Trackspeed take Donington Park pole as three-hour enduro tests title contenders

25 09 2011

Westbrook produced a phenomenal lap to take pole position in Race Two at Spa (www.britishgt.com)

Defending champions Trackspeed stole Donington pole after a close-fought qualifying session

DEFENDING champions Trackspeed will start the three-hour Donington Park enduro from pole after edging out rivals MTECH during an absorbing qualifying session for the penultimate event of the season.

In a red-flag affected session which featured a near half-hour stoppage, Stephen Jelley emerged with the quickest time at the wheel of the #1 Porsche 997 GT3 R; a lap of 1m 30.315s being the fastest seen over the course of the day and enough to secure his position at the head of the field.

The Porsche Carrera Cup racer, called into the Trackspeed line-up this weekend in the absence of Richard Westbrook, had just seen team-mate Tim Bridgman take provisional pole in the sister car when he produced a storming final sector to edge ahead and eventually took pole by just 0.005s.

Jelley said: “I’ll take that. The key to the lap was the chicane heading onto the Melbourne Loop as it’s very easy to get it wrong and overdrive the car, which is what I did on my first lap.

“The corner is deceptively quick and you can either slow down too much and cost yourself time, or you can try to go into the corner too quickly and end up braking too late.

“As it was, I managed to thread the needle and nail the lap to get pole. We’ve worked hard today and the car felt great, but it is a long race ahead. However, being on pole and starting at the front is the safest place to be.”

Matt Griffin would emerge as the closest challenger to the Porsche driver at the wheel of the #21 MTech Ferrari, having earlier admitted during free practice that he expected a close-run battle for pole.

Griffin had held provisional pole early in the session before the red-flag stoppage but when the session resumed, he fell agonisingly short of pipping Jelley to pole. However, he was as least able to split the Trackspeed Porsches with Bridgman left to settle for third place in the #2 997 GT3 R; albeit only 0.035s further back at the top three were split by just 0.040s.

Fourth quickest was the #23 Audi of Matt Bell, a tenth of a second away from pole, although it was a mixed session for the United Autosports team after John Bintcliffe went off into the gravel at McLeans inside the first ten minutes.

Having just set his quickest lap, Bintcliffe went backwards into the tyres at the right-hander and was ruled out for the remainder of the session; the car eventually being recovered to the pits when the red flag was thrown after the KTM X-Bow also went off track at the Esses.

Damage to the wall and the need to delicately lift the Audi onto a flat-bed truck before it could be returned to the paddock meant the stoppage eventually ran to more than 25 minutes.

Outside the top four, the #11 CRS Racing Ferrari of Alex Mortimer was fifth fastest having been the car to beat at the time the session was halted, with the top six completed by the Beechdean Aston Martin in the hands of Jonathan Adam.

The car, winner last time out at Rockingham, spent much of the early part of the session in the pits but Adam was than able to steadily climb up the field to secure a place on the third row of the grid.

Showing the close nature of the times, the top ten on the grid were covered by just eight tenths of a second when the 40 minutes came of running drew to a close.

Although the new Rosso Verde Ferrari 458 Italia successfully came through its first qualifying session to secure eleventh on the grid thanks to joint BTCC points leader Gordon Shedden.

There was trouble for other GT3 teams with Preci-Spark and Century Motorsport both forced to miss the session with engine problems. The Stark Racing Ginetta also hit trouble after stopping on track without setting a representative time.

In GT4, the battle for pole wasn’t quite as close as in GT3 but was still a tightly-fought affair, which eventually went the way of the #48 Lotus of Phil Glew and another debutant from the BTCC, James Nash.

Glew’s time of 1m 37.678s saw the Evora take pole ahead of the Scuderia Vittoria Ginetta G50 by just a tenth of a second, marking the first class pole for the Lotus Sport UK team.

Glew added: “That was really good for us. We’ve had our first win and now the team has told me that is our first pole, so it’s been a good day.

“As well as getting pole, we think we’ve got good race pace three hours is a long time tomorrow. We have to make sure we keep our noses clean at the start and hopefully the result will come.”

The KTM was third in class ahead of the second Lotus, despite the #49 car hitting problems which saw it return to the pits with damage to the front end. The Century Motorsport G50 and the Barwell-run Aston Martin Vantage rounded out the GT4 field.

