Teaming on track for the first time with new 2018 team-mate, and reigning GT4 European Series Champion, Ricardo van der Ende, the Equipe Verschuur duo quickly displayed their car’s pace with the fastest time in the opening session.
Producing a time of 1m47.879 seconds, well over half a second faster than the nearest opposition, Scottish racer Hutchison and Dutchman van der Ende were then unable to continue their running early in session two due to a smashed windscreen.
Unfortunate failure of a bonnet catch, which then resulted in the McLaren’s bonnet flipping up onto the windscreen with some force after being caught by the wind, led to significant and unrepairable damage – the car having to be parked up for the remainder of the test.
While a frustrating outcome for both team and drivers, the pace shown out of the box at the very beginning of the day certainly confirmed pre-season expectation and Dundee 18-year-old Hutchison is sure the No.10 McLaren will be a potent force when the championship begins next month.
“The car felt really good, but with the bonnet catch problem we didn’t get the running we wanted unfortunately and so our true pace wasn’t shown”, said the Hutchison Technologies, Evoson and In Home Displays backed racer, “Up to that point, we were definitely competitive and the car was working well. What happened is just one of those things.
“I only had five laps, so not the amount of track time we wanted, but it was a good opportunity to work with Ricardo [van der Ende] and the guys. It was a really nice environment and although this test didn’t go our way, we know we have a competitive package and we’ll be back fighting when we return to Zolder for the first round in a few weeks.”
Yesterday’s running at Zolder clashed with the official pre-season ‘Media Day’ test at Donington Park in the UK for the British GT Championship, where Hutchison is also racing this year in a sister Equipe Verschuur McLaren 570S GT4 with fellow Scottish driver Daniel McKay.
The opening two rounds of the British season will take place on Easter Monday, 2nd April, at Oulton Park International Circuit in Cheshire with the GT4 European Series getting underway the following weekend, 7th/8th April, at Zolder.
2018 British GT4 Championship Calendar
Rds1/2: Oulton Park International, Cheshire - 31 March/2 April
Rd3: Rockingham ISSC, Northamptonshire - 28/29 April
Rds4/5: Snetterton 300, Norfolk - 26/27 May
Rd6: Silverstone GP, Northamptonshire - 9/10 June
Rd7: Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium - 21/22 July
Rd8: Brands Hatch GP, Kent - 4/5 August
Rd9: Donington Park GP, Leicestershire - 22/23 September
2018 GT4 European Series Calendar
Rd1 Zolder, Belgium - 7/8 April
Rd2 Brands Hatch, UK - 5/6 May
Rd3 Misano, Italy - 23/24 June
Rd4 Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium - 21/22 July
Rd5 Hungaroring, Hungary - 1/2 September
Rd6 Nurburgring, Germany - 15/16 September