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Category: Ginetta Championship

Oli Basey-FisherProtyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge front-runner Oli Basey-Fisher enjoyed a dream outing at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit over the weekend, 10th/11th August, where he sealed an outstanding hat-trick of race victories in rounds 16, 17 and 18 of the season.

Doing the power of good for his championship position, the trio of results – added to bonus points for the fastest lap in each encounter and pole position for the first two races – mean the 18-year-old from Great Finborough is now third in the standings and a mere three points shy of the series lead.

“It doesn’t get much better than this”, said the elated Century Logistics-backed racer, “It’s been an absolutely outstanding weekend from start to finish, qualifying went perfectly for us and the car was faultless, the guys at Academy Motorsport did a fantastic job.

“The races were hard work but to come away with all three wins, and the fastest lap in each, really is more than we could have hoped for. I was aiming to challenge for a top three championship finish before the weekend started, now we’re right in the fight for the title – fantastic!”

Starting the Brands Hatch event superbly in qualifying, Oli topped the times with a tremendous lap of 1m40.323 seconds (87.31mph) to secure the round 16 pole and with an equally impressive second fastest lap of 1m40.477 seconds (87.18mph) he also bagged pole position for round 17.

Making a good start to the opening encounter on Saturday afternoon, he led away from rival Jake Giddings but into lap two the latter had managed to edge ahead. Running nose-to-tail for almost the entire duration, with never more than a couple of tenths of a second splitting the duo, Oli tried everything he could to retake the lead over the final three laps.

Piling on the pressure to his rival, the Academy Motorsport racer’s efforts paid off on the last lap at Druids when he was able to slice past Giddings for the lead once more – winning in the end by just 0.2 seconds. Oli also posted the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1m41.093 seconds (86.65mph).

At the start of Sunday morning’s race, round 17, Oli got away well from the line to lead but the action fell under caution before the end of the lap after a multi-car tangle further behind at Paddock Hill Bend.

At the re-start on lap four, the Suffolk teenager was 0.2 seconds clear over the line and in a repeat of Saturday’s encounter he become embroiled in a cat and mouse battle with Giddings. Although losing out to his rival on lap six, Oli hit back with a new fastest lap on the seventh tour and with only 0.064 seconds between the pair going into the final lap the stage was set for a dramatic finish.

Retaking the lead, Oli just shaded Giddings by 0.097 seconds at the chequered flag to cap another fantastic performance and seal his third victory of the campaign. His best lap of the race was a time of 1m41.566 seconds (86.24mph)

Again lining up on pole position for round 18, as a result of winning the previous encounter, the Suffolk One College student controlled the final race from the front to claim his fourth win of 2013 by over six seconds. Capping off the weekend perfectly, his fastest lap time of 1m41.042 seconds (86.69mph) shaded his race one best.

There is now a lengthy eight-week break from competition for the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge with the championship finale, rounds 19, 20 and 21, taking place at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit in Leicestershire on 5th/6th October.

“I really can’t wait for Donington”, added Oli, “After such a fantastic weekend I’d like to be back in the car tomorrow! It’s a shame there’s such a big break in the calendar now before the final three races, it just means there’s plenty of time to prepare as well as possible though. It should be a great finale to the season, it really is all to play for.”

Provisional 2013 Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge Driver Standings (after Rd18):
1st Brad Bailey, 431pts; 2nd Will Burns, 429pts; 3rd Oli Basey-Fisher, 428pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Alex DrabbleLeading team SV21 got their Ginetta GT5 campaign off on the right foot this weekend (Saturday, 30th March), with David Pittard and Alex Drabble showing well at Cheshire’s Oulton Park circuit.

Pittard, a former Britcar ace, stunned his championship counterparts when he qualified 2nd for Rounds 1 & 2 of the Ginetta backed series, having only previously driven in the dry once on the Friday of the event. Whilst Drabble, entering his second season of car racing with no previous experience, just missed out on a top ten birth for both races in 11th.

