WRDA member Ben Hingeley moved to 4th place in the 2017 BRDC British F3 Championship, after he blasted to super win in race 1 at Spa last weekend, and has proved himself a real race winner and a threat to the current points leaders James Pull, Toby Sowery and Enaam Ahmed . Starting from 3rd place on the grid, 19 year old Ben from Abergele, driving the Fortec prepared car, stalked Sowery and Ahmed, overtaking them both in the early laps, with some forceful moves , and drove well to record a win by just over a second from Ahemd.
After he said “Last time out I claimed a win on a brilliant track like Silverstone and I’ve done the same today so I’m really made up. I got a great start and a lovely tow down the back straight on both Toby Sowery and Enaam Ahmed. I managed to get around the outside of Enaam and then I pushed on to catch Toby and I had the pace on him. I caught him and got a really nice tow down the back straight into the chicane. He defended to the inside, I went to the outside, out-braked him and got the move done.
As we went through the right I had the inside for the left and I’m not sure if because he took a tighter line, he understeered but there was a bit of contact which pushed me off the track and I had to take to the escape road a little bit. These things happen with racing and without the contact I would have made the corner quite comfortably. We’ll go again now, we’ve got the night to think about anything we need to change and try and figure out why the rear tyres went off a little bit and we’ll come back tomorrow to try and get another two wins.”
However Saturday starter as a bit of a downer, as Ben after a race to forget in Race 2, spending three laps in the pits early on following contact on the opening lap from fellow race one podium finisher Guilherme Samaia. The Brazilian driver retired in the pits and was handed a five place grid penalty for race 3 by the stewards. Ben recovered to finish an unclassified 16th.
But Ben then bounced back to finish 3rd in the final race of the weekend. Ben confirmed “It’s great to be back on the podium coming from sixth place on the grid, especially after what happened in race two – that really put us on the back foot. I think the track had changed today from yesterday especially this morning when it was a bit quicker, and after the GT race it seemed to slow down a lot. It probably hurt us a bit more than it hurt the other two and they had just a tenth or two more every lap which helped them get away. In the end that was enough and I couldn’t catch them. I was hoping that their battling would bring them closer to me but it didn’t happen and third was the best we could do I think.”
However the points scored have moved Ben into 4th place, only 8 points behind James Pull in 3rd place & 17 points behind Tony Sowery in 2nd place!
The next rounds are at Brands Hatch on 5/6th August.
Current 2017 British F3 points
1st Enaam Ahmed – (Carlin Racing) – 399pts
2nd Tony Sowery – (Lannan Racing)317pts
3rd James Pull – (Carlin Racing) – 308pts
4th Ben Hingeley (Fortec)-300pts
—————————— British GT Championship Report ——————–
Seb & Rick still 2nd overall after a tough weekend at the Spa
Two incident-packed British GT Championship races at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on Saturday, 8th July, delivered a best finishes of 3rd and 5th places for Welsh racer Seb Morris and team-mate Rick Parfitt Jnr but still left Bentley Continental duo in 2nd place in the points, although now 12 points adrift in the standings.
Ending round seven fifth on the road and round eight seventh, (but with several drivers participating at Spa on a one-off , no points scoring basis) meant that Seb & Rick were actually third and fifth.
The pace of the Team Parker Racing drivers in Car 31, was undeniable, with Morris setting a new GT3 lap record for Spa in round seven to earn the Sunoco Fastest Driver of the Weekend award.
For the car 31, the weekend started well with Rick taking pole for race one pole, nut neither of the event’s contests went according to plan. With a 10 second ‘success penalty’, resulting from their win last time out at Silverstone, applied to the driver change pit-stop in the opening race, Rick Parfitt Jnr needed to try and make the most of his pole position to limit the impact. With just two racing laps completed in the first half of the race though, due to a pair of Safety Car periods, the task proved impossible and after the pit-stop Seb took over but finished fifth on the road, but 3rd in the points!.
In round eight, a realistic bid for the podium was ended by an unfortunate drive-through penalty linked to a track limits infringement. Running in second position late in the contest, Rick Parfitt Jnr eventually finished in seventh place overall (5th in the points) after serving the penalty with less than 10 minutes to go.
