Liz Halliday overcame starting dead last in the opening round of this year’s Lotus Cup UK at Silverstone on Sunday to score a sensational podium finish on her series debut.
The professional dual sportswoman, and most successful female driver in American Le Mans Series history, put her experience of top-level sports-prototype racing to good use by scything through the 40+ car field en route to fifth overall and second place in the hotly contested 2-Eleven category.
With a multitude of red flags restricting track time during Friday’s running, Liz was hoping that Sunday’s additional free practice and qualifying sessions would help her to continue learning the John Danby Racing-prepared 2-Eleven in time for the afternoon’s hour-long race. Those hopes were dashed however when a problem with the car’s supercharger in the morning prevented her from setting a qualifying time.
Despite the complexity of the problem, the team worked wonders to machine a new part from scratch in time for the start where Halliday lined up at the tail of the field.
The race’s one-hour duration and Silverstone’s wide-open Grand Prix layout would at least provide ample opportunities for making up the lost ground. Some decisive overtaking moves, no doubt honed during her days in the ALMS and at Le Mans, also made the difference as Liz consistently set the 2-Eleven class pace to steadily work her way back into contention.
An excellent pit-stop, timed to perfection by the JDR crew, played its part in Halliday continuing to pick up places as the race drew to a close. So strong was her and the team’s performance that another lap would have almost certainly seen her take fourth overall.
Liz Halliday: “It was great to be back racing again and an excellent result in the circumstances. The JDR team did a phenomenal job to repair the supercharger in time for the race as it wasn’t just a case of replacing a broken component. We’re here to win but second in class on my debut would have been a fantastic way to begin the campaign without the dramas, so I’m more than happy with the result. In some ways it was good to get some overtaking practice in before Brands Hatch which will be very busy on the short circuit!”
John Danby, JDR Team Owner: “Fighting back to finish second in class from the tail of the grid was a remarkable achievement for Liz in her first outing in such a competitive series. We have some changes to make to the car in upcoming tests that should help performance in time for the next round at Brands Hatch.”
Halliday will be back in Lotus Cup UK action at Brands Hatch on May 18-20.