Season Preview! ThisIsBTCCCrazy
Thanks & Credits Online Editor and Chief BTCCCrazy Editor : James Mappin Contributors: Tom Surgay, Craig Jones, Richard Devine, Mike Trusler, Ross Messinger & Pete Mainey Photographs: Pete Mainey & Jakob Ebrey
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Straight from the Editors head This season will be one of the best seasons since the turn of the millennium. Now that's a very rash statement to make but I've got good reasons to think that. Looking at the entry list for this season we have 10 different manufacturers with 13 different models of car from the likes of Audi to Volkswagen and Vectra's to Cruzes. Coupled with that the four different specification machines with BTC, S2000, S200 with NGTC engines and the eagerly awaited NGTC it's certainly going to be an exciting year for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. I, like many of you, will be eager to see how the new NGTC regulation cars get on amongst the more established cars on the grid and whether or not they can live up to the expectations which Alan Gow has placed upon them.
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Err...Girls? It's not raining!
Matt Neal Age: 44 BTCC debut: 1991 Starts: 436 Wins: 37 Poles: 10 Fastest laps: 35 Championships: 2005, 2006
The Honda Civic will be used once again for the 4th consecutive year after it was first used in 2007 where Matt Neal once again drove alongside Gordon Shedden. The only difference for this season is that the Honda's will now be driven by the 2.0L turbo NGTC engine developed by Neil Brown.
Gordon Shedden Age: 32 BTCC debut: 2006 Starts: 135 Wins: 15 Poles: 6 Fastest laps: 20
Tom Chilton Age: 26 BTCC debut: 2002 Starts: 238 Wins: 10 Poles: 9 Fastest laps: 10
Team Aon will be using the new Ford Focus 'Global' Touring Car this season with the NGTC-turbo engine. Produced by Mountune the engine is set to be better than ever after reverting back to the petrol engine instead of the highly controversial LPG engine of last season.
Andy Neate Age: 36 BTCC debut: 2005 Starts: 33 Wins: 0 Poles: 0 Fastest laps: 0
Jason Plato Age: 43 BTCC debut: 1997 Starts: 330 Wins: 60 Poles: 29 Fastest laps: 56 Championships: 2001, 2010
Silverline Chevrolet will be using the ex-WTCC Chevrolet Cruze which is said to be an updated version of the 2010 car which saw Jason Plato take the title. Silverline are one of the few teams to stick with the S2000 regulations but they feel confident that the car will deliver the goods this season.
Alex MacDowall Age: 20 BTCC debut: 2010 Starts: 30 Wins: 0 Poles: 1 Fastest laps: 1
Mat Jackson Age: 29 BTCC debut: 2007 Starts: 112 Wins: 12 Poles: 2 Fastest laps: 9
Airwaves Racing acquired the ex-Team AON Ford's of last season and have also converted the engine to the NGTC turbo unit from Mountune. The team have had extensive testing during the pre-season with the multiple race winning cars of 2010.
Liam Griffin Age: 37 BTCC debut: 2011 Starts: 0 Wins: 0 Poles: 0 Fastest laps: 0
West Surrey Racing are another team that have stuck to the S2000 regulations. Not much has changed with the team apart from the driver changes. Dick Bennetts has openly admitted that the BMW may struggle this year but the car is proven on the BTCC stage with the team taking the drivers title with Colin Turkington just two years ago.
Rob Collard Age: 42 BTCC debut: 2000 Starts: 203 Wins: 4 Poles: 0 Fastest laps: 9
Nick Foster Age: 50 BTCC debut: 2011 Starts: 0 Wins: 0 Poles: 0 Fastest laps: 0
Triple Eight Racing are sticking with what they know by entering the Vectra for the fifth season running. 888 will also be running the new TOCA NGTC engine and have already shown their pace by setting the second fastest lap time in the recent official test at Silverstone.
Age: 25 BTCC debut: 2009 Starts: 42 Wins: 0 Poles: 0 Fastest laps: 1 Tony Gilham Age: 31 BTCC debut: 2011 Starts: 0 Wins: 0 Poles: 0 Fastest laps: 0
Paul Oâ€™Neill Age: 31 BTCC debut: 2002 Starts: 132 Wins: 2 Poles: 0 Fastest laps: 3 John George Age: 49 BTCC debut: 2004 Starts: 133 Wins: 0 Poles: 0 Fastest laps: 0
Pirtek Racing took two wins in 2010 and have this year expanded to run two cars in the team. Sticking with the same spec machine as last year will seriously help the team as all the other teams look to get up to speed with the NGTC turbo engine
Tech-Speed will this year drive the ex-Silverline Chevrolet Cruzes which took Jason Plato to the BTCC title last season. A big move by the team which last season used the dated BTC-spec Honda Integra. TechSpeed will certainly be looking to take advantage of their machinery this season.
Jeff Smith Age: 44 BTCC debut: 2010 Starts: 3 Wins: 0 Poles: 0 Fastest laps: 0
Andrew Jordan Age: 21 BTCC debut: 2008 Starts: 90 Wins: 2 Poles: 1 Fastest laps: 1
Tom Boardman Age: 27 BTCC debut: Starts: Wins: 0 Poles: 0 Fastest laps: 0
Rob Austin Racing give Audi it's return into the championship for over 10 years. The Audi A4 will be set to the NGTC spec with the team looking to enter two cars into the championship. Rob Austin Racing were yet to take delivery of the cars as of Media Day but are confident of making the grid at Brands Hatch.
