Manchester battles the heat to finish in the points at Silverstone

Jack Manchester returned to British soil this previous weekend to compete in round three of the Radical Challenge Championship at Silverstone where he secured more championship points.

Having enjoyed an immensely successful debut at Silverstone last year and a sensational weekend at Spa at the end of May, the 18-year old entered the weekend in confident mood. Silverstone was not going to be an easy test though; a combination of intense heat and a driving line up which included professionals and previous race winners meant a stern challenge lay in wait for the youngster.

The weekend started out with practice sessions on the Thursday and Friday where the Scorpio Motorsport team experimented with the setup as they searched for the perfect combination heading into the weekend.

Saturday morning played host to the weekend’s qualifying session, where the grid for races one and two was determined by the drivers’ fastest and second fastest laps respectively.  Jack’s fastest time of 2:05.450 was enough to qualify him in 8th place for race one in Silverstone. Jack’s consistency meant that his second fastest time, 2:05.481, was just a mere 0.031 seconds slower than his fastest time – meaning that he would start race two up in 6th place!

Race One

Blistering heat set the scene for race one at Silverstone as the hottest day of the year so far provided testing conditions for both man and machine. Starting from 8th; Jack’s day got off to a tough start as the race was delayed leaving the drivers to wait it out in their cars in the sun. On the way to the grid, the car's water and oil temperatures were through the roof and as the race was about to start the engine management system automatically cut the power due to the intense heat.  By the time Jack restarted his sluggish car, he was in 16th position.

Although his race had not started ideally but the MB Partners Young Driver’s persistency was clear to see. After just a few laps of racing, Jack had already navigated his way past cars and was lapping as quickly as the front runners.

After passing the #86 car for 12th position, Jack now had his first bit of clear air and began to post even faster laps times – setting his second, first and third fastest laps on laps 6,7 and 8. Unfortunately for Jack it was too late to improve his position any further as the chequered flag dropped for the 10-lap race, with the 18-year-old crossing the line in 12th place.

Race Two

Race Two at Silverstone was contested on Sunday morning and Jack lined up 6th on the grid and got off the line well, despite losing a position. Jack then stayed on the tail of the #4 car, keeping within a second for the entirety of the race but just couldn’t seem to find a way to take the position away from the #4.

Jack’s persistence was rewarded when a retiring car on the penultimate lap meant that Jack was promoted back into his starting position. Jack crossed the line in 6th place to conclude a less dramatic, but solid performance in the Scorpio Motorsport Radical.

Race Three

The final race of the weekend was the endurance race and Jack lined up in 7th place on the grid and looking forward to capitalising on the longer race time to chase down the other cars. Unfortunately Jack was given the news just before the race that championship rules meant that due to his win in Spa he faced a maximum 20 second time success penalty which would be added onto his pit stop.

Jack had the inside line at the rolling start and was squeezed into 8th place. The Thunderhead-sponsored driver remained tight on the back of the leading pack and at the end of lap two had managed to get himself back up to 7th place. 

Displaying strong race pace, Jack was tight on the back of the reigning champion in the #1 car and was applying the pressure. The pressure subsequently forced the #1 car to push too hard and it was handed a 5 second time penalty for exceeding track limits. Jack, driving within the limits of the race track, was staying with the #1 car but couldn’t find a way past.

Coming in for his 45 second stop which had the maximum success handicap of a further 20 seconds for his success in Spa, Jack could only watch as his rivals pulled out of the pits and re-joined the race way down in 19th place. With 9 laps remaining, Jack began fighting his way back up the order and was delivering some of the fastest laps on the track. On a mission to regain all the positions lost in the lengthy stop, Jack began overtaking handfuls of drivers on nearly every corner of the track. 

By the time the 40 minutes had elapsed, Jack had made him way from 19th up to 9th place to position him nicely inside the top ten - a remarkable result considering the added 20-second success penalty! Jack was later promoted to 8th place after a time penalty was added to another car which gave him even more points to take home. 

Jack reflected on a positive weekend back on British soil. “It was a good weekend, we displayed some strong performances and dealt with the challenges effectively. I feel we could have collected a podium here at Silverstone but the time handicap for my success in Spa ruled that out in the final race. We struggled with the heat in the first race but we now know what we need to do next time to avoid cooking the engine. I have analysed the data and there is lots to build on and I am looking forward to my next race in the Radical ”

Kieren Clark, Head of MB Partners Young Driver, saw this as a good but challenging weekend for Jack. “Silverstone was a good test for Jack, battling the heat and a competitive field. Jack’s pace was good all weekend and he deserves to be leaving with more points. There is always room for development and Jack is a very quick learner! ”

Back-to-back racing weekends means that Jack is straight back in action again this weekend as the Radical Championship heads to Rockingham for round four.

#15 Jack Manchester

Qualifying: 8th (2:05.450, +1.941)
Qualifying 2nd Fastest: 6th (2:05.4871, +1.749_

Race 1: 12th
Race 2: 6th
Race 3: 8th