Wilcox optimistic for Silverstone as Ferrari 430 could make last voyage

6 10 2011

Adam Wilcox on the pit wall at Oulton Park

Wilcox is looking to run his own race and get some big points in the season finale at Silverstone

ADAM Wilcox is looking to run his own race at the weekend and get the best result he can rather than worry about what effect he has on the championship.

The Ferrari 430 Scuderia has started to show some pace after a strong performance last time out at Donington where Wilcox and teammate Phil Burton’s fastest lap was only 0.3 seconds behind the winners’ Ferrari 458.

And with the season finale at Silverstone looming Wilcox is hoping that the longer two hour endurance style event and the style of track will suit the team.

He said: “I definitely prefer longer races, I think two and three hour races have been great especially with the minimum three driver changes it really shakes things up.

“We will just run our own race and I look forward to see who takes the title, it’s been one of the most competitive seasons for years.

“I think the Scuderia could suit Silverstone so watch this space.”

And looking ahead to 2012 Wilcox knows this could be the last race in the Ferrari 430 with new cars available for next year but will treat this as just another race in one of his favourite cars.

He said: “I have had five years driving that car and whilst it hasn’t always been succesful it’s always been enjoyable.

“I’m not sure what the plan is for 2012 so I’ll just treat it as another race and try to get the best result I can.”

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Scuderia Vittoria duo claim twilight win as championship goes down to the wire

26 09 2011

Michael Lyons suffered a string of misfortunes at Spa in his Ferrari 458 © Jakob Ebrey

Lyons and Bateman took their second season win in the three hour twilight enduro © Jakob Ebrey

SCUDERIA Vittoria pairing Charles Bateman and Michael Lyons secured their second victory of the season after a dramatic three-hour race into darkness at Donington Park.

The duo had qualified in eighth place in their Ferrari 458 Italia but played the strategy game well to move into the lead heading into the final hour of the race.

Despite a third Safety Car period late on, Lyons was able to bring the Ferrari home to the finish to give the team its first win since the opening rounds of the campaign at Oulton Park.

In GT4, the Lotus Sport UK team stormed to victory, with Phil Glew and James Nash leading from start to finish to win ahead of the Ginetta of Josh Wakefield and Jake Rattenbury.

The race had started in the wet after earlier rain, which led to tricky conditions throughout the opening stint.

Early on, the Beechdean Motorsport Aston Martin proved the class of the field, with the team electing to put Jonathan Adam in for the first stint while most teams took the decision to start with their professional driver watching from the pit wall.

From sixth on the grid, Adam stormed through to lead by the end of the first lap and then pulled away at the margin of three seconds a lap before the gap between the Aston and the chasing pack eventually started to stabilise as conditions improved.

Behind Adam, Gregor Fisken had also got ahead of reigning champion David Ashburn and into second place, with the two Trackspeed Porsches running in tandem ahead of the MTECH Ferrari of Duncan Cameron, Bateman and Mike Guasch’s United Autosport Audi.

Bateman made a move on Cameron for fourth just before the 20-minute mark and that allowed Guasch also to close on the Ferrari, before contact between the two cars saw Cameron slip down to eighth and left the Audi to pit with bodywork damage which cost it two laps.

The Aston Martin led through to the opening round of stops – at which point the field switched to slick tyres on the drying track – but that would be as good as is got for the Beechdean crew as Andrew Howard then suffered a spin at Redgate on his out lap.

Dropping down to fourth, Howard then lost further places among the quicker ‘pro’ drivers before a spin at the Esses saw the Aston beached in the gravel and led to the Safety Car being deployed.  Although he managed to get the car back to the pits, the Aston Martin was soon retired.

It would prove to be the moment when the race swung towards Scuderia Vittoria, as the team called Michael Lyons – who had taken over from Bateman – in for a second stop.

Keeping the car towards the front, Bateman then pitted when the Safety Car came out for a second time to remove the CRS Ferrari of Andrew Tate from the gravel, and this handed control back to Lyons as the three cars ahead all pitted.

