Character building weekend for Zoe Wenham at Silverstone

Zoe Wenham (Photo by Marc Waller)When the British GT championship headed for Silverstone recently, Zoe Wenham and Century Motorsport team mate Declan Jones were hoping to return to GT4 winning form

in their Ginetta G50 after being pipped at Rockingham by the Complete racing Aston Martin.

Their task was made harder this time by several European GT4 teams joining for this round.

It was clear from first practice that the European teams were going to be a serious threat. Zoe and Declan concentrated on getting their car set up for qualifying and the race with Zoe doing most of one practice session and Declan the other.

By the time qualifying got underway on Saturday afternoon they were feeling confident of a good grid position. Declan went out first with Zoe to finish the session. Unfortunately things didn’t go quite to plan after Zoe took over when a wheel fell off the car as she passed through the south end of the circuit. Zoe pulled off near the Silverstone Wing building and it was found that the wheel bolts holding the wheel on had all sheared. The car could not be recovered before the end of the session and so that was the end of their chances of setting a time. Even so they ended up 6th in class and ahead of all but one of the UK GT4 runners.

Zoe Wenham (Photo by Marc Waller)For the race it was decided that Declan would start before handing over to Zoe for the second stint. There would then be two further pit stops with the drivers swapping each time leaving Zoe to finish the race.

As the race got underway early on Sunday afternoon Declan got a great start making up several positions and pushing the drivers ahead of him getting up as high as fourth in class. There were several safety cars due to incidents elsewhere in the field. During one of these periods Declan came in for the team’s first pitstop as well as to hand over the car to Zoe. The team had spent the morning practicing pitstops and the whole thing went off without a hitch. Zoe roared back out the pits only to be confronted with another safety car period.

This lasted several laps before the green flag was waved once more, only for another incident to occur and the safety car was scrambled yet again!

Finally racing got back underway and Zoe was able to finally get into her stride putting in quicker and quicker laps. But then disaster struck, Zoe noticed a burning smell entering the cockpit and there was a flash of a small flame. Fearing a much worse fire was starting, Zoe sensibly pulled off the circuit near a fire marshall’s post. It looked as though their weekend was over.

After it a while it became clear that there were no further flames coming from the car so Zoe was allowed to get back in and return it to the pits. Zoe Wenham & Declan Jones  (Photo by Marc Waller)They were by now many laps down but there was a good chance of scoring points still which could be crucial at the end of the season. Also Century motorsport wanted to preserve their 100% finishing record in the championship.

Zoe entered the pits and drove straight into the garage where the team set to work on the car. The flame had come from the gearbox which was leaking and dripping oil onto the hot exhaust.

With all the Century motorsport mechanics working on it, the car was finished in record time. It was decided to include the stop as one of the team’s official pitstops saving them from having to stop an extra time. Declan would take over before handing over to Zoe for a final stint near the end of the race. Once the car was fixed and refueled Declan roared out the pits once more. By now even a podium was completely out of the question but they needed to make sure they completed enough laps. Declan pushed on until it was time to hand over to Zoe once more. They changed the tyres and she was on her way.

Zoe took the chequered flag after 3 hours and the team had their finish and more importantly some points in the championship. Everyone was disapointed not to have been able to fight at the front but the race had been salvaged as best as they could and most importantly of all, they are still narrowly leading the championship.

Zoe was disappointed but still optimistic;

”Dec had a great first stint bringing the car in for our first change in fourth. But from there, it went a bit downhill and I had to stop the car on track. When I brought it back to the pits the team did a fantastic job to get us back out to score what could be crucial points. It was a real shame from my view that we had the issue, I didn’t get many laps in the race and we have fallen back a little in the championship but on the run up to Snetterton it’s going to be crucial to be completely ready for the battle we have ahead of us.”

The next round of the championship is at Snetterton in the middle of June. Zoe went well there last year with a podium finish so they will be looking to return to the top step of the podium for the first time since Snetterton. 

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