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British GT

Penultimate lap contact leads to Spa-Francorchamps heartbreak for Smith

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Penultimate lap contact leads to Spa-Francorchamps heartbreak for Smith

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McLaren Driver Development Programme driver Josh Smith and team-mate James Dorlin were once again dealt a blow of bad luck at Spa-Francorchamps, after penultimate lap contact took them out of the race whilst leading the GT4 class.

Starting from fourth place on the grid in the #4 Tolman Motorsport McLaren 570S GT4, Dorlin made a superb getaway, and before the field had made it to Eau Rouge, was already leading the class.

Throughout the race the #4 McLaren lead a total of 41 laps, the only break in that was when the pitstops came for driver swap, briefly dropping them out of the top spot for three laps.

At the end of the penultimate lap it was looking good for Tolman Motorsport and Smith, who had done a solid job of defending throughout his stint.

Unfortunately, lady luck was once again not on their side, as contact with a fellow GT4 competitor through the Bus Stop chicane caused damage to the radiator of the McLaren, Smith forced to retire from the race just after the hairpin on the last lap.

While Smith was unable to finish the last lap, the #4 McLaren was classified twentieth overall, and sixth in class.

The British GT championship heads to Brands Hatch for the next round on the weekend of the 3-4 August.

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#4 Tolman Motorsport McLaren 570S GT4 - Josh Smith quotes

"The experience of Spa was brilliant, I loved every second there as it is such an amazing track, it’s definitely my favourite circuit. I feel like this was reflected in my driving too, as we always had a lot of pace throughout the weekend, I just can’t wait to have the opportunity hopefully to go back there and race again.

"We put endless amounts of preparation in before an event, physically training and on simulators; The simulators help massively as you can try different lines and gears for different corners. Therefore, when I get to the track, Iknow exactly what I need to do and how I am going to do it. It just massively shortens the learning process.

"Heading into the race we were expecting to be second or first by the end of the first lap; I have every faith in James [Dorlin], he’s a quick lad who knows what he’s doing. So, I did expect to be in a strong position by the end of Lap 1, but I was surprised that he managed to do it all round Turn 1!

"Obviously, it was a disappointment to retire from the race on the last lap, especially after leading it from the start, but that’s racing!

"I’m now looking ahead to Brands Hatch, my expectations are always the same for every event, whether I know the track well or not, we will regroup and head into the weekend with a fresh outlook.

"I’m always aiming for the win, or at least finish on the podium, at the end of the day I am professional driver in the making and need to perform like one at every track regardless to my knowledge of the circuit."

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Josh Smith dominates GT4 Class until taken out of race

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Josh Smith dominates GT4 Class until taken out of race

PRESS RELEASE

Frustration continued for McLaren Driver Development Programme driver Josh Smith and team-mate James Dorlin at the Donington Park round of the British GT when the McLaren 570S GT4 was taken out of the race whilst leading the class.

After putting the Tolman Motorsport car on the front row of the GT4 grid, Smith took control of the race with a move into Redgate to take the lead.

Over the next 45 minutes, the 20-year-old built up a comfortable gap at the front of the class, showing promising pace and setting things up for a strong finish.

Unfortunately, before he had chance to hand the car over to team-mate Dorlin the race was over; A GT3 class car collided with the McLaren through the Esses towards the end of the stint, putting the car out of the race with a broken front-left suspension.

After another disappointing non-finish Smith and Dorlin head into the next round of the championship in eighth place, while the Tolman Motorsport team retain third in the Teams' championship.

The championship heads across to Belgium for the next round as the competitors take on the iconic Spa-Francorchamps on the weekend of 20/21 July.

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The weekend was really strong on everyone’s part. The team as a whole and James and I delivered throughout the whole event.

This was proven from the word go as we were on the pace straight away in Free Practice 1, this just spring boarded us into a solid qualifying and then proceeded to be dominant in the race.

Obviously a very frustrating end to another very strong and dominant performance that was looking like we were going to take our maiden victory.

However this just proves to us as a team and myself that even though we didn’t get the results, what we are doing is obviously working.

So it just motivates me more to keep pushing. At the end of the day or luck will change and we will get the results we deserve.

I intend to prepare even better for Spa as I haven’t had much track time round there. So the preparation before hand is going to be key.

I am so exited to get my teeth sunk into the race weekend as it is so iconic and just cant believe I have been given the opportunity to race round there.

I’m extremely exited and eager to try and extract the most from the car.
— Josh Smith

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