THE PIT STOP issue 2
q u a r t e r l y
m o t o r s p o r t
m a g a z i n e
PA S S I O N . C A R S . E X P E R T I S E .
MARTINI RACING LANCIA SPORTS-RACING CARS FROM THE CAMPION COLLECTION,
SOLD IN 2020.
CONSIGN YOUR COLLECTION WITH GIRARDO & CO. UK +44 (0)203 621 2923 | Italy +39 02 36003241 | firstname.lastname@example.org Girardo.com
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DAYTONA’S PLUCKY WINNER How Doncaster Racing defied the odds at the 2004 24 Hours of Daytona.
MORE OR LESS A MASERATI Looking at the Maserati 250F.
BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS How Charlie Martin is breaking down the gender barriers in motorsport.
A FORGOTTEN CHAMPIONSHIP The international rallycross championship that has been long forgotten.
THE PURSUIT FOR PERFECTION The pshychological preparation required for the Isle of Man TT.
KARTING; FROM AFFORDABLE TO AFFLUENT?
ONE FOR THE ROAD
DINO 206SP The story of the Ferrari Dino 206SP and chassis 026.
DELVING INTO THE ARCHIVE The car connoisseurs building a photo archive.
IS THE FUTURE OF MOTORSPORT ELECTRIC? Jess Shanahan asks if electric racing is the future of motorsport.
MASTERS OF THE HILL Looking at the FIA Masters Hillclimb held in Gubbio in 2018.
TOBY’S JOURNEY A new regular column following the career of Toby Trice.
MANAGING A FAMILY-RUN BTCC TEAM DURING COVID-19
78 102 120 132 146 THE PURSUIT OF MOTO GP’S FIRST FEMALE RIDER
THERE’S MORE TO COME FROM DRAGON AND NIO
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he word legend is used all too often, but Murray Walker was one individual who was certainly deserving of the title. On Saturday 13th March, shortly after pre-season F1 testing had finished, it came to light that Murray had sadly passed away aged 97. To many, including myself, Murray was the ultimate voice of motorsport. His passionate, excited commentary style partnered with his brummie accent created the perfect voice to describe the goings on in racing for 52 years. Commentating on motor racing was more than a job for Murray, it was a passion and that was clear for all of us viewers to hear every time. He had the innate ability to be able to turn any grand prix into sounding like the greatest race in history, despite the actual quality. Let’s not forget, it would not be unusual for winners in F1 to finish laps ahead of second place in the 1990s, yet Murray would have you thinking it was the most incredible tense and tight battle. His knowledge of the sport was simply impeccable, regardless of the discipline he was covering, and he guided us through some truly historic moments, whether it was James Hunt clinching the world championship title in the pouring rain at Fuji in 1976, or the tragic death of Ayrton Senna at Imola in 1994. No matter what the situation, Murray was able to remain completely tactful, whilst providing viewers with real insight into what was going on. Of course, he also had a comical side, gaining a reputation for a multiple of blunders which went on to be known as “Murrayisms”. “With half the race gone, there is still half the race to go”, “there’s nothing wrong with the car, except it’s on fire” and “the lead car is absolutely unique, except for the one behind it which is identical.” Just some of the one liners we all know and love, but the line that has stuck with me all these years, apart from, “Go,Go,Go,” is the sentence he used when Damon Hill won the 1996 F1 world championship. As a young boy, I got up early to watch that race in Suzuka, to see if Hill could clinch his first world championship. I remember watching the blue and white Rothmans liveried Williams of Hill round the final corner and cross the line to win and then heard Murray say, “I’ve got to stop now because I’ve got a lump in my throat.” I will never forget that line. Murray made that race, like so many others, a truly special occasion. How many races in recent years can you remember what was said when Lewis Hamilton secured his world championships? Exactly. But, we all remember what Murray said in multiple races. That’s the impact he had on fans of F1. There are two people in this world that I credit for my interest in motorsport. Firstly, my Dad. Without him I would never have spent my weekends watching race after race. But the other major influence was Murray. It was his commentary that made the racing exciting for me. He was a major part of the excitement in watching races and watching F1 has not been the same since he retired in 2001. There is nobody like Murray and there shouldn’t be. He was a one off. He was a real class act and in my opinion, there will never be anyone better at guiding TV viewers through a grand prix. He had it all. The greatest motorsport commentator the world has ever had. Murray, thanks for everything you gave to the world of motorsport. You inspired generations to get involved in the industry and inspired many others to gain interest in a sport they otherwise wouldn’t have had. You were the true definition of legend, the one sporting icon who achieved such a status without competing. Rest in peace.
EDITORIAL Editor Rob Hansford Photography Editor Brian Smith Contributors Daniel H Lackey, Freddie Coates, Adam Proud, Ash Miller, Ian Page, Jess Shanahan, Nigel Chiu, Robin Cordery, William Holmes Photography Contributors PHD Photos, Lee Holt, DLV Photos, Stacy Guiney, Daniel H Lackey, Ian Cunningham, Matt Widdowson THANKS TO Naomi Panter, Luke Lo Bianco, Derek Argyle, Nancy Cawthorne, Robert Clayson, David Madgwick, Hants & Berks Motor Club, Coles Electroacoustics Ltd, Ian Cunningham Art, Jim Hayes, Gilles Guichet, Jean Guichet, Alex Easthope, James Cornish, Ant Harrold, Éric Côté COMMERCIAL ENQUIRIES Enquiries email@example.com 6 THE PIT STOP
IMAGE BY PHD PHOTOS
1923 - 2021
DAYTONA’S PLUCKY WINNER DONCASTER RACING DEFIED THE ODDS IN 2004 TO WIN THE 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA BY AN INCREDIBLE MARGIN.
WORDS BY NIGEL CHIU IMAGES BY BRIAN SMITH
inning any endurance race requires a mammoth effort and steely focus from everyone in the team. But leading a 24 hour race from the first hour to the last is unheard of. In 2004, Doncaster Racing arrived at the 24 Hours of Daytona with their new Porsche 996 knowing that the race for victory in the Super Grand Sport (SGS) class was wide open. The SGS category was making its debut at the legendary endurance event and it turned out to be a one-time appearance for the GT class which was mostly made up of Porsches. One of the Porsche entrants for the SGS class was Doncaster Racing. The team had won the Grand Sport championship for the past two seasons and so made the decision to take their racing to the next level by competing in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. Prior to race week, the team had a good test at Daytona, establishing the direction they needed to go with the 996. Daytona International Speedway is a unique track due to the majority of the circuit being flat out on the high-speed banking and so finding the right balance between low drag to be quick on the straights whilst having enough grip and downforce in the twisty
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infield is a head scratcher. The team’s big star Marc Lieb, who was loaned out to Doncaster Racing by the Porsche factory squad for the event, proved his worth. Lieb won the N-GT championship in the FIA GT Series the year before, including outright victory at the Spa 24 Hours. He was just 23-years-old and was already one of the best Porsche drivers in the world, so his feedback was hugely influential on the Canadaian-based team. After testing, Lieb confirmed that he was not entirely happy with the car but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. “Marc [Lieb] wanted a much stiffer setup, but in the end there was a lot of rain and the softer suspension setup helped in the rain,” said fellow teammate JeanFrancois Dumoulin. “Also in the dry it was easier on the tires but not as agile.” The team qualified well, putting the Porsche 996 fourth on the grid and it was Dumoulin who was at the wheel for the opening phase of the race. He had a good start, avoiding the mayhem ahead and moved himself up to second position in class. Hugh Plump led in the #63 Glenn Yee Motorsports Porsche having taken the lead on the opening lap, but it was short lived, as reliability issues took him out of contention after 25 laps. For the remaining 23 hours it was a titanic battle between Doncaster Racing and TPC Racing for victory in the SGS class.
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THEY WERE SIX LAPS AHEAD OF THEIR NEAREST CHALLENGER AFTER SIX HOURS OF THE 2001 RACE BUT THEY FAILED TO FINISH DUE TO ENGINE TROUBLES. Rain began to fall just two hours into the race which proved to be a game changer. With the car running a softer setup, it played into the hands of Lieb who was able to increase Doncaster Racing’s lead before handing over to Robert Julien. Julien (who’s nickname is Bobby) was a childhood friend of teammate Greg Pootmans. He and Pootmans set up a racing team at the turn of the century and ran a Lola B2K, entering the 2001 24 Hours of Daytona, so they weren’t new to the event. They were six laps ahead of their nearest challenger after six hours of the 2001 race but failed to finish after engine troubles. Following the Daytona heartbreak, Bobby went through a tough period when he witnessed a shocking accident when another Lola had its roll bar ripped off due to the severity of the impact. This led to Bobby and Greg turning to Porsche Cup racing, and now in the lead of the 42nd running of the 24 Hours of Daytona, Bobby and Greg were determined to avoid the trauma of retiring from the
lead of the biggest endurance race in America. There had already been a huge scare for the team early in the race when a clutch problem manifested, meaning the drivers had to ‘double clutch’ to avoid grinding the gears - which would have broken the gearbox. Dumoulin was the man who manufactured and installed the car’s clutch stopper and instead of trying to explain the problem to his teammates and the best way to drive around the issue, he got under the car and made an adjustment to resolve the problem. A remarkable display of engineering and driving versatility. Rain continued to fall as the race went on which made the circuit treacherous and many drivers were caught out by the difficult conditions. The wet weather would remain for the rest of the race, so those who could handle the lack of grip had an advantage and this played straight into the hands of Doncaster Racing and their decision to stay with a softer suspension,
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despite Lieb’s initial preferences to stiffen up the car. Daytona in the wet is a real challenge for the drivers because everyone attempts to drive around the circuit with a low downforce setup. The rear of the cars constantly move around and you can be spinning up your wheels for hundreds of metres after a corner. A great stint for Lieb during the evening extended their lead to the sister Doncaster Racing car and their now biggest rivals TPC Racing. Lieb showed great pace to give the team a one lap lead, a crucial moment since
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a safety car could have bunched the field up and wiped out the lead they had - the Canadian squad were guaranteed to be at least one lap ahead of the second place car. But it wasn’t a completely faultless drive from the team. In the middle of the race, Bobby had a spin and collected another car at the high-speed turn seven. Luckily, he escaped with just minor damage to the right front bumper and managed to retain his lead. However, other than this minor scare, Doncaster
Racing had the strongest pace of the SGS runners and built on their lead overnight. The rainy conditions meant the tension in the garage remained and the clutch was still causing problems even though Dumoulin made a temporary fix and they knew that one mistake or fault could ruin their chances of victory. “If you think of what that car was compared to today, I mean our lap times were slower than today, but considering the driving we were doing, no driver aides and if you mess up a downshift, would easily over rev
one of those engines,” said Greg. The pressure was constantly on to stitch together the perfect lap time and time again, and despite the incident earlier in the race, the team managed to do just that. Such was their pace that when the sun rose in the morning, the team had a four lap lead. Rain continued to fall and eventually it became too much for the drivers to deal with. There was zero visibility due to the spray and it became a job of simply hanging on to the car on the banks of Daytona. Cars began to aquaplane and for only the second time in the race’s history a red flag was called. It takes an enormous amount of rain to suspend any endurance race in the world and the last time a red flag had come out at Daytona was in 1989 for fog. The red flag was a crucial moment for Doncaster Racing and Pootmans claimed the stoppage “saved their race” due to the ongoing clutch issues. When the conditions improved and the race restarted, just two hours and 45 minutes remained on the clock with Dumoulin in the car. The plan was for Dumoulin to stay in the car and take the chequered flag but Julien had other ideas. “Against the team’s wishes I asked Greg ‘do you want to finish the race?’ and he was stunned,” said Julien. “Greg said ‘yes I want to finish the race’ but he was a ball of nerves. “The team physio had to help him stretch his back to get in the car. JF [Dumoulin] came in for a driver change with a huge lead. At turn one, Greg almost got squeezed by the first place car - at that time it was grass/track/wall so it would have been game over. “Then the team radio him to say ‘last lap’ and then coming up to the finish line he sees a white flag and he’s like ‘oh my God, are you kidding me - I’ve got one more lap to do!’ and the car was definitely feeling on the ragged edge, so that last lap was a really long lap, in my mind.” Despite the tense last lap, the #91 Doncaster Racing Porsche crossed the line victorious after a hard-fought battle with the car and the conditions, and for Bobby and Greg it was a moment they will never forget after spending years together on and off the racetrack. “Despite being a successful real estate businessman, Bobby always wore a Casio watch,” said Greg. “He always said, I’m not buying a watch, I’m going to win a watch. “Well, on that day, he won his Rolex and to top it off it was presented to him by Sir Stirling Moss, a childhood hero for both of us. It was a special moment, what was great was the camaraderie and friendships.” Driving a race car with one of your best friends is special but winning one of the biggest endurance events in the world with a childhood friend is something very few have experienced. That weekend at the end of January 2004 was the highlight for the plucky little Doncaster Racing team and the emotion of the final few hours still live long in the memory of the drivers.
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IMAGE BY PHD PHOTOS
A LEGEND ON TWO WHEELS AND FOUR THE WORD LEGEND IS USED ALL TOO OFTEN, BUT JOHN SURTEES IS A MAN DEFINITELY WORTH OF THAT TITLE. STILL TO THIS DAY HE IS THE ONLY MAN TO HAVE WON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN BOTH GRAND PRIX MOTORCYCLING AND FORMULA 1.
