It is nearly every mans dream to drive a Lamborghini, and the only thing better than getting to drive one down the street is getting to race one. Our championship leader Glen Wood got that chance last weekend when he got to join Justin McMillan’s M Motorsport team at Sydney Motorsport Park for the Australian GT Championship.
Glen kindly had a chat to us when he got back to Melbourne about how the deal came about and how his weekend faired…
“Wow what an experience, it only started a couple of weekends back when we were at Winton and it has all happened so quick since then. I was fortunate I had the opportunity to get a test day under my belt the week before which was invaluable, and it gave me a good chance to familiarise myself with the car and it’s characteristics”, a mid week test at Sydney Motorsport Park on 13TH August gave Wood his first chance to get acquainted with the vehicle he would drive, a Lamborghini Gallardo FL2 GT3 built by Reiter Engineering and run by local GT specialists M Motorsport.
“The weekend is pretty packed; we get a 20 minute practice which is for both drivers, followed by Q1 for one driver and Q2 for the second driver all on Friday. It doesn’t give a lot of time to get sorted and set up. Then Saturday is a 60 minute race and Sunday another 60 minute race.” Qualifying is quite interesting where Glen explained that Driver A qualifying in Q1, Driver B in Q2, you must nominate straight after Q2 the starting driver for Race 1, who cannot start Race 2 which means there is a lot of strategy taken into which driver will start based on their qualifying result.
Wood explains how Race 1 went “Justin elected to start the opening race, starting in P6 meant if we could have a clean opening few laps it would give us a good shot to run in the top 10 for the race. He kept his nose clean only to get tagged in the rear on lap 2 which put us straight off, it destroyed a rear tyre so we parked it and I didn’t even get in the car. It was a bitter pill to take when it wasn’t our fault and after such a strong qually”.
“Race 2 I got to start and wow was it wet! I had to start 32nd due to our DNF, at least it was a rolling start so everyone is moving, I took it easy through T1 and got down the inside of a couple of cars into T2 and just tried to keep out of trouble in the conditions” Wood found his way through h the field with some strong pace, after just 3 rain soaked lap he was into 13th position before a safety car came out when a McLaren 650S GT3 found the wall between T3 and T4. “I had no idea where we were in the field and my engineer came on the radio and told me we were 13th and I thought that’s awesome. The guys then filled me with information on the radio and we had a bit of a plan. When it went green we just kept pushing” by lap 10 Wood was up to 5th place outright when they took the opportunity to pit under another safety car. McMillan then ran the car for the remainder of the race where they finished 11th outright, the eventual winner was Grand Denyer in a Ferrari from Klark Quinn in a McLaren followed by two Audi R8’s.
The car, a current specification Lamborghini Gallardo is an awesome car in the changing conditions, Glen commented “The car had brilliant grip in the wet, same rules apply as in the dry you just have to push to use all the grip that the car has. What was so important was finding a nice balance with the adjustable traction control on the car as it has a 10 stage traction control dial which goes from 1 to 10 depending on aggression you require. Obviously the balance is between too much interference that will slow you down so you need to find the sweet spot so you can push and still feel what the car is doing. It’s just like the dry”
So what surprised Glen when he got in it for the test? “by far the aero capacity the car has is something I have never experienced and getting your head around the fact that the quicker you go, and the earlier you get back on the throttle then the more grip you get”, Wood explained turn 1 at Sydney Motorsport Park was around 212km/h and the car capable of lap times a V8 supercar can do but achieves it in a completely different way.
What was Glen’s highlight from the weekend? “My highlight was definitely qualifying 4th on Friday, we only got a 20 minute practice session in the morning which I shared with Justin and so to set a 1:29.2 in Q1 was really good. In Q2 we got pipped by Jono Lester (Ferrari 458 Italia GT3) and Steve Owen (Ford GT GT3) and it dropped us to P6. But being pipped by those two guys and the calibre of the guys around us is not something to drop the bottom lip over, Owen is an enduro driver for FPR so it’s good company to be in”
How did it compare to the old MG? “It’s a much easier car to drive than our ‘refined’ MG, but it’s like anything to get the most out of it you have to drive it to perfection and nail every single aspect of a lap. Brake markers, Apex’s, maximise the aero ability of the car and position the car correctly, even trying to release the brake so the front aero can do its job…”
Finally Glen wanted to thank all those that made it happen “I can’t thank everyone enough that helped me get this opportunity, from the M Motorsport team who were fabulous as well as team owner Justin McMillan, Wilson Security, Hi-Tec Oils, Wolfchester Australia, Vince from GB Galvanizing and of course my brother Dale”
Who knows what will come from here, but Glen will be back on track in October at Phillip Island for the penultimate round of the MG Road Racing Championship