Special Tuning Racing told the media that they have four chassis available to them this season but have only entered one for the 2010 season. The team will look to advance with the NGTC engine which they introduced at the back end of the 2010 season.
Dave Pinkney Age: 53 BTCC debut: 1993 Starts: 138 Wins: 0 Poles: 0 Fastest laps: 1
Frank Wrathall Age: 24 BTCC debut: 2011 Starts: 0 Wins: 0 Poles: 0 Fastest laps: 0
Geoff Steel Racing are making their return to the series after a 4 year absence. Then driver, Martyn Bell, takes a more executive role as Team Boss as they enter the ex-Motorbase BMW 320si. The team have both chassis available to them with a view to enter the second car during the season.
Dynojet will be making their debut in the British Touring Cars this season after making the step-up from the Ginetta G50 Cup. The team will be one of only 4 teams to enter a full NGTCspec car with the Toyota Avensis but having only taken delivery of the car last week it's tough to say whether or not they'll be on the pace from the start.
Dave Newsham Age: 44 BTCC debut: 2011 Starts: 0 Wins: 0 Poles: 0 Fastest laps: 0
Team ES Racing are another new team to the BTCC this season. The Lacetti has been a proven race winner in the hands of RML but the team will be equally as delighted if they can manage a top 10 this season.
Chris James Age: BTCC debut: 2011 Starts: 0 Wins: 0 Poles: 0 Fastest laps: 0
Drivers - #
Tom Onslow-Cole Age: 23 BTCC debut: 2007 Starts: 96 Wins: 6 Poles: 4 Fastest laps: 7
AmD Milltek will be looking to build on their debut season last year as they make vast improvements on the car including adding the new NGTC turbo engine. AmD Milltek have only completed the one test session during pre-season and will be going out there for the top 10 finishes.
Drivers - # Tony Hughes Age: 51 BTCC debut: 2011 Starts: 0 Wins: 0 Poles: 0 Fastest laps: 0
Speedworks Motorsport are another one of the four NGTC-spec teams this season. The team rumoured to have two cars at their disposal but only one of them will make the opening round of the season. The Avensis ran into early problems in the official test which they'll look to iron out before they head to Brands Hatch.
Welch Motorsport will enter the series from the half-way point with the NGTC Proton Gen-4. Proton were last in the series back in 2002.
Central Group Racing are set to stick with the BTC-spec Honda Integra which they used last season. Their choice of car means that they will incur a 50kg weight penalty but the team say have made vast improvements on the chassis to improve weight distribution for the 2011 season.
Our team try and predict this seasons BTCC results
Top three - Matt Neal, Jason Plato, Tom Chilton Team Champions: Honda Racing - This team have by far the strongest driver line up on the grid with two proven racers in Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden. They might struggle initially with the new engine but the team will soon get in their stride and retain the team championship for a second successive season. One to Watch: Andrew Jordan - Andy goes into this season off the back of two race wins last season. Using the same car and same specifications will only help him as other teams fight with the gremlins of the new NGTC turbo engine which of course Jordan won't have. I wouldn't be surprised if Jordan doesn't win at least one race this weekend at Brands Hatch.
Tipped for the top: James th
Neal will edge P
Top Three - Paul O'Neill, Jason Plato, Andy Jordan Team Champions: Honda Racing - Honda have a great driving pair which is important. As much as I think Jackson at Airwaves, Plato at Silverline and O'Neill at Tech-Speed will be up there, I don't think they have the team mates to back them up. Just like last season consistancy will be key. One to watch: James Nash -James will start his first full season after two part seasons in a proven car. Last season James didn't hit his stride until Brands Hatch and I think could surprise a few this season.
Top Three - Matt Neal, Jason Plato, Mat Jackson
Top Three - Jason Plato, Mat Jackson, Matt Neal
Team Champions: Honda Racing - No other team in the paddock has as complete a driver line up as Honda. Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden are both capable race winners and consistent point scorers. Also I think the Civic will be the car to beat particularly towards the end of the season. Give these two a package advantage and no one will outscore them!
Team Champions: Honda Racing - Honda Racing – they won the constructors/manufacturers title last year, and if they perform like they did last year, then I think they could be on for another team champion title. As the driver line-up is the same, and if the car turns out to be as good as it was in 2010, then I think they really stand a chance.
One to watch: Frank Wrathall Jnr - He was very impressive in the Ginetta G50 series last season, claiming the title. Although it may take him a couple of rounds to get used to the step up, Wrathall is a pure racer full of confidence and scared of no one. Expect to see him swapping paint with the more established drivers in no time. Add to that the fact he’s behind the wheel of an NGTC spec Avensis and there really isn’t a reason you shouldn’t keep an eye on his progress.
One to watch: Andrew Jordan - from watching his performance at the final round of the 2010 season, and then seeing his performance at the BTCC media day in March, both himself and the car seem in good form for this year, so I think he will do quite well this season.
Top three - Jason Plato, Matt Neal, Tom Chilton
Top Three - Matt Neal, Gordon Shedden, Jason Plato
Team Champions: Silverline Chevrolet - I believe that with RML's decision to remain with the S2000 specification car this season and with Honda's descision to swith to the NGTC engine, Jason Plato and Silverline Chevrolet will have the edge and take the Driver and Team titles respectively.
