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Category: Auto GP

Richard GondaRichard Gonda has been signed by Accelerate Driver Development Ltd (ADD), a UK-based leading management organisation.

Gonda, who is the only Slovakian single-seater race driver, has been making a name for himself in his native country as a potential future F1 driver and last year successfully won the European F3 Open series Copa class title, scoring 100 points in total and impressively taking eleven podiums – including seven wins.

“I’m sure that after the results I have achieved, especially the title in the European F3 Open series, it has come at the right moment to co-operate with Graeme [Glew] and John [Byfield] of Accelerate Driver Development Ltd (ADD), who have so much experience in the world of motorsport and in F1,” said the 19-year-old, who began karting in 2003, before then moving to Formula Renault in 2010.

“I believe that with Graeme, John and Accelerate Driver Development Ltd (ADD), who choose me to progress with, I can successfully reach the highest level in single-seater racing.

“We will need to work very hard in the near future, but I hope we can realise our first significant step to our target which is to race in the AutoGP World Series in 2014.

“It is all looking very exciting.”

Graeme Glew, Director, Accelerate Driver Development Ltd (ADD), meanwhile believes Gonda has what it takes to progress to the pinnacle of the sport.

“Having watched Richard in last year’s European F3 Open Series he always impressed me with his speed and calm attitude,” said Glew. “Even when he had to start from the back in one of the races at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, the way he carved through the field was very impressive and a sure sign he is a winner.”

“It is clear that given the opportunity, Richard will go all the way to the very top of the sport and the fact he is the only race driver to come out of Slovakia creates a unique opportunity for him,” Glew added.

ADD was established back in 2010 by Glew and Byfield, who between them have over 50 years of motorsport experience at all levels from grass roots to the very pinnacle of the sport, F1. The organisation headed up by Glew specialises in driver management and sponsorship acquisition and currently also looks after, in addition to Gonda, Ferrari F1 Academy member, Nicolas Costa, as well as Robert La Rocca, Liam Venter and Lucas Biagioni. ADD also recently launched a new Driver Development Initiative at the Autosport International Show at the NEC in Birmingham, the Accelerate Driver Development Junior Academy, naming karters Sam Pooley, Cameron Roberts, Kyle Hornby and Brett Ward on its initial intake.

Photo by Foto Speedy /

Cameron TwynhamUp and coming British racing driver Cameron Twynham heads to the European F3 Open season finale in Barcelona next weekend (8-10 November) still hopeful of challenging for the Copa Class title.

The 17-year-old from Market Harborough has been a championship contender since the first round of the year but endured a luckless weekend at Monza last time out, leaving him 13 points adrift of top spot. With only 20 still available from the final two races at Circuit de Catalunya, Twynham is well aware of the task at hand.

“I’m under no illusions as to how difficult it will be to clinch the Copa crown in Spain, but that won’t stop me from going out all guns blazing,” he confirmed. “Realistically I need to win both races in order to have any chance, so I’ll be in maximum attack mode. Any other approach simply won’t do.”

To that end Twynham can take comfort from the raw pace he and his Team West-Tec-run Dallara F308 demonstrated at the ultra-fast Monza circuit where he comfortably qualified on pole among the newer F312 machinery.

“Monza was tough as the hard work I’d put in over the previous couple of months didn’t really pay off. We were leading the championship and had qualified on pole, but that first race just didn’t go to plan and from there things started to unravel.

“But all in all, regardless of what happens in Barcelona, I think we can be proud of the season as a whole. Looking back over the year there are moments where I know we lost points, but also those where we outperformed the car or overcame difficulties. My chief rival has a lot more experience than me, and although I obviously want to win the championship, finishing second would still represent a good return.”

While the prospect of overhauling that 13-point deficit will be at the forefront of his mind during the coming week, last Monday (October 28) was all about keeping one eye on the future when Twynham made the considerable step up in performance by sampling a Zele Racing-prepared Auto GP single-seater for the first time.

Travelling to Jerez for the championship’s official post-season test day, Cameron quickly settled in behind the wheel of the 550bhp machine despite the significant increase in both power and downforce.