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MORE OR LESS A MASERATI WORDS & IMAGES BY DANIEL H. LACKEY
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ew grand prix cars have received as much attention and adoration as the Maserati 250F. Its impeccable beauty is clear to see but its lauded reputation wasn’t built on good looks alone. From its inception, the 250F was heralded for its fine craftsmanship, its benign handling and the grand prix winning potential of its 2.5 litre six cylinder engine. They were adored by all who raced them and described by Stirling Moss as the best front engined grand prix car he drove. Lining up against contemporaries from the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes, the 250F proved itself to be every bit as competitive, winning a total of eight grands prix and securing the 1957 Formula 1 world championship for non-other than ‘El Maestro’ Juan Manuel Fangio. Like the Mercedes W196 or Lancia-Ferrari D50, the 250F had everything it needed to be a great racing car, but there was one more thing that set it apart from its rivals, a unique quality that endeared it in the hearts and souls of drivers and fans for generations to come… accessibility. Yes, that’s right, accessibility. During the 1950s, the 250F was the only competitive grand prix car available to privateers. Unlike Mercedes and Ferrari, Maserati relied on revenue generated from selling its cars to privateer racing drivers and built as many cars as to satisfy demand. A total of twenty-six 250Fs were originally constructed compared to only six LanciaFerrari D50s. The most famous privateer to pilot a 250F was of course Stirling Moss. At the time, Moss was the gifted yet inexperienced youngster trying to make a name for himself. When told to “go away and try your
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hand in a proper F1 car”, he did just that. His family purchased a brand new 250F for the 1954 season and in just one year, Stirling Moss was signed as a works driver at Mercedes-Benz alongside then two-time world champion Fangio. Fangio who raced for Maserati until the third round of 1954 when he left for Mercedes, returned to Maserati for 1957 to secure his fifth and final world championship title in a 250F. By 1958 however, the 250F was outclassed, but with the high number of cars produced and sold privately, grand prix racing for privateers became more accessible than ever. At the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix ten Maseratis qualified for the race, more than double any other manufacturer. The highest grid position was a lowly 14th, held by ex-works driver Giorgio Scarlatti. Even after the rear-engine revolution of ’58 and ’59 relegated the 250F to the back of the grid, privateers continued to race it until 1961 when a rule change limiting engine capacity to 1500cc finally pushed it off the grid and into obsolescence. Thanks to privateers, the 250F was the only car of the era to compete in all seven seasons of the 2.5 litre Formula. In 1961 the 250F was officially retired, but those who raced it had such adoration for the car that they refused to let it die. In remote parts of the world the 250F could still be found competing in Libre racing categories and by the mid-60s in the burgeoning sport of historic racing. The 250F could be considered the Grandfather of historic racing thanks in part to the relatively vast number of cars constructed, to its popularity amongst racers and fans and to a chance change of rules by the VSCC in the UK. In the mid-60s, after much debate, the Vintage Sports Car Club made
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the decision to move the eligibility cut-off date for historic racing cars up to 1960. Just five years since it ceased to be a contemporary grand prix car, the 250F could once again be raced competitively creating a fresh demand for original cars. Enthusiasts quickly initiated a global search to locate and retrieve the retired racers. One of the first to do so was ex-RAF Squadron Leader Cameron Millar, who in 1964 located and retrieved an ex-works car, chassis number 2516, from Australia and raced it with success in the UK. I’m going to come back to Cameron Millar in a moment but first we have to head to Italy and wind the clock back again to 1956. Guglielmo ‘Mimmo’ Dei, was an amateur racing driver and Maserati concessionaire who in 1956 founded the privateer racing team, Scuderio Centro
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Sud. Based in Rome, the Centro Sud team competed in F1 for nine seasons, predominantly with Maseratis and Maserati powered Coopers. When Maserati retired their works effort at the beginning of 1958, a number of works cars and the bulk of the remaining spares were sold to Mimmo Dei’s Centro Sud team who continued to represent and support the existing Maseratis in a semiworks capacity. Despite entering a total of 49 world championship rounds the team failed to win a single race and by 1965 Dei closed the doors of the Centro Sud team for good. Dei had amassed a huge inventory of Maserati spares, including numerous engines, gearboxes, axles, suspension and brake components, all of which was gathering dust and taking up space. After shutting down his team, Dei caught wind that a group of
from Charles Lucas in his lightweight 250F. After the race Mimmo Dei went to see each of the 250F racers to find out if anyone was interested in purchasing the Centro Sud spares. With positive responses from all parties, Dei agreed to bring the spares to the UK and meet them at the next VSCC race meeting in September. Nobody thought much of it, but three months later, as promised, Mimmo Dei returned. Dick Crosthwaite was looking after the 250F of Patrick Lindsay when Dei arrived. He recalls, “Dei showed with this big Centro Sud transporter. It was the size of a bus, with the back full of parts. There were at least four or five engines, gearboxes, axles, front suspension, a chassis. Unbeknownst to one another, we’d each done a deal to buy the lot, I think we’d offered him £1000, but Cameron Millar ended up with everything. I think he paid about £1400 for it.” It took a few years but Millar eventually sorted through everything and began to organise. Amongst the haul Millar discovered enough parts to reconstruct what was believed at the time to be the ex-works cars 2522 and 2511. The cars were completed in the early 70s from genuine parts but were later regarded as replicas as more information on the works cars materialised. During their careers many 250Fs swapped engines, were re-bodied and even renumbered, making it very difficult to trace their histories. Following the completion of these first two cars, and with historic racing gaining in popularity, Millar was approached by others who wished to race a 250F, the first of which was the American collector Jack Rueter. Stamped with
British enthusiasts were still campaigning their 250Fs. Intrigued, he set off across the channel to see for himself. He arrived at Silverstone on July 30th 1966 to find no less than four 250Fs lining up for the VSCC’s Hawthorn Trophy race. In attendance was Patrick Lindsay in car number 2526 (renumbered from 2522), H.C. ‘Nobby’ Spero in car number 2514, Charles Lucas with his ex-works lightweight car number 2528 and Cameron Millar in 2516. On a drying track, the race proved to be “exceedingly exciting and worthwhile”, according to Motorsport magazine journalist Bill Boddy. Patrick Lindsay, having to hold his gear lever in third to prevent it jumping out, took the chequered flag after a race long battle with Alan Cottam in his Connaught AL10. The fastest lap was averaged at a speed of 85.13 mph
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IN 1958 IT WAS DESTROYED BY A MYSTERIOUS FIRE, A FIRE WHICH ALSO DESTROYED A NUMBER OF OTHER WORKS CARS, SIGNALLING THE END FOR THE WORKS TEAM. the number CM1 the first of Millar’s official replicas was built to the 1954-56 specification. CM2 followed shortly after and was built as the later 1957 type, easily recognisable by the lack of rivets on the tail. The Camaro Millar replicas were constructed using his available genuine spares and with new chassis made on the original jigs by Frank Coltman. The cars were often supplied in need of final assembly but once completed were considered to be accurate recreations and sufficiently close to the genuine cars to be accepted by race organisers. During the 1970s Millar continued to supply cars and parts to meet demand. CM3 was built as a lightweight ‘piccolo’ for Dan Margulies and raced by Richard Bond and CM4 was sold to Corrado Cupellini. CM5, the car you see here was built in 1979 for Millar’s friend and fellow Maserati enthusiast Ray Fielding. The car formed part of Fielding’s extensive collection of Maserati racing cars which he kept in his private museum in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Interestingly, CM5 was never raced under Fielding’s custodianship which lasted until 2012 when the family decided it was time to sell. From the Fielding collection, CM5 went to renowned Ferrari specialists DK Engineering who set about commissioning the car for historic racing. The engine,
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numbered 2518 and a genuine original, was rebuilt in 2013 by Jim Stokes. Today, due to its value, that engine sits on the shelf while a reproduction unit is fitted in the car. During the process of recommissioning, DK noted that, like the engine, much of the car’s components most likely originated from chassis 2518. As a works racing car, 2518 was driven by Jean Behra to fourth place in the 1955 Italian Grand Prix and by Harry Schell to fourth in the 1955 Syracuse Grand Prix. The car appeared again at the French Grand Prix in 1956 but didn’t race. In 1958 it was destroyed by a mysterious fire, a fire which also destroyed a number of other works cars signalling the end for the works team. Shortly after Maserati withdrew from the F1 championship, what was left was sold to Mimmo Dei’s Scuderia Centro Sud. CM5 changed hands for a second time in 2014 and has resided with its current custodian ever since. The car is now kept on the button in race ready condition by historic vehicle specialist Walter Heale, and has the necessary FIA documentation to compete at an international level. Since leaving the Fielding collection, CM5 has raced every year including outings at every Goodwood Revival, at Members Meeting, Silverstone Classic and at 2016 the Monaco GP Historique. More often than not CM5 can be seen in the trustworthy
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hands of Simon Diffey who delivered the cars first podium in 2015 with a third place in the Hawthorn Trophy at Goodwood’s 73rd Members Meeting. In 2018, at the 76th Members Meeting, the up-and-coming Eddie Williams brought it home in second place, the highest finish to date for CM5. The Cameron Millar cars now total twelve with each successive car containing fewer genuine parts than the last. Even with a relatively high percentage of genuine components, CM5 is, in all intent and purpose, a continuation car or what we sometimes refer to as a tool-room copy. In today’s historic racing world we have grown to be much more comfortable with the existence of such replicas provided they are true to form and that they are acknowledged as such when they come up for sale. However, it hasn’t always been this way. Famed Motoring Journalist and ultimate Maserati 250F authority Denis ‘Jenks’ Jenkinson often spoke with a passionate disdain for “replicars”. Jenks did more than anyone to sort out the individual histories of each 250F chassis number and in 1986 he said this in Motorsport Magazine, “While the Modena cars have now been fairly well sorted out and chronicled, there are eight more 250Fs that never saw the workshop floor of the Maserati factory. These have been wholly or partly, built by Cameron Millar and are all stamped with his CM serial number. They present no problems, providing the owners are straightforward and honest.”
Jenks’ chief concern was that replica cars could be sold fraudulently as the genuine article, something that one must still be careful of today, but over the decades the landscape for historic cars has changed beyond recognition. The values attached to many such racing cars are now in the multiple millions and they are being raced by seasoned professionals rather than the enthusiastic collectors of the 60s, 70s and 80s. Historic race meetings now benefit from corporate sponsorship and the backing of investment banks. There are still many who try to maintain the notion that every car out on track is the genuine article when, frankly, that is just not the case anymore. And you have to ask yourself, does it really matter? In many respects, these cars are no longer old racing cars but historical artefacts with their values a reflection of their provenance and their scarcity. If you were the custodian of such a historically significant racing car, would you not prefer to keep it tucked away whilst you raced a ‘tool-room’ copy in its place? Indeed, CM5 looks like the real thing but most importantly it sounds and smells like the real thing. While genuine cars sit in private collections, CM5 is out there being driven in anger. The Maserati 250F is one of the most loved Grand Prix cars of all time and because of the replica CM5, the wonderful sight and sound of the 250F is still accessible to us all. It may not have been built in Modena but for me, and for anyone who comes to see it race, it is every bit a Maserati 250F.
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IMAGE BY GIRARDO & CO ARCHIVE
THE MASTER AT WORK SEBASTIEN LOEB IS THE MOST SUCCESSFUL WORLD RALLY CHAMPION OF ALL TIME, HAVING AMASSED A TOTAL OF NINE WRC CHAMPIONSHIPS. BUT DESPITE HIS PREVIOUS DOMINATION, HE WAS POWERLESS TO HIS HYUNDAI TEAMMATES IN THE CATALUNYA RALLY IN 2019, FINISHING BEHIND BOTH THIERRY NEUVILLE AND DANI SORDO TO END THE RALLY IN FOURTH POSITION. 32 THE PIT STOP
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BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS WORDS BY IAN PAGE IMAGES COURTESY OF FACIAL TEAM / FROZEN SPEED / RACEPIX / RINGPRESSION / PRAGA / CHARLIE MARTIN
otorsport is an elite world. There is no getting past that. A sport which thrives on money, providing those who have it in abundance with the opportunity to chase their dreams and reach the dizzying heights of Formula 1 and so on. The richest people from the richest background securing a seat in the richest of sports. However, it’s not just the privileged kids competing in the sport they love, but those who come from every walk of life. People from different ethnic backgrounds, different socio-economic backgrounds, different genders and many more. There are also people who identify with a different gender to the one they are born with, something which can cause a great deal of upset, confusion, stress, and mental health issues as people feel trapped, unable to be themselves. With a sport that can, at times, lack role models for all these backgrounds, one person stands out from the din. 39-year-old Charlie Martin is a transgender woman setting about breaking the mould. Looking to be the first transgender driver to compete in Le Mans, Charlie is breaking down gender walls in motorsport, all the while providing an incredible role model to those looking to follow in her footsteps. She is also a pretty handy racer… Growing up interested in car culture, a ‘Max Power’-reading Charlie spent her time playing Colin McRae Rally and Grand Turismo on the PlayStation before an interest in Rallying led to the discovery of hill climbing in 2004. “I was introduced to it through one of my best friends at school, Hamish, and his dad, Greg Libby”, Charlie began. “We used to go away racing with them, from around 10 years old. His dad used to do hill climbing, circuit racing, sprints, all kinds of stuff in a Morgan three-wheeler.” With no motorsport history in the family, it was being in the paddock at these club races that started a lifelong affair. “I just really love being in that environment. I think it also really struck me how everybody knew everybody and there was a really amazing feeling of community,” Charlie explained. “I finished university, I thought, ‘Actually, I could buy a car and hillclimb it.’ Hillclimbing to me seemed really accessible. If you don’t crash, you can run a car and it’s not really that complicated. It’s easy because you have a lot of time. Throughout the day, the hillclimb event runs, and it’s just a really friendly environment. Everyone admits that hill climb is pretty low-stress for motorsport.” With Rallying posing a more expensive prospect, Charlie joined the world of hillclimbing and her motorsport career began. As Charlie’s career progressed through the
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hillclimbing ranks, she wasn’t just fighting a battle in the car, she was fighting a battle with herself as Charlie, born a man, identified with being a woman. In 2012, partway through her career, Charlie began the journey of transitioning into a woman and as with many people who struggle with their identity, it was a long and ongoing process. Identifying as transgender from the age of seven, it became a matter of life and death. “To be honest, I was suicidal”, Charlie admitted. “Things were so bad for me that there was only one way for me to carry on living: to transition and live as my true self. The difficulty in trying to resolve that put me under so much stress and strain,
that I was seriously thinking about taking my own life. I’d thought about how I was going to do it and everything.” Transitioning is not an easy thing, both physically and emotionally, particularly when you are embarking on a career in the very male-dominated world of motorsport. All this led to Charlie giving her dream up for fear of not being accepted. “I was really worried. I gave up. That’s how worried I was,” Charlie explained. “I gave up because I just didn’t think anyone would accept me in motorsport and that was on a number of levels: socially and being in the paddock, I didn’t think that I would be able to get commercial support
and be able to find commercial partners or brands who want to work with me.” Completely going against the grain as a transgender person, the worry for Charlie was that it would just be too radical and too challenging for people to understand. Charlie lost her parents early on in her life but was lucky to have good family and friends around to support her during a difficult time and push her back into the world of motorsport. “I’ve got two older brothers and a half-sister. They always supported me through that process and my friends were fantastic,” said Charlie. “That was something that really helped
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massively – it was my friends and family that actually urged me to go back to motorsport because I just couldn’t see that it would ever be okay that I would ever be accepted.” However, there were still people in Charlie’s life who found her transition hard to take. “One of my best friends in racing, in hillclimb at the time, never spoke to me again. That really hurt, and I felt very let down. My other best friend was great. He really helped me to talk to other people in the paddock so that when I did go back, I wasn’t just walking in blind, that people knew what was happening.” That was one of the scariest things Charlie has ever had to do, walking back into the race paddock. “It was really horrific”, she explained. Charlie wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the sport she loved and the dream she had embarked on. “I love getting in a car. I love racing. I love going fast. But that feeling of belonging and being part of that camaraderie bringing us all together is incredible. I thought I was going to lose that, and I couldn’t bear to see motorsport become something, suddenly,
where I didn’t feel welcome.” Charlie can remember her first time back in the paddock after she started her transition. “I wasn’t racing, I just went to see people, just to go and see what it would be like”, Charlie began. “I remember sitting in my car and just thinking, ‘I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to do this.’” Shaking and nervous, Charlie walked into a sea of blank faces. “People just stared at me like, what’s going on? People who didn’t recognize me or thought, ‘Why is there a trans person here?’ I didn’t look like I look now. I didn’t sound like I sound now. I didn’t feel comfortable about my appearance, but it’s just that’s where I had to start, and it was horrible.” Nobody was unkind to Charlie, but it felt awkward. “That’s one of the worst things”, Charlie continued, “you just want people to be like, hey, how’s it going? You’re all right?” or, “Hey, you look a bit different, what’s going on?” However, you can never underestimate the power of sport and the community that is forged out of it and, in a sport where equality and diversity can be thin on the ground, the reaction Charlie got meant
“I JUST FELT VERY UNCOMFORTABLE THAT PEOPLE WOULDN’T ACCEPT ME”
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in France, and that’s when everything really started to change for me in 2014, 2015.” Charlie suddenly realised it actually doesn’t matter; your gender isn’t defined by the things you do. “Of course, it sounds like a really obvious thing to say”, Charlie laughs. “There was this kind of paradigm shift in my head where I was like, actually, this is really cool to be a strong woman who can do all these things. I didn’t feel any less of a woman for doing it.” Now a successful racer, Charlie has competed in the Ginetta GT5 championship, the Michelin Le Mans Cup, and her first 24-hour race during the 2020 24 Hours of Nürburgring - becoming the first transgender person to compete. “Generally, now I’m very confident. I believe in myself”, Charlie explains. “I’m proud of who I am and if somebody takes umbrage or offence to me just because I’m transgender then frankly, forget them. That wasn’t the sponsor to deal with, that wasn’t the team to race with.” It can still be a bit difficult for Charlie and it still makes her anxious. Charlie spent 2020 racing with German team, Adrenaline Motorsport. “It’s a big team, they run 10 or 11 cars, three drivers to each car with mechanics, and approximately 70 additional personnel and none of them knew me from Adam. I did have a conversation with the team principal before I signed the contract just to say, ‘Look, I just want to bring this up. I’m transgender, and I don’t need to talk about being transgender all the time.’
the world to her. “As soon as my race class saw me, they knew I was coming, they said hey, how are you doing? Oh, you look great.” Charlie didn’t think so, but it was just the icebreaker that was needed. There were big hugs all round with people keen to know when Charlie’s next race would be! “It just really helped me get through that day,” Charlie said. “I thought, today has been really hard, but even out of a few hundred people I have a core of people, they’re always going to stay by me, then I can build on that. I can work with that.” It wasn’t long after Charlie began to entertain the idea of a full return to racing. “I thought, okay, let’s give this a go. I’ve got the car, I’ve got the trailer, let’s just see.” Charlie still felt unsure. “I felt very much that to be accepted as a woman, I had to conform to some kind of stereotypical idea in my head of what that meant”, she explained. That didn’t mean lugging heavy stuff around, chucking jacks, crawling around her car, getting covered in oil. “I just felt very uncomfortable that people wouldn’t accept me, so for people to accept me, I had to go quite far in that direction of being quite feminine.” The first year back for Charlie wasn’t easy. “It didn’t just change overnight. It took time”, she explained, but by the end of that first year she felt she was getting there. The second year, Charlie felt a lot more confident and chilled out and began to have a bit of self-belief. “That’s when I went off to race
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Equally, I’m proud of who I am and it’s not something that I hide. I do a lot of media interactions throughout the year, celebrating pride or Trans Visibility, and it involves me being open about who I am, and so I just want to know that’s not going to be a problem for you or for anyone in the team. If anyone does have a problem with that, you will act swiftly to tell them not to be an idiot or whatever else.” So there still are situations where Charlie has to have to have those conversations and tackle the subject. It’s an interesting position for Charlie to be in.
