On Boyzone's official website, they give reports when Shane has been racing. I will put them up on this website whenever there is a new one.
MARCH 31ST - APRIL 1ST: SILVERSTONE
It was not the best of weekend for Lynch. Friday's test sessions went well enough when he set times similar to Michael Mallock, a young experienced driver who was to share the car during the 1 hour race.
However, on Saturday during Qualifying, the set up of the Marcos Mantis race car had been changed due to a broken front spoiler and Shane was not able to improve on the previous days times, but the team were confident that the car would be in good order for the Sunday race.
Michael took the first half hour drive, with Shane ready to take over for the second half hour. Unfortunately, the car's engine began to overheat after a couple of laps, and on the third, the engine seized at the far end of the circuit which meant that Shane did not get a chance to drive and Michael had a long lonely walk back to the pits.
We hope to be out again in two weeks time at Snetterton - this will be confirmed within 48hrs and will be announced first on the BZ Web site. Thanks to all the fans who turned up at Silverstone to support Shanno.
APRIL 14TH - 15TH: SNETTERTON
Shane at Snetterton Snetterton in Norfolk is one of the faster race circuits in the UK - being made up of gentle open corners allowing the cars to maintain high speeds throughout most of the lap. As usual with the Powertour series, the British GT's have two sessions in which the drivers get a chance to set the fastest possible qualifying time to ensure a good grid position. In the morning session it was Shane's team mate National Supercars champion Michael Mallock who took the orange Marcos out to try for the best time with Shane going for it in the afternoon. Although Shane had set slightly faster times the previous day during unofficial testing, it was Michael who set the faster time in qualifying which set the team up for a grid position ahead of all the other cars of similar power - so smiling faces all round!
Come the day of the race - a chilly Sunday morning and the drivers arrive early for the "pit lane walkabout" where spectators and fans get to meet their favourite race drivers for a quick chat, an autograph and perhaps a photo. Needless to say the queue outside the Eclipse Team Transporter is one of the longer ones as Shanno is kept busy with boyzoners and others who are curious to get a closer look at the most outspoken member of the countries favourite boy-band.
With a few hours to spare before the race, Shanno wanders off with his mate Chris to the nearby Sunday Market where he buys himself a really cool looking but very warm combat jacket to keep off the chill wind which is threatening to bring ominous rain clouds for the afternoons race. Of course, if he'd remembered to bring his jacket from the hotel that morning - he wouldn't have needed to buy another one! But he was pretty chuffed with his new bargain anyhow.
By 3:45 Snetterton was awash with rain and it was decided that Michael would be the first driver in the car for the first half of the race. Shane was relieved because unlike most races the GT's have a "rolling start" similar to American "Indy" races. Rather than have the cars stationery on the grid, they are lead around the circuit by a "pace car" travelling reasonably slowly which pulls off the track after one lap as it passes the start/finish line and that is the point when all the drivers floor the throttles and the huge pack of monsters roars off all trying for position into the all important first corner. It's awesome to watch and hear at close quarters, and Shanno wasn't too sure he fancied the responsibility of doing it for the first time in the wet - so he was relieved for Michael to get on with it.
Michael did well, and after 30 minutes the Eclipse Marcos comes into the pits for the all important driver change.
Michael bring the car to a halt outside the teams pit lane garage, he undoes his 5 point seatbelts, a mechanic opens the door, another opens the passenger door, he leans in and disconnects the two way radio lead from Michaels helmet, at the drivers door one of the biggest race mechanics you have ever seen literally pulls Michael out of the tight fitting cockpit and throws him aside, Shane jumps into the seat, the radio is connected, the seatbelts are connected and tightened by the two mechanics still leaning in the car, the doors are slammed shut, Shane's foot hits the clutch, into first gear and with tyres smoking the Marcos is off - all that in under 15 seconds!!!!
