Team Parker Racing won their second British GT PMW Expo Team of the Weekend Award of the season at Silverstone yesterday after completing a comprehensive mid-race rebuild in time for its #24 Bentley Continental GT3 to return to the fray.
Race day began in the worst way possible when Rick Parfitt Jnr lost control of his pole-sitting Continental through the high-speed Maggotts and Becketts chicane during wet morning warm-up. The subsequent impact with the wall resulted in minor damage to the car’s left-rear quarter, which required Team Parker’s mechanics to perform some cosmetic surgery before the race.
But that would pale into insignificance when compared with the repairs required to their second Bentley, which hit Hangar Straight’s outside wall head-on after Ian Loggie aquaplaned and spun exiting Becketts with 30 minutes of the three-hour race completed.
The significant impact rearranged all of the car’s front end but without, somehow, affecting its steering, suspension or engine. That meant Loggie could limp back to the pits where his Team Parker mechanics were ready and waiting.
The trail of destruction could be seen along Hangar Straight where various chunks of bodywork had been deposited, which - along with the worsening weather conditions and a stationary GT4 on track - necessitated a Safety Car period.
Back in the pits Team Parker’s crew were faced with replacing almost all of the Bentley’s front body panels, including a new splitter, bumper bar, bumper, grille, radiator and brake ducts. The repair job, aided by a liberal sprinkling of tank tape, lasted an hour, far too long for Loggie and co-driver Callum MacLeod to play a part in the outcome.
Instead, they focussed on doing justice to the team’s unstinting determination.
“We were lucky that the majority of the damage was aesthetic rather than structural, but repairing the car still took a long time,” said team boss Stuart Parker. “There was a fair bit of artistic license going on but the most important thing was to return a safe car to the race, which the boys managed to do in an hour or so.
“It’s not an award we look forward to winning; we’d much rather arrive on Friday, polish the car and welcome it back at the end of the race! But obviously these things happen in motor racing and it is nice that the guys at the coal face week in week out are acknowledged for their hard work when times get tough rather than only when everything goes right.
“They didn’t know when they were beaten on Sunday.”
Silverstone’s prize follows Team Parker also winning the PMW Expo Team of the Weekend Award at Rockingham where the crew worked all day on Saturday to repair chassis damage sustained in practice. The Bentley was ready in time for Sunday morning warm-up and also set the fastest GT3 Am lap of the race in Parfitt Jnr’s hands.