The AmDTuning.com with Cobra Exhausts team showed glimpses of its potential as the new British GT Championship campaign burst into life at Oulton Park last weekend.
The event marked the start of a new era for the West Thurrock-based outfit, with the Cheshire circuit playing host to the team’s first race with its all new Mercedes-AMG GT3.
The weekend started well in the opening practice session with Ryan Ratcliffe posting the fifth quickest time in damp conditions, although the team was prevented from running through its planned programme by an accident involving two GT4 cars that led to the session being halted just before the halfway stage.
It meant team-mate Lee Mowle had to wait until the second session to get his turn behind the wheel, with the two drivers lapping within half a second of each other en-route to the eighth best time.
With two one hour races during the opening meeting of the season, each driver took to the track for their own qualifying session, with Lee out first to determine the starting position for race one.
However, Lee was unable to show his true pace when contact at the final corner after the Aston Martin of Derek Johnston turned in on him damaged both the suspension and steering on the car.
Having not yet had time to post a timed lap before the clash, Lee was left ninth on the grid for race one, with Ryan forced to soldier on with the damaged car for his qualifying session en-route to the tenth best time for race two.
With repairs carried out for Monday’s opening race, Lee took his place behind the wheel for the first stint and produced a strong start to immediately fight his way to sixth before getting ahead of the Ginetta of Harry Gottsacker with an impressive move on lap eight.
But his charge up the order would end on lap ten when he went off into the barriers on the run to Shell Oils. Although he was able to rejoin, the incident would drop the damaged car well down the order, with Lee starting a recovery drive that Ryan would then continue during his stint to bring the car to the flag in tenth spot.
Repairs to the car were completed just minutes before the start of race two with both drivers lapping quickly and consistently to reward the team with a seventh place finish in a race that was halted early after an accident at Hilltop; one that Lee was fortunate to avoid being caught up in.
Following the fight against the clock to repair the car, AmDTuning.com with Cobra Exhausts picked up the PMW Expo Team of the Weekend Award, whilst Lee and Ryan end the weekend eighth in the championship standings.
Lee Mowle said: “Although the results aren’t what we hoped for, there’s no doubt that we had could have come away from the weekend with a podium. The car handled superbly and provided loads of confidence behind the wheel; things just conspired against us. While it’s a case of what might have been from Oulton Park, the two hour race at Rockingham should suit us and we’re looking forward to a strong weekend there.”