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Having transitioned halfway through her career she has seen the difficulties that racing drivers face climbing up the career ladder from the viewpoint of both genders. The financial challenges that male divers can experience and the ability and equality issues that female drivers experience. “I think that’s certainly echoed by the experiences that I’ve had, and I think on a wider sense, this is very much the case in society.”. With transgender friends who, like Charlie, work in a very technical field, it’s a common thread that they have all experienced. “As a guy it’s
kind of accepted that oh, you work in engineering, oh, you know about engineering, oh you race cars, you’re a quick driver. Whereas as a woman, the assumption is that you don’t know. It’s really strange, but it just is that kind of way.” Charlie is the great-granddaughter of Percy Martin a Sussex born engineer and automobile manufacturer who had senior positions at the Daimler Company and she has a good understanding of engineering herself. “I used to work in engineering, in a family business, in sales. When I started there, I didn’t know
anything. When I picked up the phone and people started talking to me about stuff as a man, they just assume that you know what they’re talking about.” Four years later and in transition, the reactions are quite different. “I pick up the phone and get ‘good morning, all right, love, can I speak to one of the lads in sales?’ I reply, ‘I work in sales. Can I help you?’ Some people, you can feel their eyes roll in the back of their head.” Charlie still feels that as a woman in motorsport, you’re battling stereotypes all the time. “How you
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“I BELIEVE THAT BY BEING VISIBLE, THAT’S STEP ONE OF CREATING AWARENESS AND ACCEPTANCE.” do that, in itself, is how you overcome that”, Charlie explains. It’s something Charlie often ends up talking about in the public speaking she does. Sometimes Charlie thinks back to the situation that she was faced with and the difficulties because it’s very relevant to the overall situation for so many transgender people in the UK still. It is why she is so passionate about trying to use her platform to create more acceptance and awareness. “It was really that hard for me, and motorsport I think is a good way to really show that you can break the mould and break down those kinds of stereotypes because it is such a normative masculine testosterone-fuelled environment. If I can be successful in my career it really sends a very clear and bold statement of encouragement to other people.” It is that message that has propelled Charlie to the forefront of the LGBTQ+ community as a torchbearer for equality and diversity. “In terms of being a role model to people, sometimes it feels funny because I think I’m just me doing what I’m doing in my life,” the Leicester-born driver explains. “Equally, I fully accept that if I could have had someone like me to look up to see, ‘Oh, there’s a transgender racing driver, and she’s doing this, she’s racing at the Nürburgring and whatever, and she’s getting support and successful results in her career,’ that would have been absolutely
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game-changing for me as a kid.” There wasn’t anyone like that for Charlie and she feels very lucky to have an opportunity to carry that torch. It’s an interesting question, though. Is Charlie a racing driver or a transgender activist? Both are important parts of what makes Charlie ‘Charlie’, but is one more important than the other? “With both, I think really that does inform who I am. People sometimes say to me in interviews or whatever do you want to be a racing driver? A transgender racing driver? In an ideal world, just a racing driver. The reality is that right now we’re still a long way away from a situation in society, even in Europe where we are pretty open about discussing all kinds of issues around race, ethnicity, gender, and everything else, being trans is still a quite fresh thing.” “I think it’s very important for me, if you’re someone who feels comfortable being visible, then I feel I have a bit of an obligation to do it.” Charlie has firmly set about being the best version of herself. “If you do that, then everything else flows from that point onwards,” she explains. “Living in denial, it’s so hard to live your best life. I feel like I have a bit of a job to do.” Charlie is happy to fly that flag, especially while there is still so much work to be done on equality and diversity. “I’m proud to be who I am. Being transgender isn’t the single thing that defines me. It’s something that shaped me into the person
that I am, and I’m proud of who I am, but it’s not the single thing that defines me.” Some would say, being one of motorsports only transgender drivers, makes Charlie a marketing dream. Sponsorship is the golden chalice of the sport, surely the sponsors are queuing up for this unique opportunity? “I remember when I transitioned, some people would say, perhaps maybe jokingly, ‘Oh, it’s easier to get sponsorship as a woman because you’re in a minority, and you stand out more, and you’re visible’”, Charlie said. Maybe that’s true insofar as it’s perhaps by being in a minority in a sport that’s mainly followed by men, as a woman, you have an advantage in terms of brand exposure but does that make anyone more marketable? “You’re still battling those kind of gender stereotypes. Are you going to be quick enough? Do women have that killer instinct, and be as fast as their male counterparts? I think there’s still a lot we need to do, really, to make it a level playing field.” When Charlie came back to race in the UK and came out publicly as transgender, she didn’t do it for a commercial reason. She did that because she wanted to be open about who she was and to help people. “I believe that by being visible, that’s step
one of creating awareness and acceptance,” Charlie explained. Equally, Charlie thought there could be brands out there that would think her story an excellent example of diversity and come on board with that. “Actually, that hasn’t happened. It’s probably only now, three years down the line that I feel like actually getting somewhere. I don’t know if that’s just because motorsport wasn’t really ready for that. My experience is I’ve found no end of companies that have said, ‘Yeah, great. we love what you’re doing. That’s so cool.’ But when you actually need their money to go racing and demonstrate my metrics and articles, showing I have more exposure than I think most drivers outside of F1 get, they’re non-committal. I’ve found that hard.” Charlie gets some stupid comments, like everyone does, but the overwhelming response she gets to being in motorsport and using her platform is incredibly positive. “I do have some partnerships, companies that I work with that I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities, and those companies have really stood by me, like Tectri SA and NGK Spark Plugs.” Charlie will be racing in the 2021 Britcar championship with Manchester based VR Motorsport and they have been incredibly supportive and vocal
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about being proud of working with Charlie. “I think first and foremost, I got that opportunity because I’m quick, and I can get in a car and drive it quickly, but also I think that’s one of the first real instances I’ve seen of a manufacturer actually saying, “We’re really proud to work with Charlie because she’s a fast driver, and she’s doing really important work in motorsport, and we support that.” It’s taken two or three years to get to that point, but Charlie couldn’t be more excited about working with them next year. “My teammate, Jack Fabby, is really quick. Everyone in the team is just super supportive, and having that environment is
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really the key to delivering your best performance.” “I think it’s just, perhaps, a little naive of me to think, Oh, great, I’ll come out in motorsport. Everything will be great and just happen overnight. Things take time, really.” Charlie, of course, isn’t the only person out there struggling with issues of gender and it can be hard to find acceptance. “I think it’s important to be kind to yourself”, Charlie explains. “I put myself under a lot of pressure when I was younger, and I would always be thinking, I need to have a perfect plan for how this is all going to work. The reality is that if you try and do that, the danger is that you never do anything, which is what I probably did. “ Just don’t put yourself under pressure. “No matter how small, take steps to expressing yourself and exploring who you are as a person and what works for you.” Finding people that will help you through that process, support you, listen to you, understand you and love and respect you as the real person that you are was crucial to Charlie remaining strong and continuing with her life goals. “Whether it’s a case of reaching out to support groups online or just finding people in other communities that support you whether they identify the same way as you or not, I think it’s about having a support network is incredibly important. I think just try and do what feels natural to you. It can be hard, but try to be the person that you want to be and not the person you think society wants you to be because when you’re happy in yourself, when you truly accept yourself, that’s the key to all happiness. When you’re happy and fulfilled in yourself, you can achieve amazing things.” Despite everything, 2021 brings an abundance of opportunities for Charlie. Having spent 2020 like most drivers - honing skills on simulators and taking part in very limited real-world racing - Charlie still very much as her sights set on Le Mans. “It’s not an easy one to get”, Charlie began. “Competing in 24 Hours of Nürburgring this year, coming away with fourth place was a great step towards not only my first 24 hour race, good result, it was a great step towards that. Also proving myself as a driver at that level.” Charlie is looking forward to getting hands one with a Praga next year. “It is a fantastic opportunity to be in a proper thoroughbred race car like the R1T. We’ve got a brand-new car next year, so I think that’s a really good opportunity to shine and to develop that relationship working with a manufacturer. I’m very excited right now about what 2021 has in store.” In a world currently filled with uncertainties and anxieties, the racing community seems full of optimism and eagerness to get back at it, and Charlie is certainly no different. “I think everybody feels like
UK.” And when it comes to Le Mans it’s a continual ongoing project for Charlie and hopefully her combined experiences can help her achieve her dream. “I think if we can keep getting opportunities like that and getting good results, then it’s looking good.”
things are going to come back, and there’s a great appetite for people to work. Everybody just wants to crack on. I have just announced a partnership with Thrustmaster, so I think there’s going to be a lot happening in e-sports that I’ll be doing a lot of. I’ll be doing a lot of racing too. Hopefully, there’s going to be some additional races with Praga or outside the
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IMAGE BY STACY GUINEY / SUBERASHI AUTO PHOTO
HITTING THE APEX ASTON MARTIN IS NOW MOVING BACK INTO THE WORLD OF PROTOTYPES, HAVING ENTERED FORMULA 1 FOR THE 2021 SEASON, BUT THEY HAVE A LONGSTANDING REPUTATION IN GT ENDURANCE RACING, HAVING COMPETED IN THE GT1 CLASS OF THE WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP SINCE 2005. IN THAT TIME THEY HAVE HAD FIVE CLASS WINS AT LE MANS, THE LAST BEING IN 2020.
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A FORGOTTEN CHAMPIONSHIP WORDS BY ROB HANSFORD IMAGES COURTESY OF ROBERT CLAYSON / DAVID MADGWICK / IAN CUNNINGHAM ART 50 THE PIT STOP
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itroen 2CVs have a reputation for being versatile vehicles and are loved for their oddball appeal, yet they aren’t exactly known for their racing pedigree. But despite their modest competitive prowess, it hasn’t stopped them from being used as rallycross cars. In the early 1970’s a single make series was formed for that sole purpose, to use 2CVs as rallycross machines. The first 2CV Cross championship began in France in 1972, with the primary focus of the series being to allow drivers to compete at an affordable cost, not to mention the fun element that comes with the spectacle of racing 2CVs. Competitors would camp at the circuit, were charged no entry fee and modifications to the cars were kept to a bare minimum. Drivers were allowed to modify their car for safety reasons, but they were not allowed to make any performance enhancing changes. The event format was made up of a series of heats, a final for the 435cc class, one also for the 602cc class and a mixed final for both classes. It was a two day
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event with finals on both days and on the last day there would be a Super Final made up of competitors who took part in both of the mixed finals. The championship captured the imagination of the French motorsport scene and had strong success throughout the country, so much so that Citroen decided that 2CV Cross should go global. For 1975 the French manufacturer decided that five countries would have rounds added to the calendar, making it a fully fledged international series and the UK was one of the first to be added to that list. Looking back now without considering the detail, it would be easy to presume that this was a small event. A competition that, on the face of it, looks nothing more than a local club event, but it was nothing of the sort. In pursuit of an excellent event location and stellar organisation, Citroen made contact with Hants & Berks Motor Club after they were recommended to them by oil giants, Total. At the time the club was prominent in the UK motorsport scene, organising a number of national events, including the Mobil Economy Run, and they were well equipped to make a UK 2CV Cross event a reality. Determined to do things properly and to make a
success of the event, a number of individuals from the Hants & Berks Motor Club committee, including Nan Cawthorne, Dick Cawthorne, Sam Moore and Pat Stevens decided to kick the planning off with a trip to France to do a recce of the series in a bid to understand how the event operated. Having got a handle of the requirements, the team returned back to Hampshire, and using the knowledge they had acquired, started putting plans into motion to create a suitable circuit on land at the back of Blackbushe Airport near Camberley. A gravel and sand pit to the rear of the airport was used for the track location and a member of the Hants & Berks Motor Club brought in a JCB excavator to carve out a 700 metre circuit, with fine details being addressed by additional members with their trusty spades. It was all very scientific and precise! The circuit wasn’t fast, but that wasn’t the point. It featured 10 corners, all with their own names, including “Kart Bend”, “Copse Bend” and “Airfield Bend” and
was designed in such a way that the 2CVs would never have the opportunity to exceed 40mph. It meant that the event would be as safe as possible, with no chance of any high speed incidents, whilst also ensuring that the racing would be tight, compact and closely fought. Hundreds of used tyres were sourced to make up the boundaries of the track with rope barriers erected to keep the spectators at bay. A paddock area was also created, giving drivers and teams a place to work on their cars between races as well providing competitors with a place to sleep. With no money being received from the entrants, it was vital the club received income from spectators to ensure it was financially viable and so the organisers also borrowed pay-gates from none other than Buckingham Palace to ensure that people paid their dues. With the stage set, the inaugural British 2CV Cross event took place in June 1975. 46 drivers from France and the UK descended on to the commonland, with Citroen bringing a large brass band in tow to give the
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THE SURFACE GOT RIPPED UP PRETTY QUICKLY BY THE PLUCKY 2CV’S, CREATING PLUMES OF DUST IN THEIR TOW weekend a festival type feel. The heats and semi finals consisted of 8 tours of the 700 metre circuit, with the finals featuring 12 laps of mayhem and carnage as the drivers battled it out to be crowned victorious. The racing was intense and chaotic. The surface got ripped up pretty quickly by the plucky 2CVs, creating plumes of dust in their tow and the drivers battled wheel to wheel, giving each other no quarter. It inevitably resulted in many cars suffering considerable damage and a number of retirements from each round. Some would get stuck in the dirt forcing them to retire, others lost wheels during combat with their rivals and in each round almost a third of the field failed to finish. But that didn’t mean it was game over. The simplistic design of the 2CVs meant that teams were able to have their cars repaired in a matter of hours, ready to do battle again and likely face the same punishment. As expected, the French contingency of drivers had the upper hand throughout the weekend, winning each category overall, and Daniel Lespinas was crowned the
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winner of the inaugural British round and went home with not only the Citroen Trophy, but also £100 prize money in his back pocket. The first event at Blackbushe was a well attended event by both entrants and spectators, but while the competition was aggressive and fierce, most of all it was a hugely enjoyable event, loved by both drivers and fans alike. After a successful first event, Citroen decided to retain the Blackbushe round on the calendar for the following year. The circuit was a temporary one, so Hants & Berks Motor Club had to go through the process of rebuilding it again and this time they attempted to elaborate on the festivities, holding a Disco at the local Hawley Hotel on the Saturday evening. Like the year before, the competitors were due to arrive at the circuit on the Friday afternoon so they were ready for racing first thing on the Saturday. The British contingent of entries had all arrived throughout the afternoon, but as the evening drew in the French
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COMMENTATOR, DEREK ARGYLE (SECOND FROM THE RIGHT) INTERVIEWING THE WINNER OF THE 1976 EVENT. 60 THE PIT STOP
competitors were still nowhere to be found. The organisers had given up hope of them arriving that evening, however, at around 10pm, just as everyone was getting ready to get their heads down for the night, a large two tier transporter turned up with a batch full of French 2CVs. As morning broke the organisers were able to get a better idea of how many people had turned up to race and in the end 42 competitors were ready to take part. Once again the racing was brilliant, but the poor weather conditions meant that there were less spectators than the year prior. The rain got so severe that on the Sunday the marshals had to dig out trenches to drain the water away after the store tent and track flooded. Racing was delayed as a result, but
once the standing water had been drained racing got back underway and the action didn’t disappoint. Gerard Tilliette won the Super Final in dominant fashion, crossing the finish line in his 602cc 2CV 10 seconds ahead of David Lee in second. 18 cars started the final but only 14 managed to make it to the end with Autosport journalist Bob Constanduras (who was attending after being invited by Citroen) last of the finishers, 18 seconds behind Tilliette. In addition to the overall win, a number of other trophies were awarded, including the Best Lady Driver which went to Hazel Horner, the Best Hants & Berks Driver which was awarded to Royce Grey, The Press Trophy, which Constanduras won and the best Foreign Driver award which went to Tilliette. The event returned to Blackbushe for a third year in 1977, with Blackbushe holding two rounds. The first was in June and the second in August. David O’Keefe ended up victorious in the June event while Antonio Manzo was the champion in August. But, while the series appeared to be growing in strength, the running of the event put a lot of strain on Hants & Berks Motor Club, who were unable to cover the cost of the event through ticket sales alone. As such, the club made the decision to stop hosting the event beyond the August 1977 edition. It was a shame for all involved at the club. 2CV Cross was loved by all those involved, including Derek Argyle who commentated on the races. It was all about racing in its purest form. Money played no role in the competitiveness of the field, yet unfortunately was the demise of Hants and Berks Motor Club’s involvement in the championship. By this point, 2CV Cross had grown significantly in the UK. In 1977 there six rounds alone in the British Isles, two of which were at Blackbushe with other rounds held at Longridge, Brands Hatch, Chelmsford and Knebworth Park. The UK even had its own championship. Citroen didn’t want to lose Blackbushe from the calendar and so new organisers were found to run the event for 1978, but that would be the last year 2CV Cross would grace British soil. Soon after, the international championship became unsustainable for Citroen and by 1980 events were only held in France. The series had reached its peak incredibly soon after its inception and its prestige plummeted back down not too long after that. But, it didn’t mean the championship folded altogether. The series managed to retain a strong foothold in France, with the championship still existing today. It might only be a small national event these days, but the racing is just as closely fought and continues to promote the same ethos from the glory days in the 1970s. It might not be the most adrenaline fuelled, high speed natured championship, but it is one full of action, festivities and just pure joy - something that is missing from a lot of series these days.
