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.”





Geddie ready for Rockingham return as he sets his sights on championship glory

1 09 2011

Geddie can't wait to continue his title charge at Spa after the long summer break

Geddie can't wait to continue his title charge at Spa after the long summer break

ABERDEEN racing driver Glynn Geddie returns to British GT championship action this weekend ready to push for glory.

The 21-year-old will again team up with his dad Jim in their CRS Racing 458 Ferrari at Rockingham.

It is the third last meeting of the series and the Geddies sit in second place in the overall standings just two points behind leaders Matt Bell and Michael Guasch.

Geddie Jnr is relishing the Rockingham challenge and has sets his sights on going one better this year after finishing second in the championship to then Trackspeed colleague David Ashburn last season.

The father and son duo finished third and then sixth in their last British GT outing at Spa-Francorchamps back in July and will be aiming for podium places this time out.

“It has been almost two months since our last race in the British GT so we are both extremely keen to get back on the track,” said Glynn.

“We’ve enjoyed a steady campaign so far and remain in a strong position to really challenge for the honours.

“After the two races at Rockingham there’s a three hour race at Donington Park before we finish up with a two hour race at Silverstone.

“That means we are heading towards the business end of the season where it’s vital we are on top form to help our championship charge.

“It’s been thoroughly enjoying racing with my dad this season but it would be even better if we could win a championship together.”





‘Promising’ debut season for youngster Lyons as he continues to dream of glory

25 08 2011

Scuderia Vittoria showed the 458 was quick with a win in Race Two © Jakob Ebrey

Michael Lyons showed the 458 was quick with a win in Race Two at Oulton © Jakob Ebrey

MICHAEL Lyons is optimistic about the remainder of the season and is looking to continue his ‘promising’ start in British GT racing.

His debut race weekend saw him pick up a win at Oulton Park and the Scuderia Vittoria Ferrari 458, at the hands of Lyons and teammate Charles Bateman, has shown impressive pace throughout the season so far.

But Lyons, 21, believes there is more to come from the car especially now that some of the handling issues have hopefully been rectified in the summer break.

He said: “Promising, would be the way to put it in one word. I’ve had good speed and have already won races in only my first year in GTs as well as securing a couple of poles.

“But we haven’t gained the consistent big points hauls we should have in order to be where we should be in the points table right now.

“Fundamentally I’ve found it to be a very good car, it’s relatively easy to drive and with the raft of updates we’ve received it’s seems to be getting faster but it’s been an adjustment for me having never driven a race car with power steering and ABS.

“We have struggled with a handling in-balance which has slowed our progress in races recently but with some work over the summer I’m sure we can cure it.”

“I think it’s important for us to fight race by race, we were second in the championship a few races back but it seems like a long time ago and it just shows you how quickly things change.

“Therefore for us I think it’s important to just focus on getting the best results we can and see where that leaves us at the end of the year.”

Last time out at Spa, Lyons endured a troubled weekend with bad luck after bad luck preventing him adding to his win tally but despite his tender age he is mature enough to accept it is all part of the sport.

The Essex racer added: “This is hard one. I suppose you have to say it’s racing. Everyone has good and bad days. You have to be able look at everything, see the root cause of the problem and draw any positives that can be from the situation.

“Then try and make plans for how to ensure the same thing can’t ever happen again. At Spa for example I knew I had the pace as I put the car on championship class pole, then when the rear toe link broke while battling for the lead I had to accept that things like that just happen sometimes.

“As for Race Two there was nothing I could do, the car had problems before it was handed over to me so I knew all I was doing was a damage limitation exercise/

“I managed to get the car home in the points which was believe me an achievement in itself.”

And Lyons revealed he did not have any firm plans for 2012 in British GT and that he is focusing on the rest of 2011 and his other commitments to F5000 and historic F1 racing.

He did allow himself to dream of the future though, he concluded: “My aim is to become a factory driver and win the Le Mans 24 Hours.”

The next British GT race is at Rockingham on the weekend of September 3/4.





Geddie set to light up Spa 24 in new McLaren alongside other British GT stars

28 07 2011

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

Geddie has been competing for CRS Racing in the British GT and will race for the team in the Spa 24 Hours in the new MP4-12C

CRS Racing’s Glynn Geddie will test himself on the European stage in the Spa 24 Hour endurance event in the brand new McLaren MP4-12C.

The Aberdeen ace, who currently sits second in the British GT title hunt, has been drafted in as part of the Pro-Am driver line-up by his mentor Andrew Kirkaldy.

Kirkaldy, an executive of the McLaren GT division, has played an important role in Geddie’s development this year in the CRS Racing Ferrari 458 and has selected the Scot for the famous enduro.

The McLaren MP4-12C debuted in the British GT at Spa last month with Kirkaldy at the wheel and this latest event marks another step in the development of the GT3 racer for 2012.

Geddie is delighted to be handed the chance and can’t wait to get behind the wheel alongside CRS Racing stablemates Phil Quaife, Adam Christodoulou and Roger Wills.

He said: “I feel honoured to be part of something as special as this with such an innovative car brand as McLaren.

“This is the first model to be converted from a McLaren road car to compete in a 24 hour race since the McLaren F1 GTR at Le Mans back in 1995.

“I’ll be among some esteemed company for the race and I’ll be paying full attention to make sure I learn as much as possible to aid my future development.

“It’s going to be quite a thrill to get behind the wheel of the MP4-12C GT3 and I’m thoroughly looking forward to seeing what it can do at Spa-Francorchamps.”

