Ollie Millroy made a big impression in his British GT debut this weekend at an action-packed Snetterton, in the Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 GT3. Regular British GT driver Oliver Bryant was forced to withdraw from the event following an accident whilst instructing earlier in the week at Spa so the Ecurie Ecosse team asked Ollie to step up and take his seat for rounds seven and eight of the championship.
The Ecurie Ecosse Blancpain Endurance Series driver was in for a challenge this weekend with a different race format, and his first time on tyres other than Michelin. Ollie was straight on the pace in free practice and felt very comfortable with the balance of the car but whilst starting to post very competitive sector times Ollie passed a slower GT4 car though a very fast corner and drop his outside tyres on the dirty part of the circuit which sent him into a spin before eventually crashing into the barriers at 94mph. This resulted in a large amount of damage to the front of the car but fortunately Ollie was unhurt.
It was now down to the Barwell Motorsport team to put their wealth of experience and expertise into action to try and get the car rebuilt for Sunday’s races. Unable to qualify meant Ollie and his team mate would have to start both races from the back of the grid but luck was on their side. Due to the considerable damage caused to the barriers, and very heavy rain the qualifying session was cancelled which meant Sunday’s race grids would be formed using the best times from the free practice sessions. The decision meant that Ollie and his team mate Alasdair McCaig would start ninth for race one and seventh for race two but only if the team could rebuild the car in time.
With no spare parts in the UK one of the team had to drive to Holland to collect to collect them and the Ecurie Ecosse, Barwell Motorsport team worked all through the night. The teams 100% commitment and professionalism showed the Ecurie Ecosse Barwell Motorsport team as world-class and against all odds the car was ready in time for race one.
Alasdair McCaig started race one from P9 on the grid and after an excellent start and a few great battles he managed to get the car up to P6 for Ollie to take over with 35 minutes remaining of the one hour race. Ollie had a great battle with two Porsche 911 GT3 cars but because of the significant straight-line speed difference, he was unable to keep them behind him. The race ended with the Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 GT3 car in P8.
Ollie started race two from P7 on the grid and put in a very solid opening stint against the other Pro Drivers in British GT race, fending off far more experience drivers and posting some very quick lap times to get the car into P6 for Alasdair to take over with 25 minutes remaining. Alasdair now racing against the other amateur drivers put in a very strong performance and managed to get the car to P4 at the chequered flag which was a solid result for the team.
Snetterton was always going to be a difficult circuit for the BMW Z4 GT3 due to its stop-start nature, but the team and drivers did a fantastic job especially after the incident during free practice, and they were justly rewarded with a handful of championship points.