Round 1 saw Pittard surge off the start line to lead at the first corner, before a racing incident between Luke Davenport, sent the SV21 driver wide. Pittard recovered in dead last, with it all to do around the renowned circuit.

Showing well after his first corner incident, Pittard set numerous fastest laps as he worked his way through the field to a creditable sixth position at the Chequered Flag.

Former Formula Ford racer Drabble, sealed SV21’s second top ten with an impressive eighth place finish on his debut in the series.

Round 2 saw Pittard make another textbook start, this time settling into second position during the opening lap of the race.

The front four of Brad Bailey, Pittard, Davenport and Oli Basey-Fisher soon pulled away from the remaining pack, and while running bumper-to-bumper with Bailey, Pittard slipped back to fourth position whilst making a move to take the overall lead of the race.

Pittard continuously looked for options to propel him into a podium spot but ran out of time over the seven-lap period.

Drabble rounded off the second race of the day in 11th position after a race long battle with Stewart Linn and Neil Delargy, with sixth to eleventh position covered by a mere 2.5 seconds.

SV21’s presence remained in the final race of the weekend. Starting from fourth position, Pittard jumped into the lead where he was to stay for the majority of the race.

With three laps to go Pittard came under increased pressure from Bailey, eventually leading to him being nudged out as the pairing headed into Old Hall. Pittard remained hot-on-the-heels of Bailey in second position before a spin at Lodge Corner on the final lap of the race saw him limp across the line in fourth position.

Drabble failed to end his impressive debut weekend on a high in Round 3. Starting from 11th position, the London based driver wound his break bias too far forward, leading to a retirement at the halfway point of the race.

“I’m pleased that we set some good foundations for the year ahead,” said SV21 Director Piers Masarati. “We’ve shown that the cars possess great pace, which bodes well for the next round at Rockingham in May.”

“David had a strong start to his campaign and showed that he will be aiming to fight at the front going forward, this will provide a solid benchmark for Alex, who is only entering his second season of racing with no karting experience.”

Rounds 4, 5 & 6 of the Ginetta Junior Championship will get underway at Northamptonshire’s Rockingham Motor Speedway on 4/5 May.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Oli Basey-Fisher - Ginetta ChallengeProtyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge newcomer Oli Basey-Fisher made a huge impact during the opening event of the 2013 season at Oulton Park International Circuit on Saturday, 30th March, by racing to three superb podium finishes – securing him third place in the championship standings.

While all three race performances were noteworthy in their own right, the Great Finborough driver’s runner-up finish in round three was the pick of the bunch. Running in fourth place early on, mere fractions of a second splitting the lead quartet, Oli moved into third on lap eight and took second on the final tour to cap a tremendous first weekend in the category.

“It’s been an absolutely amazing debut weekend, there’s not much else that could have gone better”, he commented, “I’d just like to thank everyone at Academy Motorsport for getting me up to this standard over the pre-season with the testing we’ve done.”

Following on from a successful maiden season of car racing in the ranks of Ginetta Junior last year, the 17-year-old certainly put everything he learned to great use on his debut in his more powerful Ginetta Challenge-specification Ginetta G40.

Qualifying third fastest for round one with a lap of 1m54.182 seconds (84.86mph), Oli’s second best lap of the session of 1m55.311 seconds (84.03mph) placed him fifth on the grid for the second of the weekend’s races

At the beginning of the opening encounter, the Academy Motorsport driver maintained his third place but this soon became second when Luke Davenport was given a 10 second penalty for a jump start. Despite leading on the track, on corrected times Davenport was classified down the order.

On lap three, Oli slipped back to third behind Will Burns which triggered an entertaining dice over the place. Swapping positions for several laps, Oli eventually had to settle for third just 0.1 seconds behind his rival.

An incident at the beginning of round two led to red flags being shown and racing was, therefore, halted. When the action eventually got underway once again, Oli held sixth place at the end of the first lap but moved into the top five and then top four in quick succession. Taking third on lap five, the Century Logistics-backed racer comfortably maintained his spot on the podium to the finish.

