As the Britcar Endurance Championship 2018 opened at Rockingham it was a double win for Richard Neary in the Sprint category. Neary who has competed the last few years in British GT in the stunning Team ABBA Mercedes AMG, alongside Martin Short, saw off challenges by the Ferrari 458 of David Mason and Ross Wylie in race one and the Ferrari 488 of John Seale in race two.
Neary finished more than a minute ahead of Mason and Wyle in the opening race, while in the second race just under 3 seconds ahead of John Seale.
The endurance category was dominated by the two Black Mamba Racing Ginetta GT4’s, #22 driven by Andy Demetriou and Luke Williams, and Chris Papageorgiou and Jayde Kruger in #6. Demetriou/Williams took the endurance win in race one and third overall, with the #6 car taking second in class, barely seconds behind.
Taking third and fourth in class was the Team Hard Ginetta pairings of Simon Rudd and Tom Barley in #24 and #285 of Darron Lewis and Adam Hatfield.
In the second Endurance race it was another great show for Demetriou/Williams who took first overall and first in class, with the Track Focused KTM X Bow of Mike McCollum and Sean Cooper taking second and Team Hards Rudd/Barley completing the podium in third place.
Also out on track was Stewart Lines who currently competes in the newly launched TCR UK series. Alongside him in the Maximum Motorsport SEAT Cupra was BTCC competitor Adam Morgan.
From the TCR UK series was Darrelle Wilson in the beautiful Porscheshop 911 alongside Ian Heward. While it was also great to see BTCC Rob Austins old Audi A4 “Sherman” in the hands of Alex and Robert Day.
The Championship continues at Silverstone on May 12th.
Last years champions Christian Engelhart and Mirko Bortolotti took the win in the first race of the opening round of the 2018 Blancpain GT Series at Zolder. The duo in the GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan, took a comfortable win just over 3 seconds ahead of the #2 Audi R8 of Belgian Audi Club Team WRT.
The first time Audi have been beaten at Zolder since 2014. The Audi had started the race on pole and looked to continue their dominant performance at the Belgian track, however a barnstorming performance by Engelhart and Borlotti brought the Huracan home, the first time at Zolder for Lamborghini since 2013.
Race two saw Robin Frijns in the #17 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT lose his pole place after having his fastest lap deleted when he hit a cone outside track limits and caused a red flag in qualifying.
Handed the pole place was Borlotti and Engelhart however a poor pit stop time caused by a seatbelt problem cost the race one winners their race.
The #2 Team WRT Audi was looking set to succeed however a drive through penalty for leaving the pit lane in an inappropriate manner handed pole and the win to the #66 Attempto-Audi of Steijn Schothorst and Kelvin van der Linde.
The Championship continues at Monza on 21st-22nd April
The 30 hour WEC Prologue 2018 test at Paul Ricard took place last weekend allowing a first glimpse of some new entrants and a taste of what the 2018 Super Season has in store.
Toyota led the way early on while testing their new cooling system and aero package unrestricted. But once the cars returned to LMP1 Equivalence of Technology regulations after Friday, their times dropped closer to the LMP1 privateer times.
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing (JPN) Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1H – Mike Conway (GBR), Jose Maria Lopez (ARG), Anthony Davidson (GBR), Alexander Wurz (AUT), Sebastien Buemi (CHE) , Thursday Set Up, WEC Prologue , Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, Var, France
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing (JPN) Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1H – Sebastien Buemi (CHE), Mike Conway (GBR) WEC Prologue , Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, Var, France
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing (JPN) Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1H – Sebastien Buemi (CHE), Mike Conway (GBR) , Thursday Set Up, Prologue , Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, Var, France
After TVR teased its return to motorsport in the days prior to the test it was revealed they had teamed up with Rebellion racing for the Super Season, the Rebellion R-13 carrying the TVR branding on its stunning new livery, the #1 car finishing 4th overall in the weekends testing with Andre Lotterer at the wheel.
Former F1 driver Pastor Maldonado made his WEC debut in LMP2 with DragonSpeed and set the fastest time in the class of 1:40.771, with Nicolas Lapierre being second in class in the Signatech Alpine A470.
In GTE Pro it was the Porsche Motorsport GT team that topped the timings with Gianmaria Bruni setting the fastest time in the #91 911, with the sister #92 car second in class ahead of the two Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK cars.
#77 Dempsey-Proton Racing (DUE) Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE Am – Christian Ried (DEU), Julien Andlauer (FRA), Matt Campbell (AUS) WEC Prologue , Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, Var, France
#81 BMW Team MTEK (DEU) BMW M8 GTE LMGTE Pro – Martin Tomczyk (DEU), Nick Catsburg (NLD), Philipp ENG (AUT), Thursday Set Up, Prologue , Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, Var, France
#86 Porsche 911 RSR, Thursday Set Up, Prologue , Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, Var, France
#95 Aston Martin Racing (GBR) Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE Pro – Marco Sorensen (DEN), Nicki Thiim (DEN), Darren Turner (GBR), Alex Lynn (GBR), Jonny Adam (GBR), Maxime Martin (DUE) WEC Prologue , Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, Var, France
GTE Am the #88 Dempsey Proton Porsche led the timings, meanwhile in the ELMS test the teams #77 car sustained serious damage early on meaning the #77 WEC car ran in its place.
There are several new drivers including Fernando Alonso, Antonio Felix da Costa on board, as well as up and coming young drivers such as Jazeman Jaafar and Oliver Rowland. And with new cars in the WEC Super Season such as the Ginetta Mecachrome there is much for endurance fans to look forward to over the next year.
The season begins in Spa on May 3rd/5th.
WEC Prologue , Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, Var, France
#4 BYKolles Racing Team (AUT) ENSO CLM P1/01-Nismo LMP1 – Oliver Webb (GBR), Dominik Kraihamer (AUS), Tom Dillmann (FRA), Kang Ling (CHN), Ren? Binder (AUT), Marco Bonanomi (ITA) WEC Prologue , Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, Var, France
#66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing (USA) Ford GT LMGTE Pro – Stefan Mucke (DEU), Olivier Pla (FRA), Billy Johnson (USA) WEC Prologue , Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, Var, France
#6 CEFC TRSM Racing (CHN) Ginetta G60-LT-P1-Mecachrome LMP1 – Oliver Rowland (GBR), Alex Brundle (GBR) WEC Prologue , Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, Var, France
#11 SMP Racing (RUS) BR Engineering BR1-AER LMP1 – Mikhail Aleshin (RUS), Vitaly Petrov (RUS) WEC Prologue , Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, Var, France
#4 BYKolles Racing Team (AUT) ENSO CLM P1/01-Nismo LMP1 – Oliver Webb (GBR), Dominik Kraihamer (AUS), Tom Dillmann (FRA), Kang Ling (CHN), Ren? Binder (AUT), Marco Bonanomi (ITA) WEC Prologue , Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, Var, France
#17 SMP Racing (RUS) BR Engineering BR1-AER LMP1 – Stephane Sarrazin (FRA), Egor Orudzhev (RUS), Matevos Isaakyan (RUS) WEC Prologue , Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, Var, France
#28 TDS Racing (FRA) Oreca 07-Gibson LMP2 – Francois Perrodo (FRA), Matthieu Vaxiviere (FRA), Loic Duval (FRA) WEC Prologue , Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, Var, France
Car collective, WEC Prologue , Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, Var, France
Team Project 1 launch, Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, Var, France 04-05-2018
#4 ENSO CLM P1/01-Nismo , Thursday Set Up, Prologue , Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, Var, France
Thursday Set Up, Prologue , Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, Var, France
#8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, Thursday Set Up, Prologue, Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, Var, France
Mixed fortunes in difficult wet conditions at Oulton Park kicked off the 2018 British GT season. But it was a storming, historic win for Flick Haigh and Jonny Adam in race one. The race started with four Aston Martins in the top six, with the #17 TF Sport on the second row and #11 TF Sport Aston on the third row next to the #99 Beechdean Aston of Darren Turner and Andrew Howard.