“No question, the Auto GP car was absolutely awesome,” enthused Twynham. “I was on-track all day and covered a lot of laps. The jump in performance was very noticeable at first, especially the throttle response. There’s just no comparison between it and an F3 car. So I was patient, built my confidence step by step and was soon turning quick lap times. The team were happy and I didn’t make any silly mistakes. It was a great day and has given me a lot to think about for next year.”

Don’t forget Motors TV has live coverage of both European F3 Open races next weekend, with Saturday’s coverage beginning at 13:50 and Sunday’s starting at 12:05 GMT.

Barcelona weekend schedule*

Friday 8 November:
Free Practice 1: 09:00 – 09:30
Free Practice 2: 12:20 – 12:50
Free Practice 3: 17:10 – 17:40

Saturday 9 November:
Qualifying 1: 11:10 – 11:40
Race 1: 15:00 (17 laps)

Sunday 10 November:
Qualifying 2: 09:15 – 09:45
Race 2: 13:20 (17 laps)

*All times local

Photo by Zele Racing

Cameron TwynhamEuropean F3 Open Copa Class title contender Cameron Twynham will sample Auto GP machinery for the first time next Monday (October 28) when he teams up with the Zele Racing squad at the championship’s official test day in Jerez, Spain.

The combination of Lola BO5/52 chassis and Zytek ZA1348 engine, which produces some 550bhp, will be a significant hike in performance compared to the F3 single-seater he has raced this year. Nevertheless, the 17-year-old from Market Harborough is confident of making a strong impression at a circuit where he scored a podium finish earlier this season.

“This is a massive step up in power, more than double what my current F3 car produces in fact, so I will be treating the Auto GP single-seater with the respect it deserves,” said Twynham. “These cars look and sound incredible, and I cannot wait to get out on track to see what they can do. This is an excellent chance for me to test the car and I can’t thank Zele Racing or my personal management team enough for organising the opportunity at such short notice.”

Zele Racing Team Principal, Michael Zele, added: “We’re really happy to have Cameron with us for official Auto GP testing at Jerez next week. His performances in F3 Open have progressed really well throughout the year and we’re delighted to have another promising and very talented driver in our team.”

To see and, more importantly, hear the Auto GP single seater in action, check out this video from Monza:

Manor MP Motorsport - AUTO GPDutch motor racing team Manor MP Motorsport is to take part in the high-profile VKV City Racing event in Rotterdam this Sunday, 18th August, with former FIA Formula One World Championship racer Jos Verstappen providing demonstration runs in one of the squad’s AUTO GP cars.

With support from Trust, the leading value-for-money brand for digital lifestyle accessories for computers and mobile communications devices, the 41-year-old from Montfort in The Netherlands will undoubtedly prove a star attraction at the prestigious annual showcase.

Verstappen raced with more than half a dozen teams in Formula One, including Benetton, Simtek, Footwork, Tyrrell, Stewart, Arrows and Minardi. He is the most successful Dutchman to ever compete at the highest level in Grand Prix racing and his career also includes participation in the Le Mans 24 Hours and the A1 Grand Prix series where he competed for the A1 Netherlands Team.

“I am really looking forward to being part of such a fantastic event, the City Racing festival has really grown in Rotterdam over the last few years and it’s a great chance for the Dutch fans to see some amazing racing cars up close”, said Verstappen, “It’s going to be great joining up with the guys at Manor MP Motorsport too and a lot of fun showing what the AUTO GP car can do.”

Situated in the heart of Rotterdam, the ‘City Racing’ concept has proved massively popular since the inaugural event back in 2005. Attracting a wide variety of cars from a variety of disciplines, alongside the appearance of Manor MP Motorsport there will also be demonstration runs from the likes of the Caterham F1 Team with its driver, Giedo van der Garde.

As an extra bonus, Trust is running a competition on its Facebook page – anyone who ‘likes’ the page will be entered into a contest to win an exclusive VIP package for the VKV City Racing festival.

“We’re delighted to be supporting Rotterdam City Racing and the guys in the team are really looking forward to working with Jos”, said Manor MP Motorsport principal Sander Dorsman, “Unfortunately we can’t all be there as it clashes with the next rounds of AUTO GP. It’s going to be a great event and the guys are looking forward to meeting as many fans as possible on the day.”

