Sarah Franklin took part in the Porsche Carrera Cup at the weekend as the guest driver for Porsche GB at the BTCC round at Snetterton.
Friday marked the first time Sarah stepped foot in the 410 horse power beast that is the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. With racing slicks, left hand drive and a sequential gearbox, Sarah knew it was going to be a huge learning curve! She had two 45 minute sessions to get to know the car and be ready for qualifying!
After the second session, Sarah was putting in very respectable times in the Pro Am 2 class in which she was entered. Qualifying on Saturday went well, with Sarah scrubbing in two sets of slicks for the races and qualifying 6th in class for both races (16th overall for race one and 17th for race two).
Race day was warm and sunny and the threatened rain stayed away. Race one saw Sarah get off to a fantastic start, taking a few placed immediately. Sarah’s main aim was to try to keep with Tommy Dreelan who had qualified directly in front of her. With his experience on slick tyres showing, he managed to get away from her in the opening few laps but, once everything warmed up, Sarah started to catch him. Unfortunately, however, she got a bit too enthusiastic coming out of Sears and had a bit of an off which dropped her down the order. She then headed off pursuing Dreelan again. Once again, enthusiasm got the better of her and she got on the power a little too quickly and had a spin at Riches. She managed to get back on track and put in a few good laps to finish the race 5th in class and 15th over all (including a fastest lap which was quicker than Dreelan!).
For Race 2, Sarah started on the inside of the pit straight, in 17th position. Sarah was determined this time to warm up her slicks better and get on it quicker than she had in the first race and, hopefully, make up a few more places. She got an absolutely blinding start and over took several cars. Then, on lap 2, the safety car came out as a result of an incident with Charles Bateman. The safety car remained out for 4 laps before racing recommenced. Dreelan was directly in front of Sarah at the re-start and she managed to keep him in her sights. She was putting in some excellent lap times when disaster struck! On lap 15 with just 9 laps to go, Sarah headed down the start finish straight and, whilst travelling at about 130mph, she felt a slight vibration which was followed almost immediately by her rear tyre exploding and the car being thrown into the barrier! A disappointing end to a good race and what would have been an excellent finish.
Sarah reflected on the weekend, “The Ginetta racing that I have done has really set me in good stead for this weekend. I just had to take things up another level with the Porsche. I’ve had a fantastic weekend and absolutely fell in love with the car and how it handles. I’m obviously disappointed that I didn’t finish the second race, especially as it looked like I would have got a good result. I’ll just have to come back again sometime in the future to try again!
For a full report and to see Sarah’s diary of the weekend, see her website at www.sarahfranklinracing.co.uk