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Archive for March, 2014

Kicking off their European pre-season programme, Greaves Motorsport will be at Circuit Paul Ricard for the Official Test of the 2014 European Le Mans Series, Tuesday and Wednesday (1st/2nd April). The team’s 2014 drivers, Tom Kimber-Smith and Chris Dyson will be leading the team’s extensive test programme. They will be joined at the Test in the #41 car by the young American, Matt McMurry, making his European motorsport debut. In the #28 entry will be ex-Radical SR8 Champions, Tony Wells and James Littlejohn, also making their first appearance in the LM P2 class of endurance racing.

A window of opportunity has arisen for a suitably qualified driver to join the team at the test and any interested parties should contact the Team Manager, Jacob Greaves, at either jacob.greaves@greavesmotorsport.com or +44 7817 645 408

In addition to the previously announced programmes at Le Mans and in the European Le Mans Series, the team is considering a further campaign in either the Asian Le Mans Series or the Tudor United SportsCar Championship. Any enquiries should be made to the above contact.

Darryl O'YoungHong Kong Chinese racing driver, Darryl O’Young, has signed with Aston Martin Racing in a Bamboo Engineering run Aston Martin Vantage GTE for the LM GTE Pro class of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). O’Young becomes the first Chinese full season driver in the WEC, making his move after completing 4 seasons in the World Touring Car Championship from 2010-2013.

O’Young will be entering the WEC season with a 3 man driver line-up this year, partnering with Alex Macdowall of Great Britain and Fernando Rees of Brazil. With an ultra-competitive roster of the worlds best GT drivers entered in this year’s WEC, it will make for a season of close hard fought racing on their quest for the FIA World Championship title.

Says O’Young, “I will miss the World Touring Car Championship as it was a great racing series. I enjoyed my 4 seasons there and had some great races and made nice friendships. With the new regulations in the WTCC, it was difficult to enter the championship so I began exploring other options.”

O’Young continued, “I competed the past 2 years with Craft Racing AMR and got to know the guys at Aston Martin Racing. Combine this with my strong relationship with Bamboo Engineering and it has now formed a perfect program for me in the WEC. I have had success in GT Racing and at the Le Mans 24 last year, so I hope to take all this experience and turn it into a successful campaign together with Alex and Fernando. It will be a very tough season as the driver line-ups in the GTE Pro category are very strong, but I am confident that if we all work together as a team, we can come out on top. It is an honor to represent Aston Martin Racing this year in the #99 Aston.”

The FIA World Endurance Championship enters its 2nd season since its return. Organized by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest and sanctioned by the FIA, the race calendar includes 8 rounds, with 7 rounds of 6 hour races and the 24 hours of Le Mans. The series kicks off on April 20th at Silverstone in the United Kingdom.

O’Young continues his long-time partnership with Lung Kee Metal (LKM) and Fuspeed in his 2014 world championship campaign.

MuizzuddinIt was definitively a bitter sweet weekend for Muizzuddin Musyaffa Abdul Gafar, who missed the podium finish in the first round of WSK Champions Cup at the Muro Leccese’s “La Conca” circuit.

11-year-old Malaysian emerged as one of the fastest in the 60 Mini class. He set the sixth time in the qualifying – with 44 drivers on track – 0.196 down the lap record. Muizz claimed the second place in the first heat, then finishing sixth in the second, but moved to the back of the grid when he came wide with the slick tires at the first bend and went off in the last Saturday manche, due to the wet/dry conditions.

Recovering to third in the pre-final race, the young Gamoto Racing team’s driver continued in good shape, eventually scoring the fourth final place.

The next and last WSK Champions Cup round is scheduled in less than a week on the same Italian track.

Sean WalkinshawDouble engine failure during preparation for the opening round of the EuroFormula Open Winter Series at Paul Ricard in France this weekend prevented Sean Walkinshaw from showing his true pace on his debut in the category’s top class – the Briton having to settle for a frustrating 11th place finish.

Making his competitive debut with leading team Campos Racing, the 20-year-old from Chipping Norton had high hopes of a strong start to the Winter Series but an unfortunate engine blow-up during the first test session on Friday, 28th February, set the scene for an exasperating weekend.

While the Campos mechanics did a fantastic job to switch powerplants as quickly as possible, the track time lost was significant. Despite that, Sean was able to re-emerge on circuit halfway through the third run with a new engine bolted into his Dallara and he subsequently went on to give a clear indication of his genuine speed with the second fastest time in the rain-hit final session of the day.

Aiming for a deserved trouble-free run on Saturday, 1st March, the Oxfordshire driver began the day impressively with the sixth quickest time in the first of two morning practice sessions – especially noteworthy when taking into account his lack of dry track time – but, incredibly, a second engine failure followed.

Ultimately qualifying 13th on the grid for round one, Sean managed to make progress over the course of the 14 laps to end the race in 11th position, just 1.5 seconds outside the top 10. Having circulated with top five pace, the event turned out to be a classic case of what might have been.