Event organiser Robert Heilbron added: “It’s fantastic that Manor MP Motorsport is present at the event this year, the team races in a lot of different classes, including even GP2. With the team based near Rotterdam too, it’s great for us to have them and they will be very popular with the fans.”

Photo by AUTO GP.

Riccardo AgostiniRiccardo Agostini helped Manor MP Motorsport make a strong start to the 2013 AUTO GP season at Monza over the weekend, 23rd/24th March – the series rookie securing a top five finish in a rain-hit round two and, memorably, scorching to pole position in his maiden category qualifying session.

Agostini, the reigning Italian F3 Italia and Italian F3 European Champion, began his first weekend in AUTO GP impressively on home soil. After progressing well through the two practice sessions, he stormed to the round one pole position with an outstanding time of 1m35.782 seconds, over 0.6 seconds clear of his closest rival.

While Saturday afternoon’s dry encounter didn’t evolve as Agostini or Manor MP Motorsport would have liked, especially in view of his tremendous qualifying pace, he still delivered a competitive run to seventh.

At the start he made good use of his grid-topping slot, but after an early three-way dice for the lead Agostini went straight on at the first chicane after braking a little too late on lap two. From that point on, the youngster’s hopes of a podium on his debut got less and less as he struggled with tyres.

The seventh place result did, however, give Agostini a front-row starting slot for round two – by virtue of the ruling which sees the top eight finishing order of the first race ‘reversed’ to form the first four rows of the race two grid each weekend in AUTO GP.

Continual rain throughout the morning on Sunday led to a saturated track and officials made the wise decision to begin round two behind the Safety Car. Racing proper got underway on lap four and Agostini was the first of the drivers to take their mandatory pit-stop.

Rejoining in seventh place, he climbed into sixth and remained there until midway through lap nine when slipping behind round one winner Sergio Campana. Four laps from the finish, Agostini moved back into the top six and on the final tour he claimed fifth to cap a very encouraging debut.

“Riccardo had a good weekend, his speed in qualifying was amazing”, said team principal Sander Dorsman, “For sure, a bit of a lack of experience cost him in the races. For a rookie driver to have been so quick, against some really experienced guys, was good and we’re really pleased.”

Team-mate Meindert van Buuren, also a newcomer this year to AUTO GP, took a deserved top 10 finish on his first weekend in the championship and delivered a good account of himself stepping-up from the much less powerful Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup.

Beginning Sunday’s rain-lashed encounter in 12th position behind the Safety Car, the 18-year-old Dutchman – like Agostini – also pitted as soon as possible for his mandatory stop when the action properly got underway.

Feeding back into the running order in 11th place, van Buuren managed to break into the top 10 as the race entered its final third. Despite the difficulty of having a trackside cone lodged in his front-right suspension during the closing stages, he maintained position to deservingly claim a top 10 spot.

For round one on Saturday, van Buuren lined-up 14th on the grid and after his pit-stop he aimed to make progress up towards the top 10. Unfortunately, a spin at the first chicane around mid-distance preceded his unfortunate retirement which was caused by the engine over-heating.

Reflecting on his weekend, the young Dutchman said: “It’s a big step up and I think in qualifying I made a mistake as I maybe put too much pressure on myself, it was still OK though. I had a couple of spins in the first race but the second race was really good. It’s difficult to go to a car with so much more power than you’re used to, but you can learn it quite quickly and I think I did a good job.”

Manor MP Motorsport’s AUTO GP squad will be back in action just two weeks from now for rounds three and four of the 2013 season in Marrakech, Morocco, over the weekend 6th/7th April.

2013 AUTO GP Driver Standings:
6th Riccardo Agostini, 15pts; =12th Meindert van Buuren, 1pt

Adrian Quaife-HobbsAutoGP World Series Champion Adrian Quaife-Hobbs has had his outstanding performance in 2012 recognised with the Fairfield Trophy at the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) awards presentation in London today.

Presented at the Connaught Rooms, Great Queen Street, London, by John Surtees OBE, Adrian was among motor racing’s elite, as he was honoured for his debut season in the series, in which he won five races, scored ten podium finishes and secured six pole positions. Alongside clinching the drivers’ championship with two rounds still remaining, Adrian was also crowned Under-21 champion and helped steer Super Nova International to the teams’ title.