“It’s not been the weekend we hoped for but, on the upside, we haven’t lost that many points to the championship leaders and I’m obviously pleased to have achieved Fastest Driver of the Weekend again to prove our pace”, reflected Morris, “All of our focus now is on the next round at Brands Hatch where I’m sure we’ll be competitive. The first race was full of Safety Cars, so Rick couldn’t work his magic there in the opening stint, plus we had the success penalty in the pit stop which cost us another 10 seconds so fifth wasn’t a bad result in the end. With all of the problems in race two, coming away with some decent points and staying second in the championship was the best we could hope for.”
However it was happy days for the Team Parker Racing drivers in Car 7, Ian Loggie and Callum MacLeod who was 2nd in race 1 and actually won race 2, an excellent result for the Jules Westwood engineered car. The Points have put Loggie & MacLeod up to 8th place in the points standings!
For Ryan Ratcliffe and Lee Mowle it was a tough weekend. Lee has slowest in his qualifying session although Ryan was 9th in his. The Groundhog Mercedes finished 9th in race 1, and 8th in race 2.
British GT returns back to UK soil for the next event on the 2017 calendar, the annual visit to Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit in Kent, over the weekend 5th/6th August.
———– Spa Preview ————–
Welsh drivers Ben Hingeley, Seb Morris and Ryan Ratcliffe are heading to the classic Belgian drivers circuit at Spa-Francorchamps for the annual visit of the British F3 & British GT Championship package.
Abergele racer Ben Hingeley will be looking to add to his tally in the British Formula 3 championship, after winning at Silverstone! Driving the Fortec prepared car, Ben started well, and with a sweeping move from 4th place on the gird, took the lead at Copse Corner, and then charged on to his 2nd win of the year!
In the British GT championship, Seb Morris from Wrexham, and his team-mate Rick Parfitt Jnr and the Team Parker Racing (TPR) squad, are also looking for win number 3, having won the last 2 rounds, the 2 hr race at Rockingham and the 3 hr race at Silverstone.
However the format now reverts back to two x One Hour sprint races for Spa and the next date at Brands Hatch, before the finale at Donington, which is a 2 hour race. After winning the three-hour Silverstone 500 by of more than a minute , Morris and Parfitt Jnr’s sensational result also meant they closed to within just four points behind the of Lamborghini Huracan pair of Phil Keen and Jon (Demon Tweeks) Minshaw. (Although how Seb & Rick are not actually leading the championship by a substantial margin, after winning 2 of the major long distance races, is down to the quirky British GT points system! As it is 2 x 1 hour race wins, score more points than a 2 hour race win, and the 3 hr race scores no more points than the 2 hour race!)
However in 2016 they were a mere 0.6 seconds shy of victory at the Belgian Grand Prix venue, so Seb (ably backed up by Rick) will undoubtedly be ultra-quick again and likely to be a genuine contenders for silverware. From Seb n Ricks’ perspective, consistently strong scores in both 60-minute contests at Spa are key. The task will be made much harder, as off the back of the Silverstone win, the success penalty will apply to the driver-change pit-stop in the first race of the weekend! Additionally, there will be an expanded grid at Spa with some hugely competitive entries from the likes of Barwell Motorsport and international squad Kessel Racing – with Lamborghini and Ferrari respectively, and European GT racing heavyweight Team WRT, and their factory Audi R8!
“It’s always amazing to race at Spa and I can’t wait to be back there”, said Morris, “Last year we had a fantastic result and hopefully we can try and go one better this time around and challenge for another win. It’s not going to be easy, especially in the first race where we have the success penalty from the win at Silverstone, but we’re feeling positive. The addition of Kessel, the WRT team, and another Barwell Lamborghini will only make the challenge greater, but it’s one we’re ready for and looking forward to. At Silverstone the Bentley was really able to stretch its legs and maximise its strengths and I hope we’ll be in a similar situation at Spa”, added Morris, “The guys at Team Parker have been doing an amazing job with the car, Rick is driving brilliantly and I’m happy with my form too. Without any issues next weekend, hopefully we can be competitive in both races and score well.”
Llanellis’ Ryan Ratcliffe & his team-mate Lee Mowle are currently 8th in the points standing, but seemed on course for even more points at Silverstone, until a massive, non- damaging spin by Ryan, dropped them back. This time they will be hoping that Spa suits their Groundhog Mercedes car better.