As the race got underway under the safety car due to wet weather conditions, it was an unstoppable Flick Haigh who led the way in the Optimum Motorsport Aston with the #1 Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental of Rick Parfitt just behind.
Early on there was contact between #11 TF Sports Mark Farmer and #33 Jon Minshaw, spinning Farmer round on the track but Minshaw continued on, hacking his way through to make second place. Shortly after #17 TF Sport of Derek Johnston also span off but rejoined the track, as Minshaw safely passed. Parfitt Jnr continued to spar with Ian Loggie, Loggie eventually making his way past in the 4th lap.
Further back the #62 Academy Motorsport Aston Martin of Will Moore slid off into the barriers after contact on track. The #53 Ultratek Racing Nissan of Kelvin Fletcher also took a spin off but rejoined, all the while Flick Haigh retained her lead.
20 mins into the hour race, Callum Pointon in the #55 HHC Motorsport Ginetta continued to hold the GT4 lead. As the pit window opened Loggie and Parfitt pitted at the same time while Minshaw stayed out until more pit traffic had cleared.
#11 TF Sport now with Nicki Thiim behind the wheel forged on to try and make the places lost earlier on. Jonny Adam continued to hold the lead after the driver change, while Phil Keen held second place closing the gap on Adam.
Half a minute back #99 Darren Turner had a fight on his hands with Yelmer Buurman in the ERC Sport Mercedes AMG.
Jonny Adam made a gap between himself and Keen but shortly after Keen pitted with wheel damage, handing second place to Turner. Further down the field Ryan Ratcliffe sat in 19th place. As the #116 Mercedes and #99 Aston Martin continued their fight over second place, Ben Barnicoat in the #72 Track-Club McLaren took the lead in GT4. while there was a McLaren battle going on further back in GT3 between #5 & #56 Tolman Motorsport and #501 Balfe Motorsport.
With 14 minutes to go Buurman began to close the gap on Turner as the duo got tangled in traffic. After the earlier wheel incident Keen held fourth place, while Adam had more than a second lead on Darren Turner.
The #50 Ginetta of Will Burns was off the track and out of the race, while at the front of the pack in the dying minutes the racing was fiercer between Turner and Buurman in the battle for second place. But it was an Aston Martin 1-2 with Adam and Haigh taking first place, the first outright win by a woman in British GT and Darren Turner and Andrew Howard taking second place with Yelmer Buurman and Lee Mowle taking third place.
In GT4 Ben Barnicoat and Adam Balon took the win while the Century Motorsport BMW of Ben Green and Ben Tuck was originally in P2 until a post race 30 second penalty for a short pitstop dropped them further down the order moving Tolman Motorsports Charlie Fagg and Michael O Brien up to 2nd place while Ricky Collard, who had been drafted in to partner Jack Mitchell in the #43 Century Motorsport BMW, made the third step of the podium.
Race Two began unceremoniously for Optimum Motorsport when Jonny Adam tried to join the grid but aquaplaned on standing water and made contact with a barrier doing damage to the left rear of the Aston Martin Vantage, putting it back into the garage. Such were the conditions that the field only managed four laps under the safety car before the race and rest of the event was red flagged.
The Championship continues at Rockingham on 28th/29th April.
West Coast Racing’s Daniel Lloyd made a clean sweep in the debut round of the TCR UK round at Silverstone.
The 25 year old had a fight on his hands from Aiden Moffatt in race one but Lloyd’s experience shone through. Moffatt had been given a 5 second time penalty for exceeding track limits but this was overturned post race shifting the podium order, putting Moffatt back into second place,
Oli Taylor in third place and bumping West Coast Racings Andreas Backman back into 4th place. Further back down the order there was a fight for 5th place between Howard Fuller and Finlay Crocker with contact being made between the two, but Fuller eventually securing 5th position.
Stewart Lines and Carl Swift had their own battle with Lines being able to take advantage when Swift had a spin, also giving Lines the race one DSG Trophy honours. Meanwhile Lewis Kent and Darelle Wilson had contact which took Wilson into the gravel and out of the race and Kent into last place. Unfortunately Derek Wilson again suffered mechanical issues meaning he had to retire half way through.
In race two it had looked like Moffatt again was going to be on the podium however in the last few laps fuel shortage meant the Laser Tools Racing driver had to pull out handing second place to Andreas Backman, with Daniel Lloyd again dominating the field.
Lines again took the DSG Trophy honours, while Darelle Wilson back on track after his incident in race one finished in 7th place just behind the rapid Jessica Backman.
The weekend confirms how much potential the championship has with close, exciting racing. The series is sure to attract a larger field and following very quickly, with the kind of spectacle sure to thrill any motorsport fan.
West Coast Racing’s Daniel Lloyd took pole position for tomorrow’s debut TCR UK Silverstone race in tricky conditions and with some fierce racing to contend with.
Aiden Moffatt didn’t disappoint, putting in the performance that fans had been hoping for, crossing just fractions of a second behind Lloyd in the VW Golf GTi, but it was Lloyd who fought back in the final stages of qualifying not giving way to the BTCC Laser Tools Racing star.
Howard Fuller and Lewis Kent also found themselves at the mercy of Lloyd, even though Kent looked like he had the session in the bag.
Stewart Lines heads up pole in the second race tomorrow due to a reverse grid formed from drivers second fastest qualifying lap times. The only driver of the 13 who was unable to make the qualifying session was Derek Palmer when problems with his Alfa Romeo meant it was in the garage and putting him on P13 for tomorrow’s first race.
As the British GT season kicked off at Oulton Park it was newcomer to the series Flick Haigh who took pole position for Mondays first race in the Optimum Motorsport Aston Martin. Haigh who co drives with Jonny Adam, qualified in GT3 AM and is the first woman to take outright pole position and set a best lap of 1:34.769 just ahead of Rick Parfitt Jnr in the Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental.
But in GT3 Pro it was Phil Keen in the Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini #33, who took pole for Mondays second race after also topping Free Practice Two.