Team Champions: Honda Racing - Besides having a very strong car building from last year, the team have arguably the best two driver lineup on the grid. Chevrolet and Aon both have strong drivers but none of the pairings look as strong as Neal and Shedden
One to watch: Paul O'Neill - I think that with a proven race winning car underneath him this season, PaulO'Neill has the best possible chance he has ever had into making serious waves in this years championship.
One to watch: Paul O Neill - Proved his worth last season in the aging integra, with last seasons Cruze underneath him he could be fighting at the sharp end more often and a real challenger in the independents title race. A lot of fans have been waiting to see him ina strong car, so this season may see him spring some surprises.
Talking 'bout my generation
What does the NGTC mean for BTCC and the future?
The new generation touring car rules have been a big talking point since the end of last season, creating much discussion within the British Touring Car Championship community. All new for 2011 are new specification turbo-charged machines competing against the standard normally-aspirated S2000 cars that the BTCC has come to know in recent years. Back at season-ending Brands Hatch in October last year, James Thompson debuted a brand new NGTC-spec motor, based on the Toyota Avensis but running the new regulation engine. The results were wholly positive: the better brakes, suspension and more powerful engine provided a decent racing car that was designed to, in time, replace the old generation machines. Fast-forward six months and TOCA have improved the basis model further, ironing out the glitches the car originally suffered, and throughout testing teams
running the engine or the whole package have proven competitive. So what does this generation of British Touring Car regulations mean for the teams, the fans and the sport as a whole? Alan Gow, Chairman of the MSA and BTCC Series Director reckons the new cars will not only look and sound more impressive than the S2000 models, but will spice up the action on track as well: “The basis of the new regulations is we wanted to make the cars look bigger than they are at the moment, a bit beefier,” he said. “They look the business, they sound the business, they’ve got better brakes, better suspension and everything else. They’re a proper car to drive.” There has been lots of debate around the paddock over the winter as to whether the cars will be significantly more powerful than their normallyaspirated competitors, such as those of
Team Honda and Silverline Chevrolet. “It’s not that difficult to be honest,” says Gow when asked how TOCA will ensure fair competition between the different specifications of vehicle. “If I remember back into the 90s, there was a year when we had to try and work out the equivalency between front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, four wheel drive and the 6 cylinder and 4 cylinder, that was complicated. Just to do the equivalency between two different types of engines, it’s pretty simple.” It’ll be interesting to see how the NGTC matches up to its established rivals, and in this closely fought championship, as always, anything can happen, and BTCC Crazy will be first at the scene when it does.
NGTC Specifications Engine: * 300+bhp 2-litre turbo-charged direct-injection engine with ‘fly by wire’ throttle control. * Low cost to develop, build, buy and maintain – either by teams and/or race engine-builders developing their own, or through lease/purchase of the TOCA-BTCC engine * Engine can be sourced from a manufacturers broad ‘family’ range, including subsidiary marques under their effective control. * Over-boost function and increased power output from 2013. Drivetrain: * Xtrac 6 speed sequential-shift gearbox. * AP Racing carbon clutch. * Drive-train layout (i.e. front or rear wheel drive) as per base vehicle. Electronics: * Cosworth Electronics specified package incorporating ECU, dash, data-logging and scrutineering logger. * Data channels limited to 16. * Common power management box and switch panels * Common wiring loom design Target Price: Complete car, less engine: £100,000 Engine: £25,000 5-10% price-shift possible, depending on final components used by each team
Welcome to the support paddo
In 2011 BTCCCrazy have 5 exclusive driver blogs to bring you closer to the action. These drivers include such talents as... - TBA - BTCC - Jack Hawksworth - Formula Renault UK - Jack Goff - Clio Cup - Jody Fanning - Ginetta - Sam Tordoff - Prosche Carrera Cup GB This along with extended coverage, you have no excuse to miss a trick in 2011.
Renault Sport Technologies announced that the Stephane Ratel Organisation (SRO) will take over as the sole promoter of both the Formula Renault 2.0 and Clio Cup UK championships at the turn of the new year. The Stephane Ratel Organisation was founded by former French driver Stephane Ratel in 1995. They replace Grovewood Sport Ltd to add the two prestigious Renault series to an already impressive CV that boasts such championships as the British Formula 3 International Series, the British GT Championship and the FIA GT1 World Championship. “SRO is delighted to have been appointed to take over the running of two of Britain’s most prestigious and successful national championships” commented Stephane Ratel, Chairman of SRO Motorsport Group. “We are well aware of Renault’s heritage in British motorsport stretching back to the 1970s and SRO will continue working hard to enhance the standing of its championships. I
believe our appointment will be very good news for aspiring young drivers. We will be able to open doors for progression as already seen with the Formula Renault 3.5 Series tests for F3 leaders, and F3 tests the Formula Renault 2.0 UK drivers recently enjoyed.” The deal will not effect the current deal both championships hold with TOCA and they will both feature as prominent support races for the British Touring Car Championship. In addition, Formula Renault 2.0 UK will also feature at the World Series by Renault meeting at Silverstone on the 20th and 21st of August and the Clio Cup UK will retain the earlier agreed 16 round calendar. Explaining his decision to move on Managing Director Simon North commented: “Although we have enjoyed three hugely successful years as promoter and have had a great working relationship with Renault I have decided to fully concentrate in future on our public relations and media work for our clients. Over the past three years I have had wonderful
support from TOCA, BARC, our close-knit organising team plus the teams and drivers of all the Renault championships and I want to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you.” Championship Co-ordinator Pauline Platts will continue in her role in 2011 having been appointed by SRO, ensuring a smooth transition. Meanwhile, Renault Sport Technologies Competition Director, Jean-Pascal Dauce, praised the effort of the outgoing Grovewood. “Renault Sport Technologies has certainly appreciated the work and the commitment over the years of its Promoter, Grovewood Sport Ltd. Today, we are looking forward to a very promising partnership with SRO in global motorsport activities“.
