Fisken honoured to drive Aston Martin DBR1 at Le Mans alongside Sir Stirling

13 06 2011

Fisken competed in the classic DBR1 Aston Martin in the Legends race as pre-cursor to the Le Mans 24 Hour event

Fisken competed in the classic DBR1 Aston Martin in the Legends race as pre-cursor to the Le Mans 24 Hour event

BRITISH GT star Gregor Fisken has spoken of the ‘huge honour’ of driving the 1959 race winning Aston Martin DBR1 at Le Mans last weekend.

Fisken, who is one of a handful of drivers to have competed in each class in the legendary 24 hour endurance event, piloted the 50 year old car in the 45 minute Legends race.

The Scot qualified the car seventh on the grid, 12 seconds faster than the car had gone round the 8 mile Circuit de la Sarthe previously.

During the legends race, Fisken managed to make his way up to fifth but with the leaders in sight, an oil leak forced him into retirement.

He said: “I’ve had such a tremendous weekend and it has been an absolute honour to drive this hugely important DBR1.

“I must give great credit to Tim Samways and his guys for the job they’ve done with the car and to set a lap time of around four minutes 47 seconds, which was up there with the Lister Jaguars, was very satisfying.

“Unfortunately, in the race we had an oil leak caused by a broken part of the trans-axle and, in view of the history and value of the car, we thought it prudent not to continue after my pit stop.

“Nevertheless, it hasn’t taken anything away from the joy of driving what is Britain’s finest front engined sports car of the 1950s period. It’s no surprise that it was a Le Mans winner.”

Fisken also reserved praise for Sir Stirling Moss who announced his official retirement from competitive motor racing at the ripe old age of 81 after competing in the Legends race.

Fisken added: “I was there when he announced his retirement and it was a huge privilege to be competing in the very last motor race of his incredible career.

“I saw him in the race and he was still driving brilliantly. Of course, one of his finest moments came in a DBR1 at the Nurburgring 1000kms in the World Sportscar Championship in the 50s, when he came from well down the field to take a stunning victory, so that brought it full circle to me.

“He may have ended his driving career, but Sir Stirling is a vibrant member of the historic racing community and I’m looking forward to seeing him again very soon in his capacity as team manager, running his own cars.”


Mallock close to signing a contract to return to British GT for 2011 season

25 03 2011

Mallock drove the KTM at Rockingham in the British GT last year

Mallock drove the KTM at Rockingham in the British GT last year © Jakob Ebrey

MICHAEL Mallock is close to agreeing a deal to return to British GT racing after an eight year absence from the series.

Mallock, 28, who had a contract to drive in Europe for 2011 before it collapsed leaving him in the lurch, is now at the final stages of agreeing terms for a drive in British GT Championship.

He revealed to BritishGT: “We’re working with certain teams who need a pro driver and are sorting out the finer details as to who can get the sponsorship in place to put me in the car.

“It’s all getting quite late but as always these things are down to finance, everyone is looking to secure the money that is required to get me in.

“We’re working very hard and I’m certain I’ll be doing something in British GT and will be on the grid at Oulton, I just don’t know in what and who with.”

The Northampton racer had one taste of the series at Rockingham in the KTM X-Bow last year but apart from that has been out of British GT for eight years and is keen to get back racing on home soil.

He said: “It’s a great series and seems to be really thriving at the moment with some fantastic entries and I think it will be a very close competition all the way through the field and it’s something I’m very keen to return to, especially doing more racing back on home soil.

“Silverstone GP is always a favourite of mine. I’ve always enjoyed racing there and gone pretty well but I really enjoy the majority of the UK circuits.

“The last few years I’ve predominantly been racing in Europe so I haven’t actually had much opportunity on the UK tracks but I’m looking forward to the prospect of going back to places like Donington and Oulton.

“The UK circuits are very different to the ones on the European continent, they’re a lot narrower, bumpier and undulating and generally have a lot more character.

And Mallock is relishing the new longer races introduced for the 2011 season as endurance racing has been in his family for years.

He added: “I’ve always been a fan of endurance racing, my family is involved in motorsport and my earliest memories are of watching my dad in sports cars races at Le Mans and that sort of thing.

“Endurance racing is kind of in my blood and it’s something that I’ve always been a lot more interested in than sprint races.

“Certainly Le Mans is the goal and I enjoy the mid-distance endurance events a lot more than the half hour races.”

Mallock is also in favour of the new time penalty that has replaced the weight ballast as he feels it will make the competition fairer and more exciting viewing.

He explained: “Obviously if you are a driver in a competitive team and you’re winning races having any sort of penalty isn’t ideal but I think from an entertainment and spectators point of view it makes things a lot better.

“Instead of having cars disappearing into the distance, the time penalties will bring other cars back into play and you’ll see people having to fight their way back through to the front.

“The problem with weight is that the amount the weight affects cars is different. So a 40kg penalty in a KTM which is only 800 kgs hurts a lot more than it does in say an Aston Martin which is 1400 kgs.