GT4 Am saw Callum Pointon take pole position which Equipe Verschuur’s Finlay Hutchison had to relinquish when he took to the McLaren 570S first instead of co driver Daniel McKay. The Championship regulations state that drivers must be nominated for each qualifying period, the driver mix up handed HHC’s Pointon top of the GT4 grid when he finished just fractions of a second behind Hutchison. Hutchison now starting at the back of the grid in race one. Due to the exclusion, Daniel McKay who also finished on pole in GT4 Pro handed that place to Scott Malvern in the Team Parker Racing Mercedes AMG.
Just ahead of the opening round of the new national series at Silverstone, we joined the drivers and TCR UK organisers at the media launch.
The series joins other TCR Touring Car Championships under the TCR banner, this means the same cars can be used through those championships as well as the FIA World Touring Car Cup. This concept gives a lot of scope to a driver wishing to compete, it also for instance, allows a team to rent their car to other drivers across those championships when not competing with it themselves. This makes the UK series an attractive proposition as it means cost such as buying a TCR car can be recouped relatively quickly. The championship also aims to be a springboard for up and coming driver talent. TCR itself is a fast growing concept, having only launched in 2015 and now with 17 series running internationally, regionally and nationally, making TCR UK a very attractive prospect for touring car drivers.
As TCR UK will be the headline championship on BRSCC race weekends it will also have a great series of support races, guaranteeing plenty of track action for competitors and spectators alike. The TCR Series regulations differ from series to series but TCR UK follows the former TCR International Series regulations of Free Practice and Qualifying on Saturday and and two sprint races on Sunday.
Topping the test times in session one was Verizon Connect Racing’s Finlay Crocker in the new Honda Civic, Finlay had earlier commented: “I’ve done a couple of rounds so familiar with the concept. The new Honda is slower handles differently but is more stable” after the mornings test session he went on to say: “The car performed really well this morning in the wet conditions. As it dried it was reassuring to see everything went as we thought it would. Generally, I’m very happy; we’ve had some decent running and we keep making progress with the car.”
The second test session found Laser Tools Racing Aiden Moffat out in front. Moffat who will be dovetailing his TCR commitments with his BTCC campaign earlier talked about his decision to compete in TCR UK and the Alfa Romeo Giulietta “None of the dates clash so there will be a few weeks living out of a suitcase! But it will be good. Obviously TCR is a great Championship worldwide, now moving to the UK. It’s great to be involved, so will be interesting to see how it goes. I’ve never tried another TCR, it’s a nice car to drive but don’t know how competitive it is with other TCR cars, we’ll see.”
During the second test session which found the damp track starting to dry out, Moffat managed to squeeze ahead of Ollie Taylor, the 21 year old later said: ““It got drier towards the end of session two so we decided to get a feel for the car – it’s handling fine and I’m feeling confident. We’ve just used today to learn about the car, we’ll sit down tonight with some data and then build from that tomorrow. We’re up there on the timesheets and we haven’t really given it maximum attack and there’s a lot more in the bag, which is a nice position to be in.”
In the third test session it was Pyro Motorsports Ollie Taylor who sat ahead in the timings in the Honda Civic: ““Every time we go out in the car we learn, which is really good. It’s always nice to feel ‘on the pace’, as we had quite ranging conditions today. I don’t think there’s too much to be looked into in regards to the times today, because a lot of people have been on different tyres all day. It was good to use the Yokohoma tyres and do some homework on how they react; it’s good to see pace from the other people as well and I’m really looking forward to the weekend.”
Also on the grid is former BTCC driver Stewart Lines. Lines has had a ten year career in racing, now aboard his Maximum Motorsport Cupra, Lines is the senior driver on the grid and has been a huge supporter of the TCR UK format “ There are a lot of decent guys and girls in in TCR UK, so I’ll give it my best shot, TCR is only going to go forward”
Qualifying at Silverstone commences later on this afternoon.
As the series celebrates its 60th year the paddock descended on Donington Park for the BTCC 2018 season launch media day with a chance for a first glimpse at new liveries and some new team additions.
Eagerly anticipated was the Halfords Yuasa Honda Civic Type R in its stunning new livery. The team which said goodbye to Gordon Shedden earlier in the year welcomes former Porsche Carrera Cup GB Champ Dan Cammish alongside three times BTCC Champion Matt Neal “The Honda is a quantum leap forward, we’ve done some running, we’ve got to learn it’s sweet spots.”
While new team mate Cammish commented on following in Sheddens footprints: “I’m in a great seat in a fantastic team as a rookie which doesn’t happen very often, I’ll do the best job I can”.
Reigning champ Ash Sutton was on hand to unveil the handsome new Adrian Flux Subaru Racing livery, of his move to the Subaru last year; ”Moving to Subaru was the right thing to do all the stars were aligned” Sutton is firmly back to contest his title.
Teammate Jason Plato commented ”I’m keen to start afresh, it was new ground for me where stuff went wrong. But if it was easy there would be more names on the trophy”
Team BMW’s Rob Collard, Andrew Jordan and Colin Turkington took to the press conference stage, Turkington had a difficult finish to the season last year, when in the final race of the championship contact between Mat Johnson and him meant his race and championship was over: ”It’s difficult when you get so close to winning, runner up is the most difficult place to finish. The chin didn’t stay down for long, the motivation to come back for this season, it’s fortunate I’m on one of the best seats on the grid, hoping we can hit the ground running and be a force once again”
Collard commented ”I’m very pleased to retain my seat at WSR, my main aim is we see the whole season through and don’t end up in an ambulance! I wasn’t able to fight for the championship, Colin was so close at Brands Hatch, perhaps if I had been there we might have been able to clinch all three titles, we clinched two titles and that’s at least our aim this year, between the three of us aim for the drivers title”
The mic was handed to Andrew Jordan who went on “This year looks super, super competitive, the championship is at an all time high, and over the winter I signed a three year deal with Pirtek, which shows how strong the Championship is”
Rob Austin’s Alfa Romeo Giulietta was a popular unveiling and after topping the timings in the afternoons testing, despite it being the first time out in the wet, was a positive signal for the Duo Motorsport with HMS Racing driver. “Everybody wants to win, it’s no different for us and hasn’t been any different for me in 27 years of racing – we’ll be going to Brands looking to do the absolute best we can”, Austin added, “Realistically we don’t know what everyone else is doing, but we’re just going to concentrate on our job, focus on what we need to do and then see where we are at the first round.
“As I’ve said, we know others have more in the bag but so do we, so we’re in a good place as things stand. What I will say, this Duo Motorsport with HMS Alfa Romeo is the best package I’ve ever started a season with, so we’re definitely feeling confident for the new season.”
Sam Tordoff returns to BTCC with Team GardX Racing with Motorbase, after a year in British GT. Tordoff explained “I hate sharing a car,
I needed to go away and reset. I had a fantastic year racing GT’s but coming back here was always the end goal. I’m delighted to be back and excited to be driving the new Ford Focus RS.
Alan Gow kicked off the press conference talking about the 60th anniversary of the championship which is also the third oldest championship in the world. There are several plans throughout the year to celebrate BTCC’s Diamond Anniversary, not least the Diamond 60 mile race at the Snetterton round in July, where double points will be available in a winner takes all race. There are also plans to celebrate the 60th year at this years Silverstone Classic and there will be an adjustment to the rookie cup, the Jack Sears Trophy, which will also now find anyone who has not been on the podium eligible to lift the prize at the end of the season.