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IMAGE BY LEE HOLT
MR DEPENDABLE ALTHOUGH MATT NEAL HASN’T WON THE BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP SINCE 2011, HE IS STILL A MAJOR FEATURE IN THE SERIES. IN 2021, NEAL HEADS INTO HIS 31ST BTCC SEASON, EXTENDING HIS RECORD AS THE CHAMPIONSHIP’S MOST EXPERIENCED DRIVER EVER. 62 THE PIT STOP
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THE PURSUIT FOR PERFECTION WORDS BY ADAM PROUD IMAGES BY IOM TT RACES
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oad Racing and the Isle of Man TT are arguably the most intense sporting events that take place each year, with riders racing around narrow and winding roads at speeds in excess of 120mph. This enduring career path forces riders to have the ability to adapt and ultimately undergo an incredible amount of preparation, in order to take on the risk that road racing involves. One rider to brave a career in these two disciplines, is James Hillier. Starting out in 2008, the now 36-yearold has entered a total of 61 TT races, finishing 56 of them and has 14 podium finishes to his name, including a win in 2013. In addition to his incredible Lightweight TT win in 2013, Hillier also secured victory in the Superstock class at the North West 200 in 2019 and was also crowned
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‘Man of the Meeting’. He has also set the seventh fastest lap of all time around the Isle of Man TT course. But having such great successes on the roads doesn’t come easy. It requires an incredible amount of training and preparation leading up to an event, especially around the 38-mile Isle of Man TT course, which some say takes at least four years to learn. The danger of the TT track must not be underestimated, with 150 riders having lost their lives since the Isle of Man TT began, showing that the risk a rider takes to win is something which most humans could not come to terms with. Coping with the speeds that the TT course entails could be almost regarded as alien-like by some, however Hillier believes that whilst it can be daunting at first, this feeling almost becomes normal to him towards the end of the event. “The first practices and initial track time can be quite daunting and scary, but it almost becomes scary when towards the end of an event, especially the TT, it almost
“THERE’S STILL A FEW PARTICULAR MOMENTS WHERE I GET GOOSEBUMPS AS IT IS SO CRAZY IN SOME SECTIONS” starts to become a bit normal,” explains the TT rider. “Those high speeds particularly, they don’t feel so fast, so your brain adapts and then it’s sort of a slow wind down again after the event back to normality. I’d say initially it’s scary and then it kind of weans off and yeah it’s crazy really. “Then you look back and watch some of the footage and there is still a fair few particular moments where I get goosebumps as it is so crazy in some sections, and some moments we’ve had.” Not only is the adaptation to the speeds something that stands out to most about the riders, but in the TT especially there have been both spectacular crashes and saves, both in recent and past years. And Hillier is
one of the many riders to have had a near-miss moment during an Isle of Man TT race. It occurred during the 2017 Senior TT race, when the Bournemouth resident had a huge moment coming through Ballagarey on the opening lap. The OMG Racing rider says that instead of trying to forget about it until after the race, he reflects on it as soon as a moment such as that occurs, playing through all the possible causes for the near crash. “For me anyway, and a few other guys I know, it’s very important to consider anything like that because straight away I was thinking why did that happen? I did nothing different to normal, and I was adamant there was an issue with the bike,” Hillier said when speaking
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about the moment at Ballagarey. “Especially being the final race of the week, you don’t want to end the week with a broken bike, I was trying to think, is it a puncture or is there something loose and so on. “So, I was positive I hadn’t done anything wrong and it turned out to be a suspension issue, something failed, and for me that was like closure I understood, if anything like that ever happens, I need to understand why it’s happened and then I can move on. “I think you’d be pretty stupid just to kind of not learn from it and you could end up there again in the same situation.” Having to continually reflect on issues and niggles whilst hurtling at high speeds means it is crucial to be able to learn a track as complicated as the TT circuit inside out, so the rider has the ability to adapt to any changes that may occur around the course. A key element of road racing, that is not something which is present in track racing, is the natural change that a road course can undergo. With resurfacing not as frequent on roads compared to race tracks, bumps can start to appear, or changes to the scenery may occur which requires riders to adapt and change their braking points to maximise their speed throughout a lap. But, even though the changes occur on a yearly basis and can be hard to predict Hillier knows he can still work on areas to improve his performance around the lap. “You never really stop learning there, and people told me that from the very beginning, that was just year on year, and especially I think when we do go back next year it’s going to take quite a bit I think for everybody to get back on form,” he said. “Year on year as well little bits change, they resurface sections, trees get cut down or walls are built and buildings are knocked down and so on, roots come through and lift there track so new bumps appear, so there’s a lot that can go on in between TTs which changes little sections. “But ultimately even if the track didn’t change at all, because the circuit is so long there are definitely always areas to work on and even if it’s a little tenth here and there then definitely my brain is always trying to think of sections where I could probably get better. “There’s [also] definitely sections where I’ve ticked off and left be.” Over the course of his career, Hillier has spent 10 years racing with Bournemouth Kawasaki, however at the end of 2019 the TT veteran announced he would begin a new challenge with Rich Energy OMG Racing. This new scenery will provide Hillier with the tools he needs to be fighting at the front on the roads on a consistent basis, but it is not only the roads where HIllier will be competing with the team. In 2022, Hillier will take on a whole new discipline, switching to motocross racing, where he will make his debut in the renowned Dakar Rally, which will bring in a whole new
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challenge for the road racer to conquer. This change to motocross racing will require Hillier to undergo a huge amount of preparation, including navigation and hands on experience, in order to be ready for the endurance event, but he already has a number of things planned for 2021 which will help him be ready to compete, in what is one of the most physically and mentally demanding sporting events in the world. “Off the track, ultimately I’m going to try and
“IF YOU CAN’T NAVIGATE THEN THERE’S NO POINT BEING FAST GOING ROUND IN CIRCLES.” stay as bike fit as I possibly can which has proven a little bit harder in the UK right now but off the track, navigation, I just need to try and nail and learn roadbooks as best as I can inside out,” he said. “You certainly can’t beat hands on experience, so later on in the year we’re going to be doing a number
of training regimes abroad and in the UK with using the roadbook and navigation, that’s probably something most people have said who are experienced in the rally game that that is the key factor. “It doesn’t matter how fast you are or how slow you are really. if you can’t navigate then there’s no point
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really being fast going round in circles. “But for me anyway the main goal really is to get to the finish, and then build on that. OMG [Racing] have put a lot of faith in me and it’s an amazing opportunity so I want to personally get to the finish line and then see where we go from there.” With preparation already planned for the majority of 2021, Hillier will be hoping that his schedule is not disrupted too much due to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially after a lot of racing, such as the Isle of Man
TT and North West 200, has been cancelled. And the OMG Racing rider says that preparation during such unprecedented times has the ability to take its toll, as he is unable to do what he would usually be doing at the beginning of the year. “It’s very hard to do any sort of training, I do some fitness here at home and a bit of cycling, but it’s even harder to get motivated sometimes,” he said on how he prepares. “Especially with the TT off and no real road racing,
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for me it’s kind of this time of year would be my primetime to be pushing hard, which isn’t happening. “It’s frustrating, it is hard, but I guess when we do it it’s going to feel that bit better.” To some riders, this uncertainty will make it harder to get ready for any form of racing ahead of them, yet Hillier believes that as the year goes on, especially when the Dakar Rally comes around in 2022, he will have no excuses if he is not fit enough. “My wife’s working at the moment so I’ve been doing the home-schooling with the kids, which is a complete contrast to normal. This time of year I would be putting the effort in away from home and sort of the roles have switched a little bit. “I don’t want to get into any event, especially like
Dakar, next year would be a good time for me to be super fit before I would normally start training, but I don’t want to be on the start line or near the end of a stage or a race and feeling like I couldn’t train better and be in better shape. “I haven’t got any excuses really to not be fit enough, the let-down is going to be navigation, or I’d say bike fit because I can’t really ride a motorbike at the moment.” With major road racing events already cancelled in 2021, Hillier will be mindful of the effect this could have on his physical strength and his performance when racing on a motorbike, especially after such a disrupted year in 2020.
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IMAGE BY DLV PHOTOS
CRANER CURVES THE CRANER CURVES AT DONINGTON IS A TRICKY SECTION OF THE CIRCUIT, MORE SO IN THE OPENING LAPS OF A RACE. THE ROCKET RJN MOTORSPORT MCLAREN LEADS THE PACK THROUGH THE HIGH SPEED TWISTY CURVES IN THE OPENING STAGES OF THE 2020 BRITISH GT RACE.
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AND THE STORY OF CHASSIS 026
WORDS BY ROB HANSFORD IMAGES BY BRIAN SMITH / JIM HAYES / KLEMANTASKI COLLECTION
THE FERRARI DINO 206SP WASN’T THE MOST SUCCESSFUL RACING CAR FERRARI HAS EVER BUILT. BUT DESPITE ITS RACING SHORTCOMINGS, IT HAS GONE ON TO BECOME A POIGNANT CAR IN THE TEAM’S HISTORY. AND, THANKS TO DROGO’S CRAFTSMANSHIP, IT LEAVES US WITH ONE OF THE BEST LOOKING RACE CARS FROM THE PERIOD.
he saying goes that if a car looks fast it means it normally is. In the case of the Ferrari Dino 206 Sports Prototype, it definitely looks like it possesses all of the DNA to mark it out as one of the fastest Ferraris of its time. Its curves are in all the right places, it sits low to the ground and the glossy
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rosso red paintwork combined with the mustard yellow wheels make it stand out from the crowd. It’s definitely a beautiful car, that there is no doubt, yet it never quite reached the dizzying heights of success that Enzo Ferrari had hoped for. Unveiled alongside its big sister, the Ferrari 330 P3 in early February 1966 in the courtyard area at Maranello, the 206SP was presented as a car capable of
challenging for the European Hillclimb championship. But, Ferrari also felt it had potential to be successful on the track and so they announced plans to build 50 road-going versions in order to homologate the model for two-litre Group 4 sportscar championships. The Dino 206SP was well suited to the two-litre Group 4 category, but due to a number of reasons, Ferrari never managed to build the 50 cars required to
meet the homologation regulations. At the time, the Italian manufacturer had begun to fall into financial turmoil and it had a huge effect on the development of the 206 as they simply couldn’t afford the budget required to build 50 of these magnificent machines whilst also continuing to build other cars on the production line, such as the 330 P3, 365P and the 312 Formula 1 car.
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Fiat were also partly to blame for the 206SP’s homologation failure. They had taken on the contract for building the car’s V6 engines, but they had labour shortages as a result of strike action, meaning they were unable to cope with the demand for 50 Dino V6 power-units. Ferrari had lost on both counts. Their contractor didn’t have enough people to build the number of engines required and they didn’t have the finances to bring in additional employees to make up the difference. In the end, Ferrari fell a long way short of their 50 car target, with only 18 examples of the beautiful Dino 206SP ever being completed. The eye-catching car was styled by usual suspects Pininfarina and the bodywork was built by Piero Drogo’s Carrozzeria Sports Cars. The end result was a car that closely resembled the 330 P3, yet was still incredibly exquisite in its own right. The front end of the 206SP was fairly similar to its big sister and so was the height of the car, but the main difference was its length with the P3 being 350mm longer than the 206SP. The
206SP’s shorter wheelbase meant its engine was also smaller than the P3’s, but despite that, the early two valve, six cylinder engine still had enough grunt to fight towards the front end of the field. Despite not meeting the Group 4 homologation requirements, Ferrari still entered the 206SP into a number of races as a prototype car, and it made its debut as a fully-fledged Ferrari factory car in the mid-1960s, with the Scuderia racing the #004 and #008 chassis in 1966. But, with the need to raise extra cash, the others were all off-loaded to a number of customers. By the following year, all but two chassis had been sold by Ferrari, with a number of customers taking their cars to a variety of prestigious races around the globe, including 24 Hours of Le Mans, 100km Nurburgring, 24 Hours of Daytona and the Targa Florio. Chassis #026 (which is pictured) was no different from its siblings. The car was built to order for the Swiss-based Scuderia Filipinetti and the team took delivery of the car ahead of the 1967 season. Scuderia
THE END RESULT WAS A CAR THAT CLOSELY RESEMBLED THE 330 P3, YET WAS STILL INCREDIBLY EXQUISITE IN ITS OWN RIGHT.
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THEIR LAPTIME WAS SO GOOD THAT ONLY TWO FERRARIS BETTERED THEIR BEST EFFORT. Filipinetti were an experienced team, having been formed in 1959 with the primary purpose of helping Jo Siffert’s career, and they had a strong bond with Ferrari, having purchased a number of cars from them prior to this order. Team owner, Georges Filipinetti had also purchased a P3, with the intention of using that as their main track car, and he was looking to run the Dino 206SP in the European Hillclimb championship. However, he couldn’t resist the temptation to compete with the car before the hillclimb season began and decided to enter it into a number of sports car events early on in the year, starting with Sebring 12 Hours. Scuderia Filipinetti’s line-up for 1967’s running of the Sebring 12 Hours was one full of experience, with Herbert Muller and Gunther Klass partnering up for the event. Muller was a long time Scuderia Filipinetti driver, having raced for the team since 1962, achieving a single win with the Swiss squad, driving a Porsche 906 in the Targa Florio in 1966. He wasn’t the fastest driver on the track, but he was a safe pair of hands who you could rely on to bring home points on a regular basis so long as the car lasted the distance.
