Aron Taylor-Smith switches from BTCC to GT for 2018

The MG Triple Eight driver announced today he is stepping away from the British Touring Car Championship to begin a new chapter racing in GT.

©Andy Fitzpatrick

Taylor-Smith made his debut in BTCC in 2011 and has raced successfully with Team BMR, Team BKR and in 2017 with Triple Eight. It has been a difficult season for the 28 year old, finishing in the top ten just once and sustaining a fractured leg in the horrific crash at Croft that also saw Luke Davenport and Jeff Smith put out off action.

It is not yet confirmed which series Taylor-smith will be competing in but the Irishman has stated he is in talks with the SRO Blancpain GT Championship but is also considering options to race in America, but has not ruled out a return to BTCC in the future.

©Andy Fitzpatrick

Motorcycle Live 2017

Motorcycle Live returns to Birmingham NEC showcasing the very best across the motorcycle industry, from manufacturers unveiling their latest machines to appearances by popular riders and celebrities.

Ducati introduced the Panigale V4 Superbike, an exciting addition, the first mass produced Ducati to be equipped with a 4-cylinder engine as such, closely related to the Desmosedici, Ducati’s MotoGP bike. The V4 issues 1103cc and can be configured to produce almost 220bhp. As the most advanced bike produced by the Italian brand, it is a highlight of the show and a must see for visitors to the show.

While Honda revealed its CBR1000R, the top spec model in the new trio of naked machines which includes the CB300R and CB125R.

Also adding to their formidable stable is Triumph with the updated Tiger 800 XC and XR, while the Tiger 1200 XC and XR range has also received significant technical updates. Also on display on the Triumph stand is the Moto2 engine that they will be supplying exclusively from 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

Kawasaki also introduced the Supercharged Ninja H2 SX and the new Ninja ZX-10R SE, with its electronic semi-active suspension.

 

Norton looks ahead to the 50th anniversary of the Commando, launching new anniversary editions along with the new model.

KTM launched their new  KTM 790 Duke, a beautiful, lightweight machine boasting 105 hp, a pared down chassis and integrated, up-to-date connectivity.

Other areas of the show include the Black Horse live stage, the platform for celebrity interviews and panel games hosted by Steve Parrish and James Witham. Joining them across the week are famous names such as Johann Zarco, Niall Mackenzie, Taylor and Tarran Mackenzie, Leon Haslam, Maria Costello, Ian Hutchinson, John McGuiness and Carl Fogarty to name but a few.

While the Arenacross FMX Live gives a taster of the popular Freestyle Motorcross spectacle, a show that sees the FMX team perform incredible airborne tricks and manoeuvers.

Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick  additional images  ©Allison Remzi

Lancaster Classic Motor Show: Classic Car Heaven at the NEC

The Lancaster Classic Motor Show returned to Birmingham NEC with an amazing array of classic cars and bikes on show, filling 5 halls. The theme of this years show was ‘Family Ties’ and the interpretations of that theme didn’t disappoint. From nostalgic family cars to family businesses, to a display including the Williams FW08 of Keke Rosberg and Williams FW30 of Nico Rosberg. The theme ran strong throughout the three day event.

In attendance was the prestigious Silverstone Auctions, with a large selection of lots including the 1968 Jensen Interceptor Mk1 that had belonged to Eric Morecambe

which sold for £95,625 a 1990 Audi Quattro Turbo that sold for £69,750 and a Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500 which sold for an incredible £112,500.

In the Lancaster Insurance Pride of Ownership competition, 20 finalists fought it out to take the sought after trophy and in a public vote take the title of Best in Show. That honour went to Simon McNamara with his fully restored 1983 VW Golf GTi Mk1.

Also competing were the 16 finalists in the Meguiar’s Club Showcase, the car care brand sponsored the competition which saw marques such as an E Type Jag rub shoulders with a Pontiac Wagon, Wolseley Hornet and eventual winner a stunning Mini Cooper.

Among the many car clubs present was The Porsche 924 Owners Club, who displayed a fantastic selection of owners cars alongside the Porsche Club of Great Britain. The club were fresh from winning the Classic Car Magazine, Club Magazine of the year.