Gow also announced the new addition of a specially imported Ford safety truck which is equipped with the very latest and best in rescue and cutting equipment, and is the only one of it’s kind in Europe.
ITV will continue in its commitment to the Championship with its popular coverage and extensive highlights programme on ITV4.
Dunlops Ben Crawley
ITV’s Tim Harvey, David Addison and Louise Goodman
Ben Crawley, Dunlops European Motorsport Director spoke about Dunlops long term commitment to BTCC, now in its 15th year as tyre supplier. Crawley went on to announce how due to fan feedback this year they would be introducing a blue sidewall on the blue response wet tyre making the tyre easier for fans to identify on track.
MSV boss and Donington Park owner Jonathan Palmer was also in attendance where he spoke about the ongoing improvements to Donington which included new toilet blocks, offices, new grandstand, tarmaced paddocks and a new restaurant replacing the Pit Stop Diner. Improvements much needed to bring Donington Park back up to scratch.
The opening round of the season takes place at Brands Hatch on April 7th/8th.
Just a few days to go until the 2018 season opener of British GT 2018 and we have a look at some of the new liveries and cars launched at the recent media day at Donington.
The new livery of the Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental of Rick Parfitt Jnr and new partner Ryan Ratcliff, was hotly anticipated by media and fans alike and they weren’t disappointed.
While last years champ and Parfitts team mate Seb Morris moves onto pastures new in the shape of the Blancpain Endurance series, Parfitt Jnr commented at the media day press conference : “British GT was fantastic last year with a great story behind it for me personally. This year there are some incredible drivers, this year is about a new challenge, a building year and the pressure is off me and we’ll just have fun and see how far we can take it”.
New to the championship is the Jaguar GT4 of Invictus Games Racing The team pairs injured or sick ex service personnel with established drivers in the Invictus Foundation backed team.
The cars were unveiled earlier in the year at Autosport International Show but the chance to finally see the Jaguars on track was one of the highlights of the media day.
Other exciting additions out on track included the BMW M4’s of Century Motorsport and the Barwell Motorsport trio of Lamborghini Huracans.
2004 British Gt Champion Jonny Cocker, who will be behind the wheel of the 69
Huracan alongside Sam De Haan commented: “Myself and Sam did some track days and it progressed from there, we looked at GT4 but decided to go head first into GT3. This is Sam’s first season of racing but it’s remarkable, he is over-performing. For me it’s great to be back, British GT has a special place for me. If you can do well in British GT you can do well anywhere”
Balfe Motorsport also joins the Championship running two McLarens across both classes.
In the 650S GT3, McLaren factory driver Rob Bell is joined by team owner Shaun Balfe who had this to say “We were ready for a fresh challenge, we’ve been watching British GT and we’re very proud to be here representing the family team”
Also on hand was MSV boss and new owner of Donington Park Jonathan Palmer, who along with outlining some of the changes and improvements that are being undertaken at Donington, praised SRO for growing and nurturing British GT as the series continues to attract larger spectator numbers, good quality cars and factory driver involvement.
The championship commences this Easter Weekend at Oulton Park.
Bringing the Jaguar back to British GT, new outfit Invictus Games Racing make an important step into a prominent series and along with it signal a further broadening of inclusivity in motorsport.
The Invictus Foundation was established in 2014 after the first Invictus Games, a brainchild of Prince William following his visit to the Warrior Games in the US in 2013. The foundation governs the Invictus Games, an annual world sporting event where all the competitors are ex service men and women who are ill or have been injured while in the service of their country. The games have become a potent symbol of the fighting spirit of the participants, who have or continue to overcome, physical or mental injury through competitive sport. Following the spirit of the Invictus Games, Superdry clothing co-founder and former British GT competitor James Holder was inspired to get involved in creating a charity project that focused on putting injured veterans in to a top level area of motorsport and demolishing the perception of motorsport as elitist. Invictus Games Racing looks to make motorsport a level playing field for those competing but without sacrificing any of the excitement or challenges to be found in the sport, for the ex armed forces personnel involved.
Mission Motorsport, the armed forces motorsport charity, who have been involved in putting ex service personnel in to many areas of motorsport since 2012, worked alongside Invictus Games Racing to assist in identifying and training suitable team members.
The team will run two Jaguar GT4’s especially adapted for the needs of the drivers and in a unique driver pairing format, a Pro driver will mentor and co drive with two Am ex service personnel drivers who will split driving duties.
Joining the team is American Jason Wolfe, who last year competed in the ADAC TCR Germany Touring Car Championship. Wolfe will partner Ben Norfolk and Basil Rawlinson in car #22. Norfolk, an ex RAF Serjeant and aircraft engineer had completed several tours of Iraq and Afghanistan when an incident while assisting with casualties at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan left a lasting impact. Norfolk was later diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression and was medically discharged in 2017. The 41 year old will compete in the first three rounds of the season at Oulton Park, Rockingham and Snetterton.
Basil Rawlinson ex 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment who also served in Afghanistan was medically discharged in 2014 having had medical leave due to degenerative discs in the spine and was also diagnosed with PTSD. On his return to civilian life Rawlinson set up his own crash helmet spraying business. In 2014 he was selected as an Invictus Games Ambassador for the inaugural games in London. Rawlinson then began an association with Mission Motorsport and gained his International C Race licence last summer, and completes the second half of the British GT rounds.
In the #44 car Matthew George joins the team in the Pro seat. The former Generation AMR SuperRacing driver competed in British GT in 2016 alongside James Holder with whom he also partnered in the GT4 European Series last year.
Joining him is Paul Vice MC(Military Cross) a former Royal Marines Commando who suffered massive injuries after he was subjected to an IED attack while serving in Afghanistan in 2011. Vice had 400 pieces of shrapnel removed and among other serious injuries, sustained damage to his left leg which eventually led to the lower part of the leg being amputated. Prior to the amputation Vice competed in the inaugural Invictus Games winning a gold medal in cycling. He then went on to compete in the 2016 Invictus Games by which time he had undergone the operation to remove the lower part of his leg, but he still returned from Orlando with a huge haul of seven medals(including two golds for 50m Backstroke and 50m Breaststroke as well as four silvers, 2 in cycling, sitting volleyball, 50m freestyle and a bronze in the 100m relay) making him the events most successful male athlete. Vice made the Mission Motorsport Race of Remembrance his first competitive motorsport event and will compete in the second stage of the championship tackling Silverstone, Spa, Brands Hatch and Donington.
The second Am driver is Steve McCulley who also served in the Royal Marines and was very seriously injured by an IED while on patrol in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2011. Following his medical discharge he became involved with Mission Motorsport and went on to race in the Caterham Academy in 2014, finishing fourth in the standings. He subsequently went on to compete in the Seven 310R Championship in which he finished third overall in 2017. McCulley has also competed in Mission Motorsports Race of Remembrance and will undertake the first three rounds of the British GT championship.