However ‘the Elephant in the room’ (i.e something that has relevance, but which no-one wants to talk about) is the erratic and highly changeable Eifel weather, in which torrential rain can hit without warning, and this can turn a race on its head! Alternatively it might rain for the whole day, or not rain at all! Wet weather traction is the Bentley Continental’s Achilles heel, so everyone at TPR will be hoping for dry weather all weekend! Fortunately there is only one hairpin at Spa, the famous La Source hairpin, the first corner after the start. However once past the down-hill stretch from La Source to Eau Rouge, the climb up via Raddilion and the massive hill which is the Kemmel Straight to Les Combes, is surely Bentley (& maybe Mercedes) country! The rest of the circuit back to La Source is a pure drivers’ paradise!
As the 25 hour ‘Fun Cup’ race is due off on late Saturday, the opening practice for British GT at Spa will take place on Friday at 08.00 (UK time) on 7th July, with session two getting underway at 10.30 (UK time) and qualifying following at 15.15 (UK time). On Saturday, 8th July, round seven is scheduled to start at 08.20 (UK time) with round eight set to begin at 12.00 (UK time).
2017 British GT championship. In contrast to last years’ race, which has held in monsoon conditions, the 2017 visit to Silverstone was sunny and dry. Now renamed the Silverstone 500, the grid is decided when the best times of the drivers, set in separate sessions, were combined. Seb Morris & Rick Parfitt Jnr would start in 2nd place on the grid, with the Aston Martin of James Littlejohn & Jack Mitchell on pole! The other Team Parker Racing Bentley driven by Callum MacLeod & Ian Loggie was 5th fastest!
The ‘Groundhog’ Mercedes GT3 of Ryan Ratcliffe & Lee Mowle would start in 11th place, but the good news was that 3 of the cars in front of them would have to take pit-stop penalties due to their podium places in the last race at Snetterton!
Ryan commented ’We didn’t get the car sorted the way we like it’ Whilst Ryans’ team-mate Lee Mowle set the slowest time in his session, Ryans’ time was at least respectable, but not fast enough to alter their starting position!
The Race – Rolling Start. In the 3 hour (180 minutes) race, no driver can drive more than 100 minutes, and the car must make 3 pit-stops. At the start of the race, Rick Parfitt took the lead at Copse Corner and began to draw away from the pack by about 1 second a lap! Rick was really ‘in the zone’ and was really flying, building a 7 second lead in only 7 laps! Meanwhile Ian Loggie, in the 2nd No. 7 Bentley Continental car, was also upholding Team Parker Racing honours, and was harassing Jon Minshaw, the series leader, for all he was worth. Loggie eventually overtook Minshaw, and pulled away! Minshaw seemed to be under a further attack for his 4th place, but then he steadied the ship to run in 4th place. However Team Parker decided to make their driver change pit-stops early, which allowed Jon Minshaw and the ‘Demon Tweeks’ Lamborghini Hurrican to take the lead! A hot and sweaty Rick Parfitt Jnr expressed his satisfaction. ‘At the start, I tried to inch Jon onto the dirtier side of the track! I then drove as hard as I could. Not bad for singer’ However once the pit-stops had all been done, Seb had a 45 second lead from James Littlejohn in the Aston Martin. Team Parker decided the time had come for their 2nd stop and brought Seb and the number 31 Bentley Continental in, to hand back to Rick Parfitt! Rick emerged into 9th place initially. Meanwhile Callum MacLeod had moved into 2nd place and went on to set the races fastest lap in the process! However Ryan Ratcliffe and Lee Mowle remained stranded in 11th place, last of the GT3 runners, although they managed to rise to finish in 8th place. However it was the battle for lead that held the attention as the Team Parker Racing Bentleys moved up and down the order! However Team Parker made their killer move and did a final driver change, to put Seb back in the car for the final stint to the Chequered Flag! As the rest the leaders also made their pit-stops, Seb in the no.31 Bentley emerged with a 50 second lead, over the Littlejohn & Mitchell Aston Martin, which he extended to over 1 minute, at the end. As the race entered its final stage, the only thing that might wreck the Team Parker masterplan was a safety car period! Unfortunately almost on cue, Ian Loggie, lost control of the no.7 Bentley at Copse Corner and spun off backwards, skipping over the gravel trap and eventually making a fairly heavy contact with the tyre wall! Ian seemed ok, which could not be said of the car! However the vastly experienced Silverstone marshals were on hand and dragged the Bentley out of the way, with their specialist JCB! All this was done with a minimum of fuss and the prospect of a safety car period disappeared! All that then remained was for Seb to bring the car, affectionately known as ‘The Beast’, home! The Team Parker pits filled up with team personnel, friends and family! Sat in front of a huge bank of monitors, Sebs team-mate Rick, was watching the TV feed through his fingers, as Seb reeled off the remaining the minutes! Stuart Parker, Team Principal at Team Parker Racing calmly talked Seb through to the flag! However probably the calmest person in TPR was Seb himself and as he guided the Bentley around the final corners towards the chequered flag, the garage exploded into cheering, clapping and whopping, as Rick and the Team Parker Mechanics stormed the pit lane fencing, to cheer him home! (Late in the race Jon Minshaw had to do a Drive Thru, which dropped them to finish in 4th place overall)
So Seb brought the Bentley to rest in P1, underneath the podium, and there was time for celebration between Seb & Rick, TPR team personnel and family. (Sebs dad Phillip, was wearing the most enormous grin!), before the two drivers ascended to the podium to collect the British GT trophies, and also the special RAC Trophy that was last awarded for a 500-mile race at Brooklands on 24 September 1932, and the usual celebratory champagne!
