Manchester impresses on street circuit debut

Jack Manchester continued to impress in the Audi Sport TT Cup as he made his street circuit debut at the Norisring this weekend.

Displaying excellent pace throughout the race weekend, the 18-year-old made a strong impression around the streets of Nuremberg although left frustrated after an unavoidable incident in Sunday’s race brought a premature end to his race weekend.

Jack headed to Germany seeking to gain as much experience as possible from his street circuit debut. The Thunderhead-sponsored driver got his first taste of track-action in Friday’s free practice session. Unfortunately for Jack, his much-anticipated testing time was reduced from fifty to only eighteen minutes of track-time after a series of incidents involving other drivers.

Despite this, Manchester’s adaptability came to the fore as he quickly got to grips with the circuit and the following morning, Jack’s accelerated development was clear to see as he shaved almost a second of his best time in testing to qualify in 11th for race one, less than a tenth of a second outside the top ten and 12th for race two.

Race One Saturday

As the first race of the weekend got underway, Jack’s pace pointed to a positive weekend despite lining up as one of the least experienced drivers on the grid. The 18-year-old got off to a flying start and Jack moved up to 9th place with his sector times right up there with the field’s top six.

Unfortunately for Jack, his race chances were scuppered as he accrued a drive through-penalty for a jump start. Crossing the line ultimately in P13, Jack had gained more valuable points but more importantly, his pace showed he was capable of competing at the tight-end of the grid.

Race Two Sunday 

The following day saw Jack start in P12 position as he looked to enjoy a positive end to a weekend where he had demonstrated continued progression through the ranks since starting the series back in May.
 
A chaotic start to the race ensued but Jack, as he has done all series, kept his nose out of trouble and for the second time in succession, he demonstrated his racing skills at the start – rising four places to P8 in the first lap.
 
Unfortunately for Jack and some of the other frontrunners a driver crashed ahead of them and pressed on in their damaged car leaking a large deposit of standing fluid on areas of the track heading into turn two, causing a procession of drivers including Jack to skid and ice skate off the track.

Frustrated by his chances being ended through misfortune, Jack endeavoured to focus on the positives from the weekend.
 
“It’s only my third outing in this car and despite not being able to get any proper testing and development, my adaptability and true pace was starting to show. I was hoping to take it up another level in the final race and push into the top six. So, it is a real shame that a weekend that promised so much ended up like this. That said, I cannot be too disheartened as much of this has been out of my hands and Norisring is one of those circuits I have always wanted to race at and now I can say I have done that. It’s a fantastic theatre of a track, with passionate fans and I look forward to coming back here to fight another day.”
 
Head of MB Partners’ Young Driver Academy, Kieren Clark, shared in Jack’s disappointment but was quick to reiterate how far the young driver has come in a short space of time.
 
“You’ve got to feel for Jack this weekend. He is up against some very experienced peers out there, so all the time he can spend in the car is massively valuable. It was a shame that free practice was hampered on Friday but he has still managed to post some impressive lap-times and some of the fastest sector-times going. We started this series from ground zero and Jack is now showing his true colours and competing with many of the front-runners.”
 
After a hectic month on track the 18-year-old will be working closely with his team to continue his development to prepare him for an action-packed racing schedule for the rest of 2017.