The 2011 Formula Renault UK Championship is fast-approaching, and with it my first season in car racing! I’ll be keeping a regular blog on BTCCCrazy so that you guys can stay up-to-date with how my season is going, and also to try to give you a real insight into the life of an aspiring racing driver. As a brief introduction, I’m a 19-year-old former karter who recently graduated to Formula Renault UK for the 2010 Winter Series, in which I finished third in the championship with the Mark Burdett Motorsport team. Since the Winter Series finished, a great deal has happened on and off the circuit to make sure that I have the opportunity to show you what I can do in the main Formula Renault UK Championship this year! Immediately after the Winter Series, we started to devise a plan financially to secure my place on the grid so that I could compete in a full season of Formula Renault. There had been some contact from outside sources interested in supporting my 2011 campaign, but for one reason or another they never worked out. As it happens, the main reason I am on the grid this year is due to a massive sacrifice on my dad’s part which has just managed to allow me to compete. With that in mind as well as the fact that there will be no more budget for future years and a burning desire to win, it makes me extremely motivated for the season – and anything but winning the championship will be unacceptable. With the finances secured for one full season, it was a no-brainer that I would re-sign with Mark Burdett Motorsport and continue our brief but successful relationship in the Winter Series through to the 2011 championship. I have a great relationship with the whole team, and having seen their professionalism and work ethic first-hand, it was easy for me to put my confidence in them. I also agreed terms with Conquest Talent Management, who I will be working with throughout the year in order to source more funds for the future. Once everything was agreed, we planned a rigorous testing schedule and got on with the hard work, visiting as many circuits as possible as I started to explore the limits of the car and develop our package along with my engineer Andy Miller and driver coach Things have been going really well for the best part, only occasionally running out of talent on a couple of occasions at Oulton Park and Rockingham, where I had skirmishes with the tyre walls! The good thing is that we have come on in leapsand-bounds since the final race of the Winter Series. Our pace is very quick and we’re learning every time we hit the circuit, which is without doubt the most important thing. Away from testing, I’ve been working very hard on my fitness and have spent some days learning about the car and visiting the workshop to try and make myself as complete as possible before the season kicks off! As I am writing this, there is only a week until the testing ban commences and the official pre-season tests begin, which will signal a month until the start of the season! I’ll let you know how the official tests go, and will keep you up-to-date with how things pan out.
BTCCCrazy Blogger & Formula Renault UK Racer
It’s hard to see beyond Alex Lynn claiming the Formula Renault UK title this season having placed his Fortec Motorsport car in either first or second in seven of the eight pre-season tests. Lynn is in capable hands at Fortec Motorsport, having won the title last season with 16-year-old Tom Blomqvist, and knows the team well from his debut season in the Formula Renault Graduate cup last year. During the off season Fortec and Lynn took the Winter Series championship after a number of impressive performances and he could become the first man since Kimi Raikkonen to take both the winter and full season crown. Apart from his team mate Oliver Rowland, Lynn could face stiff competition from the Manor Competition team who launch a four car assault on this season’s championship, headed in pre-season by Ollie Millroy. Manor boasts such talent as Alice Powell, Jordan King and Josh Hill, son of Formula One champion Damon. Millroy set a number of impressive pre-season times, and became a clear rival of Lynn. Along with the aforementioned names, Jack Hawksworth is not out of the question when it comes to challenging for the 2011 crown. After a strong winter series the Mark Burdett Racing driver has said ‘anything but winning the championship will be unacceptable.’ It will be a closely fought championship, despite a disappointing eleven cars for 2011. Never the less, these drivers have a great opportunity to show what they can do, and judging by the pre-season tests, it will be close.
The 2011 season sees the introduction of the new Ginetta G55 and with it a fresh new start for the rebranded Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup. The G55 is Ginetta's most powerful car that they have made with 370 bhp being produced from it's 3.7 litre V6 engine. The series will now be split into two classes with the G50s and G55s racing against each other on track but in separate championships. With it's 70bhp advantage you can expect the Ginetta G55 to be setting the pace but don't for one second think that the G50 will lie down easily as a well developed G50 can still hold it's own on track. Going into the first round of the season we have 14 named drivers taking to the grid with an equal split in each class. After finishing 3rd in 2009 and 2nd in 27
2010, Carl Breeze will be looking to go one better this year as he is the man to beat going into the new season. Carl will be driving the new G55 this year but staying with the Total Control Racing team for another year. Tom Sharp took two wins in 2010 and finished fourth in the championship. He'll be looking to be Carl Breeze's main challenger this year. At only 19 years old Tom is one of the younger drivers on the grid but he showed last year that he has the ability to take the race wins. The G50 class also looks to be a closely fought championship. Four of the 7 drivers in the class are all graduates from the highly competitive Ginetta Junior series. Jody Fannin, Jake Hill, Tom Ingram and Louise Richardson will all be moving up a class after competing in the proving ground for the youngsters.
ies formerly known as the G50 cup
Rob Gaffney will be moving series after contesting in the Renault Clio Cup whilst former Lotus Elise racer, Connaire FInn will make his Ginetta debut.