The season kicks off at Oulton Park, Easter weekend Sat 30th March- Mon 1st April
With less than a month to the first round of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Brands Hatch, we take a look ahead to what the new season has in store in the popular one make championship.
Last year’s champion Charlie Eastwood, now a BRDC Superstar, has moved to the World Endurance Championship and Blancpain Endurance series with TF Sport. Also making a move into Blancpain Endurance with TF Sport is Euan McKay, while Dan McKay makes the move into British GT on board the Equipe Verschuur McLaren 570S. Also making a move into British GT is Scott Malvern who joins Team Parker racing. Meanwhile Dan Cammish disembarks for the British Touring Car Championship, taking the seat at Team Dynamics Honda Yuasa vacated by Gordon Shedden. Tom Oliphant also makes the move to BTCC with Ciceley Racing.
With a number of prominent drivers moving on to other series, it makes for an exciting 2018 season with a number of new faces joining those back to contest for the title.
Second in the standings last year Dino Zamparelli will continue to battle for the top spot with returning Pro’s Lewis Plato, Tio Ellinas, Tom Wrigley and Ross Wyle.
The highly popular scholarship initiative resumes under the new name the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Junior programme, which sees the three finalists on the grid, winner Dan Harper, George Gamble and Esmee Hawkey. The programme has a generous prize of £85,000 towards 2018/19 PCCGB running costs plus development and support from Porsche Motorsport, a package that has seen a record number of applicants for this season.
Dan Harper was the 2016 Rookie Cup winner in the Ginetta Juniors and finished third in the overall standings in 2017. The 17 year old from Northern Ireland joins Nick Tandy’s racing team JTR alongside Tom Wrigley, Lewis Plato and Jamie Orton.
21 yr old George Gamble has risen through the ranks of the Ginetta championships, but has also tried his hand at single seaters having competed in the 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Winter Series.
20 year old Esmee Hawkey has contested in Porsche’s since 2016 in the GT Cup, last year also competing in the Brighton Speed Trials where she came fourth. The rapid youngster is also the Brand Ambassador for Porsche Centre South London.
Also joining the Championship in 2018 is seasoned driver Gary Eastwood who has a long background in GT racing including competing in British GT 2012 to 2016 and last year competed in the GT Cup Championship. The 58 year old runs in PCCGB with G-Cat Racing.
Seb Perez graduates from the Ginetta Supercup to join Team Parker Racing alongside PCCGB Junior programme entrant George Gamble, with whom Perez has previously driven in Ginetta Championships. A previous BTCC entrant who joins the Championship is Richard Hawken. The 46 year old previously raced with Support Our Paras Infiniti in 2015.
While in the Am class Fraser Robertson, Peter Mangion and Michael Igoe also join the grid.
On the media day at Silverstone it was Tom Wrigley who dominated in the first test session swiftly followed by Dino Zamparelli and Lewis Plato, with Plato clocking the sessions best speed.
The second session found Josh Webster topping the lap times while Dan Harper put in the miles completing thirty eight laps. Webster again led lap times in the third session with the wet weather improving lap times dropped.
The first round of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB takes place on the BTCC support package at Brands Hatch on 7th/8th April.
The 24H Series rolled into Silverstone last weekend for the first major event of the season. The newly resurface circuit combined with some wet and foggy weather throughout the race offered some challenges to the small grid of TCR entries. The first part of the race ran alongside the last part of the debut 12H race for GT’s and Prototypes, puting the three categories of car together on track for the first time in the Creventic series.
It was an outright win for Netherlands team Red Camel-Jordans.nl in their SEAT LCR. Konstantins Kalko and Ivo and Rik Breukers managed to cross the finish line on Sunday morning more than 5 mins ahead of the SEAT Leon of Team Bleekemolen, last years winners. While in third place was the SEAT LCR of LMS Racing. Confirming SEAT’s dominance in the championship.
The race got off to a good start for the low grid of fifteen entries but the changeable conditions and fresh surface meant there were multiple instances of cars spinning off track throughout, two entries that dropped out early on were the Volkswagen Golf of Motorsport Developpement,
completing just 36 laps before it became evident they wouldn’t be able to complete the rest of the 24 hours. While Team Hyundai Denmark had to pull out after the seven hour mark when a lack of spare parts sadly brought their race to an end.
There were many incidents for the pit teams to deal with including a complete engine change for Honda factory team Synchro, in a repeat of similar circumstances in last years race.
The Swindon based team were joined by British Touring Cars champion Matt Neal, but despite their incredible efforts a second bout of engine problems meant Synchro had to withdraw from the race almost 22 and a half hours in.
Also beset with engine problems was the Excelr8 Motorsport Mini JCW driven by Max Bladon, Rob Smith, Ricky Coomber, Szeto Wing Shun and Clement Tong. Requiring a full engine change and five hours in the pits the team however did manage to complete the race finishing last.
While the Excelr8 Motorsport Audi RS3,co driven by 12hr ROFGO Racing entrant Stuart Hall, also encountered problems in the form of electrical faults but managed to finish in eleventh place.
As fog rolled across the circuit at 2am the race was suspended, not resuming until 6.45am and the final thirteen entries pushed on to the 10.30 am finish.
The next round takes place at Navarra April 20th to 22nd
As the 24H Series made its return to Silverstone, making its debut was the 12H Silverstone which saw prototypes and GT’s running on the famous circuit with the race split across Friday and Saturday. As the overlap of the 12h and 24H race took place on Saturday, Protos, GT’s and TCR’s were running together for the first time.
The Proto class saw a low entry of 3 cars, including the only entry in the CN class, CN of Krafft Racing and two Ginetta G57’s of Simpson Motorsport. There was drama for that team when damage to one of their chassis’s in practice on Thursday meant a new chassis was shipped overnight from Ginetta’s Yorkshire HQ.
Both Ginetta’s suffered a few problems across the 12 hour race including a puncture and power issues but the #4 G57 crossed the line first in the class and overall, taking Simpson Motorsport to the top of the podium.
The GT winner was the ROFGO Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 of Roald Goethe, Stuart Hall and Daniel Brown who adapted to the wet weather conditions that blighted the newly resurfaced Silverstone across the weekend. Despite a crash early on with PROSport Performances Mercedes that resulted in a broken diffuser for the British team,
the trio put in a stunning performance putting them top of the podium with Forch Racing’s Porsche 991 of Zeljko Drmic, Patrick Eisemann and Robert Lukas taking second place. Third place went to Grasser Racing Team’s Rolf Ineichen, Mark Ineichen, Franck Perera and British GT contestant Phil Keen in the Lamborghini Huracan.
British GT’s Phil Keen with Simpson Motorsports Steve Tandy
Bohemia Energy with Scuderia Praha had to be content with finishing fifth overall with their Ferrari 488. Jiri Pisarik Josef Kral and Matteo Malucelli put in a sterling effort, finishing the first 5 hour stint of the race on Friday in the lead and continued to do so when the race resumed for the final 7 hours on Saturday,
however an accident which resulted in some considerable damage to the body work of the car meant time was lost and with post race penalties added, the unfortunate team missed out after running a highly competitive race initially.