Matt Griffin and Richard Westbrook, both top British GT competitors, will also compete in the Total 24 Hours of Spa this weekend (July 28-30).





United Autosports pair Bell and Guasch lead British GT hunt into summer break

16 07 2011

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

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

UNITED Autosports head into the British GT summer break with Anglo-American pair Matt Bell and Mike Guasch leading the pack.

Five top-six finishes in the opening six rounds have seen the Audi R8 drivers top the standings since their victory in Round Three.

But with no recent podiums their closest competitors have started to reel them in and their championship lead has been cut to just two points before a trip to Rockingham in September.

Bell and Guasch finished sixth in Race One at the recent Spa meeting and a last lap overtake on their closest rivals in Race Two secured fourth place and some valuable championship points.

Guasch was slightly disappointed with their pace at Spa but knows consistency is the key and is well aware that many people would love to be in their position.

He said: “Our main aim was to get as many points as we could from both races today and although I’m a little disappointed with our results, we achieved a decent score. The championship is really tight.”

And Guasch’s boss, Richard Dean, co-owner and MD of United Autosports is pleased with how the season is developing and is confident with some hard work they can take the British GT title at the end of the year.

He concluded: “To date, we’ve achieved a win, second, third, fourth, sixth, eighth, and two ninths.

“Unfortunately the Brands non-finish for Mike and Matt has brought the title race very close.

“The Ferrari must get a penalty and the three remaining tracks are all suit the R8 LMS. It’s a pleasing position to be in.”





Bad luck costs Scuderia Vittoria and Lyons podium in British GT enduro at Spa

13 07 2011

Michael Lyons suffered a string of misfortunes at Spa in his Ferrari 458 © Jakob Ebrey

Michael Lyons suffered a string of misfortunes at Spa in his Ferrari 458 © Jakob Ebrey

MICHAEL Lyons is focusing on the future after a torrid luck at the weekend in Spa cost the team a possible podium and championship points.

The Scuderia Vittoria Ferrari 458 had looked quick in practice and qualifying and Lyons and co-driver Charles Bateman were looking to repeat their Oulton Park success.

The Essex racer had qualified on GT3 pole for Race One but a rear tow link broke on lap sending him into the gravel at 140 mph and in Race Two he had to nurse the car to ninth place after a set-up mistake degraded the tyres down to the steel rims.

But at the tender age of 20 years old Lyons showed maturity and understood that weekends like these happen now and again and you have to learn to move on.

He said: “Today was just one of those days, and as hard as it is to accept, that is just how motor sport is sometimes.

“Even though the results weren’t there, there are still some positives to take from this weekend; such as getting back to the front in qualifying and racing hard.

“After qualifying it looked like we were back on track and looking good for a potential win in Race One, and a solid result in Race Two.”

“We now have to look at the rest of the year, and hope for some luck, and try and win as many of the remaining races as possible.”

And Scuderia Vittoria Team Principal Piers Maserati was equally disappointed but praised his driver for bringing the car home.

He added: “Today was disappointing, Race One was looking good until we had a parts failure which put us out of the lead and eventually out of the race.

In Race Two we clearly had a serious issue with the dampers and Michael did an excellent job to bring the car home in one piece in the points”.





Fisken and Bridgman British GT title tilt back on track after big points haul at Spa

13 07 2011

Fisken and Bridgman were on the podium again and are right back in the title hunt

Fisken and Bridgman were on the podium again at Spa and are right back in the title hunt © Jakob Ebrey

Gregor Fisken and co-driver Tim Bridgman left Spa with a solid points haul and with their 2011 British GT title hopes still alive.

The Trackspeed duo were delighted to record seventh and second-placed finishes in the two rounds at the Belgian circuit after a mixed weekend at a track which has historically favoured Ferraris.

But the Porsche had the pace all weekend and Fisken and Bridgman were unlucky not to score two podiums after a strategic error in qualifying left Bridgman exposed in Race One with rear tyre grip non-existent

However no such mistake in Race Two saw a stunning drive by Fisken secure second step on the podium finishing just under a second behind the race winner.

The weekend leaves the two just 28 points off the leaders of the championship and after their scintillating victory at Brands Hatch last month and their points tally at Spa, the momentum is with the Trackspeed team.

Fisken said: “I’m delighted with how this weekend turned out because Spa isn’t a circuit that plays to the Porsche’s strengths.

“With so many championships on track at the same time traffic was always going to be a factor and I think we managed that particularly well.

“We’ve learned from our mistake in qualifying and won’t be going down that set-up route again. I can’t speak highly enough of Tim who somehow got the car to the finish of race one on tyres which were practically down to the canvas.

“Without the problems a podium looked likely but in the circumstances seventh feels like a miracle!”

Bridgman was equally optimistic and praised the team for producing a car that could challenge the frontrunners and can’t wait to score more points at Rockingham in September.

He concluded: “We arrived at Spa aiming for a solid points haul so to leave there having nearly won is a great achievement.

“Full credit to the Trackspeed guys for giving us a great package even if we collectively made an error in qualifying.

“The car was so difficult to drive on the worn tyres which is why it was better to score some points and bring the car home unscathed than fight too hard.

“Traffic on my qualifying run meant I started out of position in the second race. We knew the car had great pace though and I was delighted to really get stuck in against a strong pro driver line-up for the first time this year.

“Gregor continued the good work after that to close down the Ferrari and with one more lap he might have got him.

“It’s the sort of result that proves we’ve turned our season around. Hopefully there’s more to come at Rockingham.”