Daniel Lloyd wrote his name into the record books at a blustery and wet Thruxton on Sunday, 29th April, by becoming the first ever Porsche Carrera Cup GB Scholar to claim victory – and all in only the sixth race of his debut season in the prestigious one-make championship.
In a wildly unpredictable encounter, beamed live across the UK on ITV4 and ITV4 HD, the Huddersfield rookie overcame serious understeer issues caused by a missing front splitter on his Porsche 911 GT3 to somehow conquer the treacherous, slippery conditions on slick tyres and claim an emotional triumph.
The result, coupled with fifth place in round five, also hoisted him into the championship top three and more accolades followed the second encounter when Daniel was named the Porsche Carrera Cup GB ‘Driver of the Weekend’
“It was such a hard race, we’ve had a hard weekend full stop, so it’s just amazing to come away with my first win in Porsche – unbelievable!”, said the 20-year-old, “Massive thanks to everyone who has made this happen, Porsche GB for the Scholarship prize, the guys at Team Parker Racing, my fantastic sponsors and, of course, my family – especially my dad who’s been there through thick and thin.”
Starting eighth on the grid, following a tough rain-affected qualifying session on Saturday, 28th April, Daniel made a blistering start and rocketed through from the fourth row to slice his way into the top four. With terrific momentum, he soon grabbed third out of the complex on the run to Noble before a remarkable move on points leader Michael Meadows for second at the fearsome Church Corner.
Although all of the main players started on slicks, the track was still very slippery from earlier rain but Daniel coped with the conditions superbly and made his intentions clear with the fastest lap on the fourth tour. He then set about reeling in race leader Rory Butcher, closing to within 0.9 seconds before losing the front splitter on the kerbs at the complex.
Causing an immediate loss of stability and downforce, the TNT Post, TSD, Creechurch Private Wealth, Propack and TPA Yorkshire-backed driver faced a hard task to preserve his podium challenge but more rain into the second half of the race lessened the impact of the damage.
Over the final four laps, Daniel ate into Butcher’s increased two second advantage and on lap 19 at Church he served up a sensational pass to grab the lead. Butcher didn’t want to cede and held the inside line up Woodham Hill but at the chicane an attempt to out-brake Daniel led to the Scotsman losing the rear of his car – leaving the West Yorkshireman no option but to go wide to avoid contact.
Holding first place into the penultimate tour, Daniel came under increasing pressure from experienced Porsche campaigner Glynn Geddie but he held firm and took the flag 0.5 seconds clear on lap 21. He also set the fastest lap of those drivers remaining on slick tyres with a time of 1m26.405 seconds.
“After the splitter came off I thought I was done”, he reflected, “As the track was drying more and more I started to lose touch with Rory [Butcher] and Michael [Meadows] was catching me again, then it started to spit with rain again and so the problems with the splitter didn’t matter as much. It was still a big problem, and the car was a handful, but not as bad as it was before.”
The earlier fifth round began under Safety Car conditions, so wet was the track surface, and on the first racing lap at the complex – lap four – he moved up from fifth to fourth position but lost the front splitter on the second full-speed tour so again suffered with handling problems. Even so, Daniel coped admirably and although slipping to fifth he held the place to the chequered flag.
Porsche Carrera Cup GB now takes a six-week break from action with rounds seven and eight of the season scheduled to take place over the weekend 9th/10th June at the first of two ‘home’ events for Daniel, the annual visit to Oulton Park Island Circuit.
The hiatus in the championship calendar actually works perfectly for the Huddersfield racer as just a fortnight from now, on Sunday, 13th May, he will run in the Jane Tomlinson Leeds Half Marathon on behalf of his nominated 2012 charity the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice. To support Daniel and this most worthy of causes, please visit http://www.justgiving.com/daniellloydracing-halfmarathon
2012 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship Driver Standings (after Rd6):1st Michael Meadows, 117pts; 2nd Jonas Gelzinis, 88pts; 3rd Daniel Lloyd, 74pts