Charlie Eastwood capped an encouraging first outing in the Porsche Supercup with a top-10 finish at Silverstone on the British Grand Prix weekend.
The 20-year-old Porsche Scholar finished right on the bumper of fellow guest driver and Carrera Cup GB championship leader Dan Cammish in tenth place after 10 frenetic laps of green-flag racing, which started behind the Safety Car due to Silverstone’s famously inclement weather.
Although Eastwood had already raced at the Northampton venue this year in support of the World Endurance Championship, where he picked up two podium positions, the weekend would see the Northern Irishman pitched against the very best one-make Porsche drivers in the world, including one who has previous experience racing for the factory Porsche team in the WEC.
As such, Eastwood headed into the weekend with very little by way of expectation, but came away with his confidence boosted having proved that he could mix it with vastly more experienced drivers.
“It’s been a very productive weekend and given me a great insight into what’s needed if I do another Supercup round with regards to what the grip levels are like, because it was like driving a different car with the rubber on track. It was such a tough group of drivers out there as well, so it’s great to come away with a top-ten from the highest level of Porsche racing. I really enjoyed the experience and I’ll be taking a lot from it going into the rest of the season.”
Eastwood was docked three places on the grid for a track limits violation in qualifying and started from 16th position, but didn’t let that distract him from the task in hand.
Once the Safety Car peeled in after two slow laps, the Redline Racing rookie got his head down and steadily moved his way through the pack, with Michael Ammermueller and Christian Engelhart – both former winners in Supercup – powerless to hold him off in the tricky conditions.
Eastwood believed further positions were possible, but was still delighted to have passed his first real test with flying colours.
“There were five guest drivers in the top ten, so if you go to another Supercup round where there’s no guest drivers then that puts you around P6, which is really encouraging. The start was under Safety Car, so instead of starting from the eighth row it was the 16th row because we were single file and from there it was a lot harder to make up positions. In the end we were about a second quicker than the guys in front and we finished right behind them, so I think we definitely put on a good show.”
It comes after a busy few weeks for Eastwood, who finished fifth in the Goodwood shootout with his regular Carrera Cup machine.
“I’d never been to Goodwood before, so it was always a big part of my bucket list. I was really happy when I was told at the start of the year that I would be competing up the hill and we had another great result there in the shootout where the four cars in front of me had double the horsepower. All in all, it was a weekend of celebration and another really fantastic event to be a part of.”
His next outing in the Carrera Cup GB will be in three weeks’ time at Snetterton, Norfolk.