Palmer taking the positives from tough Blancpain Endurance Series outing at SilverstoneMay 24, 2015
Round two of this year’s Blancpain Endurance Series proved a character building affair for Andrew Palmer and the GRT Grasser Racing Team after coming home 14th in the Pro Cup class and 17th overall at Silverstone earlier today.
The Lamborghini Huracán GT3 he shares with Fabio Babini and Jeroen Mul never looked like the victory contender it had been on debut last month at Monza as poor luck and a lack of outright pace proved decisive in both qualifying and the three-hour race.
After two of the event’s three qualifying sessions were spoilt by forces beyond the team’s control – a racing incident with another car in the morning before conditions deteriorated before the second – Mul’s fastest lap in the third segment was only good enough for 32nd overall.
Clearly Palmer would have his work cut out over the race’s opening stint as a grid of nearly 60 cars squabbled for places around Silverstone’s fast and flowing Grand Prix venue. Three-wide for position was a regular occurrence but the 20-year-old Californian showed great maturity to cleanly and decisively pick his way through the field over the opening 50 minutes.
Such was his progress that the Spyder Active Athlete had moved into the top-25 overall by the time a full-course caution prompted GRT to pit the car slightly early.
“It was a crazy stint and very challenging,” recounted Palmer afterwards. “I’ve never raced with that many equally matched cars before. In multi-class racing there’s a clear performance difference, so either you’re doing the overtaking or being passed without too much trouble. Of course, that was also the case at Monza but we started at the front there and weren’t involved in the midfield skirmishes. It was a tough stint but also enjoyable in a strange kind of way! Definitely a new experience for me.”
Babini was next out and continued his co-driver’s good work despite the Huracán GT3 struggling in a straight line when lapping traffic. And by the time Mul had also spent his hour at the wheel the trio had collectively done well to finish inside the points.
“It definitely wasn’t the weekend the team or I had been hoping for, but you can’t win them all,” continued the youngest member of Lamborghini’s GT3 Junior Driver roster and only American contesting the Pro Cup. “The important thing is that we didn’t give up and got the car to the finish. There wasn’t a lot more we could have achieved realistically. Hopefully we’ll be more competitive next time out.”
The Pomona College, CA, student will be back in Blancpain Endurance Series action when the championship visits Paul Ricard in France on June 19/20, while his next TUSCC North American Endurance Cup appearance comes just one week later at Watkins Glen.