Porsche Carrera Cup GB preview. This season’s Porsche Carrera Cup is shaping up very nicely after an intriguing winter. Here is a guide to the runners and riders of 2011. Defending champion Tim Harvey is the man to beat and is looking for his third Carrera Cup GB title, he would be the first driver to win it three times in the history of the championship. However, in order to do that he has to successfully defend the title something he has not done before, having finished third the last time he had the number one on the door, in 2009. Harvey has moved from Redline Racing to Motorbase Performance, the team which were very much in the ascendancy at the end of last season. Harvey described the move as like “coming home” but it’ll be interesting to see if he feels the same come the end of the season. It will very much depend on how he gets on with his main championship rival from last season, now his team mate, Michael Caine. Caine is definitely the nearly man of the championship, having finished runner up twice but has never managed to go one better. He has the hunger and desire for it of that there is no doubt but whether he can consistently outperform Harvey now they are team mates is highly questionable. However, Caine drove for the team last season and will know how to get the best out of his working relationships to push the team forward should they need to find some pace at a given weekend. This familiarity could give him a slight advantage at the beginning of the season and if this can be maximised it is the only conceivable way that he can outdo his more experience team mate.
Ironically it has been Harvey’s team of last season Redline Racing that have led the way during the winter. They have recruited 2007 champion James Sutton to partner last year’s scholarship winner Michael Meadows who goes into his second season in the championship. Sutton and Redline are always a good combination having emerged victorious in the series in 2007 and finished second in 2009 just four points behind eventual winner Tim Bridgman despite not contesting the opening two races of the season. The advantage that Sutton has is that he is the only man in the field with a season’s experience of the new 911 GT3 Cup car having raced it last year when he competed in the Italian Carrera Cup. He probably poses the biggest threat to Harvey’s crown but can expect to be pushed hard by team mate Meadows who seems to be gaining in confidence the more time he spends behind the wheel of a Porsche. He has the ability to edge out Sutton in terms of one lap pace but he will need to work on his race craft if he is to get the better of the former champion during a race. Redline’s third driver in the pro category is Benji Hetherington who finished third in
the Ginetta G50 Supercup last season and won the scholarship from Porsche over the winter which has enabled him to enter the series. He missed media day due to mumps and tonsillitis which has hampered his build up to the season slightly but expect him to quickly be on the pace of the front running cars. The third team to run pro drivers this season are Team Parker Racing who have opted for a blend of youth and experience. Stephen Jelley continues with the team which helped him to third place in the championship standings in 2010. Although he hasn’t done as much testing as the rest of the field he should in theory be able to continue where he left off at the end of last season. He hasn’t got to learn how to get the best out of the Porsche like he did last season when he had switched straight from the Touring Cars, because while it is a new model of car most drivers aren’t reporting a great deal of difference in handling and behaviour between it and last season’s equipment. Alongside Jelley will be two newcomers to the series Sam Tordoff and Richard Plant. Tordoff raced in the Renault Clio Cup last
ra Cup GB season finishing third in the standings before earning a one off drive in the British Touring Cars behind the wheel of a Triple Eight run Vauxhall Vectra. He has shown good pace over winter testing and on that evidence looks capable of living with the likes of Harvey, Sutton and Caine. Plant is settling back into competitive motorsport having spent last season on the sidelines due to an illness in his family. Before this, in 2009, he enjoyed the most successful campaign of his short career by winning the Formula Palmer Audi Championship title. He like Tordoff hasn’t been far off the pace but he seems likely to be at his most competitive in the second half of the season once he’s shaken off the rustiness that may hinder him slightly, particularly in the races, in the early stages of the season. In the pro-am 1 category things should be equally as tight. Last season’s champion Ollie Jackson has moved on to pastures new in the form of the British GT Championship.
Gelzinis will have it easy in proam 1 though. Omani racer Ahmad Al Harthy topped the category in both sessions at Snetterton during the championship’s test and media day and the Redline Racing driver seems more excited and determined than ever about the season ahead. It could well be a season long battle between the pair. However a third candidate for the pro-am 1 title is Celtic Speed’s Rory Butcher. The former Formula Ford champion is fancied by many as one to watch this season having impressed in cameo appearances in the championship before. Now that he is doing a full campaign with one of the more experienced teams on the grid, it is expected to be a fruitful combination. Elsewhere in the category, Team Parker Racing have signed a pair of drivers with previous experience of the championship: Derek Pierce and Alex Martin. Pierce drove in all but one of the race meetings for the JHR team in 2009 while Martin continues with the team he switched to half way
through last season. These two will be hoping for consistent top six finishes in pro-am1 and looking to take advantage of any incidents between the front runners to grab podiums when they are there for the taking. Redline will once again have two cars in the pro-am1 section with Andrew Shelley returning to the team to partner the aforementioned Al Harthy. Shelley will be looking to score outright points on a more regular basis to aid his progress in pro-am1. Motorbase will also run two cars in pro-am1 with George Richardson stepping up from proam 2 and Swiss racer Daniele Perfetti a former competitor in the Italian Porsche Carrera Cup joining the team. Richardson is hoping for a solid season in the category but admits it will be tough to keep up with the top guys in class. He knows that this year is all about cementing his reputation in the championship and the way to achieve this is by claiming consistent results in the top half of pro-am 1.
