Friday write up

Day one of the British GT meeting at Spa-Francorchamps provided a mix of highs and lows for Matty on Friday, as searing practice pace gave way to mechanical maladies and condemned the Ebor GT Maserati to the back of the grid starting positions for both of Saturday’s one-hour races.

The 21-year-old and his new charge hit the ground running in suitably impressive style in free practice one, with an impressively consistent pace over the long runs and a headline-grabbing effort on their ninth lap of 2:31.968.

It was the fastest time ever produced by a GT4 car at Spa and one that put the GranTurismo MC GT4 firmly at the top of the timesheets, with a 1.2 second gap to the car in second and full of confidence of finding, even more, performance as the meeting progressed.

A change in track conditions for the second one-hour session saw the pace significantly reduced for the whole GT3 and GT4 fields, with Matty’s fastest effort almost two seconds slower than he went in the morning, however his 2:33.996 benchmark was enough to again top the time sheets, this time by just under half a second.

It was a time set or a used set of tyres and having moved the entry again to the head of the times, allowed the team the luxury of giving Matty’s new team-mate Charlie Fagg an extended run in the car to learn the circuit and build on his pace.

Returning to the pits at the end of the session, the car ground to a halt with a failed actuator pump and with no replacement part available, the race was on to source one from elsewhere and get the car out for qualifying.

Whilst a replacement was found locally, it was unable to be procured forcing the team to instead go to Antwerp.

And while that spare will enable to the car to race on Saturday, it meant that it was unable to take to the track and lay down a challenge for pole position.

However, with the wide open spaces available at Spa and having already demonstrated an ability to carve through the field this season, Matty remains upbeat for his chances.

Speaking at the end of the day’s action, he said: “Practice was really productive, we were quick from the start and I felt very comfortable in the car.

“We were fastest in both sessions, with the second proving to be particularly useful as it allowed us to give Charlie more seat time in the car and allow him to work on getting to know the track and building up his pace.

“When the pump failed and we knew we weren’t going to be able to get a replacement to get out for qualifying, we did what we could to try and repair it with my dad joining the mechanics to see what could be done, but it was a totally failed part so we had to just sit out the session.

“You can never predict what’s going to happen in a race, and we’re going to need a bit of luck to get a strong result tomorrow, but that’s true of every race so let’s just see what Saturday brings.”