Shane joins the race but it ain't going to be easy. The rain is still heavy and the Marcos has lost its single windscreen wiper, and the screen mists up - Shane can hardly see the front of his bonnet let alone the road ahead. It is a terrifying drive - speeds of up to 130 miles per hour and you can hardly see where you're going! Catch a car in front and the spray from his tyres make it worse - the same if your overtaken - there is no choice but to concentrate like hell and just go for it. Shane admits afterwards "that was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life - I really wanted to come into the pits and give up, but I knew that my job was to get that car to the finish if it killed me - and there was once or twice when I thought it might!!!"
But when the hour race was over the Lynch/Mallock Marcos was home and dry (well soaking wet actually) and this first finish was a great boost to the team and drivers. Disappointingly however, the team's principal car suffered a component failure and crashed with only a few laps to go whilst in 4th place. Luckily the driver, and team co-owner John Griffiths was not seriously hurt when his no 69 Marcos hit a tyre wall head on. The cars electronic telemetry system showed afterwards that the car left the circuit at an incredible 136 miles per hour before hitting the tyre wall. It's a testament to the cars strength that John walked away with just aches and pains.
So at the second attempt, Shane has completed his first GT race - we hope the first of many! Two weeks to go before the team descends on Donington Park in the East Midlands for Round 3 of Powertour and the Privilege GT Championship. Shane's Marcos is supported by Choice Hotels Europe, operators of the "Clarion Hotel", "Quality Hotel and Suites", "Comfort Hotel", and "Sleep Inn" brands in UK and Europe.
MAY 6TH - 7TH: OULTEN PARK
Oulton Park in Cheshire Avid readers will recall that last week both Eclipse team Marcos' were damaged at Donington so the test session at Oulton Park on the next Tuesday had to missed.
Therefore the first qualifying session at Oulton on Sunday morning was more of a test session than a serious attempt to set a fast time -Shanno had never driven the full International circuit which most drivers declare to be one of their least favourite, with tricky bends, cambers and brows which can lift the cars, reduce the tyre grip and send the unwitting into a spin and potential disaster!
Both Shane and team mate Michael had a few laps each and the team worked hard to get the car set up ready for the afternoon session which would be an all out charge for a good qualifying time. Meanwhile Shane sat down with the more experienced team drivers to study a plan of the circuit and discuss the best lines, braking areas, turn in points and best gears for each of the ten corners on the 2.7 mile circuit.
The afternoon session was held in bright sunny conditions (the first time this year) and whilst it was Michael that set the fastest time on this occasion, Shanno was only just a second or so off the pace and the team were confident of a good race the next day.
Back to the Quality Hotel in Northwich for a shower then out for a Chinese meal - there were 21 people in the team all together - so the bill was pretty huge! Perhaps we should have asked Shanno to sing for our supper! By the time we got back to the hotel, the official Porsche team had also just got in - so an hour of friendly banter followed in the bar before everyone took to their bed.
Monday (Bank Holiday) As usual within Powertour the first responsibility for drivers is the pit-lane walkabout at 10am, and despite not expecting to race until 4:30pm Shanno was on parade ready to satisfy the considerable crowd of autograph hunters crowding the Eclipse Transporter in the busy Paddock.
Once that was finished Shanno went to check on a few of his new mates on the racing scene to see how they are getting on, and met representatives of Mintex who are one of the sponsors who support Shane's racing by supplying brake components and materials to the team. At 12:30 he was down at the PowerTour Hospitality Centre where he and Shane Bland (who drives the other Eclipse Marcos) spoke to the 100 or so people on how he was getting on in motor racing and his ambition to compete at the world famous 24hour Le Mans race.
With still over three hours to go, Shane decided that an afternoon nap might be in order and sneaked off into the Eclipse motor-home for a few "zed's", to appear fresh and ready for the race at 4:25pm. Unfortunately, due to a couple of bad accidents in previous races, the meeting was running late, so it was 5:30 before the field of GT's roared off at the start of their one hour race.