Away from the two main classes, the Invitational Class Nissan GTR – making its British GT debut and competing for only the second time – bounced back from problems in the earlier practice sessions to set its quickest time of the day and will start the race from just outside the top ten in twelfth overall in the hands of Alex Buncombe and FIA GT1 World Championship racer Nick Catsburg.

Three places behind the Nissan on the times was the GT3B Ferrari 430 of Aaron Scott and John Dhillon in 14th, with the GTC class Chevron GR8 qualifying 16th on the grid in the hands of Jordan Witt and Anthony Reid.

Qualifying Results

GT3

1  Trackspeed Porsche  David Ashburn/Stephen Jelley  1m 30.315s

2  MTECH Ferrari  Duncan Cameron/Matt Griffin (IRL)  1m 30.320s

3  Trackspeed Porsche  Gregor Fisken/Tim Bridgman  1m 30.355s

4  United Autosports Audi  Mike Guasch (USA)/Matt Bell  1m 30.448s

5  CRS Racing Ferrari  Andrew Tate/Alex Mortimer  1m 30.698s etc

GT4

1  Lotus Sport UK Lotus  James Nash/Phil Glew  1m 37.678s

2  Scuderia Vittoria Ginetta  Dan Denis/David McDonald  1m 37.784s

3  ABG Motorsport KTM  Peter Belshaw/Marcus Clutton  1m 38.440s etc





Geddie and CRS Racing celebrate maiden pole in their new Ferrari 458 at Snetterton

14 05 2011

Glynn Geddie

Geddie took his maiden pole of the season in the new Ferrari 458 © Malcolm Griffiths

CRS Racing and the Geddie family celebrated a pole position at Snetterton in their new Ferrari 458 Italia for the two hour British GT race tomorrow (Sunday 15 May) after clocking a lap half a second faster than the rest of the field.

The pole position represents an impressive turnaround by the CRS team having only taken delivery of their new car on Friday and such a dominant display will delight the father/son driver pairing.

The CRS Ferrari 458 beat the United Autosports Audi R8 of Mike Gausch and Matt Bell and the Rosso Verde Ferrari 430 of Hector Lester and Allan Simonsen into second and third respectively at the Norfolk circuit.

Unpredictable weather in the earlier practice sessions had left fans unsure of who had an ultimate pace but it was Glynn Geddie who posted a 1.50.929 in qualifying before a red flag stopped proceedings.

A Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 stopped out on track and halted the 30 minute qualifying period and the teams returned to the pits before charging out again to try and steal pole.

But it was not to be and Geddie held on for his maiden pole of the season. He told the official site: “We took a bit of a gamble with the set-up and it worked.

“We made good improvements in the session, which is a positive for the team, which has worked so hard today. We only got the car at eight o’clock last night, so to put it on pole is a good reward for them.”

The biggest disappointment was Trackspeed who had been first and second in Free Practice Two but only the #1 car of defending champion David Ashburn and Phil Keen made it into the top 10.

Seeing the Ferrari 458’s pace at the hands of Geddie must have been tough for MTECH Racing and Matt Griffin who managed to qualify fifth but gearbox problems hampered their running in an undoubtedly quick car.

Mallock and Ladas will pair up again the KTM X-Bow

Mallock demonstrated his talent again in the KTM X-Bow taking GT4 pole

Elsewhere, the sole competitor in the GT3-B class, the Ferrari 430 of Aaron Scott and John Dhillon qualified a respectable 15th, only four seconds off the pace of the pole sitter.

In GT4, the impressive Michael Mallock put his KTM X-Bow on pole as the sister ABG Motorsport KTM locked out the front row. The Lotus Evora, in its home county, was third at the hands of Leyton Clarke.

Whilst qualifying well is always important in motorsport, the two hour endurance race tomorrow around a circuit unfamiliar to all the drivers should provide some thrilling racing.