“That has always been my issue with having weight penalties so I think time penalties will work well for all sides and should definitely spice up the racing.”

Fisken hopes for performance parity for Trackspeed Porsche ahead of Oulton Park

15 03 2011

Martin Short/Gregor Fisken - Rollcentre Racing Mosler MT900 GT3

Fisken (right) tasted success in the Mosler last season ©

Gregor Fisken is hoping that his Trackspeed Porsche will get a performance break before the British GT season opener at Oulton Park.

Fisken, 46, believes that for the Porsche to challenge fairly with the new cars in the shorter sprint races, a re-equalisation by SRO and the FIA needs to be made.

He told BritishGT: “With the new cars, like the SLS Mercedes, Corvette, Audi R8s and of course the 458s, the Porsche could do with a little bit of a performance break which I suspect it might get before the season starts.

“The Porsche was not the quickest car last year and struggled in a straight line compared to the Ferrari. The new 458 will be even better so I think the Porsche needs a performance boost to bring it up to parity with the other cars.

“Taking a bit of the ballast out the car or a different engine restrictor would help. The Porsche has around 460 bhp which is at least 30 or 40 down on the Ferraris.

“It’s not for me to say how the SRO should balance it up but the Porsche did very well to win it last year when it wasn’t expected to but won it more on reliability than outright pace.”

Fisken who has competed on and off in a Mosler between a busy classic car schedule is making the British GT his priority for 2011.

And to have any chance of success this season, Fisken believes that the reliability of the Porsche is vital, especially with the introduction of longer endurance races.

Trackspeed Porsche in 2010

Trackspeed won the 2010 with a very reliable Porsche 911

He explained: “I watched carefully the British GT last season and what was going on and saw that the Porsche was super solid, super reliable and clearly Trackspeed were a very good team.

“Looking into 2011, there are some longer races and the Porsche looks like a car that is relatively kind on its tyres and relatively fuel efficient, solid, reliable and very driveable.”

Fisken, one of a handful of drivers to compete in every class at the Le-Mans 24 hour race, is in favour of the new pit stop time penalty that has replaced the ballast.

He added: “I think giving the cars a longer pit-stop as a success time penalty is a much better idea than throwing more ride height and ballast at the cars.

“A lot of the teams last year were making set up changes race by race because of the weight and ride height and all the rest of it. I think the time pit-stop is a great idea and I hope it works.”

Trackspeed is yet to confirm Fisken’s co-driver for the new season but tested a number of drivers last week with an announcement hopeful in the next ten days.

Fisken revealed: “We tested three superb drivers last Wednesday and we’re still going through data and having a head scratch as to who it will be.

“From my point of view it’s a decision by Trackspeed, anyone of the three I drove with last week would be fine by me but we see it as a very important year and its vital to have a good co-driver.

“We’re going to test again before Oulton Park and I think it’s very important we get some good reliable performances early in the season because the season starts from race one.”

Johnson believes British GT will benefit from endurance races for 2011 season

10 03 2011

Piers Johnson

Johnson believes GT racing is all about endurance events

EXPERIENCED racer Piers Johnson is delighted the British GT Championship has moved towards an endurance-based series for the 2011 season.

Johnson, 41, has competed in British GT since 2001, and believes that the new longer race distances for this year is what makes GT racing.

He told BritishGT: “I definitely prefer the longer races. I’d prefer them to be a minimum of two hours, I think one hour is a bit too short.

“At the end of the day, GT racing is about endurance. We all aspire to go to Le Mans and all the European events are four or six hours and longer and that’s what I prefer.

“In a one hour race, you’re pretty much stuck in your place, there’s no strategy involved, no team involvement, it’s just two half an hour sprints for both drivers.

“It means with the longer races you can play a more tactical game and it also prepares you if you want to move onto greater things in Europe.”

And Johnson has nothing but praise for the organisers who decided on the new format after discussions with the drivers.

He revealed: “We did the last race last year and Benjamin [Franassovici] and SRO are very good at communicating with the competitors and we all voted for the longer races.

“It’s all worked out and looks like it will be a good championship this year.”

The new pit stop ruling that replaces weight penalties are an unknown quantity but Johnson believes they will make the competition fairer.

He said: “The pit stop should make it more equal and work better than having weight on the car.

“It’ll make the car a lot nicer to drive because you’re not hampered for the whole race and it should give you a chance to get back up if you’ve got a penalty from doing well in the race before.”

Johnson will be racing a Corvette Z06 this year and is unsure of what they can achieve as they have yet to test but is optimistic given the car’s previous performances in Europe.

He explained: “You don’t know how everyone is going to compare. Last year’s cars you knew where you were whereas there are a lot of new cars out there this year.

“With the Mercedes, the 458s, the Audis and obviously our car, all new to the championship, it is difficult to predict really.

“From the form of the Corvette in Europe hopefully that should put us in good stead whereas the 458 and Mercedes are new to competition.

“I’m sure they’re going to be competitive if not quicker than we are but it’s difficult to say at the moment.”