Classic Porsche

TRACTIVE 911 CHALLENGE OPENER LIGHTS UP DONINGTON PARK

- Race report Paul Jurd Photograph­y Garry Hawkins

The Tractive Suspension 911 Challenge roared into life at Donington

Park on Sunday 11th April and, as we fully anticipate­d, an exciting variety of air-cooled 911s put on a superb display, brilliantl­y announcing the arrival of the new series (following the format of the Pirelli Porsche Classic, a popular tournament running for several seasons in the 1980s). In his SC, Tim Bates was the early leader, but later in the one-hour race, a charging drive from Piers Maserati and the 911 Turbo he shares with brother, Miles, saw him reel in Bates and take a memorable win.

It was Bates who made the best start, Neil Harvey slotting his 964 Carrera 2 into second as a number of the field used early laps to get tyres up to temperatur­e in the cold conditions. Having dropped to sixth on the first lap, Miles Maserati was the driver on the move, starting to work his way back up the order and slotting into second by lap five.

With Bates well clear and Maserati second, it closed up behind, and Harvey, Reiner Becker and Nathan Luckey battled for third, running together for many laps, with Luckey getting past Becker’s fabulous RSR on the thirteenth. Two laps later, Harvey looked to take Luckey’s 964 Carrera RS N/GT into third and went inside Harvey at Redgate, only to go wide and lose the slot immediatel­y at the exit of the corner.

The pitstop window opened after twenty minutes of racing, and it was Harvey who headed into the pitlane first, handing the 964 Carrera 2 over to James Neal, while Bates pitted from lead at the end of lap nineteen and was held stationary in the pitlane for thirty-five seconds (a condition for driving solo). A lap later, Miles Maserati brought in the Turbo to hand over to brother, Piers. Becker was the last of the field to pit, bringing the RSR in from third place, but once the window closed, it was Bates clear at the front. Piers Maserati was on a charge, though, determined to close the gap of more than twenty seconds to the long-time leader. Behind, Becker was a secure third, ahead of Neal and David Harrison, now in the 964 RS N/GT liberated from Luckey.

The highlight of the latter part of the race was Piers Maserati’s relentless pursuit of Bates, pace hiding the fact the Turbo’s brake pedal had gone long and he was having to pump it before every braking zone. The pair were together by the thirty-eighth lap. Maserati powered by on the long straight, down to the chicane, only to have his car get slightly out of shape as he braked, allowing Bates to retake the lead. During the next lap, the pair were side-by-side through Schwantz Curve, and it was Maserati ahead as they exited Coppice onto the straight, the Turbo pilot reclaiming the lead and easing away for the win. Bates took second, a lap clear of the pack. Becker took the final podium place, his well-timed pitstop having moved him well clear of Neal and Harrison.

“I got in the car and it felt like it had no brakes,” commented Piers Maserati after the race. “That’s never happened to us in this car before. I knew I had a big chase on, and I finally caught Tim, but I hadn’t pumped the brake pedal enough going into the chicane and went straight on. I waited to the straight and went past earlier next time around, but Tim was driving really well and his car looks superb on the track. Miles and I will definitely be participat­ing in more of these races.”

“I knew I had to push hard early on and get as much of a lead as I could muster,” said Bates. “It turned out to be not quite enough, but my SC performed really well and was on song throughout. I really enjoyed the race. Piers and I were both leaving our braking to the last minute. He seemed to overrun the corner and I was able to nip back past, but I had no doubt he was always going to get me!”

“I had a fantastic time,” said Becker. “There was a good battle in the first part of the race, but all very fair. I hadn’t raced for a while, which is why I was being careful early on. I was thrilled to be on the podium.”

Tractive 911 Challenge porscheclu­bgb.com/motorsport/911-challenge ROUND 1 RESULTS: DONINGTON NATIONAL PARK, APRIL 11th 2021

1 Miles Maserati/piers Maserati (911 Turbo) 45 Laps 2 Tim Bates (911 SC) +5.221s

3 Reiner Becker (911 RSR)

4 Neil Harvey/james Neal (964 Carrera 2)

5 Nathan Luckey/david Harrison (964 Carrera RS N/GT) 6 Sanjay Talwar (911 SC)

7 Morgan Sparrow/roger Sparrow (911 2.7)

Fastest Lap

Piers Maserati: 1m15.009s (94.98mph) Next Race

Snetterton Circuit, Norfolk, June 5th 2021

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