This weekend, reigning GT4 champion Ryan Ratcliffe is back in the British GT Championship, with Matt Draper in the #41 Optimum Ginetta G55. He’s also the first Racing.GT British GT One to Watch of the year. We’ll be keeping an eye on him throughout the weekend – starting with a quick chat in the Silverstone pitlane.
Racing.GT: Ryan, welcome back to the series. How are you feeling?
Ryan Ratcliffe: “I feel good. It’s taken two practice sessions to get back into the swing of it, because I didn’t get in the car much in FP1 and then the second was pointless. A lot of stoppages, oil on the track and waved yellows everywhere. We’ve looked at data, we’ve seen where we’re going wrong, we’re working on a few things with set up.”
RGT: You’ve got a bit of experience here, is that going to help you in this field?
RR: “Qualifying isn’t that important except for the ego really. I’m quite experienced with long races, I know you’ve got to look after yourself and the car. You don’t want to go out and push like mad for 20 minutes – the car’ll be dead and you’ll be tired. We stand a good chance, because Matt’s done a lot of endurance racing in Blancpain and I’ve done a full year of this championship. If we put our sensible heads on, we can get a good result.”
RGT: You had quite a big accident at Silverstone just one week ago in the Blancpain Series. It goes without saying you’re hoping to avoid a repeat, right?
RR: “If it does happen, at least it won’t be as quick!”
RGT: Yes… Talk us through it.
RR: “So, about 20 minutes in, I was on the apex of Copse and I was hit by a Ferrari. I got punted into the gravel, which lost a lot of time – when I was pulled out I radioed to say the car felt fine and I was putting in good sectors. I told them that if it gets worse, I’ll bring it in. I asked them to have a look at the car as I passed the pits and I just heard John on the radio say ‘Puncture!’ and as he said it I felt the car drop. I was a passenger after that! As soon as I touched the grass it was gone. It was nasty, I’m just thankful I’m ok. In the car it was pretty spectacular, but I watched it on TV and thought ‘Is that it?’ All my friends had seen my status on Facebook and were checking if I was OK, then they watched the footage and were just as disappointed! It was definitely the biggest crash of my career.”
RGT: Things went better the week before, though…
RR: “Yeah we had a great weekend at Brands in GT Cup with Triple Eight and the Z4 GT3. Me and Derek Johnston had a race on Saturday, and we won that, Derek raced on Sunday morning and won, then I won on Sunday afternoon. Perfect weekend!”
So what can Ryan produce this weekend? To find out, and to keep up with all the races, keep following the British GT Championship with Racing.GT!