ROFGO Racing with Forch Racings Zeljko Drmic
Roald Goethe & Stuart Hall watch on as Daniel Brown brings the ROFGO Racing Mercedes home to first in class.
The new format saw the 2018 GT and Proto European Championship kick off ahead of the Navarra round in April. Weather conditions in Europe ahead of the Silverstone round may have been a contributing factor to the low numbers entered into the British round and on track conditions certainly set drivers many challenges but it’s hoped that the series will continue to attract drivers to the annual Silverstone event.
We joined the new championship at their recent testing day ahead of the season launch at Silverstone on Easter weekend.
The newly launched British series joins other TCR Touring Car Championships regionally, nationally and internationally under the TCR banner, this means the same cars can be used through those championships as well as the FIA World Touring Car Cup. This concept gives a lot of scope to a driver wishing to compete, it also for instance, allows a team to rent their car to other drivers across those championships when not competing with it themselves. This makes the UK series an attractive proposition as it means cost such as buying a TCR car can be recouped relatively quickly. The championship also aims to be a springboard for up and coming driver talent.
There were just a few TCR UK cars out on track as the media day was postponed until the end of the month due in part to a clash with the Geneva Motorshow, however this didn’t stop the likes of Maximum Motorsports Stewart Lines, who has left BTCC to join TCR UK. Also out in a SEAT Leon was Carl Swift.
The former Civic Cup champion is the first entrant in the TCR UK’s DSG Trophy open to drivers who have DSG transmission, the prize being a €20,000 sequential gearbox upgrade.
Finlay Crocker and Ollie Taylor hit the circuit in their Honda Civics, Taylor clocking up the fastest times of the day on the damp track. Lewis Kent in his Hyundai i30 N was the fastest in the second test session, meanwhile Josh Price suffered engine problems in his Honda Civic and had to abandon the test early on.
Sean Walkinshaw, son of former European Touring Car Champion was also testing, achieving the second fastest time overall.
There were a few cars from the support race package also testing, including in Formula Ford 2017 Walter Hayes Trophy winner Michael Moyers. Competing in the Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup and out on track were Darelle Wilson and Dennis Strandberg, the former British GT driver.
Joining them was Strandbergs Maximum Motorsport team mate Tim Docker.
We joined the Vintage Sports Car Club at the Pomeroy Trophy Competition as the historic car club kicked off the racing season at Silverstone with the popular event.
The competition open to pre and post war vehicles uses a unique format of tests to decide upon the ultimate touring car. The tests include a time trial as well as tests for acceleration, braking and handling. Along with surely one of the most unique tests in the world, the ability to carry two standard VSCC suit cases.
Taking the Pomeroy Trophy itself was Simon Smith in his 1964 Lotus Elan, completing the test with a total of 424.16 points.
Frazer Nash Super Sports
The Densham Trophy, which is awarded to the best Pre-War car that didn’t take the Pomeroy Trophy, was won by Simon Blakeney-Edwards in his 1929 Frazer Nash Super Sports, while the Pomeroy Edwardian Trophy, awarded to the best eligible Edwardian or car fitted with two-wheeled brakes, was taken by Andrew Howe-Davies in a 1911 Scat Racer. Runners up in 1st Class included a Ford Cortina and Mini Cooper.
The event attracted a packed grid of varied cars from a Frazer Nash TT Replica to a Ferrari 212 to a Peerless GT1.
Not to be left out were newer vehicles such as a Porsche Boxster, Maserati Gran Tourismo and the new Toyota Yaris GRMN. The limited edition Yaris which had been the subject of a promotional filming the day before was out on track alongside the
The VSCC which has been in existence since 1934 welcomes Pre and Post war cars on a competitive as well as social level, with many events held throughout the year, the VSCC is a hugely popular motoring club, with many opportunities for members to get involved in many aspects of motorsport.
Out on track at the Vintage Sports Car Club Pomeroy Trophy Competition was the brand new Toyota Yaris GRMN. The very limited edition Yaris has been launched to celebrate the return of Toyota Gazoo to the FIA World Rally Championship in 2017. The new model which has a limited run of 400 for European customers saw most of them snapped up within 72 hours of the online reservation opening. The Yaris GRMN boasts over 200bhp and takes 6.4 seconds to reach 62mph and the top speed is electronically limited to 143mph . The supercharged engine which is manufactured in the UK was developed with Lotus, with the final build and installation of the 1,798cc 2ZR-FE engine carried out by Toyota Motor Manufacturing France.
The styling of the Yaris GRMN feature the red, white and black of Toyota Gazoo’s Racing colours and includes bespoke sports seats, a smaller steering wheel modified from the GT86 coupe and many details echoing it’s rally car counterpart. Each of the cars is assembled by a dedicated technical team alongside the standard Yaris production line.
Also competing was one of Toyota’s Heritage Fleet the, 1966 Toyota Corona Deluxe.
1966 Toyota Corona Deluxe
The car is a significant part of the Toyota story as it was one of the first models to be embraced by the West, actually being named Imported Car of The Year in the US in 1969 and became the first single model to sell over a million units in Japan. Driving the Toyota Yaris GRMN at Silverstone were Patrick Mortell and Richard Seymour, with Alric Kitson behind the wheel of the Corona.
Mortell and Seymour were both awarded 3rd Class honours.
The VSCC Pomeroy Trophy Competition is a series of marked tests, which range from being able to fit two standard VSCC sized suitcases in a competitors car, to braking, acceleration and speed tests. Despite being held by the Vintage Sports Car Club, the Competition is open to all roadworthy cars. The VSCC has been in existence since 1934, originally a motoring club for competing in pre-war cars, the social aspect is equally important and the age range of cars has also expanded, with a wide array of vehicles to be seen at any of the varied events run by the club, which range from rallies, to hill climbs to track days.
With the season launch just weeks away, we look at all the British GT news we have so far. Starting with 2017 Champs Rick Parfitt Jnr and Seb Morris. Morris announced late last year, his intention to move away from the Championship to pursue a career in European endurance. Morris’ departure leaving a seat at Team Parker Racing to be filled by Ryan Ratcliffe. Ratcliffe who previously partnered with Parfitt Jnr in 2013 in GT4, moves from AMD Tuning.com where he was team mates with Lee Mowle.
Ratcliffe stated: “Driving the Bentley will certainly be different; it’s a great marque to be associated with and certainly draws a lot of attention in British GT. This year looks like it’s going to be the most competitive yet but the aim is to be at the front and fighting for podiums every round. I honestly haven’t been this excited about a season to date.”
A big story has been the return of Beechdean AMR to the championship with Darren Turner and team boss Andrew Howard behind the wheel of the Aston Martin Vantage GT3. Howard has previously taken the title twice but bids to become the first driver to take the title three times.
While Turner has had a lengthy career, including 13 consecutive years behind the wheel of an Aston Martin in the 24hrs of Le Mans. Turner has previously only made one appearance in British GT again paired with Andrew Howard at Silverstone in 2010, where they finished third.
