- Simon Paice
Harley Haughton Produces Stunning Pace On GT4 Debut At Nürburgring
Harley Haughton once again highlighted his immense potential behind the wheel as he produced class-leading pace on his GT4 race debut in the Nürburgring 24 Hours qualifiers weekend (22/23 April).
After gaining experience on the iconic Nordschleife in WS Racing’s VW Scirocco in recent weeks and securing a crucial upgrade to his Nürburgring race permit, Haughton stepped up a level for his latest race outing as he competed in Breakell Racing’s Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 for the first time.
The qualifiers weekend provided a final chance to prepare for the upcoming ADAC TotalEnergies 24h Nürburgring (18-21 May), with Haughton sharing the Cayman with team principal James Breakell and New Zealanders Grant Dalton and Grant Woolford.
The action began with a free practice session on the Nürburgring Grand Prix circuit, giving Haughton his first chance to get acquainted with the Cayman. Qualifying followed on the full Nordschleife layout and while the Stockport racer only got a single flying lap, he was immediately on the front-running pace with a rapid effort.
After all-dry running in those sessions, a change of conditions saw them face treacherous wet weather for a two-hour race into the evening. Haughton started the race and truly thrived in the tricky conditions, storming into the Cup3 class lead with a faultless performance through his stint.
Following an eventual fourth place finish in class in that race, they returned on Sunday for another qualifying session and a four-hour race. A change for that one saw the team promoted from a Permit B to A, meaning their Cayman was able to run with 100hp more than the previous day.
Haughton relished the extra speed, posting his fastest ever lap of the Nordschleife in qualifying with a 9:08.559s effort that almost secured a class pole position, however they were pipped on the final lap as others benefitted from a drying circuit.
Once again starting the race, Haughton maintained second position through the opening laps before sweeping into the lead. From there, a stunning performance saw him run more than 10 seconds a lap faster than his nearest rivals as he stormed clear at the front of the class.
Running as the fourth highest GT4 car of all at one stage, the 18-year-old talent would also end the race with the fastest lap in the class to complete a stunning performance for the weekend, as his team-mates brought their Cayman home with another great fourth place result.
Harley Haughton: “I’m over the moon with how the weekend has gone. I felt right at home from the off in the Cayman, it’s an amazing car to drive and I’m really pleased with the pace I was producing considering my limited mileage in it.
“It was great fun out there and I had some brilliant battles with cars from various classes. I’ve learnt a lot this weekend that I can take into the 24-hour race and beyond, so I’m very excited to come back for that one and experience my first full endurance race and the special atmosphere of the event.”
The ADAC TotalEnergies 24h Nürburgring is one of the biggest and most challenging endurance races in the world. The four-day event regularly attracts more than 200,000 spectators and is watched by a huge global audience.
Image from Frozenspeed.