Meanwhile, Klass was eager to impress. He had been a factory Porsche driver in the early ’60s, but made the switch to Ferrari for 1967. His form with Porsche had been patchy at best, having only had a podium result on two occasions, and so in a bid to establish if he was worthy of driving for the main factory squad, Ferrari loaned him to Scuderia Filipinetti for the weekend. The Sebring 12 Hours is a tough event for any competitor. Its bumpy surface combined with the high speeds rattle any fillings loose. The suspension, brakes and bodywork take a hammering from the uneven circuit and the nature of the track layout pushes endurance levels right to the limit for both the car and driver. But, despite it being the first time Scuderia Filipinetti had competed with the Dino and its driver line-up, they qualified well for the race, ending up 15th fastest out of 60 cars. Bruce McLaren and Mario Andretti were the class of the field, circulating the WWII airfield circuit in 2m48s in their Ford GT40 to secure pole position, but Muller and Klass were only 16 seconds off that time in the much slower 206SP. Their laptime was so
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good that only two Ferraris bettered their best effort: The 365 P2 of David Piper and Richard Attwood in sixth and the Scuderia Brescia Corse Dino 206 in 12th. Muller and Klass also said that they could have gone faster had it not been for a mechanical issue with the car that prevented it from reaching top speed down the straights. The car was repaired for race day and Muller and Klass got off to a great start. By the opening stages they had moved up to 11th overall and third in class and were chasing after the two class-leading factory Porsche 910s. By the end of the third hour, Muller - who was at the wheel of the Dino - was pushing the car harder and harder in a bid to close the gap to the pair of leading Porsches and it was working. He was closing both of the 910s down with the taste of a giant killing on the tip of his lips, but just a few minutes later he had to completely switch his focus to damage limitation. On lap 63, just four hours into the race, the Dino began to deteriorate as a direct result of being pushed too hard too early by Muller. The strain placed on the car caused the right front A-arm to crack a bushing and the car suffered a huge amount of vibration under braking as a result, something that needed to be avoided at all costs, especially around the bumpy
natured Sebring circuit. Muller tried to push on despite the problem, but two laps later he was forced to call it a day and he retired from the race. It was a huge disappointment for Scuderia Filipinetti. They knew that they were in contention for a potential class victory and a podium result at the very least, and although the suspension failure was their ultimate downfall, Georges Filipinetti also felt that the car lacked a lot of top end speed, and he raised this point with Mr Ferrari himself, in the knowledge that he had received the car in a different specification to what was originally ordered. In a letter sent to Enzo Ferrari shortly after the Sebring event, Filipinetti made it abundantly clear that he was disappointed at the result and explained to him that the Dino’s engine power was insufficient. Filipinetti believed that the Porsches and Alfa Romeos had in excess of 30bhp in hand against the Dino’s V6 powerplant and that even with the driving abilities of Muller and Klass, the team would have been unable to keep up with their rivals for an extended period. Filipinetti also stated that he was surprised to have received a two valve V6 in his Dino when he understood a three valve had been ordered, and that he was not prepared to provide payment for the car until he had clarification
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accepted failures lightly. He responded to Filipinetti’s letter acknowledging the disappointing result, but confirmed that he was surprised to hear there was confusion about the engine that had been fitted to chassis #026. He told Filipinetti that the car had to be fitted with a two valve V6, otherwise it would not have been ready in time for the season, and that the three valve V6 was still in development. Ferrari also agreed with Filipinetti’s concerns about racing the Dino in the European Hillclimb championship. New regulations regarding a two-seater class had been introduced for that year, but were only announced mid-way through the prior season. It meant
as to why that was the case. He also expressed his concern about entering the 206SP into the European Hillclimb Championship, for which was the primary reason for the purchase. It was plain to see that Filipinetti was not a happy camper. He felt he had been mis-sold the car by Ferrari and implied that had he known about these facts at the time of the order, he wouldn’t have gone through with the purchase. But rather than argue with his long-time customer, ‘Il Commendatore’ sympathised with Filipinetti’s disappointment with the result at Sebring. The car was on course to have a brilliant result, yet reliability prevented that from happening, and Ferrari never
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the Dino was left at a disadvantage compared to its rivals and Ferrari too was concerned that the 206SP might not be as successful as was originally anticipated. It was clear Ferrari was attempting to keep Filipinetti on-side. He couldn’t afford having a car sat in storage at Maranello that hadn’t been paid for yet had raced, and Scuderia Filipinetti also had a P3 on order, a car that was worth a lot of money to Ferrari at a time when they were struggling to keep their heads above water financially. The team was also a longstanding customer and Ferrari respected the loyalty shown in them. The two parties eventually reached an agreement and although Scuderia Filipinetti’s original intention was to save the 206SP until the European Hillclimb championship, he decided to enter the car into the Nurburgring 1000km that May so that the P3, could be saved for Le Mans 24 Hours. As part of the agreement, the car was serviced and prepped for the event by Ferrari at Maranello, and in a bid to try and make the car more competitive next time out, Ferrari made some modifications to the car. Slick tyres were introduced to the car for the first time and the mechanics removed the carburetters and replaced them with an all-new injection system. The injection system was new territory for Ferrari, with only a handful of the 206s fitted with it, but they felt it could offer better performance than the carburetors. After
the work was complete, the car was then sent straight to Germany for the race weekend. There was also a change in driver line-up for the Nurburgring 1000km, with Ferrari factory driver Jean Guichet replacing Klass, and the team were optimistic that they could put together a strong showing if reliability held up. In theory, it was a straightforward swap that shouldn’t have caused Scuderia Filipinetti any issues, since Guichet already had experience racing the Dino 206SP. He had finished runner-up at the 1966 Targa Florio event in a 206SP and had won the two-litre class at that year’s Spa 100km. He had also driven a 206SP at Sebring in 1967, alongside Pedro Rodriguez, although they retired after 101 laps due to overheating issues. There was a lot of hope for the race at the Nurburgring, however, unfortunately, just like the team’s last outing at Sebring, things didn’t go to plan. Far from it. Guichet was the first driver to take the car out in practice and he started to lap the extraordinarily treacherous Nordschleife circuit, but after just a couple of tours of the 20.83km track the 206SP caught fire. Unbeknown to anyone, a fuel leak had manifested itself and fuel began to pool between the cylinder banks, although Guichet believes it may have been
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caused by the new parts fitted on the car for the event. Eventually the car caught alight, and although Guichet was able to escape from the car without injury, he had pulled over in the Hatzenback Woods section of the track, a part of the circuit where there were no fire marshals in attendance. With nobody able to assist Guichet, all he could do was watch Ferrari from being engulfed in flames. “I think the new injection system was the origin of the fire,” explained Guichet. “During a lap I felt the fire in my back. I was able to stop the car in emergency and escaped out of the car, but the body was aluminum and half of the car melted to the ground.” The car was completely ruined. Forget about having the car ready in time for the race, the damage was so extensive that you’d have forgiven Scuderia Filipinetti for throwing it straight into a scrapyard. The bodywork had melted and the engine and transaxle were burned beyond repair. With the 206SP in such a bad state, Scuderia Filipinetti decided not to send it back to Maranello for Ferrari to try and salvage it. The cost of repairs would have been so high that it didn’t make financial sense to have it repaired, and its
previous performance at Sebring wouldn’t have helped matters. Instead, the car was taken back to the team’s headquarters in Switzerland and soon after, it was sold off in its fire damaged state to a french collector and was left in a garage completely untouched until the 1980s. However, in 1984 the car was finally revived from its charred condition and put through an extensive restoration process. The car was completely overhauled from top to bottom and was remarkably returned to a state where it could be driven once again, although an ex-Tasman 246 Formula 2 engine was installed rather than an original 206 unit. Having been transformed into a running car once again, #026 chassis was raced in a number of historic races in France in the 1990s, but the owner then decided to sell it on to an American car collector who went on to replace the ex-Tasman engine with an ex-Ferrari factory Tipo 231 engine. The car has since changed hands on a few occasions and in the last few years, under the guidance of its latest owner, it was sent back to its birthplace in Maranello where the Ferrari Classiche department completely overhauled the car, returning it to its original, former glory prior to
“DURING A LAP I FELT THE FIRE IN MY BACK. I WAS ABLE TO STOP THE CAR IN EMERGENCY AND ESCAPED OUT OF THE CAR” - JEAN GUICHET
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the fire. Not only was the bodywork overhauled again, but Ferrari also reinstalled the correct engine for the car, returning chassis #026 with a fuel injected V6. Having been totally restored back to pristine condition in Italy, the #026 chassis has returned to its owner in Canada. The Dino V6 now has the perfect deep growl reminiscent of any exquisite Ferrari from the era and the deep traditional Ferrari rosso red coloured bodywork glistens in the sunlight, making the car stand out from the crowd. It’s the perfect example of a Dino 206SP and a car that Ferrari are rightly very fond of. The Dino 206SP really is an interesting car from
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Ferrari’s history. It clearly wasn’t the greatest race car that they have ever built. Infact, if you were just to look at the results in isolation, you’d say it was a very poor car by Ferrari standards, but the fact that the Italian giant was not able to complete its mission in homologating the Dino 206SP due to financial woes meant the car was never able to reach its full potential. It was never intended to be a car to fight GT40s the P3 existed for that - but it could well have been victorious in the ever competitive Group 4 category had it met the homologation rules by completing the build of 50 road cars.
Guichet also believes it was a fine car, despite its lack of outright power. “The Dino was not extremely powerful, but it was a supremely agile racing car. The Targe Florio in 1966 took place under rainy conditions and the car had been particularly efficient, meaning we finished second, ahead of many bigger cars.” Regardless of its speed, there is no denying the fact that the 206SP is a beautiful car. It’s a design that has aged like a fine wine and its lines are adored so much by Ferrari that it influenced the design of the P80/C that went on sale some 53 years later. But, although it was never the championship
winning car Ferrari wanted it to be, with only 18 chassis ever being built, it means the 206SP is an extremely rare Ferrari, one of the rarest in their history. Shortly after the 206SP’s homologation failure, Ferrari sold a majority stake of their company to Fiat in order to raise sufficient capital to survive, and although the production of the 206SP wasn’t the direct trigger in implementing that sale, it very much contributed to it. So, while the Dino 206SP may be a disappointment when it comes to its racing results, it has very much become a poignant car in Ferrari’s phenomenal history.
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IMAGE BY PHD PHOTOS
NAKAJIMA KAZUKI NAKAJIMA MAY NOT HAVE HAD THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS FORMULA 1 CAREER, BUT HE HAS FOUND HIS NICHE AS AN ENDURANCE RACING SPECIALIST. HE HAS BEEN A FACTORY TOYOTA DRIVER SINCE 2012 AND IN THAT TIME HE HAS WON THE WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP, WHILST ALSO SECURING VICTORY IN THE LE MANS 24 HOURS ON THREE OCCASSIONS.
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DELVING INTO THE ARCHIVE
WORDS BY ROB HANSFORD IMAGES COURTESTY OF GIRARDO & CO
hotos and images are hugely important in telling a story. Yes, words help describe a situation, an historical event or what could happen in the future, but images bring it to life, helping your brain to engage your imagination, making you feel like you are right there in that environment. They are hugely powerful, probably more so than we’d ever really think, and especially so in motorsport where it is hard to get up close and personal with the drivers, riders, cars and bikes in a racing situation. Of course, TV helps with that, but there are intricate details that moving images simply cannot capture, yet the ever trusted camera can, freezing the moment in time forever. Even more importantly, in existence are an abundance of incredible images through the ages of motorsport, at a time when TV coverage was nowhere near the level that it is now. These images remind and teach us just what racing was like in times before we were born. Stories can be passed down from generation to generation, but the facts can easily change over time as people mis-remember the events or the stories they have been told, whereas
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images remain the same forever. And one company that really understands just how important imagery is to the industry and to fans of motorsport alike is Girardo & Co. Sourcing and selling beautiful and impeccable historic race, rally and road cars is Girardo & Co’s primary trade, but, unlike many other dealers, they go way beyond the simple and straightforward buying and selling transaction. As part of their service Girardo & Co undertake an extensive amount of research, ensuring that they have every known fact relating to the specific car they are dealing with in their possession. They leave no stone unturned and their research includes scouring through archive after archive and book after book, hunting for as many images as possible, so both Girardo & Co and the customer can get a real sense of what that car went through in its heyday. In order to be able to take that level of research to a whole new level, the Oxford-based firm has acquired their own image archive. Not ones to do things by half, the archive they have obtained already consists of three million exquisite images from a variety of world championships, including Formula 1, Le Mans and rallying. Images date from the current day all the way back to the 1970s, meaning it will be an essential tool for not only Girardo & Co, but also customers, collectors
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and fans, as well as historians and journalists. Girardo & Co have acquired the archive from Photo4, an Italian based photo agency, and the team’s resident research guru, Marcus Willis, has overseen the project. And he believes it was a no-brainer for Girardo & Co to make the purchase as researching images and photos is vital for them in plotting a car’s past endeavours. “Since founding the company five years ago, we’ve built a great amount of reference material and worked closely with a number of archives, one of which was Photo4.” explains Marcus. “Founded in Bologna over four decades ago, it comprises in excess of three million photos documenting premier national and international motorsport events from the 1970s to the present day, from Formula 1 to the top flights of sports cars, touring cars and rallying. “Over the years we built a strong relationship with the guys at Photo4, which is why when the time came for them to secure its long-term future, they offered us the chance to acquire it. It made total sense to us. We saw it as a great opportunity that felt like the next piece of the jigsaw. It’s also important for future generations that the history of motorsport is visible.”
Although the archive consists of three million images, currently only a million are available in a digital format. With everything in life being stored on computers and hard drives these days, it is vital that all of the images are digitally available, but it is not simply a case of putting each image through a scanner. A huge amount of work needs to be done in order to digitise the remaining two thirds of the archive, however, Girardo & Co are going to great lengths to ensure that each end every one of the images is available electronically so that they can be enjoyed for generations to come. And while their plan will come to fruition, Marcus acknowledges that it will take a considerable amount of time to complete the task. “We’ve already started the mammoth task of adding the other two million [images]!” says Marcus. “We’ve had a lot of requests already for photos that aren’t already online, so we’ve been adding those to the website as we go. How long will it take? How long is a piece of string? “We’re building a bespoke archive room here at Belchers Farm, our Oxfordshire headquarters, which will be home not only to the image slides and negatives, but also our immense library of race entry lists, automotive magazines from around the world and the
“WE’VE ALREADY STARTED THE MAMMOTH TASK OF ADDING THE OTHER TWO MILLION!” - WILLIS
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ENZO FERRARI CAPTIVATING HIS AUDIENCE DURING AN INTERVIEW WITH ITALIAN JOURNALIST, EZIO ZERMIANI IN 1985.
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thousands of books we reference every day. “The archive room will allow us to access any of the original master images, and with our in-house digitization technology, we can send that image in a matter of minutes to anyone around the world.” Digitising the images is one thing, but storing the negatives is another. Although the images will be readily available via a computer once they have been scanned, it doesn’t mean that the negatives will be thrown away and discarded. They will be kept as backups in case of any technological faults, but they can’t be stored in any old way. The original negatives need to be carefully kept in a particular set of conditions to prevent them from perishing, and Girardo & Co also need to ensure additional reference material, such as magazines and books are also preserved to the highest standard ensuring they last for a lifetime, which Marcus explains. “We’re in the process of building a temperature and humidity controlled archive room, to ensure we correctly preserve not only the slides and negatives but also the books, magazines and newspapers. Natural light can also be harmful, but we have all the requirements well in hand. You’ll be able to access our archive for decades to come!”