Another pairing well known in the FIA World Endurance Championships is Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen who join British GT with TF Sport. The duo will continue to contest in the World Endurance Championships as well as completing the full British GT season. TF Sport will continue to field both Mark Farmer and Derek Johnston also, while Jonny Adam made the announcement that he will be joining Optimum Motorsport as they return to GT3 with the Aston Martin Vantage.
Joining Adam behind the wheel will be Flick Haigh. Haigh, the only woman currently contesting in GT3, has previously competed in the Britcar series as well as the 24hr series and GT Cup. The 33 year old states ““I’m really excited about this and I’m very much looking forward to getting back behind the wheel,” she said. “It’s like starting again, we have the right car, the right team-mate and we’ll be flat out to make the best of this amazing opportunity.”
Other major news is the return of Jaguar to the series after an 11 year absence, with new team Invictus Games Racing. The squad, a collaboration between James Holder and the Invictus Games Foundation, will run two F-TYPE SVR GT4’s that will be raced by a Pro driver and two Am drivers per car. The Am drivers have been selected after the Invictus Games Foundation worked closely with Mission Motorsport, the armed forces motorsport charity, to identify and train suitable candidates who are sick or have previously been injured or wounded while with the armed services. The Am drivers will take it in turn to race and they are; Steve McCully and Paul Vice who partner Pro Matthew George, George has previously partnered James Holder in British GT, while Ben Norfolk and Basil Rawlinson team up with Jason Wolfe, former two-time Pirelli World Challenge TCA champion.
Fox Motorsport announced its return to British GT with Mark Murfitt and Michael Broadhurst behind the wheel of the Mercedes-AMG GT4. The duo raced for Fox Motorsport Ginetta and Porsche to sixth place in last years GT Cup. The team have previously competed a British GT round in 2016, but will be their first full season since 2015.
Meanwhile Barwell Motorsport announce their intention to run three Lamborghini Huracan’s this season. Last years championship runners up Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen return to the squad but are joined by 2004 champion Jonny Cocker who partners Sam De Haan. While the third car will be helmed by Patrick Kujala and 20016 GT3 Champ Leo Machitski. Outgoing Sam Tordoff who was paired with Liam Griffin, returns to the British Touring Car Championship with Motorbase.
2017 GT4 champions Will Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton both join the Ginetta Young Driver Programme which will see them remain with HHC but competing in the GT4 European Series.
Ginetta GT4 Supercup champion Callum Pointon, meanwhile teams up with Patrik Matthiesen at HHC in their Ginetta G55. Also joining HHC as Pro/Am entry is Mike Newbold and Will Burns. Burns joins the Championship after last year competing in the BTCC, prior to which he was in the Ginetta GT4 Supercup, coming second place in 2016.
UltraTek Racing Team RJN will again be entering two Nissan 370Z GT4’s with former FIA WEC LMP2 champ Martin Plowman partnering former Emmerdale actor Kelvin Fletcher. The Birmingham based team are yet to announce who their second driver pairing will be.
Century Motorsport made the announcement that it would be returning to the Championship with two BMW M4 GT4’s, the first driver pairing will be Ben Tuck and Ben Green with a further announcement expected very soon on the second driver pairing.
Confirming a Mclaren 650S for GT3 and 570S for GT4 is Balfe Motorsport.
The squads owner Shaun Balfe partners Rob Bell in GT3, with 2016 GT4 champions Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson helming the PMW Expo Racing backed 570S that is contracted to Balfe Motorsport.
Finally, making its British GT debut is ERC Sport with Lee Mowles and Yelmer Buurman in their Mercedes AMG GT3. Buurman has had a lengthy career spanning many European series including the Blancpain GT series. Buurman commented:
“Only Rockingham will be new to me but it’s also been a long time since I raced in the UK full-time – I was a teenager the last time that happened!” he said. “We have some testing scheduled at Portimao before the media day, and then at Oulton Park just before the opening round, so there’s plenty of time to work with Lee and the team before the season starts.
“I’ve not done a huge amount of Pro/Am racing but I do have a lot of experience in the Mercedes-AMG GT3, which is important given the level of opposition this year. Clearly Aston Martin are pushing very hard! There are definitely circuits that will suit our car, and I’m really looking forward to the challenge. It’s always a privilege to race at tracks like Oulton and Brands Hatch GP.”
Bicester Heritage’s first Sunday Scramble of 2018 was held at the beginning of January, with large crowds enjoying the huge variety of vehicles on display at the former RAF Bicester. Porsche Club GB had a huge presence, taking over an entire hangar with a variety of models.
Arriving at Bicester just the day before was the 1972 BMW 1602 owned by the Historic Endurance Racing Organisation, the car is part of their “Arrive & Drive” programme, which puts you in the driving seat of some of the finest classic cars from a 1962 Ford Cortina GT to a 1930 Riley Brooklands.
The BMW 1602 made its debut in Geneva in 1966 and was manufactured until 1975, this example was recently raced by Tony Jardine, and has been used at many events from Le Jog to Summer Trial with plans for similar outings this year.
One of the biggest draws of the day for many was the addition of the stunning Leyton House CG901B. The Adrian Newey designed car was driven by Ivan Capelli in 1990.
It was a return home in sorts for the car as the short lived Leyton House team were based in Bicester having been previously the March F1 team, until 1989 saw them bought out by Akira Akagi, a Japanese property entrepreneur, who then raced the team in 1990 and ‘91 under the Leyton House name. However financial problems hit and after a series of buyouts the team were no more.
A car also receiving a lot of attention was a Porsche 911 in a stunning wrap designed by the artist Tim Layzell and completed by the livery team at Mission Motorsport, the armed forces motorsport charity.
The limited edition wraps are available through the charity with proceeds aiding wounded soldiers to retrain in the field of motorsport.
Also on display were the beautiful bi-planes owned by Finest Hour Experiences.
Bicester Heritage has many events throughout the year and really is a must visit for any classic car or vintage enthusiast.
Autosport International returned to the NEC with a packed programme of features, showcasing the best and latest in the world of motorsport.
The F1 Racing feature included the 2017 Ferrari Formula 1 car SF70H as well as the 2004 title winning F2004 and the 2017 World Endurance Championship winning GTE-Pro AF Corse 488 GTE.
They appeared as part of Ferrari’s Corse Clienti showcase, Ferrari’s ultra exclusive programme which puts those with the means in the driving seat of Ferrari’s retired F1 cars.
Over the years Autosport International has seen the launch of many anniversaries and this year was no exception with Cosworth marking their 60th year as does the British Touring Car Championship.
With an array of historic touring cars on display it was a great way to launch the Diamond Anniversary of one of the UK’s most popular Championships. The new Alfa Romeo Giulietta of HMS Racing, formerly Handy Motorsport was a highlight. Team principal Simon Belcher and driver Rob Austin were on hand to do the honours, Austin stated: “We are so proud to finally be unveiling the new Alfa, everyone in our team has put in an incredible amount of work to keep the project on schedule while maintaining an impressive attention to detail.” he went on to say “All in all, we are in a very good place. We have a great team of guys here who have built a beautiful BTCC car which, on paper, looks to be a notable step forward from our previous car. We have great support from some fantastic partners, we have reintroduced a truly iconic brand back into top level UK motorsport…all this and it’s only January 11th!”