“Overall it’s been a fantastic weekend, I thought pre-season testing went well but it’s never until the first round you really know where you stand”, said Oli, “Hopefully I can keep up this level of competitiveness over the rest of the season.”

Now returning to his studies at Suffolk One College in Ipswich, Oli will be back on track for rounds four, five and six of the 2013 Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge over the weekend 4th/5th May at Rockingham in Northamptonshire.

Provisional 2013 Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge Driver Standings:
1st Brad Bailey, 102pts; 2nd Luke Davenport, 86pts; 3rd Oli Basey-Fisher, 82pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

David McDonaldFormer Formula Ford racer Alex Drabble has confirmed his assault in the 2013 Total Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge with leading team Scuderia Vittoria.

Hampshire based Drabble, who competed in the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain in 2012, ranking fourth position in the Duratec Class, will switch his attention to closed-wheel racing as he looks to chase a career in GT and endurance racing.

Drabble will be boosted by Scuderia Vittoria’s decision to offer a Ferrari 458 GT3 test to any driver in the team that completes the 2013 season inside the top three in the title race.

“I’m really pleased to have signed with Scuderia Vittoria for the 2013 Ginetta GT5 Challenge,” said Drabble. “They are a top team and there is great scope for progression in the future.”

“I hope to use the race craft that I have acquired in Formula Ford and develop my skills further in 2013, as I would eventually like to step into the Ferrari 458 GT3.”

“My first test with the team went very well and I showed a lot of potential, so I’m really looking forward to getting back in the car over the coming months.”

Delighted with the signing of Drabble and the new initiative on offer to the Scuderia Vittoria Ginetta GT5 class of 2013, Director Piers Masarati remains focused on mirroring the team’s success in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship and AirAsia Renault Clio Cup for 2013.

“It’s great to be able confirm Alex as part of Scuderia Vittoria’s campaign in the 2013 Ginetta GT5 Challenge, and I’m sure that he will be a real asset to the team,” explained Masarati.

“For 2013 we will be aiming to mirror the success of our British GT and Clio Cup campaigns, and I’m sure that by offering drivers the unique incentive of the Ferrari test, our drivers will be keen to push on in their championship bids.”

For more updates on Scuderia Vittoria please like their Facebook page, or alternatively you can follow @ScudVittoria on Twitter.

Scuderia VittoriaScuderia Vittoria head to the 2.5 mile Donington Park Grand Prix circuit this weekend (29/30 September), with 2011 British GT4 Vice Champions David Mcdonald and Dan Denis returning to the front-runners to spearhead their challenge in the final rounds of the Total Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge.

London based Scuderia Vittoria, renowned for their success in the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup and Avon Tyres British GT Championship, have enjoyed a positive start to life in the Ginetta backed championship with Ben Constanduros and Diego Guggiari.

With both drivers faced with other commitments for the final round of the 2012 campaign this weekend however, McDonald and Denis saw this as the perfect opportunity to reignite their successful partnership with Danny Buxton and Tom Ferrier’s operation.

McDonald, a former single-seater ace turned GT racer, has already enjoyed an outing in Scuderia Vittoria’s Ferrari 458 during the Silverstone Blancpain Endurance Series round this year, and will be looking to steal the show with a brace of victories as he switches to the Ginetta GT5 Challenge for the coming weekend.

“The Total Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge is a brilliant championship,” said McDonald. “It has a very large grid and it’s brilliant to get the opportunity to work with Scuderia Vittoria again.”

“Donington Park is a very fast and flowing circuit that really suits my driving style, so although I have never sat in a Ginetta G40, I expect to be challenging for three wins there this weekend.”

2009 Caterham Superlight R400 Champion Dennis, who formed the second half of Scuderia Vittoria’s GT4 onslaught in 2011, remains equally confident of adding to the team’s success at the renowned Leicestershire circuit.

