MONDAY 16 AUGUST 2010
BRITISH GT CHAMPIONSHIP DELIVERS ACTION AT SILVERSTONE
Everyone in Formula One and V8 Supercars were having their annual mid-season break but to be fair it was the first time the Australian heroes had experienced a 9 week holiday. Some drivers went to the deep south to experience NASCAR. Others a sunny vacation on a small Italian island.

But not our Danish hero, Allan Simonsen, who would keep his fitness level up for what was to be a very exciting round of British GT at the vastly improved Silverstone Old Grand Prix circuit, at Northamptonshire.

Allan is a huge fan of Silverstone and with the final round of the 2010 Le Mans Series scheduled for September, it was of great value to get to grips with the changed layout.

The British F1 GP had been held there a few weeks prior and that had provided Allan with another viewing opportunity and chance to analyse the altered layout.

"This is one one of my favourite tracks, said Allan. There are so many passing opportunities it makes it a lot of fun. Hector (Allan's BGT team mate) and I have enjoyed success here before, in fact we won the very first European FIA GT3 race here in 2006 when I managed to pass 50 cars in terrible conditions.

"It was also where I took a podium in my first GT1 drive with the Gigawave Aston Martin in 2008.


Factory Porsche hired gun Richard Westbrook chases

There were two 1 hour practice sessions on order but as luck would have it, much like the last LMS round at Algarve, only one would be of value.

On his out lap, something didn't feel quite right – a rear wheel came loose on Hangar Straight and it was impossible to limp the car home. That put paid to the session and Allan did his first lap of the revised GP track on the back of the flat top recovery vehicle.

Yet the entire paddock knew not to write the Rosso Verde Ferrari Team off because of one glitch. By the time the 2nd session got underway, all was fixed and now with the bit firmly between his teeth, fresh Avons onboard, Allan set the fastest time by 0.6 sec. But that was fresh rubber – how would the older stock hold up and what would the drop off be compared to the last time they were at Silverstone?


Qualifying was now on and Allan shot to the top of the time sheets to take pole, only to be knocked off by his 2008 Le Mans Series co-pilot, Richard Westbrook. The pair had attacked LMS together with Lars Erik Nielsen in the the Farnbacher run Porsche 997 GT3 RSR.

This was to be the battle of brands with Westbrook being synonomous with the Stuttgart manufacturer, whilst Simonsen represented Maranello.

Only 1/1000th of a second separated the pair for pole!

Now Simo was on his 2nd flyer and up 0.3 sec into the final sector but alas traffic was not on his side nor the grip of the Avon's for another attempt. Westbrook pole. Simonsen P2.

Hector was the designated start driver for the 2 hour race but didn't get the greatest jump, slumping to P4 at the end of L1. Recovering back to P3 he made a rare mistake, losing concentration, after perhaps getting a touch comfortable with his pace. That was costly – a spin and down to 16th. But to his credit, Hector drove like a true professional back to 9th at the 50 minute mark as he handed over to Allan. A great recovery drive that was a real joy to witness.
A perfect pitstop ensued. Two laps out the Avon rubber dropped off badly, with the rear like a speedway car. But a problem of such can be over come by a driver who has extroadinary ability to feel how a car is handling. By pushing the front end harder into corners, the balance returned and the lap times improved.

With 8 laps left he was in P6 and closing on the leaders.

Lap 7 and the Ford GT was disposed of.

Next was the Ascari down Hangar Straight.

Then a quick wave to his old Spa 24 Hour GT1 co-driver, Darren Turner, as he was passed, on the outside of the Complex.

Two laps to go. Only the Trackspeed Porsches were ahead. Target = Westbrook!
A well deserved podium result from P2 start

British GT became fun again at Old Silverstone

The Englishman defended well but it was in vain after a great run down the straight.

"That felt real good, grinned Allan after the race. I love beating Richard at any opportunity and I'm racing against him next weekend in LMS GT2 at the Hungaroring. Bring it on!

But it was not quite enough for the win, despite taking 3 seconds off the leader on the final lap.

A double points round - enough to move back to 5th in the championship despite missing both Knockhill and Rockingham rounds.

Next Race: Hungaroring LMS 4, Hungary - a twilight race in the Farnbacher Hankook Ferrari with Dominik.