BRDC Rising Star Scott McKenna looked set to add his fourth podium finish of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB season at Thruxton last weekend (19/20 September) until he was cruelly denied by a late puncture.
The North Yorkshire rookie travelled south to the ultra-quick Hampshire speed bowl looking to go one better than his second place at Knockhill most recently, having already clinched three visits to the podium in the modified 2020 season.
The Redline Racing driver, who turned 19 today, set about creating the opportunity for an early birthday present by putting in the miles early in the week in Friday testing, pumping in 46 laps at an average speed of over 114mph on his quickest.
Saturday’s qualifying session was again a tightly-bunched affair with teams wary about the abrasive nature of the high-speed strip of tarmac. Looking for a front row spot, Despite being victim to a time deletion at one stage, McKenna found clear air and put in a lap narrowly short of his target, qualifying fifth and just a couple a tenths from a front row spot.
Sunday brought sunny skies for race day, but McKenna had to show fight in the opening race after losing ground on the opening lap of the race and slipping to eighth place. Last year’s Ginetta GT5 Challenge champion knuckled down and started picking off his rivals, moving onto the rear of a train of cars ultimately battling for third spot with the leaders slowing each other up ahead.
McKenna caught the pack but could not quite find his way around the two cars ahead of him, finishing less than a second away from a fourth podium finish and securing a rookie class podium in the process.
The charge did warrant an opportunity to profit from the partial reverse grid for race two, and McKenna’s Porsche 911 was again drawn onto pole position for the second race of the afternoon in his quest for a maiden victory.
In front of the ITV2 cameras alongside the British Touring Car Championship, McKenna battled experienced sportscar racer Ross Wylie on the opening lap and soon settled into a rhythm inside the top three after a puncture for the race leader. That set the tone for the second half of the race, as McKenna followed Wylie and Josh Webster’s cars while keeping fellow rookie Lorcan Hanafin safely at bay.
A podium was within range with a handful of laps remaining, until a spate of left-rear punctures threw the race into uncertainty. McKenna kept the car on the island but, just as he was about to grab second place from a slowing Webster, the Redline Racer’s left-rear gave way with just two laps remaining. Ice Driver experience on the frozen lakes helped him wrestle the 911 into the pitlane for repairs, but the failure sadly proved terminal.
Despite the setback, a solid opening race result keeps McKenna sitting fifth in the overall Carrera Cup GB standings and only five points adrift of third place, also closing to within four points of the rookie class lead with three meetings and six rounds remaining.
McKenna next heads to Silverstone’s National circuit this weekend (26/27 September) for the latest pair of races. Sunday’s races will be broadcast LIVE on ITV2 in support of the British Touring Car Championship.
Scott McKenna (#82 Redline Racing):
“What can you say. We gave it all we could in those races and we were so close to another podium. We can look away from that though and take the positives from our performance and come back stronger as a result with more data in our pocket.
“It’s gutting to have a good result taken away from you like that, especially when you feel like you’re so nearly there and you’re managing the car home trying to avoid the kerbs and looking after the tyre.
“We still ran at the sharp end where we should be and I’ll be coming out fighting at Silverstone. We ran well in testing there both personally and as a team, so we can hopefully hit the ground running and fight for a few more trophies.”
Photo Credit: Dan Bathie/Porsche GB