This leaves last season’s runner up in the category, Jonas Gelzinis as the pre-season favourite. Indeed noises have been made throughout the paddock over the winter in surprise that the Lithuanian ace hasn’t opted to move up to the pro category as no one doubts that he has the ability to take on the big names in the championship. This doesn’t mean
The final pro-am1 entry is from Parr Motorsport for Irishman Michael Leonard. Leonard will run at five of the rounds this season and when he does he will look to be at the sharp end of the category. It remains to be seen if Parr will give the drive to somebody else at the rounds Leonard does not contest. The entry list for pro-am2 is fairly short but it could prove to be the most open of them all. The champion of the last two years Glenn McMenamin won’t return to defend his title. This means that the runner up from last year, Celtic Speed’s George Brewster, has to be the slight favourite for the category especially if he can take the form he showed at media day into the new season. During the media day he was lapping Snetterton at the same sort of pace as the mid pro-am1 runners which was very impressive. Brewster will not have it easy though. Steve Parish of Motorbase has shown good form in the winter and was a serious contender in the category last season up until he suffered a big crash at Oulton Park in which he broke his collarbone. This forced him to miss several rounds. It hasn’t dampened his enthusiasm and at the Media day he seemed confident of winning proam2. Only time will tell if this confidence is misplaced or not. An outsider but seemingly a contender from the word go has been former GT Cup racer Keith Webster. The Hampshire based businessman was one of the quickest runners in Pro-am2 at Snetterton and will benefit from being in the Redline Racing team who have already assigned James Sutton the role of mentoring the 44 year
old. If Webster can be consistent as well as quick there is no reason why he can’t make it a three way tussle for pro-am2 glory. Outside of the pace setters, Brewster’s team mate and team Principal Tommy Dreelan will hope to be in the thick of the pro-am2 action having opted to step down a category for 2011. Also stepping down a class is Tautvydas Barstys of Juta Racing. The Lithuanian businessman will be looking for a more competitive showing and choosing to contest pro-am2 might just allow him to do this. Parr Motorsport’s only driver signed up for all the rounds this season is Richard Denny. The Australian goes into his second season in the championship having described last season as a “baptism of fire.” He will want to forget the two point penalty he incurred at Brands Hatch that cancelled out his only score of the year at Knockhill and saw him finish the season on minus one point. The signs from winter testing are that Denny is more at home in the car this year and he should be in for a more competitive showing in 2011.
che Cup GB
Last but not least is sports car racer and retired dentist John Taylor who will race for Team Parker Racing. Taylor claims that his main objective throughout the year is “to have fun,” but this doesn’t mean he won’t be going out there to achieve impressive results. He has experience of racing Porsches in other championships and he could well be a dark horse in pro-am2, expect his performances to improve as the season goes on. At the time of writing there was still time for drivers to switch categories or for teams to announce new drivers, so come the first race on Saturday don’t be surprised to see one or two other guys on the grid who aren’t mentioned above. The one rumour persistently flying around the paddock is that Euan Hankey is planning to return but not for Team Parker Racing, the squad that powered him to fourth last year but with Juta Racing, only time will tell if this is true or not. Whatever developments unfold in the few remaining days before the first round at Brands Hatch, one thing is for certain, it should be an absolutely fantastic season.
Start! Your! Engines!
Hello and welcome to my blog for the 2011 Season. Firstly to introduce myself, my name is Sam Tordoff, 21 years old from Leeds. 2011 will see me graduate from the Elf Renault Clio Cup and into the Porsche Carrera Cup GB with Team Parker Racing. Following the success of 2010, finishing third in the championship and winning the graduate cup, we felt it was the right time to move onwards and this yearâ€™s Porsche championship looks a very exciting prospect. Over the winter I have been lucky enough to acquire two new sponsors; GardX and Scottish Motor Auctions (SMA) for which I am extremely grateful. This is in addition to extending my partnership with existing sponsors JCT600, Northridge Finance, Dealerweb, Turn Key and BHP. Without these I would not be racing today and so I hope to be able to repay their faith with strong results and good exposure over the coming year. There is an all new 997 GT3 Cup Car for this year and a whole host of top racing drivers to be competing against; Tim Harvey, Michael Caine and James Sutton to name just a few. I was honoured to be a finalist for the Porsche Scholarship at the end of last year but unfortunately in the end I lost out to Benji Hetherington and Keiron Vernon. Whilst I wish them all the best for the 2011 season, I feel as though I have unfinished business in the championship and I am determined to show those at Porsche how successful I can be. The official media day took place earlier this week at Snettertonâ€™s new 300 circuit and I was delighted with how it went. Having taken some time to work out the new infield section, I worked with my engineer Stuart Parker to fine-tune the set up on the car and found a good balance. After everyone had put a set of new tyres on I ended the day third quickest, only three tenths off James Sutton who was fastest. Considering the little time I have spent in the Porsche compared to the vastly experienced drivers around me, the whole team was extremely satisfied with my performance. This pace at such an early stage into my Porsche career bodes well for the season and I hope it can be carried forward to the opening round at Brands Hatch in less than two weeks time.
Score to settle: Tordoff scored notable sucess in the Clio Cup
Thanks for reading and please check back again soon for more news.
The Renault Clio Cup UK will cary a new major title sponsor for the series, after it was announced a three year deal with Airasia X. They will be the title sponsor until the end of the 2013 season, with the companys distinctive logo appearing on all the cars, race suits and podiums. SRO General Manager Lisa Crampton said: “AirAsia X is an exciting, developing brand and one which is a good match to the dynamic and vibrant Renault Clio Cup UK The sponsorship deal opens up a wide variety of prize opportunities for the drivers, including for the mid season points leader a family trip for four to Kuala Lumpur, and premium return flights for the overall champion. Azran Osman-Rani, CEO of AirAsia X said: “The Renault Clio Cup is fast and thrilling, and we are proud to be on board. The sponsorship addresses our commitment towards building the AirAsia X brand, and we are very pleased to be sponsoring such a distinguished championship.”
