First of all, we would like to thank everyone who has supported us through the racing season. Wow - what a ride we have been on!
We have some amazing news to share with you – Simon Clarke secured the Porsche Club Class 1 Championship with a fantastic total of 412 points!
As a business our absolute priority for the whole season was to support our partner charity, The Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust.
We used the whole racing season as a fantastic platform to actively lead a fundraising campaign on behalf of the charity. Our aim is to purchase as many laptops and tablets as we can, so they can be allocated to young cancer patients within the hospitals providing a distraction whilst they undergo life-changing therapy, and to help them not feel as isolated. To date we are delighted to confirm we have raised approximately £2,787!
Plus, we have undertaken several initiatives to support the fundraising. This has ranged from hosting raffles to win a hamper at each race event, to hosting a prize draw for four winners to enjoy a passenger car experience in Simon’s race car around the iconic Brands Hatch Circuit, as well as arranging an October activity, where we challenged a number of employees to cover 1000 miles between them on foot and cycling. This leads us to our very last prize draw, which is to secure a 1 in 4 limited edition framed print, courtesy of the extremely talented Yorkshire based artist, Maria Clancy.
We still have one more framed limited edition print to give away – it could easily be yours! All we would encourage you to do is make one more small donation to the LCYCT via our Just Giving Page and you will be in with a chance of winning. Your support would be very much appreciated!
So, here is a short summary of Simon’s journey throughout the season in his fabulous Porsche 911.
The opening race of the season took place in April at our “home circuit,” Donington Park. Having previously raced in a Porsche Cayman, this was the first competitive race that Simon had undertaken in a Porsche 911. Simon managed to climb his way up from 6th to the podium over the 25-minute race, claiming 3rd place in the 1st race of the day.
As race 2 got underway, Simon upped his game and managed to convincingly pass other cars to come through in 1st place at the end of lap 1. He skillfully maintained this position and built a significant lead, finishing over 20 seconds ahead of the next car. This result was certainly a statement of intent for the season ahead, but also set high expectations for all our supporters.
Round 2 was at Simon’s favourite circuit on the calendar, Brands Hatch GP, and one at which he had previously scored his highest points. Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be as Simon was rushed into hospital three weeks prior with Pancreatitis, which knocked him out of the Round.
Despite his illness, Simon battled through to attend the event as a spectator, and decided it was the lesser of two evils since he didn’t fancy watching from afar. It was the first Porsche Club race in 4 previous seasons he’d not been on the grid for, so it was a surreal experience Simon being in the stands, and not in the race seat. But this proved a powerful motivation for Simon getting well and back to race fitness in time for Snetterton for Round 3.
Then 8 days before Round 3 at Snetterton, Simon was out running and went over on his ankle, breaking a bone in his foot in 2 places! Remarkably Simon taped his foot up and raced regardless of his injury, proving that sheer determination and adrenaline is very powerful! Simon managed to deliver a pole position and double win which kept our championship title sights alive. He’d been forced to drop the 2 scores with the non-scoring event at Brands Hatch but if he had podium finishes for the remaining 4 Rounds (8 races), he might still be able to win. It was very much game on!
Round 4 was at Oulton Park, and for many of the team and supporters, was considered the highlight of the season. Glorious sunshine on the picturesque Cheshire circuit and a record number of spectators for the Porsche Club Championship main event did not disappoint. A pole position, a second place and the win topped off a truly epic day and combining the event with our summer party provided ample opportunity to celebrate, until well after dark!
Silverstone next and the most difficult race weekend of the year – the 911 had developed a suspension issue that couldn’t be attended to during the event, so Simon had to manage a car that really wasn’t nice to drive. The team did their best to play around with the set-up to work around the issue, but fundamentally the car wasn’t right meaning it was difficult for Simon to be fully committed when he didn’t have 100% confidence in the car underneath him! It was a test for Simon, on the psychological side of racing and coupled with some unfortunate on-track incidences it was a tough weekend – a 2nd and 3rd position seemed an amazing result under the circumstances!
On to Brands Hatch Indy, with our biggest attendance of the year so far. Simon didn’t secure pole position due to starting both races at the sharp end of the grid. Regardless of this he managed to convert both starts into two well-fought 2nd places, albeit with further animosity with another driver – the results stood, and he was in a good position moving into the last race.
The grand finale took us back to our home circuit, Donington Park and we had such overwhelming interest in attending from customers that we had to swap our original suite for one much larger. As a result, this became our largest event of the year from a hosting and hospitality perspective. We had representation from all Sponsors, our Partner Charity, the Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust along with one of their ambassadors, and previous patient, along with our talented Yorkshire Artist, Maria Clancy.
The back story was significant and huge pressure for the team to deliver the results we needed to win the title! Race 1 was tough, Simon selected the wrong tyres going for the safe option (wets) on a drying circuit, which meant he was on the wrong tyres for the whole duration. Sprint races (25 minutes) meant there was no merit in changing tyres mid-race (it’s not F1 style tyre changes sadly!). Simon’s closest competitor had selected slicks which meant they finished 50 seconds up the road, and Simon finished 4th – all that work in qualifying undone in 25 minutes. However, he still had another race, but it was now pretty much level on points between Simon and the guy starting to the left of him on the front row of the grid. Whoever finished ahead, almost irrespective of where they placed, would take the title.
This was going to be the most important race of the year - the nerves were there, for sure! Simon needed a good start, but not a false start - Simon needed to win but not overdrive the car - Simon needed to be extra cautious when he navigated back markers – he needed to keep his head. Simon was blistering quick off the line and as he drove away from the pack, he drove hard (harder than he needed to) because he feared if there was an issue with the car later in the race, having a margin for error might be what ultimately decided the outcome. Every lap Simon worried whether he could hear a different rattle or pitch note in the engine or gearbox, or wheel bearing or tyre noise but the car held together, he held together and we did it – we won the Porsche Club Class 1 Championship with 412 points, just 8 points ahead, in a new car to Simon and his team, County Classics Racing.
We won it as a team of Legal Tech Providers and we did it looking for opportunities for incremental gains, placing very high expectations on ourselves and those aRound us, to excel working as a team – from suppliers, to preparers, to driving to sponsorship and fund raising to putting on the best possible show we could for each and every guest.