Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Infinity Drivers take centre stage in GTs

It’s been a busy month for our GT drivers, who have continued to impress in GT paddocks both at home and away. From 24 Hours of Spa to the Snetterton 300, it’s been a rollercoaster ride and our talented bunch have given it their all at every turn of the wheel. Join us as we recap on the thrills and spills…

24 Hours of Spa
Charlie Eastwood (Pro-Am), Ricky Collard (Pro-Am), Nicolai Kjaergaard (Silver), Frank Bird (Silver)

TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa didn’t fail to provide drama, heartbreak and triumph in equal measures. As part of the GT World Challenge Europe calendar and a stand alone event, the mighty challenge awaited our drivers, who were right in the thick of the action.

Standing in at the last minute for fellow racer Jonny Adam, Charlie joined Garage 59 #188 squad for their Pro-AM Aston Martin Vantage GT3 entry. With a clear goal for the championship at a race that rewards double points, Charlie slotted in with ease, ready to tackle the mighty Spa 24. With rapid pace as they geared up for qualifying, their dominance was sealed in spectacular style as all 4 drivers punched in strong lap times to claim pole position in the Pro-AM class! With prime starting position Charlie and his team fired off at the start, battling through many yellow flags and wet conditions, but were dealt a crushing blow whilst leading the class as they developed an issue with the gearbox. Following a lengthy stop for repairs dropping them 20 laps down the order and from then on the chance of a result was lost. Despite getting the car back on track, they were forced to retire the car.

Taking to the track in the striking pink Ram Racing machine alongside his father Rob Collard, Ricky made a guest appearance and certainly showed up in style as the squad sealed a P2 starting position in the Pro-AM class. Putting in a sensational effort throughout the race, despite suffering some clashes on track and mechanical woes, the team put the work in to push to the end. Running as high as P6 as the race entered its final quarter. However it wasn’t to be, as they were heartbreakingly forced to retire in the final hours of the race.

It was a tough start for Frank and his Team WRT teammates, when their car suffered damage early in qualifying which forced them to start from the back of the grid, providing a challenge from the very beginning of the race. However the team made the most of their opportunities and battled their way up the order from 57th place on the grid, whilst Frank’s stints saw him soar to P3 in class and 18th overall during the night. Fighting back through every hardship they were dealt they finished the race in an impressive 24th overall and P7 in the Silver Cup class, sealing Frank’s first finish at the 24 Hours of Spa.

As is the way with 24 hour battles, it is always a race of attrition against the tough competition, through weather changes, mechanical issues and strategy calls. Nicolai took on the challenge aboard the #159 Garage 59 entry. Qualifying 13th in Silver class, they knew they had some work to do in the race. Pushing hard through the field they were fighting for the lead as the race ticked over to Sunday morning, but a long pit stop due to a problem with their door latch and a track limits penalty knocked them down a position. Finding grip through intense rain showers in the closing stages the squad managed to hold on to clinch third place in class, earning a podium finish for their hard work.

“Spa 24 saw some great performances both in qualifying and in the race. It was great to see Charlie and Ricky fighting it out for pole, but a shame that they were unlucky with mechanical failures - but that’s all part of the game. Over in the Silver class, Frank had a great comeback and was a huge part of bringing the team back up to be fighting near the front. Nicolai had a great race, pushing their way up to be fighting the class leaders. We're really happy for him, it's an amazing achievement to not only finish the race, but to clinch a podium too!” – Gary Catt, Director of Infinity Sports Management

British GT
Charlie Eastwood (GT3) and Jordan Collard (GT4)

With the circuit celebrating its 70th anniversary, both Charlie and Jordan were on track for the Snetterton 300 last weekend, where the series’ 60-minute sprint format made its debut.

Charlie reunited with teammate Blancpain Ahmad Al Harthy, the pair making a British GT comeback for the Oman Racing by TF Sport team. Setting the pace early on their intentions were marked, as they scored pole position for the opening race, together with 6th for the second race. Shooting from the front they maintained the lead from the start of the race, making the most of their strong pace to pull a gap to the chasing pack. When the reins were held over to Charlie at the midway stage, from there he led comfortably to the line. Sealing awin and top honours for the team on their return to the series together with the first victory for Charlie in British GT. Following their victory in the previous race, they were dealt a 10 seconds success penalty for the afternoon. However with forward momentum they further earned a 4th place finish.

Having won in each of the last two years at Snetterton, Jordan Collard was keen to repeat his previous success. Qualifying 4th on the grid in the opening race, Jordan’s teammate James Kell made a thrilling opening stint to take 3rd place for their own, before further launching them into 2nd place. With their rivals serving a success penalty in the pits, by the time it was Jordan’s stint he managed to take the lead and create a three-second advantage. Comfortably controlling the GT4 class, Jordan stretched his lead to an impressive 21s as he scored their first win of the season and extended his success rate at the Norfolk circuit. Dedicating the win to the tireless work of the Team Rocket RJN, following a tough outcome at the previous round. Back in action for Race 2 the pair further scored 4th place and a strong points haul.

“Two wins at Snetterton for Infinity drivers is what we love to see! From pole position to taking his first ever win in British GT, both Charlie and his teammate’s pace was mega and it was a great comeback to the series for the team.
Jordan has had a tricky season so far, but they’ve put the work in and really pushed hard. So it’s brilliant to see him back on the podium and all their hard work pay off. I’m sure the progress will continue.”

Taking time for our GT racers to rest and reset, it isn’t long before excitement ramps up for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in just two weeks time. The 89th edition of the biggest race in endurance racing will take place on 21–22 August.