“Donington Park is a circuit that I have always been very strong at,” explained Denis. “The championship has shown that it provides some very exciting racing and I can’t wait to jump into the car this weekend.”

“My aim for the weekend is to be as quick as possible, I’ve got nothing to lose so I just want to go out there and earn some good results for Scuderia Vittoria this weekend.”

For more updates throughout the Donington Park race weekend, please like Scuderia Vittoria’s Facebook page or follow @ScudVittoria on Twitter.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Mike Robinson - Silverstone GP PodiumTotal Control Racing’s hopes of taking the Total Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge title battle to a final event decider later this month all but ended at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday, 9th September, after a shocking catalogue of mechanical problems wrecked Mike Robinson’s weekend.

Although able to secure his 11th podium of the campaign during round 16 of the season on Saturday, 8th September, the Effingham 29-year-old’s engine failed in the first of Sunday’s two races – causing a dramatic spin from second place – and the new replacement powerplant also failed in round 18.

Arriving in Northamptonshire just 44 points shy of the championship lead, Robinson departed the GP venue with a provisional 109 point deficit to Sean Huyton with just one race meeting remaining on the series calendar at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit three weeks from now.

“It’s been an absolute nightmare”, said TCR team principal Lee Brookes, “Mike had a new engine in for the third race and we can’t believe it let go. We thought if we go down that route, put a full new engine in, we’d be OK and have everything covered but there was oil everywhere. It’s even more frustrating when things happen that are completely out of your control, we’re very disappointed.”

Producing good pace in pre-event testing, and qualifying in the top three for race one, Robinson was shuffled back to fourth at the start of round 16 but remained firmly in touch with the lead trio. Then, on lap two, he was able to slice his way into second at Brooklands – after contact between William Burns and Rick Parfitt Jnr as they disputed second place – and remained there to the finish.

Sunday morning’s 17th round initially went well for the TCR racer as he nosed ahead of pole-sitter Huyton through the exit of Copse to grab the lead. Although elbowed back to second on lap two, Robinson remained tight behind his rival but on the final lap the engine in his Ginetta G40 expired with leaking fluid causing a spin, a major loss of power and an eventual 15th place finish.

Confident of a strong climb up the order in round 18 with a brand new engine installed in his car, Robinson’s hopes were quickly dashed when it became apparent the fresh powerplant also had a fault. Climbing from 15th into 10th by the start of lap two, a spin at Copse, as a result of the engine woes, dropped him back to 23rd. Somehow, despite a lack of power, he climbed back into 13th place.

Mixed fortunes for Johnson & Delargy
The weekend marked the first in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge for TCR in which the team fielded more than one car, three to be precise, with series regulars Graham Johnson and Neil Delargy switching to the team for the final two race meetings of the year.

Johnson, from East Horsley, had the most straightforward run of the three team-mates throughout the event although each race proved to be a major battle with incredibly close action at the tail of the top 10.

Starting eighth for the first encounter, Johnson raced well and although slipping to ninth at one point he regained eighth on what proved to be the final lap of the race – lap six – when the action was red flagged one lap early due to stray bodywork on the track.

Delargy endured a disappointing first race with an alternator problem forcing him to retire to the pits at the end of the second lap. He hit back with a strong performance in race two though to post a 13th place finish despite being dropped to 14th early on.

On lap five, the Acton-based driver benefitted from a moment for Diego Guggiari to move back into 13th place and although the South American recovered to get back ahead of the TCR driver, Delargy inherited 13th again on the final lap due to team-mate Robinson’s engine-failure induced spin.

Johnson started race two from eighth once again but slipped to ninth on lap one in another closely fought contest. Moving back into eighth on lap four, following the Guggiari excursion, he worked hard to fend off Ben Constanduros over the next couple of laps before dropping to ninth once more.

Unbelievably, in the third and final race, alternator woes again struck Delargy’s car and he was forced to retire two laps from the finish having been going well in 13th place. Johnson was again the highest placed of the TCR trio with a battling 11th position – having run as high as eighth.

