Devon Modell jumped at the chance to race in the Henderson Insurance LMP3 Cup championship at Snetterton last weekend (12-13 August, 2017) with Speedworks Motorsport and came away from the event with a pair of superb second-place finishes with teammate Jack Butel.
“It was a good weekend for Jack, his best weekend of the season so far, and I can’t complain as it’s my first weekend in the championship and I came away with two trophies,” said Modell. “The LMP3 took a bit of getting used to after racing GT cars recently. It’s not the easiest of cars to drive and requires a differing driving style with no driver aids. You really have to trust the car – the aero – it’s really a great car to drive and I’m happy with the races and results.”
Modell was charged with qualifying the #96 Ligier for Saturday’s race and was immediately right on the pace in what was his first run with new Pirelli rubber. Pushing to the end, Modell’s best was just 0.005s off of pole position.
The opening race saw Modell lose second position at the start to former teammate Alasdair McCaig. Modell fought back however and made the move position at Coram and then out-dragged the #79 down the start-finish straight and complete the pass into turn one on lap four.
Modell then put in a string of fast laps to close the gap to then race-leader Christian England to five seconds before pitting and handing over to Butel. However, with a 12 second additional pitstop penalty for having two Silver-graded drivers in the driver line-up, this dropped the Speedworks car to third position.
With Andrew Evans struggling for pace a little at the front of the field, Butel was able to make the pass for position and bring the car home in second position.
“That was good, I really enjoyed that,” said Modell. “I loved the new tyres in qualifying as that made a huge difference to me. I found like a second and a quarter and while second on the grid was good, I was a little pissed off to miss the pole by 0.005s. The start was a bit odd, we all started, stopped and then went and that caught me out a bit. I had a good race with Alasdair and caught him and then made a good pass for position to hand over to Jack.”
Butel qualified fourth for Sunday’s second race of the weekend and took the first stint. A frenetic start saw the order jumbled at the first turn with Butel making best of the situation to run second. Modell took over at the mid-point and found himself embroiled in a tense and closely fought battle with the top four runner all running nose to tail.
Modell was in the position of both defending second position from Colin Noble behind, while also trying to find a way past race leader Evans. The final laps of the one-hour race saw Noble attempt several overtaking attempts, but Modell fended off the challenge to take the chequered flag second once again, this time just 1.3s shy of the race winner.
“It was a good result and it was hard work to stay there,” Modell said. “If it wasn’t for a small mistake it might have been a different result in terms of the victory.”
Modell travels to the Fuji International Speedway this week and will compete again with Craft-Bamboo Racing in the Blancpain GT Series Asia. Last time out he secured a second position and is now looking forward to racing the #88 Porsche 911 GT3R once again.
“Nick (Foster) is back in the car again which is good news,” he said. “The car is obviously very different to the LMP3 Ligier, but in terms of trail-braking into the corners they’re quite similar. Fuji is new to me but it should suit us especially if the weather is as it was last time…”