There’s everything still to play for in the British GT season finale at Donington Park this weekend, with the destiny of the GT3 and GT4 drivers’ titles set to go down to the wire. Fortunately for the main protagonists, circuit lap record holder Benny Simonsen shared his secrets of speed with Racing.GT.
Donington is a very fast and flowing track. It’s probably my favourite circuit in the UK and it always gives you a big smile whenever you race there. I’ve done a bit of coaching at Donington and of course it helps a bit if you know the track, but when you’re doing the circuit coaching it’s nowhere near the speed of the GT3 car. You know every little bit you can use, but you’re approaching it much faster, so it’s a completely different ball game.
The key to a good lap there is achieving some good momentum through the corners, making sure you don’t over-stop the car and knowing what kerbs to use. It’s really important to get into a good flow from the first corner at Redgate, down through the Craner Curves and the Old Hairpin. That’s a really fun section and if you can string those together, it sets you up well for the flat out kink through there to McLeans.
Then it’s really important to get a good run out of Coppice onto the back straight and carry good speed through the chicane. It’s quite easy to bottom out there as you really try to get it straight-lined as much as possible, then you’ve got the two hairpins, which are quite tricky because they are both a bit downhill on the braking zones.
The hairpins are always good places to pass people and from the last couple of years that’s usually where the carnage hits. Let’s hope that’s not the case this year, but probably one of those corners is where something’s going to happen! You want to come on the power early and get a good run out of the there, but you have to be patient – you don’t want to get any wheel-spin on the way out, so you have to get the car straightened first.
It is tricky to get every inch perfect, but the Ferrari was always a pleasure to drive around there even if it was a bit older and it always seemed to suit my driving style well.
I was super proud when I was told that I have the Lap Record on the GP track and that Allan still holds it on the National Circuit in the 430 – it’s a nice little piece of family history.