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.”





Disappointed Geddie tries to move on after ‘unfair’ flag robs team of Snetterton win

17 05 2011

Geddie was leading the race in the new Ferrari 458 before the devastating late

Geddie was leading the race in the new Ferrari 458 before the devastating late flag blow

SNETTERTON British GT runner up Glynn Geddie is remaining pragmatic after a last lap mechanical flag robbed the team of certain victory.

Damage to the front of the car was spotted by stewards and the leading CRS Racing Ferrari 458 was ordered to the pits with only one lap remaining.

Geddie revealed that the damage was caused by vibrations from the track breaking the welds at the front and that the team is working hard to make sure this does not reoccur.

He suffered similar problems in the FIA GT3 Championship race in Portugal but on that occasion was allowed to continue and therefore feels the flag on Sunday (May 15) was unfair.

He told BritishGT: “I always try to remain objective when it comes to reviewing my races and will continue to be quite self-critical when things don’t go well.

“But I still feel the flag was hugely unfair. I had managed to run the car for a sustained period despite the front end damage.

“I can handle and accept losing when someone has produced a better drive but when it’s almost out of your own hands it’s tough to take.

“But that’s the nature of motor racing. There’s nothing we can do about it other than take the positives from the race and move on to the next one.”

The young Scot believes that if they avoid further incidents, the team can make a real challenge for the British GT title with the pacey new Ferrari 458.

The CRS Racing father/son pairing celebrate an unexpected pole position at Snetterton

The CRS Racing father/son pairing celebrate an unexpected pole position at Snetterton

He said: “To claim pole position was extremely encouraging but even now a few days after the actual race I can’t help but feel a sense of disappointment at finishing second.

“But it looks as though we’ve got the pace right with the car now so it’s all about fine tuning certain things.

“There’s always an element of luck attached to the sport so if we can steer clear of any shunts then I’d like to think we’d have a strong chance of making a real impact in the British GT Championship.”

CRS Racing started the opening rounds of the British GT at Oulton Park with an older Ferrari 430 and only took delivery of the new 458 on Friday (May 13) and Geddie has nothing but praise for the work of the mechanics to get the car race-ready.

He explained: “We only took delivery of the 458 on the Friday night before the race so time was always going to be against us but the CRS team worked around the clock to get everything up to speed and right with the car.

“They completed something like a 52 hour shift to prepare the car properly so all credit to them for their hard work.

“It’s refreshing to be back behind the wheel of a 458 after starting the season in a 430 which I don’t have too much experience in.

“It feels far more comfortable and natural competing in the 458 and now hopefully we can go from strength to strength as the season continues to progress.

“We’ll just continue to test and develop the car as much as possible. Experimenting with the set up to get it just right can help to give you even just a slight advantage so it’s well worth perfecting.”





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.”





United Autosports take Snetterton victory after late flag drama robs Geddie’s Ferrari

15 05 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

The United Autosports Audi of Mike Gausch and Matt Bell took their maiden British GT victory at Snetterton after a dramatic final lap which saw CRS Racing’s Ferrari 458 called into the pits from the lead.

Glynn Geddie who had qualified on pole and led for most of the race was orange and black flagged to repair the damage to the front of his car. The Ferrari pitted on the last lap and allowed the Guasch/Bell Audi to sneak through and hold on to win by three seconds.

The ever impressive Allan Simonsen and Hector Lester marched up through the field to take a well deserved podium in the Rosso Verde Ferrari, just under five seconds ahead of the Jones’ Mercedes.

The sister Audi of John Bintcliffe and Jay Palmer finished fourth, with Iain Dockerill and Steven Kane’s Ferrari and the Howard/Adam Aston Martin in fifth and sixth respectively.

Eighth went to the sole GT3-B runner of Aaron Scott and John Dhillon who’s older car proved to be more reliable than the newer untested cars, showing it is as much about consistency as raw pace in the longer endurance races.

The Geddies cut a dejected figure on the podium after the last lap drama © Jakob Ebrey

The Geddies cut a dejected figure on the podium after the last lap drama © Jakob Ebrey

The gruelling two hours took its toll on the field as numerous cars retired throughout the race, none more high profile than MTECH Racing’s Matt Griffin who had been within three tenths of the lead before collecting an out of control Aston Martin into the first corner and retiring with fluid leaking out of the car.

This took the pressure off Glynn Geddie who looked to have victory sealed as he opened up a 40 second lead over the Audi helped by a drive through penalty for the United Autosports team for a yellow flag infringement. But the late pitlane drama for the broken front end cost the Geddie family, and their new Ferrari 458, a win from pole position.

Oulton Park winners Michael Lyons and Charles Bateman in their Scuderia Vittoria Ferrari 458 were forced out of the race with rear suspension failure whilst pre-race championship leaders Trackspeed, were out of the race after only eight laps as their difficult weekend was compounded as their two Porsche’s collided at Williams forcing a double retirement.

In GT4, Peter Belshaw and Marcus Clutton took the honours for ABG Motorsport with the two Lotus Sport UK cars, at their home track, completing the podium. Michael Mallock clocked the fastest lap in the class but a puncture prevented a GT4 victory.

Round Three Results, Snetterton

GT3

1  United Autosports Audi  Mike Guasch (USA)/Matt Bell  2h 01m 48.407s / 84.82mph

2  CRS Racing Ferrari  Jim Geddie/Glynn Geddie  +2.946s

3  Rosso Verde Ferrari  Hector Lester/Allan Simonsen (DEN)  +14.761s

4  Preci-Spark Mercedes  David Jones/Godfrey Jones  +19.518s

5  United Autosports Audi  John Bintcliffe/Jay Palmer  +1m 11.666s

6  Chad Racing Ferrari  Iain Dockerill/Steven Kane  +1m 32.177s

7  Beechdean Aston Martin  Andrew Howard/Jonny Adam  +1m 49.674s

8  MTECH Ferrari (GT3B)  John Dhillon/Aaron Scott  57 laps

9  Century Team LNT  Florian Renauer (AUT)/Michael Drabing (AUT)  55 laps

10  Predator CCTV Ferrari  Phil Burton/Adam Wilcox  53 laps etc

Fastest lap: MTech Ferrari  Matt Griffin  1m 51.640s

GT4

1  ABG Motorsport KTM  Peter Belshaw/Marcus Clutton  56 laps

2  Lotus Sport UK Lotus  Leyton Clarke/Freddy Nordstrom  56 laps

3  Lotus Sport UK Lotus  Ollie Jackson/Jack Drinkall  55 laps

4  ABG Motorsport KTM  Athanasios Ladas (GRE)/Michael Mallock  53 laps

GT Cup

1  Chevron Racing Chevron  Jordan Witt/Anthony Reid  40 laps





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