Despite his final stint running to just over an hour, and with fuel needing to be saved, Lyons maintained a lead of more than 20 seconds before the Safety Car was called out for the third time with 16 minutes remaining when the MTECH Ferrari of David Back went off.

With three lapped cars to act as a buffer against the chasing pack, Lyons was able to hold on to his lead and take victory as a heated battle developed behind for second place.

Those boys behind at the finish were the MTECH Ferrari of Matt Griffin and Tim Bridgman’s Trackspeed Porsche, which had moved to the front of the field by the half-way stage – the former despite the earlier delay in Cameron’s first stint.

Bridgman had been the race leader when the second Safety Car period was called, ahead of Griffin. Both cars dived for the pits to complete what would be their second of three mandatory stops – with Gregor Fisken and Duncan Cameron maintaining position when they rejoined the circuit.

However, while still behind the Safety Car, the pair found themselves stuck behind the GT4 Aston Martin of Sergio Lagana, which was suffering from a gearbox issue and which they were unable under the Safety Car rules to pass. Having already been delayed, there was further drama for Fisken as he exited Goddards to take the restart when Lagana suddenly dived for the pits, forcing the Porsche man to jump on the brakes and allowing Cameron through into the lead.

The Ferrari would then lead the Porsche through to the final stops, where both were jumped by Lyons, with Griffin and Bridgman setting about chasing down the leader over the final 40 minutes.

The final Safety Car looked like setting up a grandstand finish but Griffin found himself stuck behind the lapped cars of both Gordon Shedden and Adam Wilcox and was unable to challenge Lyons for the lead, although any challenge would ultimately have been immaterial when stewards handed Cameron and Griffin a time penalty for the earlier pass on Fisken at the end of the second caution period.

With that time penalty applied, the MTECH car dropped back behind the Porsche, into third place, with Fisken and Bridgman securing the runner-up slot.

Outside the top three positions, the second Trackspeed Porsche of Ashburn and Stephen Jelley took the chequered flag in fourth place with its challenge having been hampered by a number of minor off-track excursions by Ashburn.

The CRS Ferrari of championship leaders Jim and Glynn Geddie was the final car to finish on the lead lap, in fifth place having lost time – and position – during the opening stint when the car was forced to serve a drive-through penalty for a starting procedure violation.

The all-new Rosso Verde Ferrari 458 Italia rounded out the top six after an encouraging debut, with touring car star Gordon Shedden quickly up to speed and matching the pace of the front-runners as he looked to lift the car back up the order after team-mate Hector Lester lost time during the wet opening stint.

Guasch and Bell lifted the delayed Audi – the only one in the race after the sister car was ruled out by a qualifying accident – back up to seventh at the finish, although the two laps lost early on would prove to be too much to make up. They regained one of the laps lost but seventh was the best the pair could have hoped for.

The 360 Vision Ferrari of Phil Burton and Adam Wilcox, the Speedworks Corvette of Ron and Piers Johnson and the Rollcentre Ginetta of Tom Sharp, Martin Short and Matt Nicoll-Jones rounded out the top 10 – the latter having been one of the stars of the early stages as Sharp fought his way up into the top five with a series of daring moves in the tricky conditions. For his sterling efforts at the wheel, Burton was awarded the Sunoco Driver of the Weekend trophy.

The GT4 category was dominated by the Lotus Sport UK Evora of Phil Glew and James Nash, which led throughout the three hours and claimed victory despite a late stop/go penalty. A strong first stint from Glew in the wet conditions saw the Lotus challenge a number of the quicker GT3 cars and the pair took the chequered flag a lap clear of the Ginetta of Josh Wakefield and Jake Rattenbury.

The Scuderia Vittoria Ginetta of Dan Denis and David McDonald had been well placed for third before a misfire in the final half hour saw the pair drop well off the pace. It allowed the KTM X-Bow of Marcus Clutton and Peter Belshaw to claim the final place on the podium, despite the car being forced to serve two stop/go penalties.

Elsewhere among the GT4 brigade, the second Lotus of Leyton Clarke and Freddy Nordstrom stopped on track, while the Barwell-run Secure Racing Aston Martin was hampered by its gearbox issues but did return to action late on, albeit 29 laps down.

