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Category: BritCar

Pittard BritcarDavid Pittard has kicked started his Britcar campaign with a stunning second place finish in his first ever endurance race at Donington Park.

Despite the team only acquiring the car a week prior and the drivers not even having seen it until the Friday night, David was confident that he could reward the Strata 21 team with a solid performance at Donington circuit.

As qualifying approached it was decided that team mate Adam Sharpe, being the more experienced of the driver line up, would qualify first and perform all the system checks on the newly acquired Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. After confirming all was OK, Sharpe preceded to set a solid ‘banker lap’ before coming in to the pits to hand over to David’s second team mate Tom Jones to complete his 15mins. As the session drew to a close it was the turn of Pittard, who took to the car like a duck to water, and preceded to set a time that qualified him an incredible 2nd, just 0.1 second of pole position.

“It was awesome to get back into the Porsche again after such a long time out of the seat. I had a massive grin on my face from the moment I pulled away – I’d forgotten how fast that car is!”

“Once I got comfortable with the car I decided to go for a lap, and managed to put in a time good enough to qualify the car in 2nd in class, just 0.1 second of pole. It was a really positive start to the day!”

With qualifying completed it was now down to David to familiarise himself with endurance race strategy and driver change procedures, something he had yet to experience in his short race career to date.

“During the break between qualifying and the race we sat down and devised our strategy. From this we decided to stick with the same driver order as we did for qualifying, and then set about practicing pit stop driver changes, which was another new feature to some of us in the team!”

As the race start time approached the track remained dry, and as the green lights went out team mate Adam Sharpe proceeded to take the class lead as the pack headed into turn 1, setting the Strata21 team up with the perfect start to their Britcar campaign.

“Adam started the race really well immediately getting into the class lead as well a gaining 3 places over all, putting a gap between himself and second place which really helped when the first safety car came out”

After a good stint and with the race timer counting down, the car was called in to the pits from the lead and it was the turn of Morgan racer Tom Jones to take to the track, just as the weather looked to be turning for the worse.

“Tom had a tough stint as it showered a lot throughout, coupled with a few safety cars which also would have upset his flow. However he drove solidly in very tricky conditions, which at times looked  almost bad enough for wets!“

As Tom completed his stint and made his way to the pits from a solid second place it was finally David’s turn to face the tough conditions, and following a excellent driver change and quick fuel he headed out onto the track to commence his first ever Britcar race.

“We decided to triple stint the tires as the damp conditions hadn’t taken much life out of them. When I started my stint it was very wet still so after the adrenalin of jumping in the car quickly and getting out on track asap, it was a case of keeping it calm and getting use to the car in the wet conditions”

“I got my head down knowing that we had pitted in second place and the Lotus we were racing only had to make 1 stop, however we had a good race and weren’t too far behind.”

Driving with immense maturity and good pace, there was still one last new experience to come for the young Brunel University student when again the safety car was called out, bunching the pack back up.

“My stint was broken up by another Safety car. There was some confusion when they waved me and a few other cars past to make up a lap which I thought at the time was a good thing, however the leader pitted which meant everyone was waved past, levelling things out again”

“However when the leader joined the track I was 3rd in the safety car train, the 2 cars in front were waved past on the back straight and then I was waved past on the start finish straight, I tried to catch the back of the safety car train up again before the pack was released however I couldn’t catch up in time”

With the safety car now in and the cars again under race conditions, Pittard was unable to claw back any of the time lost to the lead Lotus. Undeterred however, he set about reeling in the cars in front in a bid to put pressure on the leader.

“I continued to push throughout the last 10mins catching and passing a class 3 car for 8th overall. Steve then informed me that I was a long way from the car ahead and pulling away from the car behind, so we decided to settle in to a good rhythm and bring the car home in second.”

As the chequered flag dropped Pittard brought the Strata21 Porsche home in a fantastic second place on both the cars and importantly David’s Britcar debut.

“As I crossed the line I was extremely pleased! It’s a great result to build on, and I can’t wait until Snetterton 300 on the 12th of May, a massive thanks to Strata21, Strata Motorsport, My Dad, Podium PR, and everyone that supported me in my first weekend!”

BritCar‘Education through Motorsport’ team, Lunar Racing, head to Snetterton circuit near Norwich this weekend for round 6 of the 2009 BritCar Production Cup, looking to continue their incredible championship challenge. Lieing 2nd in the championship just two points behind the leading Honda Civic of 888 Solutions the student team know exactly what they have to do to earn top honours.
It had been hoped that the MG ZS would have a bit more power from a new engine management system but unfortunately some necessary wiring was unavailable in time so the car is still running on the standard MG ECU. By Britcar regulations the Lunar MG is allowed a massive 40% more power than it has, so the fact that the team are second in the Championship is remarkable.
For Snetterton the team is thrilled to have the same driver line up with Alan Bonner and Cassey Watson. The experience Alan brings to the team in terms of endurance racing is priceless and during the Combe weekend he rapidly became an excellent mentor to teenage hotshoe Cassey Watson who has shown staggering pace every session in the car.
Hopefully some of you will be able to attend the race and if so please come to the pits and make yourself known. Cassey will be available pre race at 10am to discuss the car and the hopes for the race with anybody attending. For those of you unable to attend live updates wil be made, (internet connection allowing), on the teams facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/group.php?gid=78482935842
Qualifying is at 9am Saturday morning and the 2 hour race starts at 10:55. The team will also be testing on Friday.

