Porsche Centre Chester is delighted to welcome back the Porsche Club Championship for 2021.
Carl Hazelton, Centre Principal is once again behind the wheel of our race car, a 2005 Boxster S.
You may remember our Martini Racing(R) inspired car from 2018 and 2019 which donned the blue and red stripes; this year, we have a new car with a brand new livery. Carl is competing in Class 2 which sees him alongside models including the Boxster 3.2, 968 CS, 944 S2 and 3/6 Carrera (964).
Whilst we were saddened not to be able to take part in the Championship last year due to the suspension of races and events, Carl kept up his practice by way of 'sim-racing'. He has certainly put the hours in over the last year and we hope that this experience will serve him well when he gets behind the wheel of our latest race car.
Although restrictions (for the time being) mean that we are unable to invite customers along to experience the racing with us, we look forward to later in the year when government guidelines permit spectators at events. We have fond memories of hosting drive outs and hospitality days at some of the race meetings in previous years at Oulton Park, Silverstone and Brands Hatch, and we look forward to hopefully doing something similar at a couple of these race meetings this Summer.
Saturday 10 April welcomed the start of the season for us and after over 18 months of 'no racing', and having never driven this car before, it was a daunting prospect. Fortunately, Carl did get one local track day in before the big day at Donington Park, which alleviated most concerns as he was now confident that the car ran well.
Test day on the Friday was a success, and we were fortunate to be testing in dry conditions all day.
There are a total of seven rounds in the Porsche Club Championship. Each round consists of a 20 minute qualifying session following by two 25 minute races. Carl qualified in eighth position, and then finished both races in seventh place.
Carl and the team at Porsche Centre Chester are really proud of this result. We now know that we have a competitive car, and look forward to what the rest of the season brings.
Our next race is Brands Hatch on the 1 May. We will keep you updated.
Test day did not go 'as planned' at Brands Hatch. The driveshaft on the car broke which meant that Carl was only able to manage one session in the morning before being towed off track!
Trying to locate a new part on a test day is not an ideal scenario. With race day looming the following day, and being over 250 miles away from our Centre, it was 'all systems go' with our race team phoning anyone and everyone trying to locate this particular part. With it technically being a Classic car, the parts aren't always as straightforward to purchase as with the newer models.
The following day we still had no replacement driveshaft however after some fiddling around with the existing part and then hammering it in to keep it in place, the car ran and so we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best!
Carl and the team were pleased to be able to qualify, and did so in ninth place.
Race one - Carl Hazelton, "I was following a car that was sending out oil all over my car. It started to rain and I put my wipers on and then could hardly see the track. I managed to hang on and finished in eighth place."
Race Two – Carl Hazelton, "It was complete carnage, so many accidents! We had a safety car and then there was a complete restart - we were sat on the grid for what seemed a lifetime, the car temperature was so high it triggered a temperature warning signal with a dreaded red light. At that moment we were released on another green flag lap and the light went off. After another big accident the race was stopped, it was a matter of survival and I finished in sixth! I was thankful to actually finish the race with the issues on the car."
Congratulations to Carl and the team for defying the odds and finishing both races unscathed. Carl is now running in fifth place overall in the Porsche Club Championship.
On the 5 June we look forward to the next two races which will be held at Snetterton.
On Thursday 3 June, our race team travelled 229 miles down to Norfolk where they spent a couple of days for rounds 5 and 6 of the Porsche Club Championship.
The car was tested out on track on the Friday, and Saturday was race day.
Saturday was an extremely tough and competitive day however Carl was able to finish both races without any car troubles. After qualifying in 9th place, Carl finished his two races that day in 10th position.
Next month Carl and the team will be at Oulton Park, our home circuit for the following two rounds which we are very excited about. We are expecting in excess of 100 customers to support us at this round; we are looking forward to it!
Now half way through the Porsche Club Championship season, our midpoint races were at our home circuit of Oulton Park.
Our previous races at Snetterton secured an overall third place running in the Championship for our driver and Centre Principal, Carl Hazelton. The pressure was on at Oulton Park to try and maintain this position – with the added pressure of performing well in front of a mixture of 170 customers and members of staff who attended on race day to show their support!
We were anticipating a full day of rain – the forecast didn’t look good and it even predicted thunderstorms for the afternoon race. Carl qualified in 10th place on the slippery track, and it was ‘déjà vu’ as he had a steamed up windscreen to contend with throughout his qualifying session!
After the qualifying round, the track started to brighten up and unbelievably, after everything the weather apps had told us, the sun came out and we didn’t see a drop of rain until that evening.
We had around 170 customers and members of staff at Oulton Park supporting us. Unfortunately due to government guidelines it meant that we were unable to put on hospitality for our customers this year, and the paddock areas where for the ‘race team only’. However, ultimately it is about the racing, and we were just so grateful for the support!
Carl clawed his way up from 10th position and managed to finish his first race in 7th place, and then 8th in his second race. We were really pleased with this performance and look forward to our next round at Silverstone on the 14 August.
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