Just one of the cars on display was the 1980 Porsche 924 Carrera GTP which raced at Le Mans, driven by Tony Dron and Andy Rouse, finishing in 12th place.

The car which had been in storage at the Porsche museum at Stuttgart was worked on by four UK Porsche Classic centres bringing the car back to life including a period correct GTP engine and the hand painted decals restored.

With tentative plans to have the car shown more widely over next year, it’s hoped it will be possible to see the stunning example back out on track sooner rather than later.

Porsche Club of Great Britain were also celebrating the 40th year of the 928 and on display was the 1978 928 which has competed in various Historic Sports Car Club events this year, entered by the UK Porsche Classic centres, with 1970 Le Mans winner Richard Atwood at the wheel.

The 928 was the final transaxle Porsche model, intended to replace the 911, the 928 did not initially gain the sales anticipated but went on to attract a loyal following over and beyond its 18 year production run.

At the NEC celebrating the re-launch of their historic oil brand was Duckhams. The heritage company which launched in 1899 was behind the invention of the first ever multigrade oil, Duckhams Q in 1951.

The brand, which was a huge part of the motoring industry, initially focuses on delivering oils for classic vehicles before expanding into modern vehicles and motorsport, the company having had a long association with Formula Ford, launching the career of Nigel Mansell, David Coulthard and Ayrton Senna among others.

Among familiar faces at the show was Ant Anstead and Mike Brewer launching the latest series of Wheeler Dealers, and Car SOS presenter Fuzz Townshend on hand to meet and greet fans on the Frost Restoration stand.

 

All things two wheeled weren’t excluded with a fantastic selection of classic bikes on display, with clubs present including Clifford Arms Classic Bike and Car Club, Royal Enfield Owners Club, Triumph Owners Motorcycle Club and the UK Honda Turbo Association.

In the Comet Classics Pride of Ownership competition there were over 30 entries including a display of eight Honda MBX 125’s in all the available paint combinations. But the win went to a 1922 Harley Davidson JD.

 

Allison Remzi    Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick

Walter Hayes Trophy Support Races

The British Women Racing Drivers Club also joined the Walter Hayes Trophy weekend for the first time, with a large field of entries from women drivers such as Maxine Nicholls, Natalie McGloin and Sarah Milner, with an eclectic array of cars from a Mini Cooper to a Jaguar XJS, it was another great race to draw the season to a close at the final event in the Silverstone and Historic Sports Car Club calendar.

Taking first place in the race was former Ginetta Junior champion Sarah Moore in the Ginetta G50 while in second place also in a Ginetta G50, was former Junior Saloon Car Champion  and rising star in the G5 Ginetta Challenge Katie Milner. Taking the third place on the podium was Nathalie McGloin the first female spinal injured racing driver to hold an ARDS licence in the UK and is currently competing in the Porsche Club Championship.

While in the sealed handicap Katie Milner took first place, Gail Hill, former Jaguar Club XJS National Champion took second place while third went to Maxine Nicholls in the Toyota MR2.

Special honours were also given to Bridgette Smart  who received the Vice Presidents Award, Maxine Nicholls for the Prettiest Car and Sarah Moore for Fastest Lap.

Meanwhile in the closed wheel races there were some fantastic cars on track including the TIGA’s, Mallocks, a beautiful Creation and the Porsche 917 replica owned by Graham Turner.

Taking first place in the Closed Wheel Allcomers A race on Saturday  was Bruce Chambers in the Elva Courier while taking second place was Iain McBay in the Davrian Mk8 and completing the podium was Mark Gardiner in the Ford Falcon.

While the B race found Ian Bankhurst in the Mallock Mk21 take the win with Mark Smith in the BMW E30 M3 in second place and Vic Nutter in the Lola 296 in third place.

A drier but colder Saturday found Martin Short behind the wheel of the stunning and rapid Dallara LMP3, with James Cottingham in second place in the Dallara LMP900 with Jack Dex finishing third in the Creation CA07.

