Guasch and Bell hoping for big points haul at Rockingham as British GT returns

1 09 2011

United Autosports lead the championship going into the two month summer break (www.britishgt.com)

United Autosports lead the championship after the two month summer break and hope for podiums at Rockingham (www.britishgt.com)

SERIES leading duo Matt Bell and Mike Guasch are hungry to add to their impressive points total and maintain the championship lead at Rockingham as the British GT roars back into action.

The series has had an eight-week summer hiatus and the United Autosports Anglo-American pair hold a two-point lead with four races remaining.

The event marks the first time United Autosports and the Audi R8 LMS have ever raced on the 1.94-mile track near Corby, Northamptonshire, but Bell and Guasch are eager to add to their impressive results tally; victory (Snetterton), second (Oulton Park), third (Oulton Park), fourth and sixth placings (both Spa).

A field in excess of 22 cars is expected at Rockingham with 16 of them contesting the top-level GT3 category and Rockingham’s twin races are the last one-hour events on the British GT calendar.

Geordie racer Bell is delighted to be leading the series but knows it is very close and is determined to keep hold of the lead.

He said: “The title race is very close so Mike and I must avoid any non-scores. That said, we’ll focus on winning rather than settling for points.

“We have some very experienced and quick competitors chasing us, so if we take our foot off the gas it will give them the upper hand heading into the final races.

“I would prefer to be at the top heading into the last round than chasing the leaders!”

And American Guasch is looking forward to getting back to British GT action and the challenges that Rockingham circuit provides.

He added: “I have twice tested at Rockingham, neither occasion in the R8 LMS, and found the track fun to drive. It has a little bit of everything – tight and technical turns plus high-speed ones and I believe the Audi will work well there.

“Since Spa, I’ve been testing my Pro Formula Mazda back home in California to stay in shape and took part in a Formula Car Challenge Race at Infineon Raceway in California last weekend.

“The BGT Championship appears to get more competitive with every race. We must push hard, especially in qualifying.”





United Autosports pair Bell and Guasch look to extend British GT title lead at Spa

4 07 2011

United Autosports celebrate a maiden British GT win for the Guasch/Bell Audi © Jakob Ebrey

United Autosports celebrate a maiden British GT win for the Guasch/Bell Audi at Snetterton © Jakob Ebrey

BRITISH GT Championship leaders Matt Bell and Mike Guasch are hoping to get their title hopes back on track when the series hits Belgium this weekend.

The Anglo-American pair had made an impressive start to the 2011 campaign with two podiums on the opening weekend at Oulton Park and a maiden race win at Snetterton.

But the United Autosports drivers were brought back down to earth with a terrible Brands Hatch race as their #23 Audi R8 LMS was shunted out of the two-hour enduro on just the second lap.

The fifth and sixth rounds of the series see the competition hit European shores at the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit for two one-hour races.

Yorkshire based racer Matt Bell is hoping that despite limited running at the 4.35-mile track in the Ardennes they can come away with a big points haul.

He said: “I have raced at Spa once and did a five lap test in the Audi R8 LMS – the track is fantastic and is one of the best in the world.

“The length of the circuit, the setting, the nature of corners – it’s unique. Mike and I are looking to bounce back from our Brands Hatch disappointment.

“There are 50 points on offer and we’re aiming for a hefty slice of them.”

With all four of the United Autosports drivers in the two Audis having little track time around Spa, the team believes that experience gained from the Spa 24 Hour race last July will help them get on the podium.

Co-owner and Managine Director Richard Dean added: “All four drivers did a test day at Spa so they have an idea of the track which is vital as it isn’t an easy place.

“As a team, we are experienced there having achieved third and fourth places in class in the 24 Hour race last July. We are all looking forward to it.”





Lyons hoping for tyre development before Spa to help British GT championship tilt

1 07 2011

Lyons struggled with front end grip at Brands Hatch in a dramatic race

Lyons struggled with front end grip at Brands Hatch in a dramatic race © Jakob Ebrey

ESSEX racer Michael Lyons is hoping extra testing before next weekend’s trip to Spa will cure front-end grip problems.

A weather and accident affected race at Brands Hatch in the British GT meant tyre choice was crucial and the team’s decisions never really gave the car a chance of a podium.

The Ferrari 458 at the hands of Lyons’ teammate Bateman had led the race picking off competitors before a safety car came out. At the driver swap the car changed tyres but they never gave the grip required.

Lyons eventually finished fifth at the Kent circuit in his Scuderia Vittoria Ferrari but admits the car struggled with front end balance in his stint.

A winner at Oulton Park in Round Two, Lyons is hoping that more work with the car and tyres before Spa on July 8/9 will allow the team to remedy the problem.

He said: “During my stint the car struggled massively with front graining on the tyres which meant the balance of the car was just not there.”

“I think if we did some testing we would begin to understand these issues and would hopefully resolve them.”

“Overall, it was a tough race as the car was not really on form. I’m really looking forward to racing at Spa Francorchamps next time and hope we can really get our championship going with some good points there.”





