MacDowall stars with outright podium and class win on Britcar debut
Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship ace Alex MacDowall produced a sensational drive on his endurance racing debut at Brands Hatch on Saturday, 13th November, with a stunning class win and outright podium finish in the Britcar ‘Into the Night’ race.
Partnering his father Ray, an experienced former BTCC racer himself, the Carlisle-based 19-year-old shone under the night skies over the 1.2-mile Kent track as he steered a Total Control Racing entered Ginetta G50 to the Class 3I victory and third place overall in the 90-minute spectacular.
Finishing behind only the much more powerful Class 1 Mosler of race winner Martin Short and the extremely rapid second placed Ferrari 430 of Witt Gamski and Keith Robinson, Alex’s performance was highly impressive and the outing has certainly whetted his appetite for more GT-style action.
“The weekend went much better than expected” said the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star, “To take the class win was fantastic but to finish on the overall podium as well, ahead of Ferraris and Porsches with double the horse power of our Ginetta, was incredible.”
During the morning warm-up, the duo’s maiden experience of the rear-wheel drive Ginetta G50, Alex set the fifth fastest time and following day and night qualifying they lined up in 10th position overall, third in class, for the rolling start.
Ray piloted the car during the first stint and although he slipped to 18th place overall after a moment a couple of laps in, he battled back through into fifth before pitting with around 50 minutes of action remaining to hand over to Alex in the mandatory driver-change pit-stop.
Joining the track in 13th place overall, within just 10 laps Alex was back inside the top eight and before very much longer at all he had taken fifth position again. Posting the quickest Class 3I lap of the race of 49.915 seconds (86.44mph) the Cumbrian charger continued to move towards the overall podium placing at a fast pace and after taking fourth on lap 76, he sealed third on lap 90 of 109.
He added: I didn’t know what to expect jumping into a rear-wheel drive sports car for the first time. On my first lap I thought it was an angry machine trying to spit me off into the tyre barriers every time I put the power down!
“Once the tyres were up to temperature though, it was a joy to drive. You could power-slide it out of the corners and lift-off mid-corner which you can’t do in a front-wheel drive touring car. As soon as I got the technique right I knew a class victory was on the menu. My dad did a good job in his stint, the pit-stop went well and then I drove as fast as I could to make up as much ground as possible.
“When I started to lap cars in our class and the overall podium got closer it was a great feeling. It was fantastic working with all of the guys at TCR again [the team ran Alex in the ELF Renault Clio Cup between 2007 and 2009]. They always prepare a great car and we had a really good time. I’d love to do more GT endurance racing in the future but my focus is still on the BTCC and conquering that.”