Round 3 Qualifying

GT3

1  CRS Racing Ferrari  Jim Geddie/Glynn Geddie  1m 50.929s

2  United Autosports Audi  Mike Guasch (USA)/Matt Bell  1m 51.398s

3  Rosso Verde Ferrari  Hector Lester/Allan Simonsen (DEN)  1m 51.427s

4  Vantage Racing Aston Martin  Tom Black/Stuart Hall  1m 51.829s

5  MTECH Ferrari  Duncan Cameron/Matt Griffin (IRL)  1m 51.935s

6  Scuderia Vittoria Ferrari  Michael Lyons/Charles Bateman  1m 52.073s

7  Beechdean Aston Martin  Andrew Howard/Jonny Adam  1m 52.210s

8  Predator CCTV Ferrari  Phil Burton/Adam Wilcox  1m 52.251s

9  Chad Racing Ferrari  Iain Dockerill/Steven Kane  1m 52.369s

10  Trackspeed Porsche  David Ashburn/Phil Keen  1m 52.428s etc

GT3B

1  MTECH Ferrari  John Dhillon/Aaaron Scott  1m 55.178s

GT Cup

1  Chevron Racing Chevron  Jordan Witt/Anthony Reid  1m 58.301s

GT4

1  ABG Motorsport KTM  Athanasios Ladas (GRE)/Michael Mallock  1m 59.706s

2  ABG Motorsport KTM  Peter Belshaw/Marcus Clutton  1m 59.725s

3  Lotus Sport UK Lotus  Leyton Clarke/Freddy Nordstrom  2m 00.047s

4  Scuderia Vittoria Ginetta  Dan Denis/David McDonald  2m 01.369s

5  Century Motorsport Ginetta  Josh Wakefield/Jake Rattenbury  2m 02.274s

6  Lotus Sport UK Lotus  Ollie Jackson/Jack Drinkall  2m 02.285s





Debut win for Lyons and Bateman in new Ferrari 458 as safety car causes pit drama

25 04 2011

Lyons and Bateman celebrate a debut victory for Scuderia Vittoria's Ferrari 458

Lyons and Bateman celebrate a debut victory for Scuderia Vittoria's Ferrari 458

BRITISH GT debutant Michael Lyons and Charles Bateman took the checkered flag in their Ferrari 458 for maximum points in an eventful Race Two at Oulton Park.

Lyons and Bateman had started at the back of the grid but early safety cars and pitlane drama left the field turned on its head and the Scuderia Vittoria team ended the race 20 seconds clear of the Jones brothers, with Michael Gausch’s Audi completing the podium.

A first corner crash for the KTM of Marcus Clutton forced the safety car out but it did not effect the leaders, Richard Westbrook led the field from the restart and set a new lap record, a 1.38.491. Westbrook in the Race One-winning Trackspeed Porsche opened up a big lead before the second safety car in 20 minutes caused mayhem.

With 23 minutes on the clock the pit lane opened and all the cars bar four dived into the pit lane to make their driver changes and try to gain positions with a quick switch.

The biggest winner was the Trackspeed Porsche of Gregor Fisken and Tim Bridgman who had started from the pitlane after a broken steering rack in Race One had left the team with a rebuild moments before the start.

Bridgman had benefited from the first safety car by catching the back of the pack but the second worked even better as he pitted on the lap the safety car was deployed and allowed Fisken to rejoin in third position.

The lightning quick United Autosports Audi was one of the cars not to stop and lost out, the fact Michael Gausch made it back up to third shows how with a bit more tactical nous, they could have won the race.

The race was full of drama even after the safety car had returned to the pits. Hector Lester spun from second place and David Ashburn got a stop/go penalty for not waiting long enough during the pitstop which dropped him back to fifth.

The MTECH Racing Ferrari 458 of Matt Griffin and Duncan Cameron which had been so quick in the second half of Race One was going well before a mechanical problem forced them out promoting more cars into points paying positions.

And with the clock ticking down there was just time for Fisken to run wide and allow Ashburn and Guasch past.

Westbrook led the field from the restart after the first safety car

Westbrook led the field from the restart after the first safety car

All the incident happened behind the race winner though, Lyons who drove superbly in his first race was understandably delighted with the result.

Lyons told BritishGT after the podium celebrations: “I’ve seen three cars in a GT career so I can’t complain! The pit stop worked out perfect, from my point of view it couldn’t have gone better.

“I thought podium was on the cards before the race but that safety car really helped us out. The car is coming along really well. We’ve done no running in the car and it’s already there, I can’t wait for Snetterton.”