Hamilton is a household name in Formula One with Lewis Hamilton taking the F1 championship in 2008 and his brother Nicolas is getting in on the act as he looks to make his debut in the Elf Renault Clio Cup this season. The 19-year-old from Hertfordshire, who has cerebral palsy, said “I have loved motor sport from a young age and watching my brother achieve so much has given me inspiration to make my own racing debut,” Hamilton recently gained his National B race licence and has already tested a 2010-spec Clio Cup car. He will be driving for multiple race and championship winning team Total Control Racing. “I know this will not be an easy task, but I hope that my doing this will give inspiration to others who have challenges in their life. I can’t wait to be racing.” Nicolas’ father, Anthony, who brokered the deal said, “Nicolas has followed his brother’s career from an early age and it was natural that he would want to get behind the wheel competitively himself.” “The Renault Clio Cup offers a tremendous platform for him, with great television coverage and exposure and I’m sure it will be highly enjoyable too.” www.btcccrazy.co.uk
Well firstly I would like to introduce myself. My name is Jack Goff, I’m 20 years old and I’m from High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire. 2011 will be my second season in the Air Asia Clio Cup Championship and I will be continuing to drive for championship winning Team Pyro. In 2010 I wasn’t able to do all the races unfortunately due to budget problems, but I still managed to finish inside the top 10 in the championship and get a best result of 4th at the final race. We have just finished our pre season testing for the 2011 Clio cup season, things have been looking very promising in the wet and dry conditions at all the tracks we have been to. We have been able to do a lot more testing this year thanks to my loyal sponsors and also to my new sponsors that have come onboard for this year. I believe after the promise we have shown pre season we will be right at the sharp end and challenging for race wins and also the championship from the first round at Brands Hatch. Since the final race of the 2010 season we have made huge strides forward in my pace on new tyres plus the consistency in a race distance. My testing ban kicks in on the 11th of march, but we still have the Clio cup media day where my car will for the first time be seen with all of the sponsors on for this year.
In the driving seat: Goff looking to be at the sharpe end this season
Keep checking back and I will keep you posted on any news I have.
Jack Goff Follow Jack on Twitter @jgmotorsport Like the JG Motorsport page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JackGoff.JGMotorsport
Ginetta opened the doors to their factory on Saturday the 26th of Feb in aid of the Save Sam’s Spine charity, with the aim to help raise money towards the £20,000 required for a life changing operation, with Ginetta Boss Lawrence Tomlinson pledging to match the total raised by the tour. We were told to arrive at Ginetta for 11am and were pleasantly greeted by the sight of two of Ginetta’s road cars. The beautiful F400 Supercar and the road variant of the successful G40 with the F400’s engine running and door open allowing us to have a special glance inside the £95,000 machine (and of course giving the accelerator pedal a light tickling!) while the rest of the guests to arrive. After everybody arrived we signed in and made an initial donation of £10 per person and were collected in the staff canteen and separated into two groups of around 30 and the tour commenced. I was in the first group of people and the first stop of the tour was the design office to see where the magic happens in regards to the design of the car. The first thing that stood out to me was the relaxed appearance with a pool table and table football available, Ginetta hire a team of five CAD designers who’s job it is to “build” the cars and components in the virtual environment, to the point where individual components from whole chassis’ right down to seemingly unimportant parts such as the boot hinges. We we’re given a talk about the CAD design stages and the whole philosophy to which Ginetta is based on, which is affordable quality racing in pure-bred machines in an effort to make motor racing more accessible to people who don’t have huge budgets of big teams.