Britcar“Education through Motorsport” student team, Lunar Racing, are thrilled to announce a new driver lineup for their BritCar program. Driving LR1a at Castle Combe next weekend will be: Cassey Watson & Alan Bonner.

Cassey Watson is only 17 but she still has 3 years car racing exerience having driven in the Junior Championships, SAXMAX, T-Car and Ginetta Junior and is a 3 x BWRDC Junior Champion and has stood on the podium in every vehicle she has ever driven. Cassey has been extremely quick in testing smashing the cars previous best lap times.

Alan Bonner brings a wealth of experience to the team and proven speed. BritCar fans will know of Alan from his time racing the GT2 Corvette C5R. Alan has agreed to race the ZS as he is extremely supportive of the project. Having a driver of Alan’s pedigree driving for the team is a real coup and can only greatly enhance the at circuit education for the students.

Although the team and race program only exists for the purpose of the education of it’s students, the whole team are extremely competitive and think Castle Combe is going to be a very exciting time for all involved.

The team will provide live updates on their progress on their facebook page http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78482935842

Cassey WatsonWhilst things have been quiet on circuit for Lunar Racing recently, there’s been a great deal of behind the scenes activity. The first bit of big news is that we will be working with two new drivers for Castle Combe (8th August). The first driver to be welcomed to the team is 17 year old Cassey Watson (www.casseywatson.co.uk). She introduced herself to the team at Bedford College on 1st June and was putting the LR1a through its paces at Castle Combe on the 4th June.

Whilst Cassey is currently running 2nd in the Maxda MX5 Championship, we didn’t really know what to expect, and I am sure that Cassey didn’t know what to expect from a car built and maintained by children. With the car unloaded and made ready for the test and perfect weather conditions, Cassey took to the track. Our previous visit to the track with the LR1 producing a 1:24 lap time, it was now a case of wait and see what Cassey and the LR1a could produce.

Within a few laps, she was down to 1:19 and then proceeded to put in a number of very consistent 1:18’s. As you can imagine, we were delighted! More important than her pace however, is the level of feedback and maturity as a driver. Its always difficult getting the most out of a car without experiencing first hand what the car is doing through different corners. We have to rely on information from the driver. Her level of feedback is comparable to a much more experienced driver. It’s great to be a part of what will be a successful motorsport career.

Not to be out-done by our new driver, the students also had their chance to shine. We had a gearbox bearing collapse during the second session of the day and I genuinely though that it was game over. However, the students simply got on with the task in hand, removed the gearbox, stripped it, sent Eddie off to find a new bearing, rebuilt the gearbox and refitted it. The car was running again by the end of the day. I was simply reduced to passing students spanners when asked. If this wasn’t enough, the car ran faultlessly for a second day of testing on the 5th, with no leaks from the gearbox. I know for a fact that there are many professional race teams (who employ experienced adults) who cannot match this. To quote Paul Watson (Cassey’s father) “I presumed the students would just be watching and learning, but in fact they already have been taught to a level of skill and knowledge that I was amazed to see from such a young group. What was then even more astounding was my daughter then took to the track and drove the car extremely hard and not only did it complete over 100 laps with no problem, the gearbox never needed anymore attention at all, not even for an oil leak which any team could usually expect in the circumstances.”

The project is working!

Evesham based racing driver Cassey Watson will be testing the MG ZS Britcar at Wiltshire’s Castle Combe circuit this Thursday for college racing team Lunar Racing. Cassey is currently 2nd in the Mazda MX5 Championship and will be helping with important set up work for the team as they look to improve the car for the next round of the Britcar Production Championship.

Lunar Racing is an incredible initiative that allows College students to learn their craft at the top end of British Motorsport. It has been said it’s like a school football team reaching the premiership. College students built and maintain the car and even complete the ‘F1 style’ pitstops at the race circuit with tyre changes and refuelling.

Cassey is also hoping to help attract some much needed funding to the team to help achieve their dream of taking the course nationwide. She will be helping promote the team with the car at several MG events this summer, starting with the MG Festival in July at Silverstone.

Lunar Racing uses the excitement and challenge of motorsport to place Science and Engineering in a dynamic context. The heart of the Lunar Racing philosophy is to bring the classroom into the real world. This is why they compete in the professional motorsport arena.

Britcar is televised on Sky Sports and Motors TV and the team are lieing an incredible second in the championship after 3 rounds.