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The original archive of photos was stored with Photo4 in Italy, but all three million images have now been transported over to a temporary base in the UK. Once the bespoke archive storage unit is complete, the images will then be shipped to Girardo & Co’s base in Oxford. But, with so many incredible photographs, a lot of which have never been seen by the public before, the team were like kids with their presents on Christmas morning and they couldn’t help but start taking a look through them as soon as they arrived. “With almost 700 large boxes of photo slides and negatives, hard drives, books and magazines weighing over 20 tonnes, it took two articulated lorries (the first one broke under the weight!) and a lot of sweat to move it! When the boxes were unloaded, we couldn’t resist opening a few. And then, of course, the day was gone – we were like a group of teenagers sneakily looking at their first adult magazine!” It is easy to see why the team completely lost themselves looking through image after image. The variety of shots on offer is simply incredible and equally nostalgic. From Colin McRae brutally thrusting his Ford Focus WRC car into the air at Rally Germany in 2002, to Jacky Ickx working to repair his Porsche 911 Safari in the 1986 running of Paris Dakar Rally, there
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“I THINK THE IMAGES OF AN EXHAUSTED AYRTON SENNA ON THE PODIUM HAVING JUST WON HIS HOME GRAND PRIX IN 1991 ARE SOME OF THE STRONGEST.” is something for everyone. Of course, as you would expect, there are huge amounts of stunning Formula 1 shots, including ones of 1992 world champion, Nigel Mansell hounding his “Red 5” Williams Renault FW14B through the bus-stop chicane at Spa-Francorchamps, Ayrton Senna in his McLaren heyday to Michael Schumacher in his pomp at Ferrari. But it doesn’t stop at F1 and the World Rally Championship. There’s a great collection of images from the world of Indycar and World Endurance Championship, in addition to smaller events and European continent series such as the Blancpain GT championship. The staff at Girardo & Co are well known for enjoying their rallying and Marcus is no different. Talking about his favourite era and stand-out images from the archive, he says: “The 1980s for me. Group B rallying, Group C sports cars and the turbocharged era of Formula 1 – isn’t it the ultimate decade for motorsport? “The beauty of the Girardo & Co. Archive is that the vast majority of the photos have never been seen in
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public before. In terms of Formula 1, I think the images of an exhausted Ayrton Senna on the podium having just won his home Grand Prix in 1991 are some of the strongest. There was a man on the edge of total exhaustion but who’d realised his childhood dream. “Rally-wise, we have comprehensive documentation of the Colin McRae and Sebastian Loeb eras, though we also have the brutish Audi Sport Quattro S1s and gorgeous Lancia Martini Racing 037s from the Group B era. Le Mans, Indianapolis, Daytona, Imola, Silverstone and Spa – the list is endless and the cars and their charismatic drivers are the undisputed stars of the show.” The drama encapsulated within a lot of the images is simply sublime. You can feel the adrenaline through the shots, you get a sense of speed, especially in photos such as the one of Pedro Bianchi Prata on his Yamaha at the Rally Dos Sertões in Brazil in 2008. But, there is more to it than just enjoying an image for what it is. The historical images especially can help fill in the blanks, answering questions about a car’s participation history
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that may not be totally correct in results archives. It means that not only are the images providing entertainment and enjoyment value, but they are also helping to ensure that the car’s past is documented correctly without mistakes. “With the rally cars, especially, we’ve been able to confirm cars’ participation at events that were otherwise unknown,” says Marcus. “For example, if a car retired, it was often overlooked and the list of non-finishers was rarely reported. However, if we have an image of the car competing in various events, we can confirm its participation. Rally cars are easier, as they’re road registered and have easily identifiable number plates.” The images help to build a clear picture of what the car has gone through in its life, and not only does it help the historians among us fill in some missing gaps, it also means for car collectors, these images could well increase the value of their car. And for car restorers, they can ensure that the liveries they are applying to the bodywork of the vehicles they are working on are 100% identical to what was used when the car was competing. It is increasingly common for photos to be taken for granted and not appreciated to their fullest, especially when our lives have become so visual through the technological age. Some people may simply see them as a tool to decorate the page of a book or to decorate a wall in their home, others like to use them to reminisce and saviour the sense of nostalgia, but Girardo & Co see well beyond that. They understand how much influence and how big an impact these images can have on the car, especially if it corrects the previously known past of its racing career. If the image proves that what has been documented in the past is wrong, it can significantly alter a vehicle’s worth. Not only that, but it also has the potential to change its stature within the world of motorsport. All from a simple photograph. And in a world completely dominated by social media, where visual aids are prominent, it makes these photos, be it current or historic, hugely important and ever invaluable for fans, collectors and members of the industry alike.
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LEWIS HAMILTON ON THE PODIUM AT THE 2019 ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX. HE WON THE RACE, FINISHING 16 SECONDS AHEAD OF MAX VERSAPPEN.
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IMAGE BY GIRARDO & CO ARCHIVE
THE BOSS SINCE ZAK BROWN TOOK OVER THE HELM AT MCLAREN, HE HAS BEEN PROACTIVE IN TURNING THE TEAM’S FORTUNES AROUND. AS A RESULT, MCLAREN ARE NOW CLIMBING TOWARDS THE SHARP END OF THE FORMULA 1 GRID, BUT NOT ONLY THAT, THEY HAVE EMBARKED ON AN INDY CAR REGIME. WHILE IT HASN’T BEEN AS FRUITFUL AS HE MAY HAVE INITIALLY HOPED, DON’T RULE MCLAREN OUT OF BEING IN CONTENTION IN THE NEAR FUTURE. 118 THE PIT STOP
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IS THE FUTURE OF MOTORSPORT ELECTRIC?
WORDS BY JESS SHANAHAN IMAGES BY PURE ETCR / ERA / FORMULA E / EXTREME E
here’s a thread of uncertainty rippling through motorsport. The world is changing at a rapid pace and motorsport is racing to keep up. We’re all used to Formula E’s presence in the wider eco-system but with more electric series popping up, there’s the feeling that traditional motorsport is under threat. Much of Europe plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 — with the UK and
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Germany as soon as 2030 — meaning the total number of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles on our roads will begin to decline. Motorsport has always been intrinsically linked to road cars with much of the development of what we drive coming from top-level racing such as Formula One. Already, many carmakers have set their sights on all-electric racing. For example, Porsche left the World Endurance Championship in 2017 to focus its efforts on the 2019-20 Formula E season. Though, it’s not as simple as manufacturers just moving to electric motorsport with both BMW and Audi doing quite the
opposite and leaving Formula E. BMW stated it had “essentially exhausted the opportunities for this form of technology transfer in the competitive environment of Formula E.” It also stated it wanted to shift its focus from motorsport to the production of its electric road cars. What’s quite clear is that we are in turbulent times for both motorsport and the wider automotive industry. We’re on the cusp of a wide shift in the way people both perceive and use cars. With motorsport playing such a vital role in the development of automotive technology, it has to evolve with the times and that
evolution is already upon us. Over the last few years, a number of new forms of motorsport have been announced — all of them electric. There’s the long-awaited Extreme E series that has F1 stars such as Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, and Jenson Button all running teams in the off-road series. Touring cars are going electric with the PURE ETCR series, there’s the FIA’s E-Rally Regularity Cup, and you can even race an electric go-kart, too. With these new powertrains come new race formats. Formula E introduced Fanboost, which allowed fans to vote for their favourite driver and award them with a
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boost of power during the race. This interactive element engages fans in the racing and gives them a new way to support their favourite drivers while tapping into the power of the all-electric race cars. PURE ETCR also has some tricks up its sleeve with a Battle format that sees the cars line up within a starting gate. Once released, every driver will have one use of a push-to-pass button, unleashing extra energy and power to give them a chance to overtake the car ahead — but those leading cars will also have access to a fight-back mode allowing for a smaller boost to defend the position. This means that not only are the race cars changing but the series and race formats, too, making motorsport more varied than ever. This is an interesting part of the electric puzzle but, for most people, the focus is on the powertrains and how top-tier championships and teams can embrace this change. Even in series that aren’t showcasing the power of
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all-electric, there’s still a mindset shift happening. In Formula One, hybrid engines became standard at the beginning of 2014, though some teams had been using a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) long before that. Now, even the British Touring Car Championship is stepping into a new era with hybrid engines from 2022. Xavier Gavory, PURE ETCR series director, says: “We are only now at the beginning of the real push towards electrification in the motor industry; the biggest change in over a century. The enthusiasm from manufacturers means, at an elite level, electric motorsport surely has
a very bright future. You can see many other series incorporating — at the very least — a hybrid element into their powertrain regulations.” The influence of electric power is spreading down the motorsport ladder but the real question is what this means for club racing. Will the ban on the sales of new petrol and diesel cars mean that ICE motorsport is phased out completely in the next ten years or will there always be a place for the roar of an engine? As much as we might be excited about electric motorsport, no one wants to see traditional motorsport dwindle away and, thankfully, that’s not likely to happen. Manufacturer involvement means the top levels will slowly transition to electric, that much is certain. Because motorsport is a testbed for new technologies, manufacturers want to test the cars and components that’ll eventually reach consumers on the road. It’s not just the powertrains that need testing, though, Pure ETCR’s tyre partner Goodyear is using electric racing to further develop its tyres. Mike Rytokoski, vice-president and chief marketing officer
of Goodyear Europe, said in a statement: “Highperformance road electric vehicles have very different needs to their petrol or diesel equivalents. They are heavier and have more torque, delivered immediately.” With manufacturers excited to test new technology, as well as the likes of Goodyear, Williams Advance Engineering and Bosch supporting electric racing, it’s clear this is the future of top-level motorsport. For other championships that have manufacturer involvement, they’ll also have to start making a move towards hybrid or full-electric to keep afloat. For many racing series, it’s the participation of manufacturers that enables them to keep racing and if those series staunchly stick to ICE-only cars, manufactures will lose interest as we approach 2030. This means that most high-level series will need to go electric but any racing where the manufacturers aren’t as heavily involved are likely to continue using combustion engines for as long as there are cars available. For the most part, this means club racing will be largely unaffected. In the same way we still run historic race cars, we’ll still be running the Mazdas,
“HIGH-PERFORMANCE ROAD ELECTRIC VEHICLES HAVE VERY DIFFERENT NEEDS TO THEIR PETROL OR DIESEL EQUIVALENTS.” - RYTOKOSKI
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Clios, and Civics we all love. One area of club motorsport where there could be a significant change, though, is in single-seater racing. While series such as Formula Vee and Formula Ford will likely stay with their petrol powertrains, there’s a lot of work being done to bring electric single-seater racing to the middle of the ladder. Leading this charge is the ERA Championship, which begins this year with an entirely new form of electric formula racing — a clear step on the ladder to Formula E. What makes this series unique are the two classes. The Sport class is for teams and drivers running in the standard championship, while the Innovation class allows teams to push the boundaries of what’s possible in terms of powertrain, energy storage system, and human-machine interface. This opens up an opportunity for partners to come on board to use this new championship to test components and new technologies. This means the ERA will play a vital role in the development of electric racing tech. Technical and business director of the ERA Championship Dieter Vanswijenhoven explains: “We want to push is the development of the electric side with the Innovation class. We’re giving a platform to small- to medium-sized companies that don’t have the budget to do anything with Formula E. This gives them space to show their products and developments in a very cost-efficient way.” Universities looking to innovate can also get involved with the ERA Championship. Electric motorsport isn’t just valuable to research and development departments, it also gives students the chance to showcase their work — much as they do
currently within the Formula Student competition. Within the ERA’s Innovation class, there’s the chance to create something new and exciting that can prove itself on track. But even for universities that aren’t ready to race, the Concept Competition allows students to test their design and development skills on a theoretical basis. The competition challenges entrants to design a powertrain and energy storage system that fits within the parameters of the ERA Championship car and the technical regulations. This is a competition designed to bring more innovation to motorsport and could perhaps even have big implications for road cars in the future. In the same way that motorsport allowed combustion-engine vehicles to evolve and improve, this new era of motorsport will do the same for electric vehicles — whether that’s through manufacturer involvement or the inventive thinking of students and small businesses. Dieter believes there’s space for both ICE and electric motorsport. He says: “I don’t think combustion engine motorsport will ever disappear. Even if we get to a point where almost everything is electric, you’ll still have historic racing. I mean, people are always going to have a special place for the combustion engine.” It’s likely that the viewing (and participation) enjoyment of motorsport won’t change. In fact, this push towards electric-only road cars means we’re going to see even more new racing series popping up, plus further innovation within existing ones. But traditional motorsport fans can rest easy, combustion-engine race cars won’t disappear anytime soon.
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IMAGE BY GIRARDO & CO ARCHIVE
BURNOUT FERNANDO ALONSO LEAVING THE PITS TO QUALIFY FOR THE 2019 INDY 500. UNFORTUNATELY, THE TEAM STRUGGLED MASSIVELY WITH THE CAR AND ALONSO FAILED TO QUALIFY FOR THE RACE.
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MASTERS OF THE HILL WORDS & IMAGES BY BRIAN SMITH
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hile circuit racing hogs the media limelight through the likes of Formula 1, World Endurance championship and World Rally championship, sat in the background is a lesser known but just as competitive format: hillclimbs. Hillclimbs don’t tend to attract the same level of attention as circuit based championships, apart from Goodwood Festival of Speed (which isn’t really a competitive hillclimb event), but that’s not to say they should be valued any less. Hillclimbing is infact one of the oldest forms of motorsport, dating back to 1897 and just like other categories, the FIA hosts a hillclimb world championship, although it differs from other championships hosted by the Federation. Reminiscent of the Race of Champions setup, the FIA hosts the Masters Hillclimb, a bi-annual event that began in 2014. It’s a fairly new addition to the FIA calendar and the event brings together both the FIA international winners as well as national hillclimb
winners. But, not any hillclimb racer can enter the event. Specific criteria must be met at various levels. Those who spent the season competing at an international level must have finished in the top 12 of the championship, FIA Zone level drivers must have finished in the top three, while national level drivers must have finished in the top five of an existing category of a championship or top three of an existing group. There are also a number of different classes, including FIA Closed Cars, FIA Competition cars, Open Production Cars and Open Competition Cars. The first two Masters Hillclimb events consisted of three classes, with a fourth (Open Competition Cars) being added at the Gubbio-based round in 2018. The first event was held at Eschdorf, Luxembourg in 2014, with Yanick Bodson, Eric Berguerand and Nicolas Schatz winning their respective classes. In 2016 the Masters Hillclimb was held in Czech Republic, with Lucio Peruggini, Simone Faggioli and Scott Moran emerging victorious. The Italian venue of Gubbio was the host two years
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HEARING RACE TUNED ENGINES SPARK TO LIFE, REVERBERATING OFF THE ANCIENT WALLS OF THE TOWN, SENDS A TINGLE DOWN YOUR SPINE. later, providing a beautiful backdrop for the world’s best hillclimbers to battle it out for victory. Approaching from the South the Umbrian mountains come into view with medieval towns dotted throughout the countryside. Climbing up to the town of Gubbio which is perched on the edge of the Apennine mountains. A medieval town square looks out South West across the planes and commands a stunning sunset where somehow you can feel the history of the place. Hearing race tuned engines spark to life, reverberating off the ancient walls of the town, sends a tingle down your spine. Teams set up around the town in several staging areas all with easy access and friendly smiles. It’s clear everyone is here to have a good time and as the start time get’s closer a more serious mood descends across the teams as more serious expressions turn attention to car preparation. Forget the gym, the multilevel town itself is
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a workout, walking up and down steep narrow cobblestone streets and through small connecting alleyways. Unassuming cafes and restaurants are scattered throughout the town, and none disappoint which is not surprising given the importance that Italians place on the good life. If you arrive by car, this is definitely the town to park and forget the car for a few days and soak in the surroundings on foot. Fiat 500s casually parked outside gelato shops cement the authenticity of the town, this is no faux tourist Disney creation. Get up early and you’ll find people running the pastry errands of everyday life. The significance of this event is clearly not missed on the town’s governors, with all kinds of festivities laid on as part of the event including an elaborate costumed flag dance celebration which integrated the teams from each nation behind a flag bearer of their country. Although it was the first Masters Hillclimb event to be held in Gubbio, the town is no stranger to hillclimbs,
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having hosted the Trofeo Luigi Fagioli hillclimb for the last 55 years. The 2.58 mile course has remained largely unchanged since 1988, although three chicanes were added to the course in 2000 for safety reasons. The event forms part of the Italian Hillclimb championship and is named after ex-Formula 1 driver, Luigi Fagioli who raced for Alfa Romeo in the early 1950s before sadly dying after crashing in practice for the 1952 Monaco Grand Prix. Scrutineering for the 2018 Masters Hillclimb event presented its own logistical challenges in such a constrained location, but offered up excellent opportunities for the keen spectators to interact with teams and drivers as they wheeled cars in and out of the scrutineering station. As an FIA sanctioned event it was clear that safety was paramount with very detailed inspections taking place.
