BRDC Superstars driver, Jonny Edgar brought his 2023 racing season to a close with an enjoyable GT3 debut with Garage 59 at Donington Park.
At last weekend’s season finale for the British GT Championship, Jonny Edgar made not only his series debut but also his GT3 debut. It was also his first race weekend at the world famous Donington Park circuit.
Ahead of the season finale, private testing took place on Thursday which saw Jonny and his teammate, Miguel Ramos run in wet/dry conditions. Jonny hit the ground running, showing good pace and he helped the Vodafone branded Garage 59 car to 6th place in the combined classification at the end of the test.
Qualifying day was dictated by damp, tricky conditions. Jonny and his team set strong pace despite minimal running on the slick tyres. Jonny set the 9th fastest time in his session against multiple pro drivers and combined with Miguel’s time in Q1, the pair qualified in 6th position for the race.
After not being able to set any times in the morning warm-up thanks to a red flag, Jonny jumped into his stint (after Miguel took the start and stayed out of trouble) in the race and hit the ground running. After starting the stint in 7th and under a safety car period, Jonny was able to keep up with other drivers and even catch some of the more experienced pro drivers after the restart.
As the race went on, Jonny’s inexperience with the GT3 McLaren 720S in the dry caught up with him and the tyre wear caused by pushing hard at the beginning of his stint meant the D.Tolson & Sons driver slipped back a few positions. Jonny crossed the line in 10th position but a time penalty for track limits meant the team finished in 13th instead.
Jonny: “It was a good weekend, I really enjoyed driving the GT car but it did take some getting used to, especially as Thursday was quite wet. We definitely had good pace in the wet, even in both practice sessions on Saturday.
Going into qualifying you had to run the slicks in damp, wet conditions which was quite difficult. The tyres were very cold on my runs in Q2, so I didn’t have the confidence in them to push, especially over the damp parts of the track so I didn’t do too bad especially against all the other pro drivers, but wanted a bit more.
Sunday warmup wasn’t helpful as I didn’t even get a lap thanks to a red flag just as I took over from Miguel which really didn’t help as it meant that going into a dry race I had next to no running in normal slick conditions. So I knew the race was going to be difficult.
I took over from Miguel after he took the start of the race under the safety car period and with just under an hour to go and for the first 10 laps I think I had good speed, I was able to stay with the main pack and catch some of the other pros and then I started to struggle with the tyres. I didn’t know what to expect from the Pirellis and I just pushed a bit too hard at the beginning of my stint.
From then on to the end of the race, it was a challenge but I think now with what I’ve learned from my first weekend I would be a lot better, just from what I learned in the race, but it was a good experience being able to do so many laps. Dealing with the GT4 traffic was something new for me as well but I didn’t struggle with it, I felt I managed it quite well.
Overall, happy with the experience even though I would have liked the end result to be a bit better.”
Jonny Edgar and his team will now be evaluating options for 2024.