Ollie Millroy had another strong performance at a rain soaked Silverstone in round 2 of the Blancpain Endurance Series driving the Barwell Motorsport run Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 GT3. In very challenging conditions, Ollie put in another flawless stint to once again prove how comfortable he is behind the wheel of a GT car.
The action this weekend, unlike Monza was all crammed into two days which gave the team a lot of work to do on Saturday. With the first of the 3 free practice session reserved for bronze drivers only, Ollie was first to drive in the second session and was straight on the pace that was expected from him. He posted very strong times and managed to save his new tyres for the later Pre-Qualifying session which gave the chief engineer, Toby Philips a chance to try some different set-up combinations.
In the Pre-Qualifying session Ollie and the team were happy with the progress they had made with the car and after a strong lap from Ollie, the team were just one second outside the top 10 and feeling confident going into Qualifying.
Always wanting to push forward and make progress, both Ollie and his engineer felt they still needed to try and improve the balance for the new tyres in qualifying. To achieve this some fairly radical changes were made to the car which they felt should have moved them in the right direction. Unfortunately for the Ecurie Ecosse team, the car became extremely difficult to drive and Ollie therefore had to work very hard to post a reasonable lap in qualifying. With 51 cars on track, it was difficult for anyone to get a clear flying lap but Ollie worked hard to try and find some space.
After a difficult qualifying, the Ecurie Ecosse team started the race in P42, a lot further back than expected. The boys knew they had some work to do and Joe Twyman was to take the first stint which was to be started behind the safety car due to the treacherous conditions. Joe drove a very solid stint maintaining position against some of the top GT Drivers, leaving him in 42nd position when he pitted after 55minutes. The pitstop was going to be a little more challenging for the Barwell Motorsport mechanics due to a failing air-jack just before the start. This didn’t unsettle the team and after another perfect pit stop and driver change, Ollie headed out for his 70minute stint.
Straight away Ollie was lapping faster than the leading cars, and looked right at home in these conditions. Describing the car as ‘A dream to drive in the rain’, Ollie worked his way through the traffic and was regularly the fastest car on the circuit. Counting on all of his single seater and karting experience, he was making very impressive overtaking moves on some of the best GT Drivers in the world. Having made up 23 positions on track in a flawless stint, Ollie pitted in P19 overall with 55 minutes to go, to hand over to Marco Attard who was to complete the race.
Marco was now driving in difficult greasy conditions and struggled to get heat into the tyres to begin with, but kept pushing and the car started coming towards him. Unfortunately, his determination to improve on his times forced him into a small mistake. Having collected a lot of grass in the front radiator Marco was forced to pit before the water temperature go too high. He was later given a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane during the drama. Once he had settled down and got in a rhythm Marco drove a great end to the race posting faster lap times than most of the cars around him, and brought the car home in 34th position after posting the Gulf McLaren on the final lap.
‘The race was always going to be difficult after a disappointing qualifying, but in the rain the car was a dream to drive! I really enjoyed my stint and having made up 23 places, I don’t feel there was anything else I could have done. We need to learn from the mistake before qualifying and use it as a positive to move forwards.’
Ollie hopes to compete in the next race at Paul Ricard HTTT on the 29th June 2012.