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In a brief exchange, Irish competitor, Mick O’Shea (Ireland) says his MG B GT is “like Trigger’s broom”, a reference to the Only Fools and Horses TV show, as he’s completely rebuilt the car so many times that nothing is original! Access to the hillclimb for spectators is good but you’ll have to get there early as the only access is up the hillclimb itself either by bus or car. Being prepared for some hiking to get a good vantage spot will pay off with the sun lighting up the top sections earlier in the mountains. There are a number of great vantage points for spectators both close to the track as well as high up on grassy banks making for the perfect picnic locations with many fans coming prepared with coolers, blankets and of course national flags to show support. The first off came from José Correia (Portugal) in his Nissan GTR, perhaps a little too enthusiastic on cold
tires into the first hairpin. This early off set back the schedule as marshals repaired the armco barrier, but it allowed the sun to warm the tarmac that little bit more. Between heats, it was easy to underestimate the challenge of relocating between viewing locations, with the marshals quick to whistle and shout to anyone caught on the track as the clock ticks down to each hill climb stint. Early morning light in the mountains proved harder to shoot as cars traversed between bright light and dark shadow but after some early adjustment good results were obtained capturing the action. The diversity of cars running at this event is quite unlike any other competitive motorsport event. From single seater hillclimb specific cars to Fiat 500s, Peugeot 205s, modern Ferraris and Porsche 911s spanning all decades, this event has all the bases covered. Of course, with this being on Italian soil
a strong showing from Italian drivers and cars was present. To engage fans and unify teams, a Nations Cup was added. Each competing nation provides a captain and each team is made up of four drivers. Due to the performance differences across classes, the teams are measured based on the consistency of run times with the winning team being the one that has the smallest aggregated time difference between drivers. At the 2018 event, Luxembourg took first place with an overall aggregate difference of just 0.49 seconds. The host country, Italy, took second place with Slovenia placing third. Individual car classes were hotly contested, but Lucio Perruginni (Italy) managed to fend off his rivals to become the first driver to win back-to-back Masters Hillclimb class titles, having secured victory in Class 1
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using the same Ferrari 458 GT3 that he used two years prior in the Czech Republic. James Kerr (UK) and his Peugeot 205 GTI bought back 80s nostalgia with the car lifting a rear left or right wheel on each tight corner showing that fun and competition doesn’t necessarily need to come in supercar format. A healthy field of more historic entrants took spectators down memory lane with cars such as the Ford Escort Mk 2 of Noel Galea (Malta) and the Alfa GTV of Catalin Cedric Ghigea (Romania). One stand out car in more ways than one was the Judd V8 engined BMW E36, running in tribute to Georg Plasa who died after crashing in the 2011 Italian Coppa Carotti hillclimb. At the Gubbio event, Jörg Weidinger did not hold back unwinding a torrent of sound from the Judd V8 but unfortunately he had to retire the car due to mechanical failure. In terms of overall final results, while Perruginni retained his title, the feat was not repeated in the remaining classes, with Christian Merli (Italy) and Roger Schnellman (Switzerland) becoming first time Masters winners in Class 2 and 3 respectively, while British entrant, Will Hall won the newly added Class 4 in his Force WH-Xtec. Following the last run up the hill, it was a major challenge to rush back down the hill from the top hairpin section in time for the podium ceremony, with everyone wanting to get back into town. Arriving just in time, the teams took the stage one by one and the camaraderie was clear as the champagne flowed bringing a perfect end to a perfect long weekend. At the time of writing this article, the Gubbio Masters Hillclimb event is still the last Masters event to have taken place, but that’s not to say it has disappeared from the calendar altogether. Braga was meant to play host to the Masters in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic meant it was forced to postpone. But rather than wait another two years, the FIA decided to push it back to October 2021, meaning it won’t be long before hillclimbing can take centre stage again. It is very easy for hillclimbing to be dismissed as second rate motorsport, almost clubman-like in comparison to circuit racing and rallying, but as the Masters proves, that is simply not the case at all. There may not be wheel to wheel racing, but it doesn’t mean the drivers try any less to push their cars to the limit. Hillclimbing is a form of motorsport that all fans can appreciate, whatever their favourite championship is and there is so much more to the events than the cars and results. And if you decide to take the plunge and head to one of the Hillclimb Masters, you’ll experience an event that will be etched into your memory forever.
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he last time Formula 1 rubber was on track at Circuit Zandvoort, a young Dutchman named Verstappen was almost a decade away from making his debut. Thirty-six years since that race, and it’s Jos’ son Max who has made the Netherlands fall in love with racing again. Since Max put his mark on the sport, winning his very first race in Spain after being promoted to Red Bull Racing in 2016, there has been one constant at every F1 race in Europe. Throngs of passionate Dutchmen, dressed in orange, bouncing in a grandstand with flares aloft; Max’s Orange Army has become an icon. It’s only right that they are to be rewarded, with their first race on home soil in almost four decades. Premier class racing has been absent from Zandvoort for half of the sport’s existence, and its reputation as a sunny beach resort has dominated its motorsport heritage. But that isn’t to say it doesn’t have a rich racing history. In fact, Grand Prix racing on the Dutch coast predates the World Championship itself: Prince Bira of Siam won the first race at Zandvoort in 1948. Ever since, it has been the site of fierce battles across an undulating track which is renowned for its slim, winding turns and steeply banked final curve. Partly built on service roads created by German troops in the war, Zandvoort follows the natural lines between the beaches sand dunes, gifting its own unique character. Max Verstappen - Redbull 2020
Dutch F1 Grand Prix through the years
And it makes it a circuit the drivers love. There are no manufactured hairpins, no chicanes designed to “enhance
©2021. Images courtesy of Motorsport Images. All rights reserved. ©2021. Images courtesy of Jens Mommens / Shutterstock.com
“Max’s Orange Army has become an icon. It’s only right that they are to be rewarded” - Motorsport Tickets
excitement”. It’s a full-throttle, balls-tothe-wall challenge that requires speed, skill and bravery. As proven by the fact all but six of the race’s winners were World Champions.
Since that race, Formula 1 the cars
The final race was one for the history books. The great Niki Lauda held off a fight from his McLaren teammate Alain Prost to take victory by less than a
much has changed. has modernised, with evolving to become the mechanical beasts we see today. Drivers have changed: the requirements demanded of Max Verstappen are very different from what was required of his father. And Amsterdam has put itself on the map as one of Europe’s tourist hotspots, attracting millions from across the world.
While it may be renowned for its nightlife, which will certainly be dialled up on Grand Prix weekend this summer, fans will also turn to its many museums, parks and canals in between race sessions. cars length. It was the Austrian’s final victory as a Formula 1 driver, and a race that made the decision to ditch the race look questionable.
The opportunity to experience the city this summer, in the midst of a festival of motorsport, is a tantalising one. Regardless of what happens on track, this year’s Dutch Grand Prix is set to be one of the most memorable races for Formula 1 fans for quite some time.
Exterior of the Kimpton De Witt 4-star boutique
Conveniently located just a five-minute walk away from Amsterdam Central train station, the Kimpton De Witt 4-star boutique hotel is an ideal choice for those wanting to explore the sights of Amsterdam city centre alongside a trip to see the return of Formula 1 to the iconic Zandvoort circuit viewed from the Pit Straight Grandstand. This package includes the following: • Saturday & Sunday Pit Grandstand tickets Plus: • A king size room for two • Breakfast on each day • In-room espresso machines • Rain shower and bathrobe in every room
• 24-hour room service available • Air-conditioned rooms with complimentary Wi-Fi
Interior of the Kimpton De Witt 4-star boutique hotel suite
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TOBY’S JOURNEY Those of you that read Issue 1 will have come across Toby Trice’s story about his career in motorsport and how he is using the medium to raise awareness for male fertility issues. The Pit Stop will be following his journey throughout 2021 and each Issue will feature a column from Toby documenting what he has been up to.
i everyone! It’s great news that racing can get back underway this year and I am really pleased to tell you all about my plans for the season ahead. Sitting on the racing sidelines 2020 was a very difficult choice. We almost confirmed our drive prior to the pandemic, but as it took hold and lockdowns were introduced, we decided that it was just not the right thing commercially for our sponsors. So much changed so quickly. We’re in such a different world than we were in 2019 that it didn’t seem sensible, commercially for our partners to enjoy the hospitality aspect that motorsport can offer. And that’s kind of where I angled most of my sponsorship acquisition. It was centred around business to business networking, and corporate entertaining. So the minute we couldn’t do that commercially, it just didn’t sit right with me to actually use that money and spend it on motorsport, when I couldn’t really give a return. My heart wanted to race of course. I wanted to be on the grid, absolutely. After one year racing cars I wanted to be there, but I had to look at the bigger picture in the long term. Obviously, the long term plan was to look after my partners, and to make sure that the future was sustainable and although it was hard to step back from racing last year, making that decision was the right choice. But that choice has led me into the calendar this year, which has been fantastic. With no racing on the cards in 2020, it was actually a really good opportunity for me to take stock, understand and learn and do as much of the backend work as possible, so that when we planned for this season, we were more prepared commercially and we had more to offer to potential sponsors, because obviously, without sponsors my platform doesn’t exist.
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So in order to make sure I could hit my own targets I worked really closely with Purple Tasche and Momentum Social, alongside Racing Mentor to basically really look at Toby Trice Racing as a company, as a business. We developed the brand and we took everything right back to the drawing board to look at all the things that we can offer to sponsors. Together we formulated an amazing plan for this year and to see it all unfold was quite surreal. Purple Tasche, Momentum Social and Racing Mentor have all done such an amazing job on helping me develop Toby Trice Racing. The way they have been able to reposition my brand means that it has started becoming more common that I’m not necessarily approaching sponsors. I am now getting approached by them! That was a really big turning point for me because as soon as that began to happen, I truly felt like I was getting the commercial side right. And that was hugely exciting because I was getting attention, even though I wasn’t racing. So, it really made me understand just how much I can offer companies, that I can do all that whilst not competing and I am capable of doing all the business stuff whilst not competing. I knew that come 2021 if we had the budget, we were equipped with a racing car, we could do all the additional stuff with it, then really, the future is very promising. I think that’s the bit that excites me the most because I really, really love seeing sponsors get good results and a return on their investment. That’s a huge part of the excitement for me. Obviously, racing is amazing and that’s great, but if you can, if you can help a company out through the platform that you’ve created, that’s equally a win. And hopefully those
companies stick with me for the long term for hopefully a better career and future together. So yeah, my time out has been all about creating the foundations, I guess for a long term career in motorsport. But, it hasn’t been plain sailing. It’s been really hard to attract sponsorship, during a pandemic. It is difficult when nothing is clear cut. I am hoping and praying that we can have a kind of normal paddock in 2021, but we still don’t really know if that is going to be the case. And that’s been probably the biggest challenge - is to have that focus and remain positive that we would come good in the end. As we approached the end of 2020, it was getting a little bit stressful. I realised it was getting tough to get enough sponsors onboard to ensure I had enough budget to race and it was getting really stressful. I think a lot of drivers don’t talk about these things because, you know, you need financial backing to go racing and to climb the motorsport ladder. But you’ve got to actually look at the commercial side and make sure that you’re delivering a return on investment, and I just concentrated on those good core values that we’ve got. I suppose that’s allowed us then to confirm our grid placement. So yeah, it’s pretty cool! During the winter period, I’ve been working really, really hard on fitness with my sports coach, Will Gowers and so we’ve been working really hard on cardiovascular fitness, strength training and conditioning. We’ve been doing lots of things around mindfulness and focus, so that when I’m in the car I can maximise my time because it’s going to be limited. I want to maximise every minute that I’ve got in the car, so we’ve also been doing home sim training as well. I’m really trying to just be prepared so I can hit the ground running, and physically, I’m in the best shape I have ever been, which is a great feeling. I feel in amazing shape. So that’s good for the racing, but actually is also really good for our fertility treatment. So hopefully, there’s two wins on the horizon in that respect. But although it has been a tough year, I am really excited to announce my racing plans for the 2021 season. I have submitted my entry to take part in the brand new Ginetta GT Academy.
The championship consists of 15 races at five rounds, four of which will be supporting the British GT championship, while one will be supporting the British Touring Car championship. I think this is a really exciting opportunity for me because it gives me a chance to step on to the GT ladder properly. My goal is to climb that GT ladder so I can eventually go and race at the Le Mans 24 Hours, and this is essentially the first rung on that ladder. I still have a lot of learning and developing to do as a driver, but the GT Academy is formulated purely for that. It is a championship designed to bring on a newer driver, to learn the kind of GT style of racing, but with a lower budget. So it’s a really good platform. It’s fantastic to think that I’m going to be on the very first grid of the GT Academy. I think that’s quite an exciting opportunity, and provided we hit the ground running after some pre-season testing, the goal is to try and win the championship. That’s the aim for this year. I want to really fight for the championship because we know we’ve got pace. We’ve got an amazing team with SVG motorsport, we’ve got some great people around us and some good backing. So it’s now down to me to see how this all works out. So yeah, I am hugely excited and I can’t wait to get started. Aside from the racing, I have also been doing a lot of work in my role as an ambassador for Fertility Network UK. Over the last year, I’ve been working directly with the men online support group. We’ve now got Rhod Gilbert on our support group, the Welsh comedian, and we’ve got guys coming regularly every month and I’m helping them out through an awareness campaign with them. It is all about getting guys talking about male fertility because it’s such a stigma, it’s such a difficult thing to talk about. So that’s been really rewarding actually and that’s exactly why I started motorsport. That was my escape from fertility treatment and I want to use it now in a really positive way to help other guys out so we’re going to continue that campaign throughout this year. We’ve got lots of exciting things planned throughout the year, both with my racing and FNUK, so watch this space!