Fisken hopes Trackspeed can continue superb work into British GT European races

30 06 2011

Fisken and teammate Bridgman celebrate first British GT victory of the season

Fisken and teammate Bridgman celebrate first British GT victory of the season at Brands Hatch © Jakob Ebrey

BRANDS Hatch winner Gregor Fisken is hoping that the stunning race victory can catapult his Trackspeed team to further success as the series moves to Europe in July.

Fisken steered his Porsche 997 GT3R, alongside Tim Bridgman, around the Kent circuit in tricky weather conditions to take the top step of the podium in the two-hour endurance race.

The result represented a huge team performance after Trackspeed mechanics had worked non-stop to repair both their Porsche’s after the Snetterton crash.

Fisken, who’s four car overtake around Paddock Hill Bend epitomized the courageous drive, was delighted with the win and hopes they can take the form to Belgium next month.

He said: “What a race! I got a great start, probably the best of my career, and pushed like mad after that to keep the newer Ferrari 458 honest in what were such difficult conditions.

“Tim then produced some phenomenal out-laps on slick tyres just after the downpour which is what won us the race in the end.

“I’ve also got to reserve special praise for the guys at Trackspeed who have worked day and night since Snetterton to repair both cars. David Ashburn was also very sporting in giving our car the best of the new engine parts which could have gone the #1’s way, so a big thank you to all of them.

“This was a true team effort. With some big points on the board at last, we can go to Spa in a good frame of mind.”

The series moves to the famous Spa circuit in Belgium for rounds five and six of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship for two one-hour races on July 8/9.





United Autosports hoping for consecutive victories at Brands Hatch this weekend

13 06 2011

United Autosports celebrate a maiden British GT win for the Guasch/Bell Audi © Jakob Ebrey

United Autosports celebrate a maiden British GT win for the Guasch/Bell Audi © Jakob Ebrey

UNITED Autosports are going for gold again at Brands Hatch in search of back-to-back British GT victories.

The team who run two Audi R8s are leading the championship with the Anglo-American pairing of Matt Bell and Michael Guasch holding a 24.5 point after their Snetterton win.

The debut season is going perfectly for United Autosports but their charge may be halted by the 20-second success penalty during the pit stops at Brands Hatch this weekend.

The two-hour race around the ‘Grand Prix’ layout is sure to have many twists and turns and Guasch believes consistency early on will be key to reaching the top step of the podium again.

He explained: “Despite having a pit-stop ‘success’ penalty of 20secs at Brands I believe that if we can qualify well again and hang with the leaders in the opening part of the race, our Audi should come on strong in the latter stages and be in with a good shot of a podium again.”

Team-mate Bell has experience of the track having previously raced a Ginetta at the Kent circuit and is optimistic of his chances given the quality of the Audi.

He added: “United Autosports gave Mike and I a stunning racecar in the previous race at Snetterton which allowed us to score our maiden BGT race win.

“I was delighted to reward everyone in the team with that result but we’re hungry for more of the same success and where better than the next race at Brands and another two-hour race which again should suit our Audi ideally.”





New Secure Racing Aston Martin wants fans to crack the code at Brands Hatch

3 06 2011

Secure Racing's livery will feature a coded message for fans to crack

Secure Racing's livery will feature a coded message for fans to crack

A NEW British GT team will mark its debut at Brands Hatch in two weeks with an innovate fan competition.

The Secure Racing Aston Martin GT4 will feature a hidden, coded message as part of the livery to be unveiled at the Brands Hatch meeting on June 18/19.

Designed by one of the world’s largest security consulting firms, PWC, the code will feature on the car and the challenge for spectators is to crack the code to win a chance to sit alongside one of the drivers round the track.

Fans of the series who cannot get to Brands Hatch will also have the opportunity to crack the code with pictures of the Aston Martin posted on their website and on Twitter.

Leeds-based British GT debutant Chris Holmes, 24, one of the Secure Racing Aston Martin GT4 drivers told the official website: “It’s a great competition and a great prize. We are looking forward to involving a lot of people in it who might otherwise not be following British GT.

“It’s the first time I will have raced a car with a roof, and I am super-excited about it.

“I have tested the car and I know that the guys from Barwell Motorsport, who will be preparing the Aston, know what they are about, so I am hoping we will be there or thereabouts with the pace from the outset.”

Team-mate Peter Erceg will also make his series debut at Brands Hatch having had Porsche Club racing experience and races in the GT3 Challenge.

Confirmation of Secure Racing’s Aston Martin entry brings the total of different manufactures in the GT4 class to four, alongside KTM, Ginetta and Lotus.

The GT4 has been hotly contested this year with wins for both the ABG Motorsport KTM X-Bow of Belshaw/Clutton and the Century Motorsport Ginetta of Rattenbury/Wakefield.

Championship manager Benjamin Franassovici welcomed Secure Racing to British GT: “It is great to see GT4 flourishing in this way; to have four different marques represented is very pleasing. I know that Peter, Chris and the Aston will be a very competitive prospect.”





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.