Just 18.5 points separates the top nine drivers as the Avon Tyres British GT Championship heads for a grand finale at Silverstone on 8 October. The GT4 class is still open, too, with Belshaw and Clutton taking a 26.5-point lead into the last two-hour race of the season.

Round 9 Race Results

GT3

1  Scuderia Vittoria Ferrari  Michael Lyons/Charles Bateman  3h 0m 43.609s / 86.70mph

2  Trackspeed Porsche  Gregor Fisken/Tim Bridgman  +6.054s

3  MTECH Ferrari  Duncan Cameron/Matt Griffin (IRL)  +6.100s

4  Trackspeed Porsche  David Ashburn/Stephen Jelley  +9.029s

5  CRS Racing Ferrari  Jim Geddie/Glynn Geddie  +33.549s

6  Rosso Verde Ferrari  Hector Lester/Gordon Shedden  104 laps

7  United Autosports Audi  Mike Guasch (USA)/Matt Bell  104 laps

8  360 Vision Ferrari  Phil Burton/Adam Wilcox  102 laps

9  Speedworks Motorsport Corvette  Ron Johnson/Piers Johnson  102 laps

10  Rollcentre Ginetta  Martin Short/Matt Nicoll-Jones/Tom Sharp  102 laps etc

GT4

1  Lotus Sport UK Lotus  James Nash/Phil Glew  100 laps

2  Century Motorsport Ginetta  Josh Wakefield/Jake Rattenbury  99 laps

3  ABG Motorsport KTM  Peter Belshaw/Marcus Clutton  98 laps etc

Fastest lap: Bridgman 1m 31.205s / 98.17mph (record)





New sponsor for optimistic Wilcox after brake problems ruin Rockingham races

10 09 2011

Adam Wilcox

Wilcox has announced a new sponsor for 2011 and 2012 and remains positive

ADAM Wilcox put a tough Rockingham weekend in the British GT behind him by announcing a new sponsor for the remainder of 2011 and 2012.

Wilcox finished eighth in a rain-affected race one and was way down the field in the second race as he was dogged by a ABS problem all weekend which caused teammate Phil Burton to spin a number of times.

But Wilcox has announced a new deal with Lichfield based Crave It Marketing Ltd and will offer some good news going into the remaining two races of the season.

The Predator CCTV team decided to run on wets in race one but an early spin for Burton meant they could not capitalise as much as they would have liked.

But despite mechanical problems Wilcox remains upbeat and positive about racing and is always looking to get better and better.

He said: “I really thought the Scud would be fast at least over a single lap but was really struggling especially with our problems.

“Whether I’m racing for first or racing for last but one place I always give 100% and try and achieve the best results possible.”

And as a self-confessed fitness fanatic Wilcox is looking forward to the two and three hour endurances that will feature at Donington and Silverstone.

He added: “I also think the Scud will be more competitive at Doni and Silv as they are more flowing circuts. We seem to really struggle on slower hairpins with narrower tyres compared to most the other cars.





Wilcox disappointed with old Ferrari 430 after unreliability costs team in Belgium

11 07 2011

The Ferrari 430 Scuderia had looked quick in testing but a broken rear damper scuppered a podium

The Ferrari 430 Scuderia has been unreliable in 2011 and clutch failure put paid to Wilcox's chances at Spa

A DISAPPOINTING season for Lichfield British GT star Adam Wilcox continued at Spa this weekend as mechanical problems once more plagued his Ferrari 430.

Wilcox and co-driver Phil Burton finished Race One at Spa on Saturday in eighth but managed only seven laps in Race Two before a gearbox failure forced them out.

A clutch fault in first practice on Friday morning set the tone for the race meeting as the Predator CCTV Racing pair had no car setup time with the team working to the wire to get them out for qualifying.

And Wilcox is disappointed with how the older Ferrari 430 has matched up against the newer machines such as the Ferrari 458s and Audi R8s.