Belcher added: “It’s very emotional to see the response to the Alfa Romeo we have designed and built ourselves from the ground up. I did a very hard thing in stepping out of the driving seat myself in the BTCC to spend more time overseeing the team’s progress and then developing such a stunning car. Our engineer Matt Taylor and the rest of the team have done an incredible job and I am extremely proud of what we have achieved. However, a beautiful car is only part of the journey – now we need to make it win!”
Meanwhile Power Maxed Racing announced that Josh Cook, will join them at the wheel of their Vauxhall Astra for their 2018 campaign. AMDTuning also made the announcement that they would be concentrating fully on BTCC adding a further two cars to their line up, the team which currently runs two Audi S3’s to be helmed by Sam Smelt and Ollie Jackson, will also be adding two MG’s, with drivers to be announced over the next few weeks. The team will also not now be running teams in British GT and the Le Mans Cup.
A much anticipated feature was the unveiling of the Ginetta LMP1 and it didn’t disappoint. The company which also celebrates its 60th anniversary unveiled the G60-LT-P1. With the big changes ahead in the World Endurance Championships this was a very exciting look ahead to the new super season.
Lawrence Tomlinson, Chairman of Ginetta, said: “I’m delighted to finally be able to unveil our latest machine to the motorsport industry, and what better time than at the start of our 60th year of manufacturing. Ginetta has a long history of international success in with the G55 GT4, LMP3 and G57. The LMP1 will be a strong contender in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and at Le Mans. We have a great team of Design Engineers in Leeds, have worked with some excellent partners on the project, and can’t wait to show you what the LMP1 is made of out on track.”
In British GT the big news was the return of Jaguar to the Championship after an eleven year absence. Invictus Games Racing, a collaboration between Invictus Games and James Holder, Superdry co-founder and former British GT driver, will run the bespoke F-TYPE SVR GT4’s, to be driven by wounded, injured and sick British Armed Services personnel veterans.
The team have worked closely with Mission Motorsport to help select and train drivers. Each driver will be teamed with a Pro driver, with two Am drivers per car, they will alternate on a race by race basis. The Am drivers are Steve McCulley and Paul Vice who will be partnered by Matthew George, while Ben Norfolk and Basil Rawlinson will be partnered by Jason Wolfe.
The World Rally Championship launched the 2018 season at the show ahead of the January season opener at Monte Carlo, with World champions Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia opening the show alongside M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson. It was announced that Ford were extending support to M-Sport, winner of both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles in 2017. The renamed M-Sport Ford World Rally Team will receive additional technical help from Ford Performance in USA, as well as extra financial backing. While Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja made their first official appearance as Toyota Gazoo Racing drivers after joining the team for the 2018 season.
In the live action arena Billy Monger partnered stunt driver Terry Grant after working closely with Mission Motorsport, the armed forces motorsport charity who helped in his rehabilitation process.
The traditional Plum Pudding Races returned to Mallory Park on Boxing Day. A popular event with spectators looking for a post Christmas Day racing fix, the event features motorcycle and car races, although sadly this year there was no sidecar racing, but there was still plenty of on track action for any petrolhead. Both Sports and Saloon car races attracted a variety of marques from the Radical Exige of Paul Woolfit, to the Lotus Elise raced by Miles Hodgson, to a Martini liveried Lancia Delta Integrale owned and driven by Richard Thurbin.
Just some of our shots from the Plum Pudding Races 2017…..
A bitterly cold Mallory Park, played host to the annual Plum Pudding Races on Boxing Day. The popular event now in its 44th year sees bikes and car races, with the grid position decided by when the race entry is received. The earlier you enter, the higher your position on the grid!
Unfortunately there were no sidecar entries this year, but a healthy entry list in the East Midlands Racing Association bike races meant there was plenty of action for the many spectators who attended. The cold weather gave the solo motorcyclists a challenging few races, with a few spills taking place but despite the cold the weather remained breezy but dry allowing for some great racing to take place.
A rider who took a podium position in all three races including first place in the first Solo Motorcycle race was Aaron Staniforth on his Honda CBR 600. Staniforth from Sheffield has had an amazing season contesting in the Auto 66 Club Championship, with plans to continue next season as well as competing in the European Classic Endurance Series at Donington, Staniforth is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Also frequenting the podium with a dominant performance was Andrew Wilkinson who took the win in race two and three as well as second place in race one. While Richard Blunt completed the podium in race one and Martin Clare took third place in race two and three.
July saw the British Superbikes Championship at Snetterton with Shane”Shakey” Burns taking his first double of the season. Josh Brookes took second and Jason O’Halloran third place in both races while James Ellison who was front row for race one suffered ECU problems but looked set for a podium place in race two before crashing out with only 6 laps to go. While Bournemouth Kawasaki’s Luke Mossey and Leon Haslam both suffered crashes which had knock on effects across race day.
The newly launched LMP3 Cup undertook its Silverstone round in July for some great racing despite a small field of entries. With six cars going into the first race it was Colin Noble and Alasdair McCaig in the #79 Nielsen Racing car that took first place, with the #3 United Autosports car in second and a fantastic debut LMP3 race for Callan O Keefe who started at the back of the grid but quickly took the lead in the #72 Douglas Motorsport car.
However a 60 second penalty for being a solo driver hindered his blistering start but the 21 year old eventually finished in third place, #2 United Autosport car of Christian England and Andrew Evans despite starting on pole finished fourth, fifth going to Nielson Racings #9 car driven by Dean Gibbs and Alex Kapadia and Speedworks Motorsports Andrew Bentley and Jack Butel in sixth place. On Sunday it was United Autosports #2 and #3 cars that locked out the front of the grid in qualifying with the #3 car of Tony Wells & Matt Bell going on to take top of the podium with McCaig & Noble taking second again and another podium place for O’Keeffe.
The Silverstone Classic also took place with a huge range of on and off track action including the Celebrity Challenge race five teams were all led by motorsport experienced team captains. Anthony Reid who has had a lengthy career predominantly in Touring Cars but also British GT, led Going for Gold, SKY Sports Stars was helmed by former Formula 1 driver Rupert Keegan, Bike Legends by Touring Car driver Steve Soper, Rocking & Racing by Martin Donnelly who previously raced in Formula 1 and Formula 3000 and Screen Stars captained by Mark Blundell who has competed in Formula 1 and won the 24 Hrs of Le Mans in 1992.
It was Steve Soper for Bike Legends who took top step of the podium flanked by Martin Donnelly in second and Martin Blundell in third. Wayne Gardner the Former Motorcycle GP champ came in 4th just ahead of ex Top Gear presenter and racing driver Tiff Needell. The winning team accruing the most points were Screen Stars, the team consisting of Blundell, Vassos Alexander, Ant Anstead, Theo Paphitis, Tony Jardine and Tiff Needell. The winning team accruing the most points were Screen Stars, the team consisting of Blundell, Vassos Alexander, Ant Anstead, Theo Paphitis, Tony Jardine and Tiff Needell. And with 16 classes of track action being held at the Silverstone Classic it was a packed back to back timetable of historic racing.