“I received a call on Thursday afternoon from my manager Phil Hindley, to drive with Oliver Morley in the Muhlner Motorsport Porsche 997 GT3 Cup S in the first two rounds of the FIA European GT3 championship” Sean recalled.
Last minute situations are never perfect, let alone, having never driven a 997 GT3 Cup ‘S’, but Sean relished the challenge to return to the series, that he won in 2006.
The practice sessions went well for the team, with Edwards sticking the Porsche in the P2 spot both times. Morley was struggling with the very unfamiliar Porsche in the first session, but made significant progress in the second one and started to get his head round the rear engine machine.
Qualifying saw Edwards go out early on and stick the Porsche on provisional pole, with an amazing single flying lap of 1.49.6, 0.2 faster than his 2007 GT2 time in the 997 RSR! Unfortunately the rapid Morgan piped him with only two minutes to go from the top spot, but it was a front row start for the Porsche ace. Morley improved his practice time by a full second and ended up 33rd, but with only a few tenths more he would have gained significant places in this ultra tight field.
Race one saw Morley starting from 33rd and put in a great fight to bring the car up to 25th when he handed over to Edwards for the remainder of the race. There was no hanging around for the young Brit, overtaking three positions on his out lap alone! He was absolutely flying in the Muhlner prepared Porsche, by far the fastest man on track, fighting his way all the way up to 8th place before being handed a drive through penalty for overtaking under yellow flags… This dropped them down to 18th place, but Edwards didn’t give up and fought his way back to 13th in the final three laps of the race, overtaking both rival Porsche’s on the last lap to secure P2 in the Porsche category.
The second race got underway with Edwards trying to attack the Morgan for the lead, but to no avail as the other cars had too much of a power advantage over the Porsche and he dropped down to 4th place on lap one. He soon set his sights on the 3rd placed Ford GT, which he passed at Luffield on lap two and then went after the 2nd place Corvette, setting the fastest lap of the race in the process. The 2nd place car made a mistake around lap ten which gave Edwards a chance he didn’t pass up and grabbed P2. The Morgan had a sizeable gap now, but Edwards eroded the advantage held by the Morgan and by the time the pit stops came around, he was right on the Morgan’s bumper when he handed over to Morley. A mix up in the pits lost the team a lot of time and the car dropped back to P5, with some faster cars closing in, they finished 10th in the end, losing out on 1st place in the Porsche category with two laps to go against the sister Muhlner car.
Sean said “I am happy with how the weekend has gone, it’s really nice to see the Porsche being competitive in GT3 again, as it has not been near the front since we won back in 2006. The team did an excellent job with the setup and preparation of the car and we were quick straight out of the box. Oliver progressed a lot over this weekend with the Porsche and we worked closely together to see where he could improve in this car and he did very well.”
Oliver commented “I am used to driving a Ferrari or Lamborghini, so the Porsche was completely different and a very hard car to drive I have to say, but it was great fun and a good experience. Sean did a really fantastic job, he was flying in the car all weekend! We got a top 10 in the second race which I am happy with and I am hoping to be back in this championship again, as I loved the racing.”