“It is a huge honour to be awarded the BRDC Fairfield Trophy for outstanding achievement,” said Adrian. “I’ve had an amazing season in AutoGP World Series, racing with undoubtedly one of the best single seater teams in the world.”

“Winning the double in Portugal was without question the highlight of my season, in what has been a very special year, and to have those performances recognised is a privilege and immensely rewarding.”

Adrian enjoyed a dream start to the 2012 season, with a debut pole position in Monza, which he followed with victory and third place in the opening two rounds. A second successive pole spot, together with victory and second in Valencia, extended his series lead.

A fifth consecutive podium finish in Marrakesh, together with fourth place, put the 21 year-old on course as title favourite. While in Budapest, Adrian continued his domination with another victory and second place.

However, it was the following race that proved the highlight of the former Marussia F1 test driver’s 2012 season. In Portimao Adrian had the perfect weekend; pole position, double victory and two fastest laps to break the record for the most AutoGP wins by a driver in one season and firmly cement his title challenge.

Starting the penultimate event in Curitiba, with his fifth pole position, Adrian was looking secure in second place until a problem pit stop dropped him to sixth. However his season-long pace was enough to secure him the title, despite not finishing the final race of the weekend.

Notching up his sixth pole position from seven rounds at Sonoma, Adrian went on to record his tenth podium finish of the season in the final double-header rounds, and recovered from being taken out of the lead at turn two in the first race, to finish his final race of the year in second place.

The BRDC Fairfield Trophy in awarded in honour of Pat Fairfield, a British driver who lost his life in a crash at Le Mans in 1937, and is presented annually to a BRDC member for outstanding performance in a season. Previous recipients of the prestigious awards have been David Brabham, Anthony Davidson and Paul di Resta.

Adrian now heads to Spain, when he is charged with shaking down the 2013 specification AutoGP World Series car at a two-day test in Barcelona on 6&7 December.

Adrian Quaife-HobbsAutoGP World Series Champion Adrian Quaife-Hobbs notched up his sixth pole position from seven rounds, and recorded his tenth podium finish of the season in the final double-header rounds in Sonoma, San Francisco on Sunday. The 21 year-old from Tonbridge, Kent also clinched the Under 21 title and sealed the team’s championship for Super Nova International, despite ending the opening race in the gravel after being taken out of the lead at turn two.

Marking the series’ inaugural outing on US soil, Quaife-Hobbs got the weekend off to the best possible start, notching up pole some half a second clear of his rivals. With the drivers’ title already claimed in Brazil last time out, the Briton was focused on helping Super Nova secure the team’s crown, as well as adding to his impressive race-winning tally of five victories.

Saturday’s opening race had promised the chance for the new champion to shine on his American racing debut, as a superb getaway allowed him to leap into the lead ahead of the chasing pack. However entering the second corner, the BRDC member was suddenly hit by Antonio Pizzonia, who launched over the top of Quaife-Hobbs’ Zytek V8-engined Lola, missing his head by inches, but thankfully without any injury.

Overnight a sterling job by the team to repair the substantial damage allowed Adrian to take the grid for Sunday’s race two in 12th place. A lightening getaway, narrowly avoiding the stalled car of Kotaro Sakurai, saw him leap to sixth by the first corner, and fifth by the second, before the safety car was deployed to retrieve the stricken stationery car.

At the restart, Quaife-Hobbs continued his charge through the field, catching and passing several cars before the mandatory pit stops. Entering the pits in third, a superb job by the team saw Quaife-Hobbs leap-frog into second place, and over the remaining laps he maintained a steady pace to finish just over three seconds adrift, to record his fourth runner-up spot of the season.

“I really wanted to end the season with a podium finish, so it’s great for the team and myself to finish with the taste of champagne,” said Adrian. “I think we could possibly have won, however in the pit stop, (Antonio) Spavone engaged the pit-limiter on the wrong line, so we had a really slow entry into the pits, which cost us quite a few seconds. After the stop, I chased down Sergey (Sirotkin) but my tyres started to fade, and I felt that finishing the season with a podium was too important to risk, so I eased off.

