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Marcano Silverstone Race Report

16yr old racing protégé delivers impressive performance at silverstone

‒ Damani Marcano completes his first full race weekend in the Volkswagen Racing Cup with impressive results ‒

16 year old schoolboy racer Damani Marcano completed his first full race weekend at Silverstone over the 29th to 31st May in his Team HARD VW Golf GTiR Cup Car. Silverstone was the third race weekend of the Volkswagen Racing Cup and Damani showed impressive potential with progressively quicker laps and aggressive wheel-to-wheel racing. Despite an exceptional performance, his eligibility to compete at the next race in Spa Fracnorchamps, Belgium, is still in jeopardy. He now needs to raise the sponsorship for just one more UK race to be eligible to compete abroad.

As the youngest driver in the Volkswagen Racing Cup and in his first time driving at Silverstone, Damani showed tremendous potential among the 29 drivers in this series. In his first run on a dry Silverstone circuit he qualified in 19th position.

To qualify this high having never driven the track before is all the more impressive as Damani is not only the youngest driver in the series, he’s the only one who is too young to even hold a road-driving license. Due to budget limitations and engine reliability problems earlier in the season, he has only had 6-7 hours behind the wheel of a car spread over 8 months.

On the starts and in the races Damani had to play it safe as he had to get two complete races under his belt of the three required for an upgrade to his racing license – needed to compete at the next VW Cup race in Spa Francorchamps in Belgium.

Damani pushed ahead as far as 17th place in his first race on a wet Silverstone circuit. The race was as much a learning exercise as a competition. In avoiding a collision as a car spun in front of him and later holding on in his own sideways moment, Damani dropped back mid race. He then had to fight his way back up to 19th place overall.

In his second race, an over cautious start to maximise his chances of the essential upgrade to his racing license for Spa dropped Damani down the field. He then had to race wheel to wheel to retake two places and recover to 20th. The final laps were spent defending against experienced Volkswagen Racing Cup and BTCC racing driver Mark Smith who eventually just got ahead at the end of the race.

Tony Gilham, Team Principal of Team HARD comments: “This weekend offered a fantastic opportunity for us to see Damani’s raw talent behind the wheel and ability to make rapid progress over a full race weekend. Damani fought hard to maintain his position and passed drivers with much more driving experience than him. It was very impressive to see Damani hold his own and not be intimidated when over-taking as other drivers aggressively defended their positions. We are VERY excited to see what the rest of the season holds.”

Due to retirements earlier in the season from issues with engine reliability, Damani’s chances of joining the rest of Team HARD at Spa Francorchamps and achieve the record of being the youngest driver to complete a full Volkswagen Racing Cup season is now in jeopardy.

Returning to Silverstone on the 12th – 14th June to compete in the Volkswagen Audi Group (VAG) Trophy would give him the experience he needs to qualify for the racing-license upgrade required for the next round of the Volkswagen Racing Cup. With this currently outside his budget for the season, Damani will need to seek additional one-off or season sponsors, while completing his GCSEs in the first half of June. If he succeeds, he’ll be racing again at Silverstone to secure his eligibility for his first international race in Belgium.

Team HARD racing driver Damani Marcano describes his feelings of the weekend:

“This was some of the best racing I’ve had in anything, ever! It really was an amazing feeling to be getting faster and faster every lap and to race so close! Every track this year is new to me and to be so far up the grid against drivers who drive cars every day and have raced there many times before is a huge step for me. I just hope I can raise the funding needed for one more race weekend and get the license upgrade I need to do my first international race.”

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