Dan McKay put in another strong performance in the GT4 European Series at the weekend (July 12-14) as he recorded a fifth podium of the season.
Driving with team-mate Benjamin Lessennes in the duo’s Equipe Verschuur McLaren 570S GT4, the Scottish driver fended off heavy pressure from championship rivals to help secure third- and fourth-place finishes at Zandvoort in the Netherlands.
Dan did an excellent job during his qualifying session on Saturday morning on a damp circuit as rain began to fall. He put in a quick lap in the early minutes which held up as worsening conditions meant no one else was able to challenge his time, securing pole position and a Certina watch.
Ben, who qualified in the first session, started the opening race in ninth position but quickly made his way up to seventh which then became sixth as he capitalised on contact between two cars ahead of him.
Some rapid laps before the pit stop and excellent work by the team meant Dan left the pits in third position and straight into a battle with his brother, Euan, who then had to serve a penalty for a short pit stop.
Local driver Olivier Hart, in the V8 Racing Camaro, got past the Scot who then came under pressure from Jan Kisiel’s Mercedes behind. However, Dan held on well and crossed the line in fourth place, scoring valuable championship points.
Sunday’s contest was disrupted by a red flag at the start of the race, involving cars further down the field. Once it restarted, some 25 minutes later, Dan held the lead once again under pressure from title rival Kisiel.
A brief Safety Car 15 minutes in gave him some breathing space, before Simon Knapp in the MDM BMW, who had got past Kisiel, snuck by the McLaren just before the pit window opened.
After the stop, Ben came out of the pits in third place, just behind the leaders, and quickly worked to try and get past Riccardo van der End’s Ekris BMW ahead. Unfortunately, he was unable to find a way by, settling for third place and another podium finish for the pair.
The results leave Dan and Ben just 22 points off the top of the championship standings with two final races at the Nürburgring in Germany over the weekend of 30 August – 1 September.
“We didn’t deliver what we could have; you’d think a fourth and third is a good weekend but we had quite a lot of pace on Euan in the Ekris BMW in the first race and they had a drive-through penalty which they took a long time to serve and by not serving it we lost time we could have made up.
“From the moment I got within a second of Euan I was told he had a penalty for track limits, so don’t push, but three or four laps went by and we were losing what felt like half a second a lap.
“We thought we could have been fighting the KTM for second at the end, so by the time the BMW did go in the KTM and the Camaro were too far up the road to catch. It was frustrating to be stuck behind but that’s racing.
“We had a good start to race two. We did well to keep the Mercedes behind us because it seemed to have a lot more pace at the start than we had. The BMW was in a different category altogether at that time of the race, but the McLaren’s tyre wear is good so we had a strong car at the end of the race.
“The Ekris and MDM BMWs were in front of us by that point and they’re quicker in a straight line than we are. We can’t do anything about it in the corners, so we did well to pull some points on the Mercedes, but we think we had pace for a second and third rather than fourth and third.
“If previous form is anything to go on the McLaren will be strong at the Nürburgring, but last year they won both races at Misano as well and the BoP was incredibly harsh, so we’re learning previous form is no guarantee of future success.
“We know we have a car that should be strong, but we have to go in and maximise everything. Mathematically it is possible to win the championship but well need some luck too.”