GREAT DRIVE IN BARCELONA FROM MACDOWALL UNREWARDED AFTER ENGINE EXPIRES
Barwell Motorsport driver Alex MacDowall produced an excellent performance during the fifth and final round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS Endurance Cup in Spain on Sunday, 2nd October, but all to no avail when engine woes led to a mid-race retirement.
Carlisle’s MacDowall started the three-hour race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya from 15th in the Silver Cup class and 37th overall, so with lots to do, but a fantastic opening stint really opened up opportunities for a great result – MacDowall gaining 15 positions before the first round of pit-stops.
During the latter stages of hour two though, when Jordan Witt was at the wheel of the Lamborghini Huracan GT3, he was forced to pull the car off the circuit with smoke billowing from the engine bay, instant retirement. Third driver James Dorlin, of course, didn’t get to turn a wheel in race conditions.
“We’re not sure exactly what happened, we think it was a loss of oil pressure, but the engine just went in Jordan’s stint – it’s not the way we wanted to end the season, obviously”, said a vexed MacDowall, “I was really happy with my stint, we had a good start to the race and made up 11 or more positions and then a couple more as the pit-stops started.
“I think we could’ve finished in the overall top 20, maybe even the top 15, which would’ve been a strong result and James would’ve been quick at the end. It’s been a patchy season with all of the line-up changes, and a difficult season with so much bad luck, but that’s how it goes sometimes in racing. It is frustrating when a year is like this with all of the commitment you have to put in.”
Sunday’s race began well for MacDowall, gaining three overall positions on the first lap, and he continued to climb the order in the No.77 Lamborghini. Into the top 30 by lap six, the Cumbrian pressed on with strong pace and progressed more while also starting to pick off places in the Silver Cup battle.
Driving very well, not putting a wheel wrong, MacDowall was 13th in class and 27th overall after the opening half hour of action and in the thick of a tight three-car scrap in Silver. Passing the No.4 Mercedes-AMG for 12th in Silver and 26th overall with almost 50 minutes elapsed, the pit-stops then started to be served.
MacDowall pitted to hand over the car to new team-mate Witt from 11th in Silver and 22nd overall, bringing a terrific stint to a close and putting Barwell in a strong position. When the race order settled following the first round of stops, Witt was 12th in Silver and 29th overall and improved to 11th in class and 24th overall before the race started to go in the opposite direction.
Losing a couple of positions before the midway point of the race, with around 70 minutes left on the clock smoke appeared from the Lamborghini as it lost pace and Witt had to park the car in the gravel on the outside of the track.
“We’re not sure where we’ll be next year, I’d like to be back in GT World Challenge or maybe even something closer to home, but we’ll consider all of our options, as we always do, and go with the best deal we can get”, said MacDowall as he looks ahead to 2023, “There’s a new Lamborghini for next year, which sounds good as there’s been a lot of development, so we’ll see what happens.”