Quaife sets the pace for McLaren GT at Silverstone

Phil Quaife delivered a stand-out performance in the Blancpain Endurance Series season finale at Silverstone last weekend, despite his impressive drive ultimately going unrewarded.The Kent racer, who has plied his trade with CRS Racing in the Le Mans Series for much of this season, made the transition from Ferrari to McLaren look effortless at the British Grand Prix venue where development of the factory-supported #60 MP4-12C GT3 continued in the three-hour enduro.This was the first time Quaife had been back behind the wheel of the machine since the series’ blue riband 24 Hours of Spa in July. Having found a good balance throughout practice, the 25-year-old confirmed the car’s potential in qualifying with a lap quick enough for sixth overall and just 0.3 seconds shy of the front row.That was despite his best run being severely compromised by a slower GT4 car when sector times suggested he would have been significantly faster.Come Sunday’s start, Phil wasted little time proving that point by immediately jumping to fourth on the opening lap while remaining mindful not to punish the 12C GT3’s tyres too early. With the rubber fully up to operating temperature however it wasn’t long before third place was also his.Quaife was nose-to-tail with the leaders by the end of his hour-long stint when team-mate Klaas Hummel took over behind the wheel. Unfortunately the Dutchman suffered a minor incident which saw the McLaren slide into the Luffield gravel trap, meaning time was lost before it could be recovered.Adam Christodoulou did his best to battle back into contention but when he was forced to pit for fuel from 15th with just ten minutes remaining, a technical issue developed meaning the car was unable to return to the race.Phil Quaife: “There are so many positives for the team and McLaren GT to take forward from this weekend, with the 12C GT3 continuing its development programme ahead of 2012. Personally it’s been one of my strongest performances of the season too. The Alpina M6 that raced for the first time was untouchable in qualifying and I’m sure the organisers will look at its balance of performance, but aside from that I definitely had the pace for second on the grid. It’s a shame I was blocked on my flying lap but at least I could carry that potential into the race where the car felt fantastic in the opening stint. Although it’s unfortunate the result didn’t match our potential, it’s rewarding to have helped McLaren GT unlock extra performance before customers take delivery of the car next season.”