Kevin Estre: Mid-Ohio Recap

I didn’t really know what to expect about this Weekend in Mid Ohio, as I didn’t know the track and the last time we’ve been out with our McLaren in North America was not great, as we had an awful weekend in Road America. Anyway, I was full of confidence as our performance in the Spa 24h was good and some journalist named me as the best GT driver at this moment…
Thursday, during the promoter test day the goal was to learn the track and to set up the car. I learned the track pretty quickly but the car was not great when we first went out with a massive turn in oversteer. We were a lot better at the end of the day but the car was still not perfect.
On Friday the official practice went well and our car was feeling much better with a great braking performance, but while following other cars I could see that we were really down on power exiting the corners and on straight line speed.  I was really happy about my qualifying run as I almost achieved a prefect lap. The car felt great and my engineer, Steve Conover set up perfect tire pressure. It was only good for P5 0.7s off the pole unfortunately.
kestreMy start for the Saturday race wasn’t great and I lost 3 positions. I got one back right after Turn 1 and then we went full course yellow. My restart was good and I could maintain my position being in the exhaust from Skeen exiting T1. I tried a late braking on the outside line from T2 and could pass Skeen and be side by side with Lewis down the straight. Our engine (restricted by BOP) is what it is and I couldn’t keep up, so I went back in the slipstream from Lewis. After that the race went quite smoothly while I was a couple of cars back from the Porsche. We had a safety car towards the end and went back to green for 10min. The grip was really bad at the restart and I was struggling to stay on track but I finally passed the checkered flag in 6th place.
I started P7 in Race 2 based on the fastest lap from Race 1. Our start was a bit better than the day before and I lost 2 positions. We went full course yellow right after the 1st corner. I had a great restart and overtook Montecalvo right on the green flag call. After that, the race was quite similar to the day before as I couldn’t pass the Porsche. We were faster in the twisty part but loosing a lot on each acceleration. Like Saturday, we had a safety car and at the restart, this time it’s Skeen which surprised me and went on my left on the front straight. We entered the corner side by side but on the exit the 2 cars in front of me had contact because of a lapped car which lifted off in the exit. The Bentley spun and I had just the place to go to the right and avoid contact. I gained a position with that being able to stay 7th until the end.
It’s really frustrating that I go for a 2 week holiday now knowing that Mid Ohio should be a good track for us, but with this balance of performance adjustment, which we had since the beginning of the season, we couldn’t score more than P6 and P7. I really hope for a backup from the Organization on restricting us and give us back some power in order to show the real potential from my great Car and team!


Tony Tellez

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