National Motorsport Academy

GT Cup Round 7: A Snetterton Story

A weekend Full of Ups and Downs - Read our Snetterton Story Below

Last weekend marked Round 7, the season finale, of a tumultuous GT Cup 2023 season for #TeamNMA. With only three weekends between Round 6 at Donington Park and Round 7 at Snetterton, there wasn’t much time for car preparations. One of our primary tasks during this time was addressing an issue that occurred in the final race at Donington Park. The ancillary drive belt failed just as we entered the pits. We discovered that the water pump pulley was oscillating slightly, possibly causing the belt to slip, or the belt failure may have damaged the pump shaft. In any case, we had to unbolt the engine and gearbox and move the entire assembly 100mm to the left to facilitate the pump replacement, all for a £25 belt!

Ed and Jay worked on fixing the car, and on Thursday afternoon, we traveled to Snetterton to set up for the weekend.

Throughout the weekend, we were joined by numerous students from across the UK and even Europe. Leo, Kyle, Michael, Jayan, Brian, Rohan, Ollie, and Adam came from various parts of the UK, while Aleksandar joined us all the way from Belgrade, Serbia. It was a fantastic group of students eager to learn and develop their skills in the motorsport industry.

Unloading the car on a warm Thursday Evening

Day 1 - Friday, 6th October

We rose early to prepare the car. Much of Friday morning was spent preparing and acquainting the students with the Evora, including a safety briefing. We had four test sessions planned for the day, but unfortunately, we encountered issues throughout the day. Eventually, we brought the car in to assess the problems.

Later, we discovered that the issues were due to the belt coming off the Pulleys. so we ordered replacements to be collected the next day. With some downtime, we enjoyed a Domino’s Pizza for dinner and enjoyed an early night to prepare for the upcoming weekend of racing.

Students learning the car

Day 2 - Saturday 7th October

It was an early start for the students as we needed to install the new belt before practice and qualifying. Fortunately, we had no issues with the belt installation, and we made it out for the qualifying session. Jay posted some solid laps and eventually qualified P3 in class and P8 overall with a time of 1:52.744. We knew the car had more potential, and we were excited to see how it would perform in the race.

Beautiful weather before setting off for Quali

Race 1 (Sprint)


Starting on the fourth row of the grid, Jay had a good start and found himself behind Paul Bailey in the Lamborghini GT3 Evo. They had an incredible battle, racing cleanly for a solid 10 to 15 minutes before Jay managed to pass him to secure 2nd place in the GTO category. Unfortunately, we experienced a power loss, and Bailey regained second place. From then on, our focus was on managing the power loss, and we eventually brought the car home in 3rd place in class and 8th overall.

With the Endurance race just a couple of hours later, the team continued to work on the car and install a new belt, which was completed in time. 

Jay picking up his 3rd Place Trophy

Race 2 (Pit-Stop)


Starting 8th on the grid for this race, we had a good start and found ourselves ahead of Paul Bailey early on. We knew we needed to build a substantial lead to minimise the chance of being overtaken once the Pro Driver, Dorlin, took over after the pit stop. The Evora was performing well, moving up to 5th overall after overtaking Bailey, Charlotte Gilbert, and even Graham De Zille in the Ferrari 488, which delighted the students watching on TV.

Unfortunately, that was the highlight of the race, as things went downhill after that overtake. A lap later, we experienced another power loss. Once again, we had to manage the power loss, resulting in a drop to 7th place. We made it to our scheduled pit stop, but sadly, the car didn’t last much longer after that. With around 12 minutes to go, the car completely lost power, coinciding with a circuit-wide power outage. This meant we had no communication with Jay, and we couldn’t tell if he had pulled off the track or not. After waiting for a few minutes, we eventually learned that he had pulled over, and we retrieved him from Turn 7.

After recovering the car, we determined that the issue was a broken Crank Pulley, which also took the oil pump belt with it, or vice versa. Regardless,  this is a bespoke part that needs to be manufactured, meaning there was  no chance of racing on Sunday and ending our weekend (and season) prematurely. 

Ready to go on the Grid

Despite the weekend-ending issue, there were plenty of positives to take from the weekend. We secured 3rd place in Race 1, and our car lapped 4.2 seconds quicker per lap than our original Lotus Evora in Le Mans specification, as well as it only being 1.5 seconds slower than our Mosler, which has 150BHP more. With some engine development for a small power increase and a brake upgrade, the Evora could become a championship-winning car and capable of race wins. It held its own against unrestricted 2023 GT3 race vehicles in the GTO group.

#TeamNMA Snetterton 300

With our late-season resurgence, we also managed to secure 3rd place in the GTO championship this year. This achievement is truly remarkable considering where we were just a few months ago. Congratulations to all the staff and students who, against all odds, rebuilt the Lotus mid-season and enabled us to compete for the remainder of the season.

Take a look at some of our other pics across the weekend. 

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