When the M-Sport team look back on the Bentley Continental GT3’s first season of competition in 2014, one weekend stands out above the rest. Although the no. 7 car of Steven Kane, Guy Smith and Andy Meyrick also took victory in the third round at Paul Ricard, their debut win on home turf at Silverstone was a particularly memorable weekend, not least for Northern Irishman Kane.
That weekend was a bit of a blur for me, my wife was about to give birth to our youngest child and she was in intensive care, so I was up all night and hadn’t slept for two days. At that time my head was in so many different places, so being in the car actually helped me clear my mind and focus.
It all just seemed to work; we had a really good car, our setup was pretty simple, we qualified in fourth, then I went back to the hospital, stayed up all night and went back to the racetrack in time for the start of the race. Guy did a really good opening stint, but he didn’t see a yellow flag and went too fast in a sector under the yellows, so that put us back. But we knew we had the speed because we could see what Guy had been doing, and he’d had very little running in the lead up to the race.
I remember there was a good positive energy in the team that day. We didn’t give up even when Guy got the drive through, we stuck with it and we knew we could get it back. Andy did a brilliant middle stint to come up to second and then when I got in the car it was just a matter of coming through the traffic. We had a little bit of luck with the Safety Car closing the gap up, I put a few laps together and managed to get past Andy [Soucek] for the race lead. We’ve had the pace every year we’ve been there, it seems to really suits the car and it’s just weird that it happens to be our home race where the car goes really well.
I didn’t realise until later that in all the year’s it’s been going, it was the first time a Bentley had ever won a race at Silverstone, so that was a very big achievement in the grand scheme of things. You also have to remember it was the first win for M-Sport coming from rallying, so to do it in such a short space of time after only three races was a massive achievement. It set a precedent for what we needed to achieve from that point, so from then on, anything less than a win would have been a disappointment. It set our goals really high and made the team really hungry going forward, and that’s always a good thing!
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