Oulton Park was the venue for David’s first ever GT race weekend and he started his
GT career in style with a second place finish.
With a new format of racing for the single seater convert, David now has two qualifying
sessions followed by two one-hour races which are shared with his co-driver, Dan
Dennis. Each driver has their own qualifying session and then share the driving in
each of the two races with a driver change during the pit-stop window. Dan Dennis
qualified second in his session meaning that the Scuderia Vittoria prepared Ginetta
would be starting second for race one. David qualified fastest in his session and
would be starting race two from pole position in the GT4 class.
Commenting on Saturday’s qualifying session, David said; “We have had a very strong
day today, especially with the limited testing we have had. I had a pretty tough
qualifying session because finding clear track was difficult for the first three
laps and then I actually had traffic going into Druids on my fastest lap and lost
about 0.5 seconds, so to still qualify on pole was fantastic.”
With it being Easter weekend there was no running on Sunday but the races instead
took place on the Monday, which attracted a huge crowd. Since David’s co-driver did
the first qualifying session that meant he would also be starting the first race
before handing the driving duties over to David. When Dan Dennis came into the pits
for the driver change he was running in second place behind the very fast KTM’s which
seemed to be very easy on its tyres and had an advantage over the rest of the field.
The Scuderia Vittoria Ginetta had a very quick pit-stop, something that was new to
both drivers. When David took over he rejoined back in second place but by now the
car had developed a lot of oversteer, something that was not affecting the leading
KTM. David was unable to catch the leader and he had to settle for an impressive
second place on his debut.
After race one David commented; “Second place for my GT debut is a great result.
Dan had a good opening stint and the driver change went smoothly but the KTM’s advantage
was too much for us in that race. It seems to be very easy on its tyres and was able
to set its fastest lap on the last lap which was unusual. GT racing is a completely
different format to what I’m used to and watching out for the faster GT3 cars was
a bit of a challenge at times with the limited view from behind. Overall the team
did a fantastic job and I am pleased with our second place.”
David would be doing the first stint in race two after he qualified pole for the
race. A new experience for David was the rolling start that is used in GT racing,
nevertheless David had a great start and was even able to jump some of the quicker
GT3 cars and cushioned his gap to the second place GT4. By the second the lap the
safety car was deployed due to numerous incidents, one which included the winning
KTM of the first race. At the restart, David once again had a great getaway and was
comfortably in the lead before being caught by the super quick KTM. A few laps later
and David was caught up in a accident at the fast Druids as two GT3 cars collided
resulting in one coming to a stop right in front of David, leaving him with nowhere
to go. His front left was clipped resulting in him retiring from the race.
On race two David said; “It’s extremely frustrating. We were looking strong for a
win and would have probably been leading the championship. These things happen but
it’s annoying when you get caught up in someone else’s accident, unfortunately it
all happened right in front of me and I had nowhere to go. However there a lot of
positives to take away from the weekend, the team have done an excellent job and
have performed perfectly, especially for a new team. To have finished second in my
first GT race and to have qualified pole in my first GT qualifying session has been
great. The Ginetta is a great car to drive and is definitely the right car for the
season.” David continued; “I would like to say a huge thank you to all of the team
and my sponsors Battery Energy drinks and Ignite for all their support.”
Commenting on the race weekend, Team Manager Piers Masarati said; “David was in the
wrong place at the wrong time – he was very unlucky. In theory, without that unfortunate
accident they would now be leading the GT4 championship. The KTM X-Bow is too quick
and the organisers have to do something about the balance of performance.” Masarati
continued; “Even so, David and Dan did a great job this weekend, they stand a very
good chance in any race on pace, and especially in the longer races.”
David’s next race of the 2011 British GT Championship takes place in Norfolk on the
new Snetterton 300 circuit on the 14th/15th May.
British GT Championship
British GT Championship
Misfortune prevented David McDonald and his Scuderia Vittoria team mate Dan Denis
from claiming another podium finish at Snetterton.