“It has been a frustrating start to the Winter Series, that’s the best way to sum it up, but there are some positives to take away”, said a phlegmatic Sean, “We definitely had the pace when I was able to run without any issues, my car felt great, but the engine problems limited our running and then impacted on qualifying. We did what we could in the race.

“The organisers of the championship have been great and taken full responsibility for the engine problems and the Campos guys did a fantastic job changing engines, it’s just unfortunate we had two blow-ups. We know we can be quick in the next round at Barcelona, we tested well there before Christmas so I’m confident and definitely looking forward to it.”

Round two of the EuroFormula Open Winter Series will take place a fortnight from now on Saturday, 15th March, at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain. Pre-event testing will precede the race meeting at the Barcelona track on Friday, 14th March.

Cameron TwynhamBRDC Rising Star Cameron Twynham continued his preparations for this year’s EuroFormula Open campaign with an encouraging display in the opening Winter Series round at Paul Ricard on Saturday (March 1).

The 18-year-old from Market Harborough made an excellent start to his weekend during Friday testing, overcoming small technical problems to record the day’s fastest lap during the second session. That dominance continued in the wet third session when the Team West-Tec driver set a blistering time that only two of his rivals managed to get within a second of.

Saturday’s qualifying session therefore promised much, before a problem with his car’s Electronic Control Unit – which significantly impacted on straight-line speed – hampered preparations during the morning’s final practice.

Unbowed, Twynham pulled out all the stops in qualifying to set a lap good enough for fourth on the grid and only 0.310sec shy of pole position. Having registered his personal best through sector one and the session’s quickest through the second, only a small error towards the end of the lap cost him a place on the front row. But by going a second quicker than he’d managed in testing, the MSA Academy ace was still understandably pleased with the effort.

“My pace on Friday was brilliant, and to top the timesheets for the first time was a great feeling,” enthused Twynham. “With the upgraded engines in 2014, we will all experience a few problems here and there and it seems I had my fair share this weekend. But my engineer Jonathan Kennard and coach Ollie Millroy did an incredible job of pinpointing the problem on Saturday morning and getting me ready for qualifying.

“The session was easily the best of my career, and I was very close to cracking the top-two, although I’ve still not put a full lap together with a car that is fully operational, so there’s still plenty more to find.”

Come the afternoon’s race, Twynham initially made a superb start only to lose momentum avoiding a sluggish Alex Palou, which relegated him to fifth by the end of lap one. Despite this, the leading Team West-Tec driver managed to hold off the Spaniard thanks to some great defensive driving over the 14-lap contest, providing plenty of positives ahead of the final Winter Series round and upcoming EuroFormula Open season.

“I’m incredibly happy with how the weekend went, although the race proved to be a defensive exercise to maintain fifth as I didn’t have the right set-up, but I enjoyed the battle nonetheless,” explained Twynham. “I exceeded my targets for this weekend, which gives me enormous confidence going into the second round of the Winter Series at Barcelona.

“I have to thank all my family and sponsors for their incredible support this weekend, in addition to all my fans on social media who also showed incredible faith in me once again.”

The final round of the Winter Series takes place at Barcelona on March 14/15, giving Twynham another opportunity to prepare for the first EuroFormula Open event at the Nurburgring on May 2-4.

Welsh racing driver Seb Morris has received yet another big boost ahead of his maiden season of competition in Europe this year, having been invited by Sport Wales to be part of its prestigious ‘Elite Cymru’ scheme.

Marford-based Seb, who was recently confirmed as the newest member of the Caterham F1 Team’s Racing Academy, is incredibly proud to be representing Sport Wales throughout his first year in the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup (NEC) and is delighted to receive such key support.

Fittingly notified of his selection for the Elite Cymru program on St David’s Day, Saturday, 1st March, the 18-year-old is determined to proudly fly the flag for his home nation as he strives to challenge for the NEC crown with top team Fortec Motorsport.

“It really is a fantastic honour to have been invited onto the Elite Cymru scheme and I will do my utmost to justify the support of everyone at Sport Wales”, commented Seb, “This season is going to be the most important of my career by far and with the backing of Sport Wales and the Caterham Racing Academy, I’m in a very privileged position.”

Inaugurated in 1997, the Elite Cymru scheme has solely covered non-Olympic sports such as motor racing and snooker, Commonwealth Games sports such as squash and bowls or sports which medal on a world level, such as golf, since 2006.

Receiving National Lottery funding, and supported by the Welsh Assembly Government, Sport Wales works tirelessly to champion all sports while nurturing and helping to develop the best young talent the country has to offer.

Seb’s first races in the 2014 Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup will come at Monza in Italy over the weekend 12th/13th April. Before then, officially timed pre-season testing will take place at Hockenheim in Germany and Assen in The Netherlands at the end of March.