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SMITH: Silverstone Debrief

Guy Smith files his latest Sportscar365 column following Silverstone…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

It’s always great to return to Silverstone and it’s nice to be racing on home turf, so to speak.

Although, it’s funny, because I have only raced in the UK perhaps three times in the last 15 years!

Silverstone was of course the scene of the Bentley Continental GT3’s first victory in 2014 and a circuit in which it excels, so going into last weekend’s race we all felt pretty confident that we could have a shot at the win.

But the level of competition and the depth of competition is so high at the moment that you really have to be on it.

There was a great following for the Bentley too, it has really become a fan favorite and people love to see it mixing it up with the Ferraris and Audis.

There was also a large contingent of Bentley guests and factory workers from Crewe and it’s great to have their support as they watch the cars racing in the flesh.

Coming from a 14th place at Monza was a little disappointing but it was a late-race penalty that prevented in being inside the top six so the potential was there.

This made us extra keen to have a mistake-free run and gather up some good championship points.

The car felt good in practice and we made some good changes with the car trying to find a good race balance but also with an eye on qualifying, as its becoming increasingly important to qualify well to stay out of trouble in the race.

Steven [Kane] did a mega job in qualifying to put us seventh on the grid. He really put together a great lap and felt the car was working well, giving us great confidence going into the race.

I was on starting duties again and I managed to use the fantastic torque of the Bentley’s V8 engine to jump up to 5th place.

Coming through Copse corner its always pretty hectic with over 50 cars barreling down to the first corner!

But, as the race started to settle down I came under attack from a Mercedes.

Eventually he tapped me into a spin at Brooklands corner on lap three and, by the time I got going again, I had dropped down to P18 leaving a lot of work to do for the rest of the race.

We started to move forward and, through brilliant pit stops by the team and great stints by Vince [Abril] and Steven, we were able to get back into the top ten and finish the the race in P8 scoring some much needed points.

It’s not where we want to be finishing but sometimes when the luck is not with you it’s not with you but we will keep working hard to get back onto the podium.

The next race is Paul Ricard, another circuit where we have a good history, and have won before so, with extra points on offer for the six-hour race, we will be giving it our all.

Guy Smith (@TheGuySmith) is the 2003 winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and former American Le Mans Series champion, driving for the factory M-Sport Bentley squad in the Blancpain Endurance Series.

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