In Race Reports

The 2021 racing season may have started on schedule for the NLS at Nurburgring Nordschleife, but Covid-19 is still affecting BRDC SuperStar Ben Tuck’s season. After NLS 1 was snowed off in March, last weekend’s second outing at the Eifel saw Ben unexpectedly take on temporary driving duties in the Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M2 CS taking an impressive class front row start, leading the race from the end of Lap 1 to the first pit stop and claiming the fastest lap and initial lap record for the BMW M2 CS.

Since Walkenhorst compete in multiple championships, Ben’s regular teammate, David Pittard was racing in Monza, whereas his second teammate, Christian Krognes was still unable to travel due to Covid-19 restrictions, meaning Ben had to swap from the BMW M6 GT3 Pro car to the distinctive number 888 BMW M2 CS running in the Cup 5 class. 

Based on the BMW M2, the CS is an entirely new car for the 2021 season having been under development during 2020. Ben briefly got to grips with the new car during Friday testing after switching from the number 35 BMW M6 GT3, the sister car to his own number 34 car in which he’ll be racing this year. Race day dawned bright and dry on Saturday and Ben took to the track for qualifying. Quickly dialling into the unfamiliar levels of power and grip, Ben traded pole times and at the end of the 90-minute session he had secured 2nd position for the start.

Image: Swoosh Motorsport

Determined to convert the potential of the car, Walkenhorst nominated Ben to take the start. As the race got underway, he stuck with the leader as the pair broke away from the rest of the pack on Lap 1, seizing his chance for the lead as the pair neared the end of the lap. Starting lap 2 as the leader, Ben then set about extending the lead until the end of his 60-minute stint. By the time that he rolled into the pits, Ben had claimed what would remain the fastest lap of the race in his class and was leading by over 10 seconds, almost half a minute ahead of 3rd position.

“That was fun!” remarked Ben after his stint. “The M2 CS is a great car, lots of power and the team had it really well set-up”.

However, the good fortune was to run out as during a later pit stop the car suffered a fuel pump problem from 3rd position which demoted them down the order. A disappointing outcome but Ben remained upbeat, “I’m gutted that we lost a nearly guaranteed podium, but we know that the car is good, and I really enjoyed driving it. It was good experience and with P2 in quali, pitting in the lead of the race and taking fastest lap I’m happy with what we achieved, but I can’t wait to get back into the M6 GT3 Pro car”!

Ben next races in NLS 3 at Nurburgring Nordschleife on 1st May 2021.

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