“Winning the championship the way we did was astonishing: we had tough rivals like (Pal) Varhaug and Sirotkin who gave us a hard time, but overall we were always consistently the ones to beat; six poles from seven events, five wins and ten podium finishes speak for themselves, particularly the perfect weekend in Portimao.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to Super Nova International for giving me the best possible car every weekend, and AutoGP for providing us with such a great championship to race in.”

Adrian will return home to the UK on Tuesday and will then embark on an extensive testing programme in Spain in GP2, starting with two days in Barcelona with Addax, and a further two days in Jerez with Arden. After that the Champion will be tasked with shaking down the 2013 specification AutoGP car during a two-day test in Barcelona on 6&7 December.

Adrian Quaife-HobbsAdrian Quaife-Hobbs will head across the pond for the two remaining rounds of the AutoGP World Series on 22&23 September with his sights set firmly on adding victory to his impressive tally. The host venue, the Sonoma circuit in California, is largely unknown to all the drivers in the series, but the 2012 Champion has already overcome this hurdle several times this season, and relishes the challenge ahead.

On his AutoGP debut in Monza in March, Quaife-Hobbs sealed the best possible start to his 2012 season, setting the immediate pace on Italian soil with his maiden series pole position. His first podium wasn’t long in coming either, with a stellar run to victory in the opening race; a further five race wins, four pole positions, and a total of nine podium finishes, crowned him champion with two rounds still remaining.

The 21 year-old will be aiming to emulate that form aboard the SuperNova International Zytek V8-engined Lola next weekend as he comes out of a nine-week break since the last double-header round in Brazil.

Having proved his potential with such strong performances across Europe, Africa and South America, the Tonbridge racer is ready to put the summer break and his resultant extensive training programme to good use with nothing less than victory as his goal.

Although the driver’s title is already wrapped up in favour of the British Racing Drivers’ Club member, Quaife-Hobbs is determined to help assist SuperNova International in adding the team’s crown to his successes, in which it currently holds a 45 point advantage.

“I’m really looking forward to racing in America, as it will be my first time there and naturally I go out as Champion but still with expectations of bringing home two more victories to add to the tally. We have had a great pace all season and I have no reason to expect the Sonoma rounds to be any different, however I appreciate it’s not always possible.

“The SuperNova International team has provided me with a superb car all season and we have a great base set-up from which to work. With two half hour practice sessions ahead of qualifying, we should hopefully be able to just tune in to the track and hit the ground running.

“There are a few new drivers into the series for the final rounds, but our objective will remain the same as ever, we don’t look at the competition, we just work together to get the best out of the car, and this has worked for us all season. Aside from my own personal desire to win the final two rounds, I am also naturally very keen to help the team secure the team’s championship.

“After a lengthy break since Brazil, it will be good to get back on track and although it’s in the USA where temperatures are quite likely much hotter than here, I don’t envisage it being much different to Europe at the height of summer, and hopefully my extensive training programme will help me to overcome any possible problems on that front.“

The action at Sonoma starts on Friday, 21 September, with two free practice sessions at 11.00 and 15.30 (local time). Qualifying will take place at 09.45 on Saturday, 22 September, followed by the first race at 13.20. Sunday will host the remaining round at 14.35.

For more information click onto and follow the latest news and live timings on and with live twitter feeds.

Adrian Quaife-HobbsBriton Adrian Quaife-Hobbs has won the 2012 AutoGP Championship with two races still remaining. Displaying a dominant performance in both free practice sessions and qualifying, the 21 year-old topped the times in all three, to net his fifth pole position in the series.

In the races, the Tonbridge racer was unable to add to his tally of five previous victories. However such has been his dominance in the 14-race series, the former Formula Renault and GP3 racer cannot be beaten regardless of his results in the final rounds at Sonama, California in September.

Once again Quaife-Hobbs proved the pacesetter in practice to serve notice of his intention to take the title for Supernova Racing. Powering the Zytek V8-engined Lola to a record three consecutive AutoGP pole positions, Quaife-Hobbs knew he just had to finish ahead of nearest title rival Pal Varhaug, however the former T-Cars Champion still wanted to finish his season on a high.

Lining up on the front row for race one, the BRDC Member didn’t get the best of starts, dropping down to fourth, but a strong opening lap soon saw him back up into third place, and quickly pushing for second. At the mandatory pit stop for fresh tyres however, his chances of securing another podium were ended with a problem replacing the right rear wheel, which cost him valuable time and eventually netted sixth at the flag.