“Graham and Neil have been great to work with this weekend, as we knew they would be”, said team boss Brookes, “Neil’s been really pleased with the way his car has handled this weekend and he’s gone quicker than he ever has before which is great, it’s just a shame we had more mechanical problems with his car that were out of our control.

“We know Graham has got the pace to be up in the top six regularly, he was involved in a lot of tight battles in all three races but he did well to come through unscathed and pick-up good, consistent points. We’re confident all three drivers will be strong at Donington, we’re determined to hit back stronger than ever after all the problems that have hit us this weekend.”

The season finale of the Total Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge will take place over the weekend 29th/30th September at Donington Park in the East Midlands. One week before then, TCR will be in action at Rockingham in Northamptonshire for the latest rounds of the AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup and Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup.

Provisional 2012 Total Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge – G40 Challenge Standings (after Rd17):
2nd Mike Robinson, 433pts; 6th Graham Johnson, 236pts; 17th Neil Delargy, 96pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Diego GuggiariScuderia Vittoria left a scorching Silverstone circuit in high spirits after a strong showing from the driver pairing of Ben Constanduros and Diego Guggiari in rounds 17 & 18 of the Total Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge.

Race two saw the ever-enthusiastic Guggiari and Constanduros line up in 10th and 11th position respectively, and both drivers got off the line well as pack of Ginetta’s charged into Copse for the first time.

The opening exchanges of the seven lap race saw Guggiari and Constanduros run inside the top ten in eighth and tenth position respectively, before a charging Guggiari spun at Abbey as he pushed to attack the top six, dropping him down to 14th position in the process.

Running in ninth position, Constanduros set his sights on chasing down Johnson and O’Brien to establish himself further within the top ten as he looked to equal his best ever finish of seventh in the series.

Constanduros, son of legendary Formula One commentator, Bob, and also a World Touring Car Championship commentator himself, pushed Johnson hard, going through Copse nose-to-tail on the sixth lap before eventually overtaking his stubborn championship counterpart followed by O’Brien as the race concluded.

After recovering from his spin in 14th position, Gugguari impressed for the remainder of the race as he worked his way through to complete the race in 11th position.

The final race of the weekend in the Ginetta backed championship proved to be a thrilling encounter for all to view.

Starting from seventh position on the grid, Constanduros determined to end his season on a high, surged off the line well to complete the first lap of the race in third position, hot-on-the-heels of the leaders out front in the opening stages, while Guggiari established himself inside the top ten in ninth position from 11th.

Pushing hard in third, Constanduros remained determined to gain his first podium of the season until he was issued a five second penalty on the sixth lap of the race for exceeding the track limits whilst in contention with the front-runners.

A tireless effort from Guggiari, saw the Uruguayan run as high as eighth position in the proceedings during the eight lap race, but the Irwin Tools backed driver eventually crossed the line in ninth position to deliver his second top ten finish of the weekend.

Remaining at loggerheads with the front six, Contstanduros kept in contention to protect his top six finish from the remainder of his championship counterparts to take the chequered flag in sixth, he would later be promoted to fifth due to the exclusion of Gary Simms.

“For the first time this year I managed to get a relatively good start off the line,” said Constanduros. “Luckily there wasn’t any chaos at Copse and then I managed to take advantage of a four car battle at Stowe to put me into third by the end of the first lap.”

“It was great to get a chance to play with the front-runners, but unfortunately the cooler conditions meant that my tyres weren’t quite at optimum temperature, giving me oversteer issues and later leading to a five second penalty, but I have my best result so it’s a great way to end the season.”

“This year has been very tough, I’ve sat for eight years commentating and judging drivers either at a circuit or on TV, and when you get into the cockpit you realise that there is so much for going on for them. We’ll see what happens for next year now, but Scuderia Vittoria would be a great team to stay with.”

Guggiari added, “I managed to get a good start off the line which was very important for me starting back in 11th position.” Said Guggiari.

“We managed to put ourselves in a great position as I moved into the top ten during the opening stages of the race. Unfortunately towards the closing stages I started to lose power so I had to settle for ninth.”

