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MINASSIAN: Silverstone Debrief

Nic Minassian files his first Sportscar365 column following Silverstone…

Photo: FIA WEC

Photo: FIA WEC

Going to Silverstone is always special to me. No matter what category I’ve raced there, I’ve managed to win.

It’s one of those tracks with so much history and a fun place to drive. I love Copse, Becketts, the Stowe portion, and Turn 1 is great too. There are so many “ballsy” no-holding back places.

When you are in a groove, it can feel so good. You can’t beat an old-fashioned race track.

Going into the weekend, we all had great expectations at SMP Racing.

Testing over the winter went well, apart from most of it being in the wet, but we were still all familiar with the car.

After the first session, we could all see that the weekend would be hard for us. Pace-wise, over one lap, we didn’t have the speed.

But this year in the FIA World Endurance Championship is a bit different, with a maximum of four sets of tires for the race.

That means we’d have to double-stint all the time, and this is where we focused our work on, trying to get the second stint pace.

Qualifying was not fantastic. We decided to only use one set of fires as the other car used two. This meant we had an additional set of fresh tires for the race, but it ended up that that choice not really relevant!

I had a good start but right away, I had a puncture on the right front, so we lost one position. I had to stop after a few laps, which was not a big deal.

But things got worse, as electrical problems hit us as soon as the rain started. I managed to bring the car back to the pits just on the starter motor!

After that, it was a case of just bringing the car home for us.

We stayed on slicks in the light rain and that was a decision between me and my engineer.

It was hard work! I decided to stay out during the tricky conditions, but man, I should have come in to put some inters on!

Sergey [Zlobin] went in after me and had a solid double stint. It was not easy as it the track was greasy.

Maurizio [Mediani] finished the race and was the fastest car in the wet.

It was a shame our sister 37 car did not finish, but third place is always good for us.

I know what you all think… There were only three cars at the finish, but Spa will be a better challenge with more cars.

For us, we head to Spa with a better understanding of how to make the car work with the Michelin tire. And last year, we won there, so there’s high hopes for a competitive result with SMP Racing.

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