They achieve this by designing certain parts to be universal such as the suspension upright (component that links the suspension on each wheel of the car and also the brake disk and wheel attach to) so that one type would be needed for all four corners of the car, which is different in road cars as you’d have a differently manufactured part for each wheel. The thinking behind this is that it allows certain components to be able to be mass produced, reducing costs and allowing Ginetta to retain these in stock for their customers as spares and it also allows for the inclusion in emphasis on other parts to the design such as safety. A great example of this is the G40 and G50/G55 chassis are 50x stiffer than what the FIA stipulate promoting a safe environment for the drivers taking on Ginetta cars. The tour continued with the chassis theme onto the factory floor itself into the chassis shop where the steel tubing is welded by hand with an output of around 4 complete chassis a week. The actual tubing is made by a contractor out of 3 different grades of seamlessly cast steel which is pre-bent, laser cut and numbered to speed up the actual construction of the chassis, allows for damaged www.btcccrazy.co.uk
sections to be easily replaced and reduces cost without affecting quality, it was interesting to see the build charts on the wall showing the different steps in the manufacturing process. After a chassis has been welded together it is moved to a rotating jig that can give access to the full 360 degrees to the chassis allowing stringent quality control checks as well as access to welds in awkward positions. The chassis is then sent to a contractor for powder coating in matte black before the rest of the build commences on the build line. The build line was the next part of the tour with the G40 chassis in various stages of build lined up on one side and G50/55 on the opposite side. Here all the other systems such as engine, cooling, suspension, brakes and bodywork are systematically added to the chassis which slowly starts to resemble a racing machine. On the tour we we’re lucky enough to get a sneaky preview of the brand new G55 car ahead of its official press launch at Silverstone today (Monday 28th) and I am happy to report the snippets of pictures that have filtered there way onto various social networking outlets by Ginetta themselves give a very accurate representation to the aesthetic appeal to the car, coupled with the engineering given to the car we are in for a treat when the lights go out for the first time this year! The main part of the tour concluded on with the road car division, currently Ginetta produce road variants of the G40 and G50 as well as their own Supercar – the F400. The build set up seemed quite similar to the race cars with around six www.btcccrazy.co.uk
F400′s in various states of build. A notable appearance this car has made was in the Isle on Mann with Australian Top Gear, this car was present at the factory and was in a state of undress. Ginetta bought the plans for the F400 from the company Farbio, as it struggled to make the manufacture of the car affordable and competitively priced. With such a huge price tag, high levels of performance, luxury interior and the abuse some road cars have to endure Ginetta aren’t happy to let one go until it’s absolutely perfect. After the two groups merged we we’re ushered outside for an audio and visual treat. A Ginetta G50 burning up a set of tyres doing donuts! In fact the driver of the car was that enthusiastic he claimed to have burned the clutch out after the car stopped. Ginetta didn’t stop there with the motorsport themed treats! After we went back into the factory they started up the Team LNT Panoz Esperante GT2 car that won in class at 24 Heure Du Mans in 2006 at the hands of a team headed by the Ginetta boss himself, Lawrence Tomlinson. The day was rounded off with light refreshments and the raffle for passenger rides in the F400 and G40 road cars and the chance for extra donations toward s the Save Sam’s Spine charity. I would like to take the time to thank Ginetta for arranging such a rare opportunity and wish Sam Rhodes all the best with raising money for his operation.
Craig Jones 42
Rebecca Mitchell recounts the day BTCCCrazy got up close to the new Ginetta beast
On the 17th March, Ginetta held their Media Day at Silverstone, where 120 drivers and teams attended and overall 36,500 track miles were driven during the day. This was an opportunity for the press to meet the G40, G50 and Ginetta Supercup contenders for the 2011 season. However, it wasn’t just about the drivers, the day was dedicated to ‘Save Sam’s Spine’, a charity which is close to Ginetta and Lawrence Tomlinson’s heart, which aims to raise £20,000 for a life saving operation for 27-year-old Sam Rhodes who suffers from a debilitating back condition. The Ginetta Media day was something the BTCC Crazy crew had been looking forward to since the date was announced. Pete Mainey was all ready with his camera to get some super shots, and Craig Jones and myself were geared up to get some cracking interviews with the drivers. Our day was to start in the BRDC Clubhouse, where we were all in awe of the trophies and history that was on display. We then had a talk from Laurence himself about the day, before our safety briefing with Fulvio Mussi. Then, it was time to hit the track! At the event, we were all extremely fortunate to get a hot lap in the Ginetta G55, the most powerful race car Ginetta have created to date with its 3.7L V6 engine, being driven by either Greg or Leo Mansell. So, we grabbed a helmet each, and headed for the pit garage. Craig was up first in this mighty machine. Craig said: “Fantastic engineering, not like anything I’ve ever experienced before! Can’t wait to see it driven in anger come Brands Hatch!” Then, it was my turn. While waiting for my thrill ride, I was lucky enough to grab a sneaky hot lap in the G50 too, which I have to say was utterly fantastic. Driver Tom Ingram was really pushing the car hard, flooring it along the Pit Straight and teasing it round Luffield. Superb driving and a superb car. Then I was belted up in the G55. “Oh my gosh” was the first reaction that came to mind. The sheer power behind the car literally threw you back into the seat. Greg Mansell was doing the stint at the time, and he was really on the power. As for the braking on the car, it was in a different league to anything I had experienced before! The brakes were so sharp and precise, and the deceleration was just wow! It really was an experience of a lifetime. Then, it was Pete’s turn. His smile was pretty big when he got in the car, and when he got out, it was permanently fixed on his face for hours after. That kind of sums up the fun we had in the G55. After our ‘play-time’, it was time to take a wander through the paddock, checking out teams and driver for this year’s line-up. As usual, the pits were busy with cars in and out of their garages, and with a constant stream of testing going on, people were never short of racing entertainment. It really was a fantastic opportunity to get up close with the drivers and their teams, and to see the teams making the needed tweaks and changes to their cars to get them in top shape for out on the track.
he Williams F1 engineered Renault Laguna is a car many remember from the British Touring Car Championships heyday. Although the Renault Laguna raced under the Williams banner from 1995 until the year 2000, it was the striking livery from 1995 until 1997 that is often remembered fondly by many. The car its self was dominant. It won the manufactures title in its first season and took the double in 1997 when Alain Menu took the main title. For many, the car defines a generation. A car engineered by one of the top engineering outfits in the country and driver by such highly rated drivers as Alain Manu and Jason Plato. The car took 28 wins in 3 years, and was a poster on many a boyhood wall.
The Cool Wall
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The BTCC Crazy Tweet-Up this weekend at Brands Hatch will be hosted at the YourRacingCar ‘Dome’ at the following times:
Saturday 0930 BST Sunday 1030 BST Be sure to come along and meet up with fellow twitterers, talk BTCC and a chance to put a face to a name. From everyone at
Tweet @BTCCCrazy with your caption to this picture. Please use the #BTCCCaption hash tag and the funniest three captions will be posted in the next e-mag!
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