He explained: “I think it’s clear the 430 is long in the tooth now as all the new cars such as the 458 and McLaren are faster over a single lap.

“Not only that but they are also able to maintain the pace due to the massive tyres sizes they have so the tyre drop is nowhere near how fast the 430 loses its grip.”

Wilcox and the team are happy to put Spa behind them and are working towards challenging in the remaining races but are also looking ahead to 2012 already.

The Lichfield ace added: “The car will be rebuilt and we plan to do some testing in the time off to maximize what we have with the 430 Scuderia because it’s still a fast car.

“I think we would need a bit of luck to challenge for wins but it’s possible. We are already looking ahead to 2012 and seeing which of the new cars available would give us the best chance to have a crack at the British GT title.”

The 2011 Avon Tyres British GT season has a mini-summer break before returning to action at Rockingham in early September.





Predator CCTV Racing fail endurance test as unreliability costs Wilcox podium shot

17 05 2011

The Ferrari 430 Scuderia had looked quick in testing but a broken rear damper scuppered a podium

Reliability issues earlier in the weekend for the Predator CCTV Ferrari 430 Scuderia cost Wilcox a podium

LICHFIELD racer Adam Wilcox left Snetterton with a feeling of what could have been after a gruelling two-hour endurance race in the British GT.

Wilcox and teammate Phil Burton finished ninth in the GT3 class at the Norfolk track but ran out of fuel with three minutes remaining after a fuel rig error in the pit stop.

The dramatic race was eventually won by the United Autosports Audi R8 although Wilcox clocked a faster lap in his Ferrari 430 Scuderia than the winner but reliability problems earlier in the weekend prevented a podium.

A sensor fault on Saturday left the Predator CCTV Racing team playing catch up from the first practice session and Wilcox did not have time to get the car set up.

He exclusively told BritishGT: “It was a difficult weekend, my fastest race lap was faster than the winners but with all the dramas we weren’t able to deliver the result we were capable.

“I didn’t complete any running whatsoever in practice so the first time I drove the car was in qualifying so I was working out what gear to be in and only did five fast laps to save race tyres.

“It was close at the front and I ended up eighth as I caught traffic on my best lap which would have put me third or fourth on the grid.

“In the race, when I got in the car I was in 21st position and managed to get up to eighth and unlap myself but the car wasn’t great as I didn’t do any setup work due to lack of practice time.

“It was good the car was quick but it could have been a little better, even so the new Ferrari 458 and the Audis are much quicker than we can go at the moment.”

Adam Wilcox on the pit wall at Oulton Park

Wilcox is hoping the team can improve the car to match the GT3 front runners

At Oulton Park three weeks ago, the car was misfiring on the final lap and the team feared it was running out of fuel but Wilcox believes the fuel problems this weekend were a mistake rather than a deeper car problem.

He added: “It was just a coincidence, I thought it may have been a misfire but it turns out the team wasn’t convinced that the fuel rig pumped a full 100 litres of fuel on board during refuelling.

“We are going to fit a new wiring loom before Brands Hatch to ensure that we don’t get any more misfires which prevented us from getting valuable testing time on Saturday.”

The British GT season continues with another two-hour endurance race at Brands Hatch in Kent on June 19.





Scott praises teammate Dhillon as they battle GT3s at Snetterton in GT3-B Ferrari

16 05 2011

Scott's older MTECH Racing Ferrari 430 performed well at Snetterton but more work is needed

Scott's older MTECH Ferrari 430 performed well at Snetterton to mix it with the GT3s

EXPERIENCED MTECH Racing star Aaron Scott is approaching each race as competitive as ever as he looks to get the most out of his GT3-B Ferrari 430 and mix it with the newer GT3 machines.

Scott and teammate John Dhillon remain the sole GT3-B runner after three races in the 2011 British GT season but a strong eighth place overall at Snetterton delighted the team.

Dhillon was named Sunoco Driver of the Weekend and Scott is delighted with the progress of his younger teammate but is still looking to get more out of the car.

He told BritishGT: “The weekend was very good. This season is all about training John up. His pace is improving all the time and he’s great to work with and he had an excellent stint on Sunday (May 15).

