Aleksander Schjerpen travelled to Donington Park last weekend for the final round of the 2016 British GT Championship. Having come close to success in the past at the Derby circuit, Schjerpen and teammate Sean Byrne were hoping their strengths in the past over two-hour races would come to the fore and earn them a good result to finish the season.
Byrne and Schjerpen have proven to be a fast driver pairing in 2016, with Byrne proving to have acclimatised very well to the unique characteristics of British GT racing.
With both of Saturday’s free practice sessions run on a heavily wet Donington Park Grand Prix circuit and with the forecast for a largely dry afternoon qualifying session, Sean and Aleksander used the sessions to work through a variety of options and settings.
The two-part qualifying started shortly after 4pm on Saturday afternoon on a damp circuit. Sean took part in the first AM session putting in some very solid times before Aleksander took over for the final 10-minute Pro session. Finding it difficult to get a good rhythm during his run, their combined times would put the pair in 12th for Sunday’s race, but confident they could put on a strong display and progress over the two-hour race.
Using Sunday’s morning warm-up to perform some last minute systems checks, it was straight down to business when the race got underway just after 1pm. Sean made a superb start to the race on the opening lap to move up one place before the Safety car was deployed to deal with a first corner incident. When racing resumed on lap four, Byrne resumed his flying form, now running in tenth.
A further spate of bad luck would hit the Irishman however as he was caught out on oil coming into the Melbourne loop on lap seven, dropping him well down the field. With his pace unaffected by the spin, Byrne set off on a charge to make up the places lost. Staying on track until close to the end of the pitstop window, Byrne dived into the pits from just outside the top ten in GT4, handing the car over to Norway’s Aleksander Schjerpen.
Feeling ready for the challenge, Schjerpen left the pits hoping he could emulate his teammate Nathan Freke’s progress. After two hours of hard racing, Schjerpen brought the VA Tech and Garage15 Ginetta G55 across the line tenth in GT4.
Aleksander Schjerpen – #40 Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4:
“We started the weekend off with two wet practices, where we did not put in too much effort with these since Qualifying and the race would be dry. Qualifying went ok, we had a very good setup on the car and I improved my own lap time by about 0.5 seconds. Starting the race from P12, Sean made a good start, the spin during his stint was unfortunate, but he did a mega job making up for it. I got in the car and struggled to be consistent, but all in all, it was a good race. Looking at the year as a whole we have had our share of bad luck, but Sean has been a great teammate, and the Century boys and girls have made each race weekend great however the result!”