“Overall, I’m happy with the way that we have progressed this weekend. I think that looking ahead to Donington, we are more than capable of running within the top six all weekend, maybe we can even push for our first podium of the season.”

Scuderia Vittoria will resume action in the Total Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge in three weeks time as the championship moves to Donington Park in Leicestershire.

For more information on Scuderia Vittoria and the progress made please follow their Facebook page, alternatively you can follow all updates on @ScudVittoria on Twitter.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Diego GuggiariDiego Guggiari and Ben Constanduros overcame an eventful curtain-raiser in the Total Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge today (8th September), to seal seventh and eleventh position respectively, as round 16 of the championship got underway at the world-renowned Silverstone circuit.

Starting side-by-side on the fifth row of the grid, Constanduros, renowned for his commentary on the World Touring Car Championship, immediately surged to seventh position as the pack of ambitious racers entered Copse for the first time, leaving a hesitant Guggiari to settle for ninth position at the end of the first lap.

The Scuderia Vittoria pairing who are currently competing their first season in the Ginetta backed championship, continued to progress during the opening stages of the race after an incident involving Rick Parfitt and William Burns, saw Constanduros climb to sixth, with Guggiari close behind in eighth.

With the front five breaking away from the remainder of the pack, thrilling bumper-to-bumper racing soon changed the proceedings further back on lap four, due to Guggiari taking advantage of a tussle between Constanduros and Johnson in front to move up to sixth. Guggiari charged on but Constanduros found himself demoted to eighth position in the shuffle.

Continuing to impress on his first outing at Silverstone, Guggiari was soon caught by a recovering Rick Parfitt in the latter stages of the race. Parfitt took advantage of his experience at the Northamptonshire venue to snatch sixth position from the Uruguayan.

With three laps to go, Constanduros became involved in a tense battle with Gary Simms, Graham Johnson, and Ryan Ratcliffe, dropping to eleventh position in the process, but a red flag situation on lap five of the race involving William Burns at Becketts, ended the race prematurely.

“I didn’t make the best of starts off the line because my revs were too low and there was a lot of action at the first corner,” said Guggiari. “Once I got my head down, I managed to set some competitive lap times which put me back into contention. Overall I’m really pleased with the moves that I made on my championship counterparts.”

“We have set a very good foundation ahead of tomorrow, so I would like to think that we could challenge for a podium before the weekend is over.”

Constanduros said, “I made a very good start and exited copse for the first time in seventh position. Unfortunately I wasn’t quite close enough to the top six to benefit from slipstream on the first lap of the race, and gradually started to lose the tow and momentum.”

“In general I didn’t quite have the pace today and this saw me drop back to 11th which is slightly frustrating, but we start race two in a similar position tomorrow and I’m looking forward to getting back out on track.”

Round 17 of the Total Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge will get underway tomorrow, Sunday, 9th September, at 09:20, followed by round 18 at 17:10.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Diego GuggiariScuderia Vittoria head to the world-renowned Silverstone circuit this weekend (8/9 September), for the penultimate round of the Total Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge, holding high hopes of a strong showing at the Northamptonshire venue.

The leading team renowned for their success in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship and AirAsia Renault Clio Cup, have started life in the Ginetta championship on a positive note with drivers Ben Constanduros and Diego Guggiari both behind the wheel of Ginetta G40 machinery in their debut season.

Guggiari, a newcomer to the UK motorsport scene in 2012, approaches this weekend’s round at Silverstone having never previously raced on the circuit, but after sealing three top six finishes at Cadwell Park, and performing well at Snetterton 300, Guggiari will be confident of breaking into the top six this weekend.

“I’m very excited to be racing at Silverstone,” said Guggiari. “The weekend will present a new challenge as I have never previously raced there, but after our strong showing over the last two rounds, I’m confident that I can adapt well to earn some strong results.”