Later, at the winners press conference ,Seb & Rick confirmed the special Team Parker Racing tactics that helped them to win a famous victory. Rick confirmed ‘We had a long sit down and decided we’d try and box as clever as we could, to run the car really light and do shorter stints.’ Seb said ‘When Rick told me the strategy he was thinking of, I thought it was really good work. Obviously we were saving about 70 kilos by not filling the car with a full fuel load, and doing long stints. We calculated that by doing shorter stints it was better than that, so that’s what we did!’ A clearly emotional Rick Parfitt Jnr also confirmed that he wanted to dedicate his win to his late father, Rick Parfitt, who died suddenly last Christmas. ‘He came to see me this time last year, and I’m sure if he have been able to come this year to see this, he would have loved it. Its a real shame he’s not with us, but I’m sure he’s looking down, and I hope he’s real proud!’
The points gained by Rick n Seb have narrowed the gap, and now there is only 4 points between them (115 points) and the points leaders, Minshaw & Keen (119 points). The next rounds in the 2017 British GT Championship are due on 7th & 8th July at the famous Spa Francorchamps circuit, which is among most drivers’ favourite venues!
A gallery of the pit & paddock photos are on the WRDA facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/pg/TheWRDA/photos/?ref=page_internal
Ben storms to F3 Victory! In the latest rounds of the 2017 BRDC British F3 Championship, held on the full ‘Grand Prix’ circuit at Silverstone, Ben Hingeley scored his 2nd win of the season, in Sundays’ races. In the first race of the day, Abergele driver Ben Hingeley in his Fortec Racing run car, made a great start from 4th place on the grid to grab the lead at Copse Corner! Ben, who then held the lead throughout the race, drove well to win by over 2 seconds! Afterwards he said ‘I was starting in the middle of it all in fourth place, but I managed to get a great start, that was a real factor in the race win. Getting into first place after the first lap was what I dreamed off really. They came back at me towards the end, and I had to hang on a little, but I’m really happy with it. I’m not sure where I’m starting the next race yet, but after that performance I’ve got strong pace!’ However, in the final race of the day, he was unable to repeat the feat. A clash with firstly, Callum O’Keefe and then Manuel Maldonado, restricted him to 10th place, but it may have been as good as a win, as it demonstrated his fighting qualities!
The points gained has increased his total to 241, which is good enough for 5th place. However he is only 6 points behind the driver in 3rd and only 11 points behind James Pull who is in 2nd place! The championship is led by British driver Enaam Ahmed who has 310 points! The next rounds are due on 7th & 8th July at the famous Spa Francorchamps circuit!
Silverstone preview Welsh Drivers Seb Morris, Ryan Ratcliffe and their team-mates Rick Parfitt and Lee Mowle will be at Silverstone this Sunday for the latest round of the 2017 British GT Championship. This weeks ‘race on the ‘Grand Prix’ course, will be 3 hours long! This is a decent distance for a GT race, on a circuit with the right kind of facilities! Which is a contrast to the Micky Mouse 1 hour races on circuits stuck in the past, that make up part of the series! Currently Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt are 2nd in the 2017 championship, only 25 points the leaders. This is despite the efforts of the organisers, who seem to want to inflict draconian punishments on Morris, for minor discretions! In the latest incident Morris was handed a drive-through penalty, for alleged contact between Morris’ Bentley and a Ferrari at the start! This did not take into account the fact that the other car had 2 wheels in the pit-lane, and therefore had exceeded the track limits!