Allison Remzi             Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick   

Additional Images ©Allison Remzi

Britcar Into The Night at Walter Hayes

Joining the Walter Hayes Trophy for the first time on the support race package was the Britcar Endurance Championship, the series which sees marques from Ferraris to VW Golfs competing in a combined 50 minute sprint and 2 hour endurance race, completed its penultimate round at Silverstone as dusk fell on the Walter Hayes Trophy weekend.

The sprint category was won by Richard Neary in the Mercedes AMG GT3, that will be familiar to followers of British GT, Neary proved to be more than a match for Calum Lockie in the FF Corse Ferrari 488 and the RAW Motorsports Radical which did have an 8 second lead on Neary but there was no stopping the stunning Mercedes.

Crossing the line second in the sprint category was the Lockie/David Mason Ferrari 488 with Dave Benett and Marcus Fothergill in the Bespoke Racing Porsche 997 taking third place.

While in the endurance category the win went to Witt Gamski and Ross Wylie in the Ferrari 458 crossing the line just ahead of Rob Wheldon in the Radical RXC who had to make up for an earlier loss of time when Stefano Leaney pushed impressively hard, earning himself Britcar Driver of the Day award,  but ran out of fuel and had to go into the reserve tank, costing the RAW Motorsport duo a few seconds after stopping on track.

Finishing in third place was Tom Barley and Adam Hatfield in the Team Hard Ginetta G55.

The final round of the Championship takes place at next weekends Into The Night races at Brands Hatch with the Championship titles wide open, Gamski and Wylie leading the standings by just one point.

Allison Remzi             Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick

 

Formula Ford: Walter Hayes Trophy 2017

It was a fantastic weekend of close racing at Silverstone for the final race of the HSCC calendar, the Walter Hayes Trophy. With large grids of Formula Fords, Closed Wheel races, including the British Women’s Racing Drivers Club and for the first time a Britcar into the night endurance race.

Lifting the Walter Hayes Trophy for the first time in his career in Formula Ford was an emotional Michael Moyers, who crossed the finish line just ahead of Josh Fisher in a superb display of  close, hard fought racing.

After an extremely wet qualifying session on Saturday morning, which saw more than its fair share of incidents there was success in the afternoons races for Matt Round-Garrido, Ross Martin, Joey Foster, Keith Donegan, Michael Moyers and Josh Foster.

Meanwhile last years champion Niall Murray tangled with Keith Donegan after a fierce battle between Murray and the front sitters, Donegan was set to take the win but a 3.3 second time penalty was given to him putting Jonathan Kotyk on the top step of the podium and Murray in second place.  

BRDC British F3 driver and former British GT GT4 champion Jamie Chadwick competed across the weekend, finishing third in Race 3 encountered a problem with positioning on the grid in the Grand Final, but eventually finished in 25th place.

The conditions although colder and breezier were much drier on Sunday for the Grand Final race. Moyers who started in third place took an early lead and after making a move on Josh Fisher in the closing lap crossed the finish line just fractions of a second ahead of Fisher with James Raven in third place.

There was a large group of retirees in the race including Cameron Jackson, Thomas McArthur and David McArthur who were caught up in the carnage behind a spin involving Jonathan Kotyk and Stuart Gough. While in the closing laps, Matthew Cowley, Jack Wolfenden, Oliver White, Joshua Smith, Ross Martin and Joey Fisher also bowed out.

Moyers who was overcome by the win has had a lengthy career in Formula Ford and has been with Kevin Mills Racing for the last 6 years, at last striking the winning formula in the teams Spectrum 011C.

Allison Remzi      Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick ©Allison Remzi

Porsche take 2017 WEC titles in Shanghai

A resounding win for Toyota in Shanghai wasn’t enough to hold off Porsche from winning the 2017 Championship titles. The #8 car of Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima crossed the finish line just ahead of the #2 Porsche of Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley, while the Porsche #1 car of Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer and Nick Tandy took third place.

 

The Porsche team were already set to clinch the drivers championship with a third place position when the #7 Toyota being driven by Jose Maria Lopez had an incident with a GTE Pro car causing a pit stop and a promotion to second place for the #2 Porsche 919 and handing the manufacturers title, which would have been open otherwise until the Bahrain round to Porsche. It being Porsche’s 3rd consecutive year to win both titles.

