Recap of the 2023 British GT Championship with Paddock Motorsport
As the final race of the 2023 British GT championship has just finalised Ravenol UK would like to present a recap of some of the best moments of the 2023 season with our partner Paddock Motorsport.
In May 2023 Ravenol UK partnered up with Paddock Motorsport as part of the 2023 British GT championship, this partnership signified how Ravenol oils can meet the performance and reliability needed on the team's McLaren's as part of the racing series.
Here's what Ravenol UK's Managing Director said in a statement at the start of the partnership: “We are really proud that Paddock Motorsport have chosen to use Ravenol in the McLarens, and we will be supplying the team with both engine and transmission oils. Racing is all about reliability as well as speed and by providing them with the most advanced lubrication technology available we can ensure both.”
Paddock Motorsport Team Principal Martin Plowman added: “Motorsport at the highest levels is a game of incredibly fine margins, so it’s crucial to prepare for every race as well as possible. At Paddock Motorsport we pride ourselves on our professionalism and attention to detail, and this new partnership with Ravenol UK only enhances that. They share the same goals as us, which is to be the best in their field. We would never field one of our race cars without being certain it had benefited from the best maintenance and preparation possible. That’s why we’re delighted to use the Ravenol product range across our GT3, GT4 and production racing cars for both this season and for the future, safe in the knowledge that we have their experience and technical knowledge in our corner.”
Paddock Motorsport have been using Ravenol USVO SSL 0W-40 and Ravenol USVO REP 5W-30 for their engine oil, Ravenol USVO RHP 75W-90 Racing Gear Oil for their differential, Ravenol HJC Hybrid Japanese Coolant for their coolant, and Ravenol LS 75W-90 Transmission Fluid for their transmission on the McLaren's.
As the partnership started just after the first race of the British GT we joined them as they prepared the second race of the season which was at Silverstone Circuit. The British weather swished into effect with heavy rainfall, nevertheless a fifth-place finish for Kavi Jundu and Tom Rawlings aboard the Artura GT4 was the highlight which prompted celebrations for the team. However, Mark Smith and Martin Plowman suffered extensive damage to their 720S GT3 for virtually the entire race distance before the car finally succumbed in the closing moments. In reflection of this, a strong pace even with the setback from being damaged left the team motivated to fight in the next round of the British GT.
Skipping ahead to the fourth round of the British GT at Snetterton, Paddock Motorsport drivers Kavi Jundu and Tom Rawlings showed their true strengths as they quickly had the pace to get a podium position on Saturday with the pair sitting third and fourth in their Pro-Am class, with the latter getting to within a second of the fastest car. Similarly, Martin Plowman and Mark Smith showed resilience even after a setback during qualifying. On the Sunday race day, Smith showed an aggressive stance at the start to show his intent, this stance pushed the GT3 McLaren up to eleventh place. Halfway came for the GT3 crew which meant Plowman took over Smith's position and he fought his way through with a fast paced race, though a pitlane penalty for the pair led to a one second penalty leaving the pair with a position of 10th overall.
As the summer started to come the team flew over to sunny Portimao for the fifth round of the British GT, it was here that they saw a certain top-six finish with Kavi Jundu and Tom Rawlings in the GT4 McLaren showing their talent with an immense pace over the 2.9 mile Algarve circuit, though they were forced to make an extra stop to repair a damaged wheel, which dropped them back to ninth in class. Nevertheless, a strong result for the team. In addition, the team had the services of 2019 British GT4 champion Tom Canning present in the garage within the race weekend and working with them during Friday’s test. In the GT3 class, Plowman and Smith pushed hard in their two 10-minute qualifying bursts, American driver Smith ran first and lapped just over a second off the ultimate best, before the experienced Plowman wrung the neck of the McLaren to go just 0.9s from the fastest time overall, putting the #11 car a combined 10th in the Pro-Am class for Sunday’s three-hour endurance contest, it seems the Ravenol oil was pushed hard during the race and thanks to the USVO technology the oil was able to maintain stable viscosity during high temperatures. After some technical issues with the GT4, fighting the heat, and fantastic teamwork Paddock Motorsport took home a trophy from Portimão, having been named British GT’s Team of the Weekend after its heroic efforts to get the GT4 back on track.
Fast forward to September as the team raced to the seventh round of the British GT in Brands Hatch, Paddock Motorsport showed impressive recovery times after a red flag in place, a close call with Smith having to swerve and brake hard to avoid contact with a Mercedes-AMG, and a collision with Plowman and a GT4 car. As a result of these setbacks the lead position was looking far away. That is until the team fought back and pushed their racing skills to the limits. As a result, Jundu and Rawlings in the GT4 McLaren landed in fourth position Simularly the setbacks for Smith and Plowman excelled and landed in sixth position. It seems Brands Hatch was a wild but rewarding race and the team proved their determination to get to a good position.
We now arrive at the season finale as Paddock Motorsport arrive at Donington Park for the Donington Decider, this was one of the most spectacular races of the 2023 championship and a fantastic way to end the racing season. Over the course of the year there has been some unlucky spouts with damage, red flags, and other circumstances. However, the race team have been continually monitoring and improving the pace of the McLaren 720S GT3 Evo throughout the year, combined with Ravenol oils the McLaren 720S GT3 Evo was set up to maximise its peak performance capabilities. Now comes the qualifying day, it started well with good pace but suddenly a massive crash happens with the McLaren 720S GT3 Evo as one of the competitors smashed into the race car, and as a result the 720S hit the wall. This hit inflicted damage to the internal chassis which almost put the car out of the race weekend. However, the race team worked tirelessly throughout the night to source and replace the chassis which brought to them by the Enduro Motorsport team. As a result of the teams heroic efforts to fix the race car in time for a race the following day Paddock Motorsport were awarded with the British GT 'Team of the Weekend', they were also given the same award earlier in the season for the team's hard work in fixing a mechanical issue with the McLaren.
Now we arrive at the race day on Sunday, the drivers were showing amazing pace with their driving performance pushed to the absolute limits, when a safety car was deployed Smith decided not to pit and carried on with the lap, this decision was the right one and it paid off as Plowman pitted when the pitlane was quieter and pushed hard to maximise the opportunity which meant they were in sixth position. Unfortunately the tyre pressures were soaring which set the pair back but nevertheless Smith and Plowman achieved a respectable ninth position. In the GT4 class, things were going swimmingly with Jundu and Gamble, and even better when a pitlane mix-up caused the Kavi Jundu and Tom Gamble to take the opportunity to push hard resulting in a move up to third position. Moreover, there was an incident with the twin Ginettas after they collided whilst trying to stay in the top spots and Jundu used this opportunity to work his way past the chaos. Then disaster struck, Jundu was held up in the pitlane after the entire GT4 field pitting as one under the safety car led to a crowded pitlane causing an issue. In addition, Paddock's lollipop man was blocked from signalling leading Jundu to overshoot his pit box within the pit mayhem. Forced to do an extra lap, Gamble showed his talent as he pushed to get into a higher race position which resulted in the pair achieving a very impressive third position. Sunday the 22nd of October 2023 has marked a historic day for the team, and for us here at Ravenol UK as the team showed their best in the worst of moments. We're glad to be partnered with not only an amazing race team, but also every individual who puts their knowledge and skills behind the wheel to make a holistic team. Even with setbacks such as this crash, they managed to show absolute resilience with the GT3 drivers Kavi Jundu and Tom Gamble gaining P3 at the British GT Championship finale.