British GT debutant Bridgman can’t wait for Oulton opener in Trackspeed Porsche

21 04 2011

British GT debutant Bridgman has had success in multiple championships

British GT debutant Bridgman has had success in multiple championships

HOT prospect Tim Bridgman can’t wait to make his British GT debut at Oulton Park on Saturday 23 April as he lines up in a Trackspeed Porsche alongside teammate Gregor Fisken.

Bridgman was a member of the BRDC’s Superstars programme last year and moves within the Porsche setup from the Porsche Supercup to Trackspeed’s Porsche 997 GT3R.

The 25-year-old has won titles in Porsche Carrera Cup GB, Formula Palmer Audi, Formula BMW UK and Zip Formula and is aiming for a strong performance in the car which took the British GT championship in 2010.

He said: “I’m obviously very pleased to be joining Trackspeed alongside Gregor for what looks set to be one of the most competitive seasons of the British GT Championship for many years.

“I’m also excited to be continuing my relationship with Porsche.  Since its launch last year, the 997 GT3R has enjoyed success around the world and, with a strong car, a strong team and a strong co-driver I think we have every chance of continuing that trend this season.”

Fisken, whilst an experienced racer, is gearing up for his first full season in British GT having split his time between the historic car calendar and the national series in 2010.

And Fisken, who spoke exclusively to BritishGT back in March about his hopes for the performance equalisation for the Porsche, is pleased to have a confirmed teammate with so much promise.

He added: “I’m delighted to have joined Trackspeed for my first full season in British GT. The team has a race-winning pedigree and I’ll be working hard to ensure that continues in 2011.

“I’m also very pleased to welcome Tim Bridgman as my team-mate. With four motorsport titles already under his belt, Tim is one of the UK’s most exciting young racing drivers and he has proven his speed in Porsches before. I have no doubt that will continue this year.”

Trackspeed are defending champions having taken the title with David Ashburn last year and are looking to repeat the feat for 2011, with top class Porsche driver Richard Westbrook partnering Ashburn in the other 997 GT3R.

Trackspeed hope the Fiskens sponsored Porsche will be a 2011 challenger

Trackspeed hope the Fiskens sponsored Porsche will be a 2011 challenger

SRO have performed the equalisation tests and this should give the Porsche a level playing field as they take on the might of the new Ferrari 458, Audi R8 and Mercedes SLS.

Team Manager, Keith Cheetham concluded: “We’re very happy to have signed both Gregor and Tim for this season and with Richard Westbrook and David Ashburn in the other car I firmly believe that Trackspeed has the best driver line-up in the paddock.

“The Porsche 997 GT3R is a strong car and, presuming SRO’s equalisation test for the new entries has been successful, I see no reason why we can’t repeat our success of 2010 and win the title.”


Simonsen aiming for Best Driver accolade for fifth consecutive year in British GT

28 03 2011

Simonsen celebrates first place in the 2010 British GT finale at Donington

Simonsen celebrates first place in the 2010 British GT finale at Donington

DANISH GT star Allan Simonsen is hoping for a five star performance in the British GT this year as he aims to be voted Best Driver in the Championship for a fifth year in a row.

Simonsen will once again team up with Hector Lester in a Ferrari 430, with plans to move to the new 458 when it becomes available.

He revealed that the waiting list for the new Ferrari is so long that they will be forced to stay with the older incarnation despite some performance drawbacks which he hopes SRO will rectify.

He told BritishGT: “We will stay with the 430 this year as the waiting list for the 458 is very long although the 430 Scuderia will still run with extra ballast and a smaller restrictor.

“I do hope the SRO will free up some of those restrictions for 2011 allowing the 430 to still be competitive.

“I have raced a Ferrari every year since 2002 and all I can say is I’m blessed to be driving what is most people’s dream and that’s how the cars drive too.”

Simonsen loves a chance to kick back and relax in his home in Monaco but faces a hectic race schedule this year competing all over the world and especially looks forward to the British GT.

He said: “First of all I love the British tracks, the fact that it’s a Pro-Am championship also really appeals to me as it creates great racing with lots of overtaking.

It’s great to see so many new cars in the championship – Benjamin and Stefan are always working very hard for the championship and so a big thank you must go to them that we see so many new fantastic cars.”

Simonsen will continue in the Ferrari F430 with teammate Hector Lester

Simonsen will continue in the Ferrari F430 with teammate Hector Lester

And Simonsen agrees with the rest of the drivers that the replacement of success ballast with time penalties will make the competition a much better spectacle.

He added: “I like the new idea of not running success ballast but success will cost in form of longer pit stops. That alone will create more overtaking and more exciting races.”

British GT makes a move to longer races this year and Simonsen feels at home in the endurance style events and can’t wait to win again.

He concluded: “I do endurance races all the time and I am a massive fan of the SRO’s new Blancpain Championship.

“I’m currently looking for a drive in that championship, but for the British GT championship I hope they stay with one and two hour races.

“It’s pretty easy when you do it for a living. If I do get tired I find the adrenalin kicks in and it gets me through!

“My aim is to be voted the Best Driver in the Championship for a 5th year in a row, have lots of podiums and for my teammate Hector Lester to enjoy himself.”

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.”