Snetterton cut short for Quinn and Macdonald
Steller Motorsport drivers Alex Quinn and Dean MacDonald were unable to show their potential at Snetterton, after component failures and a collision forced them to retire early from the double header event in their Toyota GT86 GT4.
Snetterton in Norfolk was the setting for rounds 4 and 5 of the British GT Championship.
Following the disappointment of previous rounds, the team was confident that there would be a big step forward in performance.
From the green light of Free Practice 1, the car, with Alex at the wheel, looked to be handling better. Unfortunately, after only 7 laps, a red flag appeared around the circuit with Alex as the stranded vehicle with only 3 wheels on his car.
He had come to a stop just after the high-speed Riches corner as Alex was braking heavily on the approach to the Wilson hairpin.
Neither Alex, nor team mate Dean were able to rejoin the remainder of the practice session. On investigation, a component failure was the cause of the loss of the wheel on braking.
The car was quickly fixed and ready for Free Practice 2. Dean would start this session but a misfire that Alex had reported in FP1 seemed to be getting worse. Dean returned to the pits after 8 laps. Hoping to have resolved the issue, Alex took over but only completed an outlap before retiring to the pits as the problem still persisted.
Unable to detect the root of the problem, Qualifying had to be done with the defective engine which was subsequently changed overnight.
Onto raceday, Dean was the starting driver. The car had improved, but unfortunately 4 laps into the session an incident occurred with a McLaren resulting in engine damage forcing the car into retirement and subsequently unable to take part in the rest of the day's racing.
The positives to take away is that the car seems to have improved and both drivers are looking forward to the epic 3 hour endurance at the next round at Silverstone in 2 week’s time.
Steller Motosport campaigns the Toyota GT86 GT4s that are built by sister company Steller Engineering in Buckinghamshire.
Headed by Gary Blackham, who has multiple Championship winning success in BTCC and has huge experience with Touring Cars, Sportscars and GTs on his racing cv. Steller are aiming to show the abilities of the now re-engineered Toyota in top level competition and hope to see interest from other teams in the rapid little GT86.
The Toyota GT86 GT4, based on one of the most popular GT cars on the road, was initially developed by GPRM for GT4 competition. The project passed to Steller Engineering after the 2017 season and rapid progress has been made in ensuring that the now in-house engine programme is providing the power and reliability required to go head to head with an increasingly impressive GT4 field.
The Toyota is powered by a jewel-like 2.0-litre direct injection turbocharged four-cylinder capable (subject to Balance of Performance adjustments) of producing c.400 bhp.
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Photo: Steller Motorsport