There was limited testing for the team due to red flags and changing weather conditions
and they struggled to find a good balance for the car as it was the first time racing
at the new layout Snetterton 300 circuit. The reason for this imbalance was due to
a suspension issue which was not identified until after qualifying. Despite this
David managed to qualify the Scuderia Vittoria in 4th place for the two hour race,
which included one driver change over, refuelling and tyre changes.
David’s team mate Dan Denis started the race and had a great start and was in the
mix with the leading three GT4 cars, with the car showing clear improvement with
pace. Not long into the race a safety car was brought out due to two GT3 cars that
had crashed. This resulted in the field being bunched up on the restart and allowed
the slower GT4 car behind to make a lunge up the inside of Dan Denis which resulted
in contact and forced the retirement of the Battery Energy Drinks backed Sucderia
After the race David commented; “It’s incredibly frustrating to be out of the race
due to a move like that, especially as I didn’t even get to race. This happens sometimes
in racing but is frustrating as the car was showing improved pace from qualifying
after we found out what the problem was. The KTM and Lotus were quick but I think
our race pace was better and a podium finish was definitely on the cards if not a
win. Hopefully in the next race at Brands Hatch we will get the result we deserve.”
British GT Championship
British GT Championship
Podium finish at Brands Hatch
Race 4 of the 2011 British GT Championship took place at the famous Brands Hatch
David McDonald and his Scuderia Vittoria team had victory snatched away from them
at the last corner after David was blocked on the last lap of the 2 hour race by
a backmarker. This allowed the second place GT4 car to get up the inside going into
the last corner and as David tried to regain the lead by going around the outside
he was off line on a slippery track and slid wide into the gravel as he battled for
the win. Despite this David still finished the race in third.
Up until this point, David had led every lap of his stint after taking over from
his team mate Dan Denis. Dan had started the race and was running in third place
when he pitted for the driver change over, with a great pit stop from the team and
making the right tyre call for the situation, David came out in first place and led
every lap up until the very last corner.
On the weekend David commented; “It was a disappointing end to what had been a pretty
good weekend, I qualified 3rd behind both KTMs which is to be expected due to their
performance advantage but we had the better of them in the race up until the final
lap where I was blocked by a backmarker as I was lapping him. Unfortunately the backmarker
moved across the track as I went to pass him and by that time the KTM was alongside
me going into the last corner, so I tried going around the outside but due to the
damp conditions there wasn’t enough grip and I slid off. It’s frustrating that this
was the situation as I had led every lap in tricky conditions due to the constantly
changing weather and we had a good gap but somehow the KTM found 7 seconds in the
last two laps which was unusual as I was still doing the same lap times; hopefully
the balance of performance will be sorted out soon. However finishing third still
gave us good points for the championship and hopefully we will do better at the next
The next two races of the season take place at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium.
David wins at Spa-Francorchamps
David and his Scuderia Vittoria team took their maiden GT win in a copybook race
from pole position to victory.
Belgium was the venue for races 5 and 6 of the 2011 British GT Championship, which
took place at the world famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit on the 9th/10th July.
Friday’s qualifying sessions went perfectly to plan for David and his Scuderia Vittoria
team as they set the quickest time comfortably in both qualifying sessions, with
a gap of over 1.5 seconds to their nearest rival, and would therefore start both
races from pole position.
In race one David and his team mate Dan Dennis led the race from start to finish
whilst setting the fastest lap and won the race by a clear lap ahead of second place.
What made the victory even sweeter was that they also beat all entries in the European
GT4 class who were racing alongside the British GT during the weekend.
In Race two David dropped to second place after the start due to two new front brake
discs that had not fully bedded in after being changed after race one when a crack
was discovered in both front discs. But by the second lap and with the brakes fully
bedded in, David caught back up with the leading Lotus and was in close battle for
the lead which also included the leading European GT4 cars. David was swapping position
for the lead as he battled with the Lotus up until the pit stops and on handing the
car over to Dan Dennis, the Scuderia Vittoria Ginetta rejoined the race in third
place and 10 seconds behind the leading GT4 car due to a success time penalty of
15 seconds which was given for winning the first race. Dan made it up into second
place and was catching the leading Lotus when disaster struck two laps from the end
of the race when the car stopped on track with a mechanical problem.
