Race Report: Round 1 - Croft

DigiPlat Racing endured a difficult start to life in Britcar after a trouble-filled weekend at Croft. A double DNF leaves the team with no points after the first two races, but the rest of the season bodes well after Nathan Wells showed class-winning pace in his first outing in the M3 GTR.

Friday practice saw mixed conditions and limited running for DigiPlat, who elected not to risk the car in the pouring rain, safe in the knowledge that qualifying and the races would be bone dry. On Saturday, qualifying was disrupted by a mid-session red flag, and Wells was more than 4 seconds adrift of class pole as the paddock stopped for lunch. But upon the restart, Nathan pumped in a series of great laps, bagging 3rd in class, 10th overall, and getting to within 0.5 seconds of the class-leading car, driven by professional racer Nicole Drought.

Race One saw the DigiPlat M3 get boxed out at the start after a half-spin by Ben Sharich's Taranis at turn one, but Wells worked his way up the order, overtaking numerous cars including class rival Ash Woodman in his SEAT Leon TCR, and defending Britcar champion Paul Bailey's Ferrari 488 Challenge. After some of the class 1 cars retired, Nathan found himself running 4th overall and the fastest car on circuit, closing in on Marcus Fothergill's Porsche 991 GT3 Cup car and Nicole Drought's Porsche Cayman GT4 at a rate of knots. Drought forced her way past Fothergill at Sunny In, and Nathan was licking the heels of the Class 3 machine as he tried to find an opening.

Unfortunately, it all went wrong on the way into Complex 2: an ambitious lunge down the inside saw the DigiPlat M3 make contact with Marcus Fothergill's Porsche, putting both cars out. Nathan took full responsibility for the incident: "I was getting impatient sat behind the Porsche, as I could see that an amazing debut result was on the cards. I missed my braking point and tried to avoid him, but it was too late. Massive apologies to Marcus, it was 100% my fault. I'm gutted, as a big result was surely coming our way. It's costly lesson in patience, as it was a lunge I really didn't need to make at that point in the race with almost 30 minutes and a pitstop left to complete."

The team got the car back together ready for Race Two on Sunday, with Nathan determined to make amends for his error in Race One. Starting from the back of the field, Wells worked his way methodically up the order through the class 5-7 runners, as well as a couple of class 3 cars. But it wasn't to be DigiPlat's weekend, as an electrical issue after 10 laps forced another retirement.

"A really difficult weekend", said Wells. "But we have to look at the positives, which are that we have the pace to fight for class podiums and wins right from the off this season. With a bit more maturity on my part and a little bit more luck, we should be in a position to grab a great result or two at Brands Hatch in a couple of weeks' time".