Runcorn racing driver Gavin Johnson picked up two fifth places at Anglesey despite engine issues that stopped him from taking part in both qualifying and race one.
The weekend started well with Johnson getting out on track early on Saturday to take part in testing ahead of qualifying and race one. The car was feeling good with a fair bit of work having been done on it since the previous round at Castle Combe.
Just as Johnson was beginning to bring his lap times down as he got a feel for the track, fumes in the cockpit of the car started to get the better of him so he brought the car back into the assembly area. First glance put the problem down to the fumes from new brake pads but as Johnson headed out for qualifying white smoke came from under the bonnet.
It was back into the garage where the team investigated the problem knowing the car wouldn’t be out for the qualifying session. Thankfully, as Johnson had already completed the three laps required during testing, he’d be able to start the race.
A new head gasket was sourced from on-site parts truck and the team, with the help of others from around the paddock, got to work taking apart the engine – which is no small feat.
There was the hope that the car would go out for race one but alas Johnson and team sat on the sidelines to watch the first Porsche race of the weekend.
That evening, everyone stayed positive as the team officially welcomed new sponsor, and exclusive clothing supplier to Turn Eight Racing, Autosport Apparel on board.
A windy, cloud-covered Anglesey circuit greeted Johnson ahead of race two on Sunday morning but the car started nicely in front of a group of around 25 Turn Eight Racing guests and sponsors.
From the start, however, Johnson realised the car was down on power. During the first few laps he did his best to keep up with the pack and was braking much later than the cars ahead but losing them on the straights. He says: “I did my best to keep up but realised it was futile and my best bet was simply to finish the race.”
Johnson finished fifth in the end with a retirement on the last lap bumping him up a spot.
Ignition timing and belts were checked and adjusted with the hope that would fix the problem for the final race of the weekend. A reverse grid meant Johnson started at the front.
Family and friends gathered around the back of the car to doodle and write messages on the Porsche’s white bumper. Team boss Jess Shanahan says: “We’re keen to encourage kids and their families to come and enjoy a race weekend. We want to foster the next generation of racing drivers, engineers and designers so the closer they get to the car the better.”
Johnson got a good start in race three and managed to hold off a few cars but he was still down on power. He finished the race in fifth once again but this time felt the car was even slower than before. All in all it was a disappointing weekend on track but the support from the people around the team was brilliant.
Johnson says: “Of course I’m disappointed but I still picked up some points and got to spend time with an amazing, supportive group of people who cheer us on through thick and thin. We’ll get the car fixed and I’ll be back on pace for Donington at the end of the month.”
Turn Eight Racing also won the Porsche Drivers’ Association team award for class C for pulling together to get a sick car ready for races two and three.