by Harry Perachi
Christchurch race driver Harry McDonald secured a podium finish with co-driver Tommy Gråberg on the debut race of the GT4 Scandinavia. Competing in the Pro-Am category, the duo made for a Toyota 1-2 podium, as their sister GR Supra GT4 driven by Hans Holmlund and co-driver Emil Skärås won the round
held in the legendary circuit of Spa Francochamps, in Belgium.
“As I expected racing in Europe is full on aggressive and always on the limit, the top Pro drivers are just next level fast,” said McDonald. “The Spa circuit is intense with 7kms of high-speed corners. It’s a track that takes commitment and confidence with the car. For example, we take Radillion at over 200kph and it’s a totally blind corner.”
Harry had less than a week to prepare for the event. From collecting it brand new to then putting it through its paces in qualifying, the car saw no more than 20 laps of tarmac. “The Toyota Supra GT4 is a weapon of a race car,” he said.
“It’s engineered smart by Toyota Gazoo Racing, a very balanced and forgiving car with terrific top speed, even under the balance of power rules.”
The Belgium round of the GT4 Scandinavia had two races, one on Friday evening and the second on Saturday morning, both which preceded the 24 Hours of Spa endurance race. Having finished fourth in class on Friday evening, the kiwi driver and his partner climbed onto the podium in second place the day after.
“A podium finish with Toyota Gazoo Racing was not what any of us expected for this weekend in both a brand-new car and a new track for me along with the largest GT4 entry list ever,” he continued. “We achieved less than 20 clear flying laps prior to Race 1, but with two long races and more seat time I gained confidence in both the car and myself. Tommy and I were rewarded with second and a Toyota 1-2 for the Scandinavian GT4 championships.”
The GT4 Scandinavia is a motor racing series where factory-built track day cars with FIA-approved modifications are shared by an amateur and a professional race driver and drive the same amount of time in both qualifiers and races, with two separate classes – Pro/Am and Am.
This format follows other championships for cars of this same category. A competition weekend begins with a 60 minute test session and is then followed by two sets of 15 minutes of qualifying. As for the race itself, it lasts around an hour and includes a mandatory pit stop for driver change.
McDonald now prepares for the next round, which will take place on September 10-11 at the Scandinavian Raceway Anderstorp, before one final round in Gelleråsen, the oldest track in the Sweden.
Pictures are courtesy of: GT4Series.se