The Thunderhead Carlin Racing team endured a torrid home event at Silverstone for the fourth round of the European Le Mans Series this weekend. Rear brake failure during the opening Free Practice session on Friday meant that Jack Manchester was a passenger as he was sent into the barriers at high-speed. With the team forced to put in a herculean effort to build a completely new car ahead of qualifying, the weekend became severely compromised.
Following a burst brake line that sent Manchester into the barriers at Stowe, the Thunderhead Carlin driver received care from the onsite medical team before being transferred by road to hospital where it was confirmed he had sustained two broken ribs which would keep him out of the rest of racing action. Harry Tincknell and Ben Barnicoat were therefore joined in the Dallara P217 by Harrison Newey. Having worked throughout the night on a spare chassis leased from World Endurance Championship team Cetilar Racing, the team were able to leave the pit lane and take part in qualifying on Saturday morning.
As per regulations both Barnicoat and Newey, neither of whom had set a lap so far during the weekend, had to partake in the ten-minute qualifying session. With the team forced to carry out a driver change during the short session, which also acted as a shakedown for the new car, both drivers set a lap to get into the race starting from 17th on the grid.
Newey got behind the wheel for the race start and held position well as the 4 Hours of Silverstone got underway. However, over the course of the race, incidents including difficult weather conditions and problems resulting from the previous day’s accident meant the #45 car returned to the garage for substantial work twice during the race. Determined to have the car finish the race on track, the necessary work was carried out and, in the hands of Tincknell, the team took the flag in 32nd position having gathered plenty of important data on the Silverstone circuit.
Speaking after his accident, Manchester said, “Obviously I was very disappointed that I wasn’t able to take part in the rest of the weekend but I’d like to say a big thank you to all of the marshals and medical staff who looked after me at Silverstone and the John Radcliffe hospital. It’s testament to the strength of the Dallara chassis that I was able to walk away from a high-speed impact with minimal injuries. My aim is to be back in the car as soon as possible. At the forefront of our minds though is the news from Spa. I want to extend my condolences to the family and loved ones of Anthoine Hubert; the news of his passing in the Formula Two race was devastating to hear this weekend.”
Tincknell said of the weekend, “The main thing to take from such an awful weekend of motorsport is Jack is OK after his huge crash on Friday and will make a full recovery. Carlin did an amazing job to build up a new chassis overnight for us to race on Saturday. Obviously, we had some issues during the race but we will come back stronger at Spa. Harrison did a fantastic job to stand in for Jack and drove with speed and maturity beyond his years.”
Barnicoat added, “It was a really challenging weekend for everyone in the motorsport community, but we are pleased that Jack walked away from him crash on Friday and was able to join us in the paddock on Saturday. The team pulled together brilliantly to rebuild the car and although the race didn’t go to plan we can still be proud of the effort put in and know that we will come back fighting hard for Spa.”
Substituting at the very last minute, and having started the race, Newey said, “Firstly, this weekend the motorsport community lost a family member. I was teammates with Anthoine and send my deepest condolences to his friends and family.
“Secondly, I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who welcomed me to the Thunderhead Carlin Racing team so warmly – Jack, Harry and Ben gave me a lot of insight and help. It was an interesting race and I had a good start; tackling the tricky conditions in the opening laps was actually quite enjoyable and despite later issues in the race, I think the whole team can hold their heads high. I wish everyone well for the rest of the season and hope that Jack is back out there soon.”