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.”





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.





Beechdean triumph in Rockingham rain as the championship front-runners stumble

4 09 2011

The Beechdean Motorsport Aston Martin DBRS9

The Beechdean Motorsport Aston Martin braved the rain at Rockingham to take the win (Pic: BritishGT)

BEECHDEAN Motorsport took a comprehensive victory in a rain-soaked first race at Rockingham finishing nearly a minute ahead of their closest rival.

The Aston Martin of Andrew Howard and Jonathan Adam took the win with the Preci-Spark Mercedes of David and Godfrey Jones in second and the consistent Trackspeed Porsche of David Ashburn and Phil Keen completing the podium.

After torrential rain in the morning warm-up session feelings in the paddock were mixed as to what set up to run and it was the  Aston Martin that made the most of the conditions with Howard and latterly Adam leading from the Mercedes of the Jones brothers.

The rain seemed to be clearing up with the track drying out as the start approached but with the race underway the rain started to fall again and those on the wrong tyres had to dive in to the pits to get their wet weather tyres on.

Championship leaders Matt Bell and Michael Guasch managed only tenth place and their title rivals, the Geddie father-son combo, failed to capitalise having to start the race from the pitlane and ended 12th. Matt Griffin and Duncan Cameron, third in the title hunt, only managed 11th throwing the championship wide open.

The Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 of Jody Firth and Stefan Hodgetts produced a stunning display to finish fourth, only failing to make the podium after contact with the Trackspeed Porsche late on.

Sole GT3-B runners, John Dhillon and Aaron Scott finished fifth overall with Hector Lester and Allan Simonsen in the Rosso Verde Ferrari fifth, also setting the fastest lap, a 1;36;769.

Michael Lyons and Charles Bateman continued their debut season with a seventh place but struggled to match the leaders’ pace finishing a lap down. Adam Wilcox managed to put aside brake trouble and with Phil Burton brought the Ferrari 430 Scuderia home in eighth just ahead of the Ginetta G55 of Ian Stinton and Michael Simpson in ninth.

In GT4, Dan Denis and David McDonald followed up their victory at Spa with another class win finishing a lap ahead of the two Lotus’. Freddy Nordstrom and Leyton Clarke took second in class ahead of Lotus Sport UK teammates Ollie Jackson and Phil Glew and have closed the gap on the KTM X-Bow championship leaders. The open top racer of Peter Belshaw and Marcus Clutton came fifth and last in the GT4 class showing that this title race is not over either.

Race One Results

GT3 & overall

1  Beechdean Aston Martin  Andrew Howard/Jonny Adam 1h 1m 35.928s / 68.02mph

2 Trackspeed Porsche  David Ashburn/Phil Keen +41.965

3 Preci-Spark Mercedes  David Jones/Godfrey Jones  +58.425s

4  Century Motorsport  Ginetta Jody Firth/Stefan Hodgetts +1:11.225s

5  MTECH Ferrari John Dhillon/Aaron Scott + 1:28.880s

6  Rosso Verde Ferrari Hector Lester/Allan Simonsen +1:36.514s

7  Scuderia Vittoria Ferrari Michael Lyons/Charles Bateman +1 lap

8  Predator CCTV Ferrari  Phil Burton/Adam Wilcox  +1 lap

9  Stark Racing Ginetta  Ian Stinton/Michael Simpson  +1 lap

10  United Autosports Audi  Michael Guasch/Matt Bell +1 lap etc

Fastest lap: Simonsen 1m 36.769s / 72.17mph

GT4

1  Scuderia Vittoria Ginetta  Dan Denis/David McDonald  +1 lap

2  Lotus Sport UK Lotus  Leyton Clarke/Freddy Nordstrom  34 laps

3  Lotus Sport UK Lotus Ollie Jackson/Phil Glew 34 laps etc





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.





Trackspeed pair Ashburn and Westbrook fastest in British GT Free Practice 2 at Spa

8 07 2011

Defending champion Ashburn wants to extend his lead at Snetterton

Defending champion Ashburn and co-driver Westbrook were fastest in FP2 at Spa

REIGNING British GT Champion David Ashburn and Porsche co-driver Richard Westbrook hit back in Free Practice Two clocking the fastest lap in their Trackspeed Porsche.

A lap of 2.23.490 around the four mile Spa circuit was enough for top spot in Free Practice Two but the lap was still half a second off the quickest time of the day posted by Matt Griffin in the MTECH Ferrari 458 in the first session.

The Trackspeed Porsche headed the timesheets, a tenth ahead of rivals Hector Lester and Allan Simonsen in their Rosso Verde Ferrari. Third in the session was the sister Trackspeed Porsche of Gregor Fisken and Tim Bridgman ahead of the pace setter Griffin in fourth.

The session as a whole was generally slower as teams tinkered with setup to find that extra tenth that will be vital in qualifying later today.

Griffin was delighted to have the fastest lap before qualifying but knows it will be a tough session ahead given the number of the cars on track.

He tweeted: “Great start to British GT race at spa, fastest by .5. Looking forward to qualifying although traffic will be difficult as 55 cars on track!”

Championship leaders Matt Bell and Mike Guasch were down in fifth but their United Autosports team-mates John Bintcliffe and Jay Palmer had clutch problems forcing them out of the session.

