Michael Epps had a roller coaster weekend in the latest rounds of the Volkwagen Racing Cup at Silverstone GP. After being disqualified on regulations in Qualifying, the Hertfordshire driver took his #12 iRacing Team Hard Golf Gti from the back of the grid in both races to finish 10th and 11th, making a total of 37 overtakes in just two races.
Epps’ story of weekend woes began in his very first time out on track on Friday, where just 5 laps into a wet test session his engine blew at the end of Hanger Straight. It was to be just the beginning of a number of unfortunate occurrences for Epps, he was unable to test the car with a new engine in before qualifying and so could only hope everything ran fine.
In the Saturday afternoon qualifying session Epps exchanged pole position lap times with team-mate Howard Fuller and championship leader David Sutton, eventually beating them to the P1 slot by almost a second. Unfortunately it was later found that his new engine didn’t meet the required specification and he was disqualified from the result, thus putting him 29th on the grid for race one.
“It’s absolutely gutting”, the 23-year old commented. “We didn’t really know what this engine would be like as it was fresh out of the box from Volkswagen and because of the timings of testing and qualifying this weekend there was no chance to test it. For some reason we can’t get a consistent boost pressure, it’s fluctuating like crazy. It’s annoying because it became an accidental advantage that we didn’t mean to have.”
Unable to resolve the issue completely for race one on a wet Sunday morning, Epps was disqualified again after racing all the way upto 11th place, his car still over-running boost pressure, but now with even more issues. “We tried our best to de-tune the car but it just occasionally cut out and ran in limp mode, I’m not really sure if it was an advantage or not over a race distance, but there we go.”
Team Hard eventually found the issue, being a hairline crack in one of the turbo solenoid valves, and had to rush the car to a dyno to re-test it just in time for the final race.
Starting 29th again, this time on a dry track, Epps made quick work of those around him crossing the line in the top 20 first time round. He then picked cars off one by one working through the field with team-mate Fuller , who also started quite far back after problems in race one, just ahead.
Eventually setting times just over half a second away from the fastest race lap, Epps was on competitive form once again but could not move any higher than 10th by the finish due to large gaps to those ahead made while he was passing others further down.
“I’m pleased with myself at least”, said Epps afterwards. “I pushed hard and proved what I can do, it’s just a shame the circumstances left us at the back of the grid for both flipping races. Never mind though, I guess we showed our real speed in race two today.”
Epps now looks on to continue his season and improve once more at the next rounds of the VW Racing Cup on 9th/10th July at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.