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Image credit: Jack Goff
KARTING; FROM AFFORDABLE TO AFFLUENT? BY ASH MILLER
‘Karting - Affordable Motorsport’, I hear in my head for the thousandth time as eyes glance across the faded sticker on the back of the similarly faded teal box trailer. Ready to head off for another weekend of kart racing at the end of Summer 2005, it’s 5.30am in suburban Brisbane, and my Dad and I prepare ourselves to set out towards Ipswich Kart Circuit for the first round of the championship. The previous year was successful at attracting the attention of some local sponsors, and with fuel, tyres and entry feels taken care of for the upcoming season, 2005 would cost my family next to nothing. Similarly, most of the grid were made up of drivers with whom it was a family affair. Even that year’s National Championships were littered with drivers sitting shoulder-toshoulder with their Dads, some of whom had the manufacturer expert floating around providing advice, but whose grimy and oily karts would return to the family trailer at the end of the day. Some of those kids went on to become V8 Supercar drivers and Champions, and some even went all the way to Formula 1. That dream in the paddock, though rare, seemed genuinely within reach for everyone. Fast forward to the present day; walking through the paddock at Kimbolton Kart Circuit in the UK, the scene is awash with spotless artic lorries and manufacturer awnings with automated doors. Young hopefuls are tucked inside, their minds absorbed by engineer debriefs and laptops with simulation data. The front runners have a plethora of chassis to choose from, helmets painted by the very same artists giving F1 stars their identity, and not a single sun-faded sticker. Every driver currently gracing the top echelons of global motorsport cut their teeth in kart racing; razor sharp reactions and finitely competitive racing, coupled with mechanical simplicity and the physically demanding challenges of the sport perfectly prime the next generation of stars for combat at the highest level. The legendary Brazilian Ayrton Senna himself recounted his days in kart racing as “pure driving…pure racing”, even as he was storming to his third F1 title. The skills that karting indelibly instils in the cream of motorsport talent, however, has become profoundly recognised over the course of a generation. With the popularity of the sport quickly skyrocketing its’ status as being the official birthplace of motor
racing stardom, the costs have become unfathomable to those without access to disposable income akin to that of buying a sizeable country house every racing season. Further endorsement from former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who touted the British Super One Series as the ‘official’ start on the road to F1, ensured that the once-humble beginnings to a racing career were crafted into lucrative businesses. One of the current top tier drivers in British circles is Jack Goff; a British Touring Car star who came from a modest background. “When I was karting, I was lucky enough to be given some space in an awning, while we ran from my Dad’s van,” he mused. “Our budget was around £10,000 pounds for the last season we raced in karts. These days, though, you’re looking at nearly a quarter of a million pounds to just be competitive at the level that’s needed to gain traction in going onwards.” It’s not just British circles either; the average F1 hopeful will not find comfort in Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff’s words: “If somebody is very talented, you probably need to spend a million euros in karting through junior, senior and international races. “After that, there’s spending millions in Formula Renault, Formula Three and Formula Two. (Even if) you are on the verge of getting into Formula 1 but you are not in there, you need another 2-3 million euros to get the drive. So you are talking about 7-8m euros.” By comparison, grass-roots club car racing, which has long been seen as the ‘next step’ beyond karting, is quickly taking over the mantle of affordable racing - a season in the wildly popular Mazda MX5 Cup will set a front runner back around £15,00020,000, while further up the career pecking order, the support categories for the British Touring Car Championship are roughly £120,000. To the average person, still eye-wateringly pricey, but to the motorsport career aspirant, a much cheaper option than the traditional first step. As I pace the Super One paddock, I allow vivid memories to break forth; of second hand trailers, a team of just two people, and a grid of young hopefuls who had the chance to find stardom among the modesty. In the quest for F1 success, the tipping point between talent, and wallet, looks certain to have arrived today.
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Image credit: Toyota Motorsport GmbH
ONE FOR THE ROAD BY ROBIN CORDERY
Most supercars are beautiful, fast, noisy and tend to stand out from the crowd. Many are derived from sports racing cars and often resemble them. One car that most definitely ticked all these boxes was the 1998 Toyota GT-One road car: not the well-known 1998/99 Le Mans sports racer but its street legal sibling. I have always been intrigued by the link between the cars built to race on the track and those that we see every day on our public roads. This racing car clone appears to bridge that gap. The current TOYOTA World Sports Car team has enjoyed more success recently than the racing version of the GT-One did when it raced in the late 1990s. But why do we not see or hear more of this stunning machine, and why was it built? To find out more about the story behind this car, I began by asking Alastair Moffitt Manager Marketing and Communications, TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH, based in Cologne, Germany, how and why it came to be developed. “To comply with the new Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) GT1 rules for Le Mans cars in the mid 1990s, Mercedes, Porsche and Toyota developed homologated road cars. In the end Toyota completed just a single example to satisfy these homologation requirements. It was never offered for sale, and further examples were not completed.” There was however interest at the time from someone in the Middle East for a further example, but sadly this never materialised. Due to the car’s low ride height, and with its gear shift in a rather unergonomic place, as in the racing version, the car was never very practical to drive. Fuel consumption certainly wasn’t frugal, but due to lower speed limits on the public highway, it was a definite improvement over its race car cousin. Not much good though for the weekly supermarket shop as the only place for any luggage was the front passenger seat! Despite having an interior styled by celebrated designer Peter Stevens, luxuries remain limited to normal road car seats, admittedly made from leather and there is a simple heating/cooling system. The car’s stunning red colour pays tribute to TOYOTA’s corporate colours. The GT-One was submitted to thorough initial crash tests, satisfying the EU full type approval back in October 1998, 150 THE PIT STOP
while ACO approval of the road version was achieved after an inspection by the ACO’s Alain Bertaut and Daniel Pedrix. The GTOne road and race versions differ in only a small number of ways, as allowed by the rules. On the GT-One road version the rear wing is lower, ride heights are higher, the fuel cell size is less and catalytic converters are added in order to meet emission rules, as are silencers for noise rulings. In addition, laminated glass replaces the plexiglass used in the windows for motor racing. Alastair explained that while the car was not intended to return any technology directly to Toyota road cars, as with all motorsport programmes, data from André de Cortanze’s TS020 GT-One model did benefit general road car Research & Development. In terms of publicity, the car has always attracted plenty of interest and continues to serve as a showcase for Toyota’s engineering abilities. This would certainly have appealed to the sponsors funding the race programme. By the end of the decade, the project had disappointingly fizzled out and the car was not further developed. Frustratingly for us it wasn’t fully road tested at the time nor pitted against its contemporary competition. TOYOTA Motorsport were by the new millennium moving on from endurance racing and Le Mans to the even more high-profile Formula One. Homologation rules aside, TOYOTA never considered the GT-One a road car, it hardly ever drove and was certainly not extensively tested to its limits. To me this enhances its mystique. Nobody knows just how good this beautifully sculpted Japanese supercar could or would have actually been. Looks like we shall still have to wait a few years yet before we can drive to work in a genuine road legal Le Mans racing car.
Image credit: Team HARD
MANAGING A FAMILY-RUN BTCC TEAM DURING COVID-19 BY WILLIAM HOLMES
Throughout 2020, every premier motorsport series was adversely affected dramatically by the outbreak of COVID-19. To put it lightly, overseeing a racing team during the pandemic was not the easiest of tasks, and few know this better than Team HARD. Racing’s Managing Director, Tony Gilham. The Kent-based squad run vehicles in just shy of 20 different categories, but focus most of their time and money on fielding four cars in the UK’s most popular series, the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC). Team HARD.’s 2020 season went from encouraging preseason testing in Spain to managing seven different drivers within three-and-a-half very difficult months, as Gilham noted on Oulton Park’s particular struggles: “We had a complicated weekend in Cheshire, which culminated in two Volkswagen CCs and one driver being heavily damaged. The tough decision to sit those two cars down for Knockhill was consequently made. Ollie [Brown] picked up some rib injuries, which were quite extensive at the time, and Nic’s [Hamilton] car sustained quite a lot of chassis damage. “Ultimately, there was a lot of strain on all of the teams in the paddock from front to back and anywhere in between – we were not unique in that sense.” However, Team HARD. pride themselves on being a familydriven squad, and they spearhead the series on these principles. Naturally, COVID-19 affected this aspect of BTCC racing, too: “I’m very much a family man. We are a family business. Yes, it’s it’s nice to be on the road with some of the family, but we also had to leave some of the team behind due to the reduced numbers that come to the race weekends. “It was quite emotional, really. At times, we spent a lot of time on the road, and you could see that some of the young guys struggled especially. “We’re such a big group as well. That sometimes helped because there were a lot of people around who could pick each other up at different moments. It was probably the hardest year that we’ve ever had at Team HARD. for a multitude of reasons.” Gilham launched the outfit in late 2013, having already raced in the BTCC for three years prior to that, and he established the
brand thanks to extensive support from his family. Since then, he has reaped the rewards of operating from a grounded basis: “The benefits include trust, loyalty, commitment, dedication, and, ultimately, the reliability of the people around you. My wife, my mum, my dad, my father-in-law, my brother-in-law and my grandad are all involved, so it’s very much a family-led operation. “It can be a very tough world to be in, as there’s a significant amount of competition and you can’t always identify your allies. Loyalty is hard to come by in this game, and for me, as a family man, it’s definitely one of the most valuable things. “Family is everything, so no matter how big we are as a team, how many jobs nor staff members we have, we still will retain the same key values.” Gilham won his first race as team Managing Director at Silverstone in 2019, when Jack Goff capitalised on changing weather conditions to bring his Volkswagen CC home in first place. One of many high points during his ownership of the team, he commented on the “magic” of the competing in the BTCC, and what’s to come for Team HARD.: “The job is very rewarding. I look forward to work every day. No two days are the same. I have high aspirations, high ambitions, and I am unaware of my true end goal, but I won’t stop until we get there, whatever it may be.” The more immediate future for Gilham is very exciting – despite the various restraints imposed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Team HARD. will field four brand-new Cupra Leons machines in 2021: “The project we undertook to build these new Cupras was massive, and I can’t wait to show the end product because I’m extremely proud of what we’ve built. I like to think we’re going to be competitive as soon as we get the season going.” An agreement with fellow BTCC squad Laser Tools Racing has also been struck, which sees Ash Sutton’s title-winning Infiniti Q50 being housed in Kent. The seven-car allegiance is truly a force to be reckoned with: “I won’t say too much, but we’re doing something that we believe no one else can offer. 2021 is our biggest year to date, and I can’t wait.” THE PIT STOP 151
Image credit: Gold and Goose/KTM Media Library
THE PURSUIT OF MOTO GP’S FIRST FEMALE RIDER BY ADAM PROUD
Today, we are challenging ourselves and others to fight for greater equality, and motorsport is not an exception. There have been encouraging signs, especially in recent years, that women are able to achieve their dreams of reaching the premier class of motorcycle racing, be it on track, or off track. Currently, there are no female riders competing in the Moto3, Moto2 or MotoGP, however there are women who have competed in Grand Prix Motorcycle racing. But despite their talent, they have not been able make the leap into the premier class. In the past ten years, three female riders have taken to the grid in Moto3 and Moto2: Elena Rosell, Maria Herrera (the first female to win the FIM CEV Repsol Series), and Ana Carrasco. With the jump to MotoGP seemingly out of reach for them, the three riders went on to race in different disciplines. Rosell competed in the CIV Stock Spanish series in 2019, Herrera competed in the Supersport World Championship in 2019, but in the same year she also returned to the MotoGP paddock to race in MotoE. The final rider of the three, Carrasco, has made a statement for all female motorcycle riders who aspire to reach the top, becoming the first ever women in history to win a world championship in solo motorcycle racing, being crowned champion in the Supersport 300 World Championship. The Spanish rider also became the first woman to score points in the Moto3 series during 2013. However, progress is not just being made on the track. There is an ever-increasing presence of women within the MotoGP paddock who are taking on a wide variety of jobs, such as mechanics, engineers, and leadership roles. For example, in 2010, Vanessa Guerra became the first female team manager in Moto2. A number of motorsport disciplines have taken it upon themselves to create much more of a diverse environment, with the objective of encouraging riders who are not represented in 152 THE PIT STOP
these sports to step forward and achieve their goal. Initiatives have been set-up, most notably in recent years, to push for equality. In 2006, the FIM Women in Motorcycling Commission was formed, with one simple objective; increase female participation in all forms of motorcycle racing, at all levels. There is no doubt that this has already been a success, with female riders such as Carrasco having already achieved records, but there is still progress that the Commission aims to make, i.e., having a female rider compete in the premier class of motorcycle racing, MotoGP. With remarkable achievements already made, the Commission united in 2019 with FIA Women in Motorsports to host the first ever joint event for Women in Motorsports, giving high profile women in MotoGP the chance to tell their stories and inspire others to follow them. But, not all women in MotoGP work in the spotlight. Eva Wiggelendam is Repsol Honda’s coordinator, and was the only female on the team that covered every single Grand Prix throughout 2020. Wiggelendam shared her experience with MotoGP earlier in 2021, saying she hopes more and more females will have a presence in the MotoGP paddock. There is no doubt that we are seeing a greater amount of diversity in MotoGP, and away from the cameras, it is clear that progress is starting to be made on an even greater scale. Ana Carrasco’s success in the Supersport 300 was a big statement in 2018, but people will now be keen to see a female rider take the reins of a MotoGP bike, which would be a victory in the push for equality. The fight for representation of women in motorsport is only just taking flight, and with this push now gaining even more traction, women will hopefully soon find themselves victorious, on track to have a greater presence in MotoGP.
Image credit: Formula E
THERE’S MORE TO COME FROM DRAGON AND NIO BY FREDDIE COATES
The doldrums of Formula E are a strange place. In a series where closing up the pack and wheel-to-wheel racing are seemingly at the top of the agenda every weekend, changes to the pecking order are common. Obviously, someone has to win, and Formula E’s specialty is that so often a different driver emerges victorious. Even in major rule changes, competition is incredibly close. In Formula 1, a rule change means a shake-up of the competitive order. Not of competition. In 2009 new regulations meant Brawn GP won the first six of seven races. In 2014, Mercedes won 16 races. As much as that created a different dominance, it still separated the field. However, that was the opposite in Formula E. In Season 5, the start of a whole new Formula with the Gen2 cars, Attack Mode and no car swaps, there were eight different winners from seven different teams in the first eight races. That is competition. But, for someone to finish first, it also means someone must finish last. Dragon Penske and NIO333 have been the Formula E backmarkers in recent years. Both teams have similar stories. They started off very successfully with NIO, then Team China Racing, winning the first championship and Dragon in second. But since then, the pair’s results have both been in decline. Across Season 5 and 6, Dragon scored 25 points and NIO scored 7 in Season 5 and nothing in Season 6. They were the first ever FE team to have a pointless season. Whilst every team ahead of them had multiple points finishes and at least had input in the races, NIO and Dragon were consistent in only a few things: Mediocre qualifying and slipping to the back in the race. Formula E has regulations about power output at any given point and at normal race pace a car only has access to 215 kW of power. This is equal across all cars, so every team has an opportunity at the top end of pace. But, pace also comes from regeneration and how energy is saved. Formula E cars are only full throttle for a small percentage of the lap. For a lot of the
straights they coast and then “regen” as they brake. This is an energy recovery system that recharges the battery and means they can get more power. Slower, inefficient cars get less energy from regen so have to use less throttle over the rest of the lap. NIO and Dragon were the two most inefficient packages on the grid in Season 6. But in Diriyah, at the start of Season 7, these two teams had managed to turn it around. Super Pole for the second race featured both Dragons and both NIOs. They qualified in the top six. Sergio Sette Camara was even on the front row. That was a fantastic start for them all. NIO had brought a whole new ambitious package to their car for the start of the year and were able to hold their own on pace in the first race and Oliver Turvey was able to score points for the first time in a long time for the team. Dragon were still running their 2019-20 package and the expectation was that they would slip back during the race and maybe even struggle to score points with the Envision Virgins and DS Techeetahs circling. This didn’t happen as expected. Yes, the Techeetahs and Nick Cassidy came through but not easily. The Dragons and the NIOs fought back and had every right to do so. They were able to fight and were not significantly using energy. They were fighting on pace. The race did have a long way to go and was ended under a red flag so there was so much more potential for failure to play out. However, their result is not a fluke. Dragon bring their new package for the Rome E-Prix and will be on a par with 2021 technology. There is more to come. Teams returning to competitiveness like this is the perfect testimonial for Formula E’s rules. They have allowed for competitive performance to be regained by teams that were way off without having to force a major shakeup as a helping hand. With questions over the attractiveness of Formula E, this opportunity for a team’s hard work paying off will only bolster their standing.
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IMAGE BY MATT WIDDOWSON
OOPS! THE MONACO HISTORIC IS A STAPLE OF THE HISTORIC RACING CALENDAR, BUT IT DOESN’T ALWAYS GO THE WAY COMPETITORS EXPECT. HERE, NICKY PASTORELLUI CRASHED HIS SURTEES TS19 AT THE SWIMMING POOL SECTION OF THE MONTE CARLO CIRCUIT.
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Issue 2 of The Pit Stop once again brings to the fore a variety of stories from across the motorsport world. Articles in this issue include...