Constanduros arrives at Silverstone this weekend for what will be his final meeting in the championship due to commentary commitments in Bahrain for the World Endurance Championship. After establishing himself over the second half of the season, Constanduros will be aiming to complete his season on a positive note.

“Silverstone is a circuit that I have been looking forward to racing on all year,” explained Constanduros.

“Due to my commitments with the WEC in Bahrain this will be my last meeting for the year, so I’d like to continue to stabilise my run of good form and enjoy myself this weekend.”

For more updates throughout the race weekend, please like Scuderia Vittoria’s Facebook page or follow @ScudVittoria on Twitter.

Wednesbury’s Total Control Racing will field an expanded three-car line-up in the Total Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge at Silverstone this coming weekend, 8th/9th September, after agreeing deals with series regulars Graham Johnson and Neil Delargy for the final two events of the 2012 season.

Joining championship contender and multiple race winner Mike Robinson, who is currently second in the driver standings, Johnson and Delargy will contest the three Silverstone races with TCR along with the season finale at Donington Park at the end of the month.

“It’s fantastic to have Graham and Neil onboard”, said team principal Lee Brookes, “We’ve been keen to expand our team in the Ginetta Challenge so we’re really looking forward to going out there at Silverstone with three cars for the first time in this championship.

“Mike [Robinson] and Graham have known each other a long time and, along with Neil, they should all work really well together and push each other on. Hopefully all three can have a really strong end to the season, we’re confident we can help Graham and Neil take their best results yet.”

Johnson, who resides in East Horsley in Surrey, has raced in the Total Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge for the past two seasons and is currently sixth in the championship with best results of fifth place at Oulton Park and Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit.

Having been somewhat frustrated not to have been on the podium this year, the 38-year-old is more determined than ever to challenge for top three results during the final two events of the campaign, beginning at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit this weekend.

“First and foremost I want to get a dependable and reliable car and I know TCR will give me that, it’s such a professional team”, said Johnson, “I’ve not had the best results so far this year and I’ve been sitting there watching what Mike [Robinson] has been doing…and I want some of that!

“I’m very good mates with Mike, we’ve known each other since he was 13, so it’ll be fantastic being team-mates again as we started out racing together in karts. I don’t want to speak too soon but I think I can guarantee I’ll be more competitive this weekend than I have been all season.”

Delargy, from Acton in London, returned to competitive action last season after a 16 year hiatus from the track due to business and family commitments. Having originally raced Caterhams in the mid 1990s, Delargy never lost the motorsport bug and after a lunch meeting with good friend Clive Richards – 10 years since they’d last met-up – they both decided to purchase a Ginetta.

Now following Graham Johnson to TCR from their previous team, Delargy is bidding for a marked upturn in performance but more than that he wants to enjoy a greater level of confidence at the wheel of his G40.

“I’ve been lacking confidence with the car and that’s what I need to change, TCR has already given me some great feedback and it’ll be just nice to drive a car that’s good”, he said, “The main thing for me is to be able to drive with more confidence, that’s been lacking with some of the problems I’ve experienced this year.

“I’ve seen what the team can do, Mike [Robinson] is obviously a very good peddler anyway, and they’re a great bunch of guys. We’ll see how the last two events go, I’m sure it’ll be an enjoyable time, and then I might be back for more next year!”

Erstwhile championship leader Robinson will arrive at Silverstone 44 points shy of the top of the table due to a couple of mixed weekends at Cadwell Park and Snetterton. Even so, with a total of 10 podiums from 14 races – including four race victories – the Effingham driver’s credentials are proven and with well over 200 points still up for grabs to any one driver, his title bid remains on track.

Following qualifying at Silverstone at 10.10 on Saturday, 8th September, the first Total Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge race of the weekend will begin at 15.55. On Sunday, 9th September, race two will get underway at 09.55 with race three following at approximately 17.40.

Provisional 2012 Total Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge – G40 Challenge Standings (after Rd14):
2nd Mike Robinson, 389pts; 6th Graham Johnson, 200pts; 13th Neil Delargy, 88pts