In GT4, Freddy Nordstrom and Leyton Clarke believed they had won in their Lotus Evora but a yellow flag infringement demoted them to second behind Jake Rattenbury and Josh Wakefield in a Century Motorsport Ginetta G50.

The Anthony Reid/Jordan Witt Chevron GR8 had another solid finish in 12th having run in the top ten for most of the incident filled race.

Race Two Results

GT3

1  Scuderia Vittoria Ferrari  Michael Lyons/Charles Bateman  1h 0m 18.610s / 85.70mph

2  Preci-Spark Mercedes  David Jones/Godfrey Jones  +21.633s

3  United Autosports Audi  Mike Guasch (USA)/Matt Bell  +30.411s

4  Trackspeed Porsche  David Ashburn/Richard Westbrook  +36.125s

5  CRS Racing Ferrari  Jim Geddie/Glynn Geddie  +50.527s

6  CRS Racing Ferrari  Andrew Tate/Alex Mortimer  +1m 06.906s

7  Rosso Verde Ferrari  Hector Lester/Allan Simonsen (DEN)  +1m 12.725s

8  Predator CCTV Ferrari  Phil Burton/Adam Wilcox  +1m 19.535s

9  Century Motorsport Ginetta  Freddie Hetherington/Julien Draper  +1m 23.238s

10  Trackspeed Porsche  Gregor Fisken/Tim Bridgman  +1m 45.222s

Fastest lap: Westbrook 1m 38.491s / 98.39mph

GT Cup

1  Chevron Racing Chevron  Jordan Witt/Anthony Reid  31 laps

GT3B

1  MTECH Ferrari  John Dhillon/Aaaron Scott  30 laps

GT4

1  Century Motorsport Ginetta  Josh Wakefield/Jake Rattenbury  31 laps

2  Lotus Sport UK Lotus  Leyton Clarke/Freddy Nordstrom  31 laps

3  Lotus Sport UK Lotus  Ollie Jackson/Jack Drinkall  31 laps

4  ABG Motorsport KTM  Athanasios Ladas (GRE)/Michael Mallock  30 laps





Rising star Nordstrom believes British GT debut success can fulfil Le Mans dream

6 04 2011

Freddy Nordstrom

Youngster Nordstrom would love a chance in Le Mans

Freddy Nordstrom believes success in the British GT in his debut season will catapult his career forward to his ambition of racing at Le Mans.

Surrey speedster Nordstrom, 22, will compete in a Lotus Evora alongside Leyton Clarke for Lotus Sport UK in 2011 and believes together they can win the British GT4 title.

The Anglo-Swedish driver is spurred on by the prospect of endurance races in the British GT this year as he sees them as a career stepping stone.

He exclusively told BritishGT: “Leyton and I have met in the past and we met once recently, he is a cool guy so we have no problems there. We’re both just eager to get our hands on the Lotus Evora.

“My aim is definitely to win the GT4 championship, but of course I aim to get several race wins along the way.

“It’s a new challenge for me. I have never done any endurance racing and I feel that it could benefit my progression as a racing driver as my ambition is to win Le Mans with Lotus.

“I feel endurance races show the real skill of a racing driver, as many people can set one fast lap but to do it consistently, lap after lap for an hour or more is a real art.”

Fitness is paramount to coping with the long slog of an endurance race and Nordstrom likes to spend his time playing football and tennis rather than training for hours in a gym as he can fit it around his studies at university.

Freddy Nordstrom SEAT Leon Supercopa Series

Nordstrom has tasted success in the SEAT Leon Supercopa Series

Nordstrom’s racing pedigree is burgeoning having won in the Mini Challenge and SEAT Cupra Championship over the last few years and he can’t wait to race the new Evora against a host of exciting British GT cars.

He added: “From a driving perspective I’m not sure what it’s like as I haven’t tested it yet, but from a visual aspect it looks like a great car! From speaking to those that have driven it, it sounds quite exciting.

“More cars always make the racing more interesting and exciting so that is always good.

“But there are some top manufacturers represented on the grid this year, which will be a great spectacle for the series, the drivers and teams and of course the fans.”

Whilst relatively inexperienced compared to his rivals, Nordstrom says the pressures of racing don’t worry him, the desire to win and have fun drives him on.

He concluded: “I don’t feel that much pressure. I go out there to have fun and put in all the effort I can to win.”