This was inconsistent bearing in mind that after Ryan & Lee had finished seventh on the road, they had five seconds added to the ‘Groundhog’ Mercedes-AMG race time for track limits violations, which dropped them behind the Ferrari that hit Morris’ Bentley!
Another of the series mind-boggling aspects, is the pit-stop procedure! It is accepted endurance racing practice, that the mechanics can only change tyres after the car has been loaded with fuel! The car is then normally free to drive away! However in the British series, the car must remain stationary for at least 30 seconds, plus any relevant success penalty! In the 1st Snetterton race Seb & Rick had a 30 second time penalty applied which dropped them to seventh in the final classification after the mid-race driver change pit-stop was deemed to have been completed a miniscule 0.1 seconds too fast!
The organisers also conspired to bungle the race at Rockingham, denying Seb & Rick the proper chance to toast their race win! Not withstanding all these problems Seb is confident of a good result
“We’re a lot stronger around Silverstone than we were at Snetterton, so we’re aiming to be back where we should be, in the fight for the podium, and hopefully we’ll be in a position to try and challenge for the win”, said Morris.
“The longer races do tend to suit us more and Silverstone is a track where the Bentley can really come into its own, so we’re going there feeling much more confident than we were at Snetterton. We always knew that would be a tough weekend but the Team Parker guys did a fantastic job with the car and we came away with decent points. We’re aiming much higher for Silverstone.”
Opening free practice at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit will take place on Saturday, 10th June, at 09.30 with the second session following at 12.25 ahead of the all-important qualifying period for round six which gets underway at 16.05.
On Sunday, 11th June, the brief 10-minute warm-up starts at 10.05 with the big race – which will be screened live in the UK on free-to-air channel Front Runner – scheduled to commence at 13.35.
Ben Hingley from Abergele will be at Silverstone too for the next 3 races in the 2017 BRDC F3 Championship, and he will be looking add to more wins to his debut win for the Fortec team at Rockingham. Ben is curently 3rd in the championship, only 1o points behind American driver Cameron Das, who is in 2nd place
Silverstone 500 winners to be awarded 1932 ‘RAC Trophy’
The overall winning drivers of British GT’s blue riband Silverstone 500 race will lift a historical piece of silverware next weekend (June 10/11) following the unveiling of the event’s new standalone trophy.
British GT organisers announced the prize at the end of 2016 and have since worked closely with Silverstone’s owners, the British Racing Drivers’ Club, to identify a suitably significant piece of silverware. Its archive contains many such examples but, together, the BRDC and SRO Motorsports Group have selected the ‘RAC Trophy’ that was previously awarded for a 500-mile race at Brooklands on 24 September 1932.
Back then it was common practice for prominent sporting bodies and organisations to sponsor individual awards. The Royal Automobile Club was no exception and presented its cup to BRDC Member William Alexander Cuthbert and his co-driver Cecil Wingfield Fiennes who finished fourth in 1932’s race driving a Riley 1100.
Almost a century ago the ‘500’ was considered one of the BRDC’s and Brooklands’ showpiece events. Indeed, Motor Sport Magazine’s season review, taken from its December 1932 issue, described it as “one of the finest races staged at Brooklands in years,” and “The ‘500’ added still further to its reputation as the finest race of the year at Brooklands.”
But when the circuit was requisitioned on the eve of WWII and subsequently sold in 1946, so the Club’s attention switched to another RAF base: Silverstone.
British GT has staged its own version of the ‘500’ there since 2012, which The Home Of British Motor Racing is now keen to formally recognise as a flagship event in its annual calendar. As such, this year’s race weekend will feature a prominent ‘Supercar Sunday’ display as well as family entertainment, open paddock, free grandstand access and pit walk.
Benjamin Franassovici, British GT Championship Manager: “The Silverstone 500 has gathered momentum since we first staged the race in 2012 and is very much seen as our season’s blue riband event. We were keen to further emphasise this by awarding a historically significant trophy to the overall winners and, thanks to the BRDC’s efforts, will be doing so for the first time this year. The trophy is stunning and a wonderful way of aligning our season’s biggest race with a genuine piece of British motorsport history. Whoever wins it can be mightily proud to see their name engraved on its silver and mahogany base.”
Adult tickets for next weekend’s Silverstone 500 start at just £12 while children aged 15 and under can attend for free all weekend. Visit www.silverstone.co.uk/events/british-gt-championship/ for more information.
