Ben Clucas Racing

Ben Makes FIA GT Debut in Jaguar XKR with Apex Motorsport

On the 19th/20th April the first round of the FIA GT3 Championship took part on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit and Ben drove a Jaguar XKR for Apex Motorsport


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Ben Makes FIA GT Debut in Jaguar XKR with Apex Motorsport Apex Motorsport had done a fantastic job even getting to the Silverstone race, as 3 weeks ago they had lost their team manager Richard Lloyd, driver David Leslie and engineer Chris Allarton in a tragic plane crash.

The team all worked very hard under incredibly difficult circumstances and all the credit has to go to them for producing a very competitive car.

Ben wasn't able to drive the car before the Friday test, but it was clear straight away that the team had made huge steps forward from last year with both cars being in the top 15 out of a strong 43 car field. The FIA GT3 Championship rates all drivers as Gold, Silver or Bronze and if you are a Gold you can only partner a bronze, but Silvers can partner either another silver or bronze rated driver. The higher rated driver then has to do qualifying 2. Ben was rated as Gold, so therefore did the second qualifying session.

In qualifying 1 team mate Robert Hissom did a good job to end up 30th. It was only his 2nd race in 14 years, he had never seen the circuit before the weekend and was learning the whole time. The other car was 2nd on the grid, which was great for the team.

Ben then did qualifying 2 and managed 8th in the session, which he was reasonably happy with.

"I felt there was possibily a bit more in the car and I could have ended up around 5th if I'd done a slightly better job."

However it was the 8th fastest time overall and fastest Jaguar out of both qualifying sessions, so from some total 86 drivers overall he wasn't too unhappy given the time he had had in the car.

Robert started race 1 and made good progress to give Ben the car in 24th. The duo then unfortunately got a drive through penalty for stopping for too short a time in the pit lane. This obviously cost quite a lot of time and meant the number 32 car eventually ended up 19th at the finish. The other car had lead the race at one stage early on and finished 5th, so that was brilliant after all the teams hard work.

Ben started race 2 and in the early laps was running 7th. He then made a mistake as he ran wide off line where it was wet and caught the edge of the gravel, dropping him down 1 spot to 8th. Some contact with an Ascari caused the steering to be bent and then later a huge hit up the rear by a Lamborghiri meant that by the time it came to the pit stops he was running 11th. Robert then brought the car home in 23rd having to cope with the bent steering, which was obviously affecting the cars handling.

Ben really enjoyed driving the car, but was slightly disappointed with the results.

"Overall the results were a bit disappointing, but the car clearly has huge potential. Given the recent problems the team has had Silverstone was always going to be tough and there are many things that can still be developed on the car. I was a bit unhappy with a few mistakes I made, but I think the pace was there for everyone to see and massive amounts of credit have to go to Apex Motorsport for what they have achieved."


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