Dundee 17-year-old Hutchison, who shares driving duties with Hungary’s Csaba Mor in the No.10 Equipe Verschuur McLaren 570s GT4, claimed an excellent third place finish in race one on Saturday afternoon and the duo then ended the second encounter on Sunday morning in fifth place.
Having impressed hugely during his rookie year in GT4 endurance competition, only his second season of car racing at any level, Hutchison – who is backed by In Home Displays, Fitbox Virtual, Evoson and Hutchison Technologies – concludes the season an excellent fifth in the championship, just a single point behind Mor.
“It’s been an eventful and really enjoyable year, there’s been a lot to learn – my first season in GT4, first year racing with a team-mate sharing the same car – but it’s been good and it’s obviously great to end the season with our third podium”, said the elated former single-seater racer.
“Race one was obviously the highlight, third was a great result and the car was working very well. Unfortunately at the start of race two we had a little bit of contact from behind, it wasn’t anything major but the car was slightly off the pace after that and we got a bit stuck in traffic. Fifth wasn’t bad, though, and to end my first season fifth in the championship is good.”
Practice on Friday, 15th September, took place in wet conditions and Mor made an excellent start on the slippery track with the third fastest time overall, quickest in the Silver class. Hutchison then took session two and lapped fifth fastest, second quickest Silver, to prepare extremely well for qualifying.
Race One - Saturday
Mor began race one, having qualified fourth on the grid, and he anticipated the rolling start perfectly to rocket into second place on the run to Turn One. Initially pulling clear of the rest of the pack, staying in touch with the leading BMW, the Hungarian started to slip back from lap three onward and came under heavy pressure from the Aston Martin of Will Moore and KTM of Mads Siljehaug.
Despite a couple of moments Mor managed to stay ahead of his rivals, but as the race reached the 10-minute mark he was edged back to third by the Aston. Manging to maintain his podium position to the driver change pit-stops at the midway point, Mor handed over the McLaren to Hutchison who joined the track with around 28 minutes to run.
Holding eighth position initially, when the race order settled after the mandatory stops the Scottish teenager held third and he set about punching in some very impressive lap times. With a 14 second deficit to the second placed Aston, the gap then almost halved with 20 minutes to go following a moment for the second placed car to further boost Hutchison’s charge.
Continuing to chip away, the Equipe Verschuur driver got the gap down to around six seconds before taking the chequered flag at the end of the hour on lap 28 just over eight seconds adrift, 11 seconds to the good over his nearest pursuer, to take a deserved podium and top three result in class too.
Race Two - Sunday
For race two on Sunday morning, Hutchison started the contest from 12th position overall and sixth in the Silver class and although entering Turn One safely on the outside line, he was hit from behind which resulted in a slip back to 14th overall and seventh in Silver.
Determined to recover the lost ground, Hutchison piled pressure on the No.4 Porsche ahead and actually gained a place due to a problem for another rival. Passing the Porsche to break back into the top 12 on lap three, racing then fell under Safety Car conditions the next time around.
After roughly 10 minutes under caution, racing resumed on lap seven and Hutchison picked up another position straight away at Turn One but was then edged back to 12th again as the action just outside the top 10 intensified.
As the two Porsches ahead battled, Hutchison looked to try and get involved in the fight himself and there was nothing to split the trio as the pit-stop window neared. Swarming all over the back of the No.16 Porsche, the Scottish youngster looked every which way to try and muster a pass but with no way through Hutchison choose to pit at the earliest opportunity.
Entering pitlane at the end of lap 11, he handed the car over to Mor and when all of the stops had been completed the McLaren held an enhanced ninth position – the early pit strategy working a treat for the duo.
With just under 20 minutes to go, Mor then moved through into seventh when a rival dropped back and another car had to serve a penalty pit-stop. Charging on, Mor reeled in the cars ahead and with just under 15 minutes to run he took sixth position and swiftly moved past the No.144 Aston Martin to then climb into fifth where he stayed to the finish – also taking fourth in the Silver class.
Finlay Hutchison “I’m really happy with how the season has gone, there’s been a great atmosphere in the team all year and they’ve been working closer with McLaren as the season has gone on, which has helped bring developments to the car. I’ve been quite lucky racing the McLaren in my first season in GT4, as it kind of handles like a single-seater, just heavier. It’s been a strong year for us in the Northern Cup.”
Up next for Hutchison will be the latest instalment of the sister GT4 European Series Southern Cup, at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain, over the weekend 30th September/1st October.