Learning fast – Katie Milners Silverstone Ginetta Challenge Weekend

Katie gets ready to go out (Photo by Marc Waller)The Ginetta GT5 Challenge was back to it’s usual British GT supporting slot last weekend as Katie Milner and the One Call Insurance racing team headed to Silverstone for the latest rounds of the championship.

They would be using the full grand prix layout at Silverstone but with the grid going from the old pit straight. The GRDC+ Ginetta championship would also be sharing the same grid meaning a fifty car field so all sessions on track would be very busy. Milner hadn’t raced on the GP layout before having used the international circuit when she was last racing here for the final rounds of the 2016 JSCC season.

She had a set back for the Friday test session when she wasn’t able to book onto the full four sessions and had to take the option of two much shorter sessions. This would give her less than an hour’s track time on Friday to learn the circuit. The two sessions were quite successful and Milner felt confident going into the first day of the actual race meeting on Saturday.

Qualifying wasn’t long and even though they were on the long Grand Prix layout of Silverstone, having fifty cars on track didn’t give much space to get a clear lap. She got three clear laps in total, all near the start of the session. After that, she couldn’t find the track space and others managing to improve dropped her to seventeenth. Not bad, considering there were fifty cars but Milner wanted to be in the top ten as she had previously. She was determined to move up during the race.

She got a great start as the lights went out for the first race and then slipstreamed her way up the field. She was going well when the race was stopped early for an incident but by then she had already fought her way up to tenth.

There was an issue after the race that twenty four of the runners had gone through a yellow flag incident zone too quickly (Setting their fastest lap.) There was an appeal on Sunday morning and although Katie’s result wasn’t affected it meant her first Sunday race had to be put back until later in the day, with just a ten minute gap between the day’s two races. The whole grid were already suited up and ready to go when this was decided and so everyone headed back to their awnings.

When the days two races were due, everyone then headed back to the assembly area. Milner started in eleventh for the first race and she quickly moved up to eighth after a great start and first couple of laps. Unfortunately her tyres then started to go off and some cars got back past. She managed to stop anyone further coming past once she dropped to eleventh but had lost the tow to the car in front and so ended up crossing the line a lonely eleventh. She was a little disappointed by this but didn’t have long to wait to try again with just the short ten minute gap to refuel the car and get ready to race once more.

Katies learning season is going well (Photo by Marc Waller) Katie did lots of passing during the weekend (Photo by Marc Waller) Having the GRDC cars on track made extra traffic to get past (Photo by Marc Waller)




This time she repeated the great start and the first few laps moving up the field but now she had managed to look after her tyres enough to keep the pace up and she passed further cars during the rest of the race crossing the line in an excellent sixth place, her best result of the weekend.

Milner was happy with the weekend

“I’ve not raced on the full Grand Prix layout at Silverstone before and with limited time to learn it I knew it might be a tough weekend so I’m quite pleased with my results especially the sixth place. We’ve got Zandvoort next, another circuit that’s new to me so I’ll be trying my best to learn it as quaikly as possible. It was only ever supposed to be a learning year this season but I still want to get the best results I possibly can. I’ve come very close to the podium already this year and so hopefully my first one won’t be long. I wouldn’t be able to do this without my sponsors including One Call Insurance, The Yorkshire Wagyu company, Omolagato, Swift and Kleen Freeks plus all my other smaller sponsors, supporters and my family. I’ve got an exciting announcement soon as well about something I’m doing in June so keep an eye out!”

Milner’s next race is Zandvoort on the 7th and 8th July. After that there are just two more weekends at Knockhill and Donington before her 2017 Ginetta Challenge season is over. Keep an eye on GR to find out how she does.  By Marc Waller

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