Commenting on the race weekend, David said; “To win my maiden GT race was great and
to do it at Spa makes it all the better. We have been quick all weekend, as we have
been for the whole season but this weekend everything came together for race one.
In qualifying I think we showed how strong we were by being fastest in both sessions
by over 1.5 seconds, despite having traffic on my fastest lap. Race one went perfectly
as we led the race from start to finish and also set the fastest lap and won by over
a lap, which is something special on such a long circuit of 4.35 miles.” He continued;
“It was very disappointing not to finish race two as we were looking strong for a
definite second place but the win was still possible. It was frustrating that it
happened only two laps from the end but it is one of these things that happen in
racing. However I actually really enjoyed race two because I was battling for the
whole stint for the lead. It was close racing with the Lotus and also the leading
European GT4 cars which sometimes got in the way but we definitely had the pace on
the Lotus. It was just a shame that the front brakes were not fully in for the start
but when they were completely bedded in, the car felt great and we were looking good
for the win despite the success time penalty.”
Two poles and two wins at Rockingham
It was a perfect weekend for David McDonald and his Scuderia Vittoria team as they
came away from Rockingham with maximum points after winning both of the one hour
Saturday’s qualifying sessions went perfectly to plan as David and his co-driver
Dan Denis took pole position for both of Sunday’s races. What made David’s qualifying
session all the better was that he was able to set his fastest time of 1:24.288,
which was four tenths clear of his nearest rival, on his first flying lap and was
therefore able to save his tyres for the hour long race.
Sunday’s weather conditions had changed from the day before as it was now raining
heavily in the build up to the first race. However despite the fact that the rain
had gone off before the start of the race, the track was still wet and it looked
likely to rain again. The team decided to stay on wets as it looked to be the best
call for the changing conditions, however many other teams decided to opt for the
slick tyre. This played into the Scuderia Vittoria prepared Ginetta’s hands massively
as they gained a lap over the second placed GT4 car and was running fifth overall
even before the rain started to fall again. With a smooth driver change over David
took over driving duties and brought the car home to claim his second win of the
After the race David said; “It was tricky conditions out there when I was driving
because my windscreen wipers had stopped working during the driver change over, so
visibility was really bad and at times I had to look out of the side window to see
the corner. Luckily we had enough of a lead so I didn’t need to push too hard and
we took the win. It is a great result for the team after all the hard work they have
put in and also for making the right tyre call before the start of the race.”
In the second race, David had been blocked at the start of the race by one of the
GT3 cars which dropped him down to fifth place, however by the end of the first lap
he had made his way back up to second place and was right behind the leading Lotus.
Two laps into the race there was a problem with the car as it cut out going around
the first corner and this allowed the following KTM past, dropping David to third.
At the same time of the electrical problem, a crack had formed in the exhaust which
resulted in the Ginetta being down on power. Despite these problems David was still
matching the leader’s time and stayed out for as long as possible to try and make
up the gap after the leading two cars had pitted. With another smooth driver change
over and despite an addition 15 second time penalty for winning the first race, David’s
co-driver Dan Denis rejoined the race in second place before the leading Lotus had
an off and retired from the race. This left the lead to the Scuderia Vittoria Ginetta
and they sailed home for another win.
David commented; “It wasn’t a straight forward race for us after being blocked at
the start by a GT3 car and then with the electrical issue and cracked exhaust. But
despite all of this we were still able to win the race, which was fantastic. The
team left me out for as long as possible to try and get the undercut on the leaders
and it paid off. It’s been a perfect weekend for us as we took both pole positions
and both wins. The team have performed perfectly all weekend.”
The next round of the 2011 British GT Championship takes place at Donington Park
on the 24th/25th September.
British GT Championship