“From my point of view I also had a strong stint and it’s nice to bag some points towards the GT3 Championship as well as to add more to our GT3B tally.

“I am a very competitive person and I’d really like to be closer to the overall pace. On saying that my times at Oulton were where a car of that age should be and so we will have to see how much we can push the pace on with our car this season.

“I’m approaching it as I always do and trying to maximise the lap time from myself, the car and my team mate. That will keep me sharp for when I get my hands on one of the later cars.”

Whilst Scott wants to be challenging the newer GT3 cars, he admits it will be tough given the gap in raw pace. He is also disappointed there are not more GT3-B cars signed up but understands there will be a couple of new entries competing at Brands Hatch.

He added: “I’m wanting to push on and see if we can improve our current package. It will be interesting to see how we would fare in a wet race.

“The biggest problem is that all the later cars are so much faster in a straight line and that’s very difficult to overcome.

“We were as much as 20 mph down in the speed straps at Snetterton compared to the fastest GT3 cars. That’s a lot to make up over a lap!

“I understand there are more GT3-B cars coming along to the next race. It’s a great way to be involved in British GT and I am surprised there have not been more entries to date.

“I have heard of an Aston Martin and possibly another Ferrari and Lamborghini for Brands, we will see.”





New co-driver for leader Ashburn as British GT heads to Snetterton for new 300 layout

9 05 2011

Defending champion Ashburn wants to extend his lead at Snetterton

Defending champion Ashburn wants to extend his lead at Snetterton

DEFENDING champion David Ashburn will lead the British GT Championship into the two-hour endurance race at Snetterton this weekend (Sunday 15 May) alongside a new co-driver in the #1 Trackspeed Porsche.

Ashburn and Richard Westbrook won Race One of the Championship at Oulton Park on Easter Monday but Westbrook will be absent at Snetterton and is replaced by FIA GT3 race winner Phil Keen, who had British GT experience in a KTM X-Bow two years ago.

Trackspeed are hoping that the all round abilities of the Porsche 997 GT3R will give them an edge around the new Snetterton 300 layout which will make its championship debut.

CRS Racing who struggled with their older Ferrari 430 Scuderia at Oulton will be forced into running it again as delivery problems have upset plans to unveil their new Ferrari 458. CRS have also announced a driver change as whilst the Geddie family continue, the sister car will see Andrew Tate joined by 2006 British GT Champion Tim Mullen who replaces Alex Mortimer.

MTECH Racing and Scuderia Vittoria both have their Ferrari 458s and will be looking to improve on what was an impressive debut for the Prancing Horse. Michael Lyons and Charles Bateman steamed to victory in Race Two for Scuderia Vittoria at Oulton in the Ferrari 458 and Matt Griffin for MTECH Racing put in some of the fastest laps all weekend.

Griffin also competed in Round One of the FIA GT3 Championship at Portimao on Sunday 8 May and showed the cars potential, qualifying second and clocking the fastest time of any Ferrari driver all weekend.

All the other cars from Oulton Park have confirmed they will be on the grid for the second meeting with local fans excited at the prospect of Norfolk-based Lotus Sport UK challenging for honours in GT4.

Ollie Jackson lives in Attenborough, minutes from Snetterton, and cannot wait to get in the Lotus Evora at the new 300 layout and get on his home podium.

He told the official site: “I can’t wait to get out there on it. I was always a huge fan of the old Snetterton and the feedback I have been getting from people who have raced the new layout is all positive, and of course it is always nice to be racing close to home.

“We had a tough weekend at Oulton Park battling some problems which would have been sorted earlier had we had the luxury of more testing time, but I was amazed at how professional the team was in coping with those issues and I think we should have them sorted now.

“Not having tested the Lotus at Snetterton may be a small handicap for us, but we know where we are going with the set-up of the Evora and I am sure we will be on the pace.”

Snetterton timetable

Saturday 14 May: 0930-1030 & 1300-1400 practice; 1725-1755 qualifying

Sunday 15 May: 0900 warm-up; 1315 Round 3 (120 mins)