The Predator CCTV Racing Ferrari 430 of Adam Wilcox and Phil Burton who missed the first session are now undergoing a clutch change in the hope of being race ready for qualifying.

In GT4, the Lotus of Ollie Jackson and Phil Glew set the best time, a second clear of the Dan Denis/David McDonald Ginetta.

Elsewhere in GT4, it was a sad end to the weekend for Michael Mallock and Athanasios Ladas in their ABG Motorsport KTM as they retired for the event with major engine problems.

Free Practice 2 Results

GT3

1  Trackspeed Porsche  David Ashburn/Richard Westbrook  2m 23.490s

2  Rosso Verde Ferrari  Hector Lester/Allan Simonsen (DEN)  2m 23.602s

3  Trackspeed Porsche  Gregor Fisken/Tim Bridgman  2m 23.770s

4  MTECH Ferrari  Duncan Cameron/Matt Griffin (IRL)  2m 23.844s

5  CRS Racing Ferrari  Andrew Tate/Alex Mortimer  2m 24.241s

6  McLaren GT McLaren MP4-12C  Chris Goodwin/Andrew Kirkaldy  2m 24.305s

7  Beechdean Aston Martin  Andrew Howard/Jonny Adam  2m 25.023s

8  United Autosports Audi  Mike Guasch (USA)/Matt Bell  2m 25.433s

9  Scuderia Vittoria Ferrari  Michael Lyons/Charles Bateman  2m 25.888s

10 CRS Racing Ferrari  Jim Geddie/Glynn Geddie  2m 26.524s etc

GT3B

1  MTECH Ferrari  John Dhillon/Aaaron Scott  2m 28.990s

GT4

1  Lotus Sport UK Lotus  Ollie Jackson/Phil Glew  2m 35.676s

2  Scuderia Vittoria Ginetta  Dan Denis/David McDonald  2m 36.684s

3  Barwell/Secure Aston Martin  Peter Erceg/Chris Holmes  2m 37.640s etc





Griffin tops First Practice session ahead of McLaren in British GT Championship at Spa

8 07 2011

Griffin believes the British GT Championship is one of the strongest national series in the world © Jakob Ebrey

Griffin hopes First Practice session pace can carry through to race victories © Jakob Ebrey

MATT Griffin and Duncan Cameron topped the timing sheets in the first free practice session at Spa-Francorchamps in the British GT Championship with an impressive lap sixth tenths faster than the nearest challenger.

The MTECH Racing Ferrari 458 has been quick all season but mechanical problems have cost the team race wins but a best time of 2.23.070, some 1.6 seconds quicker than pole position last year has given the team hopes for the two Belgian races this weekend.

The new McLaren MP4-12C making its international racing debut at the hands of Chris Goodwin and Andrew Kirkaldy was the closest to the Ferrari clocking a time of 2.23.637 around the famous Spa circuit.

Griffin was pleased with the session and hopes that the team can build on the performance and push for podiums and ultimately a race win.

He added: “We are quicker than the McLaren, which is pleasing. The car is going well; in fact, it feels as if it is on rails around here, so things are looking good. But we always seem to start the weekends well, and there is a long way to go yet.”

The ever consistent Trackspeed came next in third and fourth with David Ashburn and Richard Westbrook clocking 2.24.283 in their Porsche ahead of Gregor Fisken and Tim Bridgman on 2.24.752.

There were dramas for the Preci-Spark Mercedes of David and Godfrey Jones and the Predator CCTV Ferrari of Phil Burton and Adam Wilcox. The Jones car spun at the top of Eau Rouge and couldn’t be restarted, missing the second half of the session, while Burton and Wilcox failed to set a representative time due to suspected clutch problems.

In GT4, the Peter Erceg/Chris Holmes Secure Racing/Barwell Motorsport Aston Martin led the way by more than a second from the Scuderia Vittoria Ginetta of Dan Denis and David McDonald.

Free Practice 1 Results

GT3

1  MTECH Ferrari  Duncan Cameron/Matt Griffin (IRL)  2m 23.070s

2  McLaren GT McLaren MP4-12C  Chris Goodwin/Andrew Kirkaldy  2m 23.637s

3  Trackspeed Porsche  David Ashburn/Stephen Jelley  2m 24.283s

4  Trackspeed Porsche  Gregor Fisken/Tim Bridgman  2m 24.752s

5  United Autosports Audi  Mike Guasch (USA)/Matt Bell  2m 26.025s

6  CRS Racing Ferrari  Andrew Tate/Alex Mortimer  2m 26.228s

7  Rosso Verde Ferrari  Hector Lester/Allan Simonsen (DEN)  2m 26.378s

8  United Autosports Audi  John Bintcliffe/Jay Palmer  2m 26.524s

9  Preci-Spark Mercedes  David Jones/Godfrey Jones  2m 27.094s

10  Chad Racing Ferrari  Iain Dockerill/Tom Ferrier  2m 27.464s etc

GT3B

1  MTECH Ferrari  John Dhillon/Aaaron Scott  2m 31.759s

GT4

1  Barwell Aston Martin  Peter Erceg/Chris Holmes  2m 35.747s

2  Scuderia Vittoria Ginetta  Dan Denis/David McDonald  2m 36.904s

3  Lotus Sport UK Lotus  Ollie Jackson/Phil Glew  2m 37.247s etc