Porsche Centre Leeds’ Simon fulfilled a dream when he made his race debut in the inaugural Porsche Classic Restoracing Championship. In the 2019 season, he even let boss John Tordoff get behind the wheel of the distinctive Boxster!
Before the 2018 Restoracing season I’d only done some trackdays. It felt like I was in at the deep end at first but also amazing to actually be out there racing. I’ve followed motor racing and Formula 1 since I was very young, so to have the opportunity to go racing myself was something I thought would never happen. I remember waiting for the red lights to go out at the start of my first race and realising that I was not a spectator but the one everyone was watching!
I’d been on circuits before and thought I was well prepared, but racing is so different. It becomes very real and not like a video game. It took me a couple of races to feel comfortable with racing as well as the Boxster, which was the first rear-wheel-drive car I’d taken round a track.
It was a learning curve not only for me but also the team. None of us had been involved in that side of things before and it was an amazing opportunity for all of us.
The second season was so different. Everyone at the circuits knew each other and helped each other out – it has become a bit like a family with the other Porsche Centres. Of course we still want to beat them, but out of the car we support each other. We’re all enthusiasts and at times can’t believe what we’re doing. I know I’m fulfilling a dream.
There was no lack of management support for Porsche Centre Leeds in 2019 as John Tordoff, chief executive of owners JCT600, drove the centre’s Boxster S in the first and last meetings of the season.
I wasn’t that involved in the first year, but Porsche Cars GB encouraged their partner centres to enter, and as a leading partner with four sites we duly obliged. Simon drove all year, but I got my race licence at the back end of 2018, so I did the opening round of 2019.
We are a motorsport family – my father rallied Porsches in the 1970s, my son Sam has raced in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB and touring cars and I got my licence to share an historic Porsche with Sam.
I had been on a track before, but racing was a baptism of fire as the Boxster was like chalk and cheese compared with the MGB I had driven before. For someone who wasn’t experienced there was a lot to take in, and in my test at Donington Park the day before the opening meeting I put the car in the gravel by trying to corner it how I was used to!
I worked out that I needed to be smooth and gentle – the car has great brakes and lots of grip – and the rest of the day went much better. I finished both races the next day about where I had qualified, which I was pleased with for a first attempt.
We were back at Donington for the last round of the Porsche Club Championship and I was one or two seconds quicker. We didn’t have all the cars out, but I had a battle with Scot Adams in both races and was very pleased with the result and our pace.
Porsche Centre Cardiff technician Scot made his race debut in the opening round of the 2019 Porsche Classic Restoracing Championship. He’s looking forward to his second year driving the Boxster S in the new Porsche Classic Boxster Cup.
In 2018 I was just part of the race team, but for 2019 we wanted someone from Porsche Centre Cardiff and I became the driver. I’d done some motocross to an intermediate level before, but it was very different being in the car at a race meeting, and all of the circuits were new to me. You have so much nervous energy when you’re sitting on the grid for the first time waiting for the lights to go and the race to actually start. But after that first qualifying session and race were out the way I started to relax and find my feet.
There are all sorts of dramas going on in races – people going off, coolant spills – but you deal with it and keep racing. It was a big learning curve for us all, but at the end of the year we had a brilliant time in the non-championship race back at Donington Park, where I had a great battle with John Tordoff and came out of it with two first places!
This year I will know the car and circuits so much better, and we’re aiming to do some testing before the opening races. We’re all really looking forward to the new season; we know so much more now and have the results and times from last year to try to improve on.