- Contempo Concept-sponsored Sky Tempesta Racing edges closer to Silver-Am championship
- Tse and Froggatt continue impressive run of class podium finishes in British GT
- Duo finishes in P2 after late penalty drops championship leaders out of class race lead
Kevin Tse 謝榮鍵 and his season-long teammate Chris Froggatt have made it a perfect run of 7 class podiums in 7 rounds of the Intelligent Money British GT Championship after yet another spectacular but challenging drive at the Autodromo do Algarve in Portugal. The dynamic duo managed to hold onto their Silver-Am Drivers’ Championship lead with a hard-fought P2 finish, the margin now standing at 14 points. It has proven to be a highly successful British GT campaign for the Contempo Concept-sponsored Sky Tempesta Racing team so far which has also seen them complete a perfect run of podiums, along with 3 class wins in the #93 McLaren 720S GT3 Evo to solidify their championship title bid.
The 4.65 km Autodromo do Algarve track located near the town of Portimao gave British GT teams and drivers a new challenge, being the only flyaway race on the 9-round calendar. For both Tse and Froggatt, this was an unfamiliar track, heading there for the first time to contest Round 7 of the highly competitive series. This track is known to present unique challenges with its tight corners and dramatic elevation changes, which set the scene to make the sprint filled with enthralling racing action.
The Silver-Am championship leaders used the 2 test sessions at the start of the weekend to get familiar with the formidable track, following up with a busy Friday which included two Free Practices and both Qualifying sessions. It was a struggle for the British team to find an optimal set-up given the changing track conditions and lack of experience. However, race strategy, which has been a strong suit of the Sky Tempesta Racing squad throughout the season due to valuable technical assistance from McLaren racing experts Garage 59 this season, would be of utmost importance in this longer 3-hour race.
Continuing to struggle in finding the perfect balance for the #93 McLaren, the team only managed to qualify P13 overall, which was P3 in class. Under a hot sun and skyrocketing track temperatures, Tse was tasked with the race start where he managed to put down his early challenges and promoted himself up a couple of positions among the 30-car grid and up to P2 in class. An early Safety Car allowed the team to do a driver change and hand Froggatt the responsibility of his first stint. However, a second untimely Safety Car caution soon followed and Sky Tempesta Racing was demoted to P4 in class with Tse jumping back in the car.
The middle part of the race was when Tse started to build up confidence in the car as he managed to string together some bold overtaking moves. He moved up the order and was contesting the top overall runners, eventually promoting himself up to P3 overall by the end of this regulated driving time. A strong stint by Tse set his teammate up for the last hour of the race as the undercut strategy worked brilliantly and put the car in the class lead.
The British driver showcased excellent tire management and resilient defending skills for the entirety of his stint and looked on to make it a fourth win in a row before he was hit with a drive-through penalty due to a pre-emptive move on a backmarker at the Safety Car restart. Unfortunately, the team had to give up the class lead but the massive margin Froggatt had built up came to assistance as he still managed to come out P2 in class, which is where he remained as the checkered flag fell.
It was a bittersweet moment for the team, having to give up a guaranteed class win in the last 12 minutes of the race, however, Tse and Froggatt rejoiced with a strong showing and a podium result at a track that proved to be much more challenging than anticipated. 27 valuable championship points have kept the duo in the Silver-Am lead as they head to the final 2 rounds of the season. Tse will be back in the UK for Round 8 at Brands Hatch in September to continue his podium-scoring momentum.
Kevin Tse | Driver, #93 Sky Tempesta Racing McLaren 720S GT3 Evo
“It was a pretty challenging weekend. Being a new track for Chris and me, coming into the weekend we were a little bit behind as we did no testing. We were unable to find a sweet spot for the car set up during the entire weekend and we were a bit on the back foot. Luckily, in the race, we had better pace and managed to get up to third overall and first in class with an hour to go. Unfortunately, Chris passed a GT4 car at the Safety Car restart just a metre before the control line. Hence, we got a drive-through penalty or else we would have won our class easily because we were way ahead of the second-placed car. It’s unfortunate, but we got solid points and still a good result. Two more weekends to go, looking forward to it!”