weather was cold and windy for qualifying, but the rain looked like it might hold off long enough to complete the first session on slick tyres. The racers were taking just over 2 minutes to complete the long and bumpy track and Ollie and Scot we producing fantastic times just a second apart from each other.
As confidence grew with the drivers, Scot for team Cardiff lost a few places and was sitting in 9th place while Swindon maintained 6th with their more experienced driver, Ollie Coles. The supporters were wondering whether the Dick Lovett teams be on for two top 10 finishes in the final round.
Scot came in for a pit stop and dropped back to 13th place in the standings. Ollie also lost a position to Nottingham after they returned from the pit lane. At the front of the pack, the Wolverhampton, Bournemouth and Pistonheads Boxster’s were vying for first place, until the Pistonheads Hippie inspired car driven by Matt Bird hit the gravel and had to return to the pit lane. The end of qualifying saw Porsche Centre Swindon in 8th place and Porsche Centre Cardiff in 11th place for race 1.
As the Boxsters waited in the holding pen for the start of Race 1, a sudden torrential downpour caught the teams off guard and frenzied discussions about whether to change to wet tyres began.
The majority of the teams decided to stick it out and hope for the rain to stop as the race went on. The pit crews from Wilmslow and Swindon decided to change to wet tyres to give their drivers a better chance on the wet track. They were gambling with time as they returned to the pit lane and their rivals entered the track.
Team Swindon’s operation to change the tyres as quickly as possible was directed by Gold Technician Jon Rapson. The Technicians from Swindon leapt into action when Ollie came into the pit lane and quickly changed the tyres over in a way that resembled a fully-fledged pit crew. Ollie re-entered the track at the back of the grid, but hoping the change of tyres would gain him extra positions.
Even the most confident of drivers were wobbling on the wet track as the exited the corners. The 2.6 mile long track felt much emptier than previous races, with no class one 911’s and without two of their fellow racers as Glasgow were out and Hatfield had not fixed their gearbox in time for the first race.
Scot was making steady progress around the track with the Wilmslow Salsberg car on his tail. The first few laps were close with no change in the order of the Boxsters, but the lap times growing ever quicker. Ollie was desperately trying to make up time from 12th place when Joshua Morris in the Wally’s Jeans Boxster span off the track.
As the Bolton car re-entered the race, Scot was neck and neck with the Salsberg Boxster. The competition was growing as the Wilmslow Boxster overtook Cardiff and then Scot managed to keep on his tail and steal back 10th place. Ollie had moved up to 12th position and was now behind Scot. The race was full of fast paced action which saw Porsche Cambridge on the grass as Matt Bird set down the quickest lap time, even though it might have had something to do with the missed chicane.
When Karl Hazleton for Porsche Chester had to make a quick exit from the track, Scot moved into 9th place and Ollie into 11th. Bournemouth were still out in front and by now had enough points to claim the victory of the race series.
In the last ten minutes, Scot was making some good challenges on the Elite Motors Boxster with Gulf Livery and had the Salzberg Boxster hot on his heels.
After giving into the pressure from Scot in the Cardiff Boxster, the Gulf Boxster let Scot ahead and into 8th place. Ollie, still in 11th place, was trying to keep his wet tyres cool on the drying track. The weather had brightened up during the race, which meant the gamble of wet tyres unfortunately had not paid off for team Swindon.
As the race came to a close, the Pink Pig found his way onto the grass after not breaking hard enough and Bournemouth were coming in to lap the Shoreade Boxster in last place. Cardiff finished in 8th place to the joy of Scot’s friends and family who had travelled since 5am to support the final race. Swindon finished in 11th place, and Ollie was keen to have another chance to place further up the grid in race two with slick tyres on instead of wets.
In the pits, Porsche Centre Cardiff had two warped brake discs that threatened their participation in race 2. Luckily Luke Perry from Porsche Centre Swindon was happy to help out his fellow Dick Lovett colleagues and happily leant them the Swindon spare brake discs so that Cardiff could compete in the final race without risking any damage or injury.
After the torrential downpour at the start of the first race, the sunshine peeking through the clouds was a pleasant relief for the teams and the supporters. Hatfield were fruitlessly trying to jumpstart their car down the slope of the holding pen. In true Restoracing spirit, members from the other teams jumped to their aid and helped them to get the car running for the last race of the season. No one would want a team to miss a race, and throughout the competition this year, a sense of ‘Team Porsche’ unity has always been present.
After a slight delay due to oil being cleared from the track from the previous race, the final race was underway. The teams tried to avoid the remnants of the oil as they got off the starting line, but the Shoreade and the Nottingham Boxsters were unfortunate enough to spin off of the track. Ollie and Scot managed to slip through the chaos unharmed.
Ben McLoughlin for Porsche Bournemouth was off to an early lead, perhaps spurred on by the knowledge that first place of the season was theirs with the points from the earlier race. Having gained two positions from Nottingham and Shoreade, Ollie was now in 9th place. Scot was up to 11th, but was closing the gap on Hatfield. At the back of the pack, the Nottingham car span on the track trying to gain back a position from Shoreade. The gaps were widening on the long track between the front runners and the middle of the pack.
Before Scot could take Hatfield, he dropped a position to Shoreade. Meanwhile, Ollie was also battling for a position with the Cambridge Boxster, he attempted an overtake on the uphill straight but couldn’t make it passed in time to claim 8th place.
Cardiff were able to take the Hatfield Boxster as Swindon were now defending their place on the grid from the Elite Body Motorshop Boxster with Gulf livery. With no room left on the track as they entered the chicane, Ollie ended up using the escape road to avoid a collision with the Gulf Boxster, which ultimately cost him a 5 second penalty.
Scot now had the Porsche Centre Leeds Boxster in his sights and was aiming to overtake their Warsteiner branded Boxster, but Hatfield managed to close the gap and overtake the Fletcher Aviation Boxster before Scot had the chance.
Swindon’s Coca Cola Boxster wasn’t faring well either when the brakes locked up and the Boxster took a bumpy trip over the grass. The Hatfield Boxster had worked out their earlier kinks and overtaken the Warseiner Boxster and now was advancing on Swindon.
Bournemouth and Wolverhampton locked horns at the front of the race after lapping the Shoreade car at the rear of the pack. Wolverhampton’s Pink Pig was applying pressure to Bournemouth and professional racer Ben McLoughlin. In what was dubbed the “manoeuvre of the day” by the commentators, the Pink Pig overtook the orange Hippy Boxster through the chicane and into first place. Unfortunately his brave move wasn’t enough to defend first place and after a bump with the Bournemouth Boxster, the Pink Pig careered off of the track and through a plastic safety barrier.
Scot was defending his position in 12th place, but Ollie was suffering from car trouble after his trip across the grass earlier in the race and dropped back 3 places to behind Cardiff and Nottingham, leaving Scot in 11th place and Ollie in 13th as the final chequered flag waved.
The final points for the season have seen Porsche Centre Cardiff in 10th place and Porsche Centre Swindon in 12th place overall for the 2019 Porsche Classic Restoracing Championship.
The race series has been exciting from start to finish for both of our teams. The resilience and determination from both of our drivers when facing new tracks, tricky conditions, long drives and car troubles has been truly outstanding. The support from the rest of the Centre staff who have attended the races to be pit crew, worked late to make sure the cars are race ready and learned everything there is to know about turning a 986 Boxster into a race car has also been admirable to see.
We thank every team member for making this race series a success and we look forward to what 2020 will bring for the Porsche Classic Restoracing Championship.
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