Having delivered podiums in every race contested in 2015, Newbridge Motorsport continued that trend with a second placed finish overall and category win for Guillaume Gruchet behind the wheel of a Porsche 997 GT3 Cup in the second instalment of the Endurance Racing Series (ERS) at Rockingham Motor Speedway (11 July).
Due to business commitments, Gruchet was unable to take part in testing on Friday, meaning that the Frenchman was thrown straight into qualifying on Saturday morning, where he had to dial himself into the Corby circuit, as well as bedding in new brake discs and pads.
Essentially using qualifying as a testing session, Gruchet and Newbridge Motorsport did not start to set fast lap times until eight minutes from the end, where they were able to snatch pole position on their first flying lap.
In his usual ‘Iron Man’ fashion, Gruchet was once again contesting the entire event single handedly and took up his position at the head of the field, where he would retain the lead at the completion of the first tour, before being passed by the Rollcentre Racing BMW M3 GTR one lap later.
Having set himself the target of going one step further than his third place finish last time out, Gruchet was determined to not only maintain his position, but keep the leader under pressure, and never more than three seconds separated the leading pair.
It was evident early on that the battle for victory would be between Newbridge Motorsport and the Rollcentre Racing, but the Milton Keynes-based outfit was handed a 30-second success penalty for its earlier category victory at Rockingham in April.
Opting to pit Gruchet early, the team was able to optimise tyre pressures, before sending him back out, albeit one lap down.
Nonetheless, Gruchet soldiered on and was quick to scythe his way through the field and, coupled with yet another swift and perfectly timed pit strategy from the team, it was not long before Gruchet was back up to second position and building a gap to the rest of the field.
2015 has been a highly successful year for Newbridge Motorsport, having stood on the podium with every race contested so far for its customers – including injured ex-military soldiers, Team BRIT – and this weekend was yet another race to add to that ever expanding tally.
Despite a slight off towards the later stages of the race and tearing of his front splitter, Gruchet fought against understeer to claim his second podium in as many races, much to the delight of both driver and team.
Newbridge Motorsport Team Principal, Richard Tovey, said: “Considering we didn’t have any testing and were thrown straight into qualifying with no setup, Guillaume (Gruchet) and the team did an amazing job to finish second. We found out just before the start of the race that we were to serve a 30-second success penalty, adding an additional pit stop to our strategy, which didn’t help as we were up against the BMW that was fitted with a larger fuel tank and only had to stop once. Nonetheless, we carried on as usual and pumped Guillaume full with isotonic drinks during the pit stops to make sure that he was well hydrated and energy levels weren’t falling. Considering he was doing the driving single-handedly again, he did a stunning job out there.
“The car ran smoothly through the entire weekend and experienced no problems whatsoever, which is a great testament to the amount of hard work the guys put in. It also means that we maintain our record of a podium for every customer who has raced with us this season and is something that we are extremely proud of and are hoping to keep it up through the rest of the year. It’s always nice to see all your hard work rewarded.”