In LMP2 the #31 Vaillante Rebellion of Bruno Senna, Nicolas Prost and Julien Canal took the win after an epic race filled with incidents. It had looked like Jackie Chan DC Racing’s Oliver Jarvis, Ho-Pin Tung and Thomas Laurent had laid the way for the win after a faultless opening stint, but when the team collided with the No.26 G-Drive Racing car they saw their advantage slip away, eventually finishing in fourth place.

 

Meanwhile it was victory for Ferrari as they took the GT World Endurance Manufacturers’ Championship, with the #51 in third and #71 finishing sixth being enough to seal the title.

The race win however went to Fords Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell, their second of the season in the #67 Ford Ganassi Ford GT.

It  was the #98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage V8 of Paul Dalla Lana, Mathias Lauda and Pedro Lamy that took the win in the LMGTE Am class, their third win this season.

 

The final WEC round of this year and before the launch of the ‘Super Season’ in 2018 takes place in Bahrain on November 16th-18th.

 

750 Motor Club Birkett Relay

The 750 Motor Club took over Silverstone for their biggest event in the year, the Birketts Relay. The race which sees a maximum 70 teams race over 6 hours, attracts a sell out grid of cars from across the 750 Motor Club Formulae from Caterhams to Radicals, Minis to GT’s.

The race first held in 1951 was introduced by Holland Birkett, a founding member of 750 Motor Club, the event born from his wish to create an affordable endurance race. The unique handicap system was developed to allow slower cars to have a fairer chance of winning and competing. This year also found the Top Gear presenters Matt Le Blanc, Chris Harris and Rory Reid entering as a team with a Mercedes 600 SEL, Rolls Royce Silver Shadow and Bentley Turbo-R.

The ‘scratch’ win went to Dobbers Brian Harvey, Thomas Harvey and John MacLeod in their Radical SR3’s who started on pole but were overtaken by Breakell’s Racing Heroes and flanked by Breakell’s Nightmare, last years winners also in Radicals, the Breakell team held their lead until the halfway point on lap 72 Dobbers took first place and held it for the rest of the race.

Meanwhile recent 24hr TCE Series Champs Synchro/Area Motorsport had a bad day at the office suffering damage which despite the team’s best efforts, found them eventually finishing in 61st place and 19th in class.

There was a great turn out from the Armed Forces with entries by RAF Motorsport, RAF MSA and the Armed Forces Race Challenge. RAF MSA’s Chris Slator, Darren Howe, Scott Lawson, Ed McKean, Dan Smith being the Handicap winners and took the inter-services trophy.

Also taking part were Team BRIT, who compete in the VW Fun Cup, as well as running the VW the team also entered a Caterham for the occasion. The majority of the Team BRIT drivers are serving and ex service personnel that have sustained injuries while in service.

However the Team also do a lot of work with civilian drivers, working towards creating more opportunities in motorsport and a level playing field for those with disabilities to compete.

The Top Gear crew who had led in the handicap standings in the first hour, began to drop back, suffering a number of spins

throughout the race and the Bentley suffering some technical issues early on. The team eventually finished in 69th place.

There was a strong turnout of BMW’s including those of DLH Motorsport,

while the Seat Supercopa and Cupra’s of Gemini with Christopher Vinall, Mark Todd, Ilsa Cox and Nick Hayes at the wheel also finished well in 9th place.

The Birkett Relay marks the end of the 2017 750 Motor Club season.

Handicap Winners – RAF MSA

2nd in Handicap – Production GTi Gentlemen

Scratch Race Winners – Dobbers

1st Class A – Rogue’s Troopers

2nd Class A – Six Sevens

1st Class B – Team Osman

2nd Class B – Routec Racing 330 Flyers

1st Class C – Civic Cup

2nd Class C – Williams Motorsport

1st Class D – Brackley Motor Workers

2nd Class D – Gemini

Highest Placed 750 Formula Team – Five Straights & A Tranny

Highest Placed BMW Team – Team Osman

Allison Remzi    Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick additional images ©Allison Remzi