Silverstone and a Different Kind of Testing

Scott’s race weekend for the recent Ginetta GT5 round at Silverstone began with a different form of testing. While many drivers were testing setups on the circuit and enjoying two sessions of open testing, Scott was enduring a different kind of test nearby. Donning his school uniform instead of race overalls for one final time, Scott sat his English GCSE exam in the morning at a nearby school.

Much as he would have liked to give his sponsors a little extra exposure, he was forbidden from arriving in his race overalls. Scott’s regular school at his home in Stokesley have been incredibly supportive of his career objectives and were able to arrange for him to sit this exam close to Silverstone circuit.

Exams over, time for work…

GSCE over, he had the mental mind shift of swapping to race overalls and getting down for some testing ready for the weekend. Unlike the silence of his uninterrupted morning test, the two afternoon test sessiuons were punctuated with red flag periods making it difficult to string together a set of laps. Even so, Scott was happy with the pace and setup. And at least he didn’t need to revise any more for English…

Saturday’s qualifying was hectic with Scott making the best he could from a packed circuit of 58 cars, qualifying tenth overall. While the position wasn’t that good, Scott was calm. “I knew I was faster than that. So while it wasn’t what I wanted, I knew my pace would be quicker. It’s not as if I had given it everything and only reached tenth.”

Sunday’s races proved to be exciting and eventful. Scott worked his way up from 10th to third place, earning another podium. “It was a really good race, with no big dramas and instead, steady progress catching someone, picking them off, the closing down on the next one. Good times.”

Race Two was exciting, with Scott battling with Connor O’Brien A very small mistake by Connor left a gap for Scott to take advantage of. Though he was alongside, Conor moved across and ‘one of those racing incidents’ ensued. Both drivers were summoned to the stewards and initially Scott was penalised significantly, losing 15 championship points, 3 pint endorsement on his licence and losing his third place finish.

The team paid to lodge an appeal and a long wait commenced as Scott was summoned to explain his actions. These hearings are always important as it ascertained whether something was simply one of those racing collisions that will sometimes happen, or whether a driver was simply being too aggressive or driving over his level of ability, both of which have significant safety issues.

Scott gave his account to the officials, simply stating that the overtake was a move he had already done successfully earlier in the race on another car at the same corner and that he was actually alongside and comitted to the line when the other car moved across.

Replays of the video supported Scott’s account and he was exonerated, his points and championship position restored. It was time consuming but worthwhile experience for Scott as in many of today’s televised race series, driver standards can sometimes be questionable and it shows that hard but close racing is what everyone wants, all the while drivers remaining in control of their emotions and abilities.

There’s a short break before the next round, though Scott will not be waiting around. He has another historic motorsport event to try and another new car to come to grips with. Watch this space.