On the top eight reverse grid, he lined up on the second row for race two and a lightening start allowed him to leapfrog the front-row starters and take the lead. For 19 laps, Quaife-Hobbs was the class of the field, gradually extending his advantage over the field ahead of his mandatory tyre stop. With race victory in his sights though, and in an otherwise faultless race, he missed the braking point on the entry to the pits, clipping the grass and hitting the tyre barrier, his race over.

“Naturally I’m very happy to have won the series, with two rounds remaining, but I really wanted to win the series with a race victory,” said Adrian. “Our pace in practice and qualifying showed that once again we were more than capable of doing that, but for a number of problems, we were denied that in race one.

“In the second race, everything was going really well but I just misjudged the braking on the entry to the pit lane.”

The final rounds of the AutoGP series, championship previously won by Lotus F1 racer Romain Grosjean, will take place at Sonama, USA, over the weekend of 22&23 September.

For more information click onto and follow the latest news and live timings on and with live twitter feeds.

Adrian Quaife-HobbsAdrian Quaife-Hobbs completed a ‘perfect weekend’ with pole position, double victory and two fastest laps in the latest rounds of AutoGP World Series at Portimao this weekend. The 21 year-old also broke the record for the most AutoGP wins by a driver in one season to secure another series first, and extends his series lead to 73 points.

The Tonbridge racer had started the weekend in the best possible way, setting a searing pace in testing at the Portuguese track in official practice on Thursday. The Supernova driver then cemented his fine form in qualifying, powering his 550bhp, Zytek V8-engined Lola to his fourth pole position of the series, for the first of two races to be held on Saturday.

Starting race one on a set of used Kumho tyres, Adrian didn’t have the best of starts but over the course of the opening lap, was able to slipstream his way past the leader, to retake the lead. Thereafter a controlled drive allowed Quaife-Hobbs to pull away to a six second lead before the mandatory pit-stops.

After all the pit stops had been completed and the race order settled down, the former GP3 racer extended his lead to nine seconds, and with the fastest lap to his credit, to take a comfortable fourth win of the year.

Race two on Sunday morning saw no such start-line dramas for the Briton, despite starting from eighth place on the reversed top-eight grid. By the end of lap one the charging Quaife-Hobbs was already up into fifth place, gaining two places off the line and claiming another position into the first corner.

An incident on lap two saw the safety car called into play to retrieve the stricken car of Pål Varhaug and almost as soon as the race had restarted two laps later, it was again brought under the control of the safety car by another incident. This did not distract Quaife-Hobbs however, and like several others he elected to make the most of the opportunity to serve his compulsory pit stop as soon as the pitlane opened, exiting in third place.

At the restart, Adrian made the most of the slipstream to pass two cars in one stunning overtaking manoeuvre, to claim the lead. Over the remaining laps, Quaife-Hobbs was comfortably the quickest driver on track, posting the fastest lap of the race as he stretched his advantage to five seconds at the flag.

“What a perfect weekend this has been, it feels great,” said Adrian. “Without question this is the best racing weekend of my life and one that will stay with me forever.

“I was surprised by the outcome of the start of race one. I didn’t even use the overboost because I felt that my start was a really good one, and when I looked in the mirrors I didn’t see Regalia, and the others behind were far enough to feel safe.

“Then Facu (Regalia) appeared on my right and there was nothing I could do. Anyway I managed to pass him one lap later and I soon realised that the strategy of starting on soft tyres was paying off. We were quicker than our rivals on mediums and we managed nine laps without getting any graining, so it was just perfect. We could have gone longer with our pit-stop but as both Pål (Varhaug) and Sergey (Sirotkin) had already done theirs earlier we decided to pit and not waste our gap in case of a safety car. It is difficult to rank your wins, but I think that we did a really good race.

“Race two really was a dream result and brought the weekend to a perfect conclusion. I said before the weekend that was my aim, and it all worked out to plan. It’s tough naturally starting from eighth to get that second race win, but I made a great start and was able to make the most of the safety car periods and another great stop by the Supernova team.”

The next round of AutoGP World Series will take place at the Curitiba circuit in Brazil on 22nd July, marking Adrian’s first visit to South America.

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