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Damp Donington Concludes 2015 Season

Last Updated: Nov 11, 2015 10:48am
Leighton-Linslade, Central Bedfordshire
By Chris Valentine
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Chris Valentine finished his short season of endurance racing at Britcar's last round at Donington last Saturday in the #68 Porsche Boxster.

Chris Valentine's final race of 2015 was originally to be a 3- hour into-the-night race – the traditional end-of-season event for Britcar, held in previous seasons at Brands Hatch. But plans change and it was switched back to two 90-minute races, to be held on the Donington Indy circuit – Chris' favourite track in the UK and one he is very familiar with. Testing wasn’t available on the Friday but he was happy to go straight into qualifying on a rather damp Saturday morning, with the car wearing a set of fairly new Dunlop wet tyres.

Co-driver and race car owner Fareed Ali took the first stint and put in five laps in challenging conditions before pitting, with a quick check of pressures before Chris went out to put in a qualifying time that sandwiched the car between one of the Chevrolet CR8s and a Holden V8 what was guesting in the 45-minute Trophy race.

As Fareed wanted to do the final stint in the second race to get a feel for driving in the dark, he opted to start Race 1 with Chris to start Race 2.

The driver change was a bit rushed and for some reason Chris' headset didn’t work so he could not hear any instructions from the team, although they could hear him. He couldn’t get comfortable either and this did affect concentration to some extent. Chris span at McLeans on the third lap following the Audi R8 GT3 through a combination of slightly too much speed on the wrong line, and then again on lap 14 when he strayed too far onto the wet exit curb – this time just hitting the rear bumper on the Armco and making a hole in it. Sorry Fareed!

The second race was a far more enjoyable experience. Helped by the strong winds, the track had dried almost completely by now and everyone headed out on slicks. Chris took the first stint and was quickly looking to match his existing lap record set last year in his own Boxster.

A shortage of time meant both of the Newbridge cars were too late to make the grid, so Martyn – in the TeamBRIT VW Golf – and Chris started from the pit lane. Martyn started around a minute after Chris and with them posting similar times, Chris stood a good chance of staying ahead of his Class 4 rival, at least until the driver change. But on lap 10, the #88 BMW M3 V8 landed in the gravel at the Goddards chicane resulting in two laps of the safety car. The field then bunched up and Martyn was able to get past me Chris traffic where he stayed despite Chris' best efforts to chase Martyn, setting a new personal best lap time in the process.

Chris pitted after 26 laps for Fareed to bring the car home in the fading light. We finished a respectable 9th from 14 starters. No pots for us this time but given we shared a class with BMW M3s, that wasn’t really expected.

Fareed and Chris finish the season 7th overall in Trophy, 2nd in class, and 5th overall in the Dunlop Sports & Touring Car Championship.

Chris said "It has been a great honour this season to share both a garage and a grid with a couple of combat veterans, part of an organisation called TeamBRIT. Martyn Compton and Mark Allen were both badly injured during their tour of duty in Afghanistan and each have used the opportunity, regardless of their injuries, to compete against teams of able-bodied drivers on a totally level playing field – something that no other sport can offer. They aim to make racing history and take a team of injured troops to the world famous Le Mans 24hr endurance race. I wish them all the very best."

And Chris extended thanks for a fourth season to Richard and the lads (Marcus and Viktor) at Newbridge Motorsport "who again have presented us with a car that we basically couldn’t fault."

Photo courtesy Stevie Borowik

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