SILVERSTONE 500 SCHEDULE
Saturday 10 June
09:30 – 10:30: Free Practice 1
12:25 – 13:25: Free Practice 2
16:05 – 16:15: Qualifying – GT3 Am
16:19 – 16:29: Qualifying – GT3 Pro
16:33 – 16:43: Qualifying – GT4 Am
16:48 – 16:58: Qualifying – GT4 Pro
Sunday 11 June
10:05 – 10:15: Warm-up
13:35 – 16:35: Race
It was a hard weekend for Welsh drivers Seb Morris, Ryan Ratcliffe Ben Hingley at Snetterton this weekend in the latest races in The 2017 Brdc F3 & British GT Championship.
Ben from Abergele, who was a winner last time out in The British F3 Championship but could only manage a set of minor places with a 5th, a 4th, and 7th places in the 3 races over the weekend. The only consolation was that he was the leading Fortec runner on each occasion! https://www.facebook.com/BenHingeley/ http://www.britishf3.com/
The British GT Championship Snetterton does not have a pit-lane large enough to cope with re-fuelling and driver changes, there will be two 1 hour race for Seb and Ryan and their teammates.
In common with the Pro/Am format of the championship, the AM drivers, Rick Parfitt and Lee Mowle will start race 1 before handing over to their teammates, but this is reversed in Race 2!
Team Parker drivers just miss out on second podium of season
- Morris pleased to emerge from tough event with consistent points.
Seb Morris declared himself satisfied with two hard-fought points finishes during rounds four and five of the British GT Championship at Snetterton on Sunday, 28th May, after a challenging visit to the Norfolk track delivered a best result of fourth position. Prior to the weekend Seb said That consistent points scoring would be the chief objective and despite some dramas along the way he and team-mate Rick Parfitt Jnr scored enough points to end the weekend still second in the championship.
Qualifying exceeded all expectations for the duo with Snetterton not a favoured track for the Bentley Continental GT3. Parfitt Jnr lapped third fastest in the ‘Am’ session for the round four grid, while Welshman Morris was the fourth quickest of the Pro drivers in the round five session.
After racing to fourth place in the opening one-hour contest, a luckless 30 second time penalty applied post-race dropped the team-mates back to seventh in the final classification –( the mid-race driver change pit-stop deemed to have been completed a miniscule 0.1 seconds too fast!) However this promoted the Groundhog Mercedes of Ryan Ratcliffe & Lee Mowle up to 4th place, their best result with their new car!
Aiming to make amends in race two, Seb made contact off the start between the Bentley and a Ferrari, as the lead contenders jostled for position, which resulted in a drive-through penalty for Morris. Even so, an inspired early driver change, mated to a little bit of good fortune with a Safety Car period soon after, delivered fourth spot for the Team Parker drivers just 0.2 seconds shy of the podium! “The drive-through penalty was unfortunate, I didn’t see Matt [Griffin] was there and it was just one of those racing incidents”, reflected Morris, “We made a good call with the early [driver change] pit-stop, when the Safety Car came out it worked in our favour and Rick did a good job to bring the car home in fourth. He was only 0.2 secs behind so we might have been able to take a podium, but fourth is fine from this weekend!’ Ryan & Lee ended race 2 in 8th place
There are now only two weeks to wait until round six of the British GT season, the 3 hour race, which will take place over the weekend 10th/11th June at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit in Northamptonshire.
2017 British GT Championship Driver Standings
1st Jon Minshaw & Phil Keen 101 points
2nd Seb Morris & Rick Parfitt Jnr, 77.5pts
3rd Derek Johnson & Johnny Adam 74 pts
4th Ryan Ratcliffe & Lee Mowle 35 pts
In the interval since the Rockingham win Seb as not been idle, as Andy Meyrick, his friend and Mentor, fixed up drives in a 6 hour race on the classic Nordschleife, the 12.9 mile 124 corner original part of the Nurburgring, and also a race in the ‘Trofeo Lamborghini’ at Silverstone. Seb put up a good performance in his debut on the Nordschleife, moving the BMW up to 3rd place, during his stint, as position his German team-mates held until the end, giving Seb a podium visit on his debut. His performance in the wet practice session at Silverstone in the ‘Trofeo Lamborghini’race, again enhanced his growing reputation as a GT racer!
The race will be screened live in the UK on free-to-air digital channel Front Runner. http://www.frontrunner.tv/
Andy Meyrick also has not been idle, having scored points with 5th place on his debut with the Motorsport 98 Ligier JS P3 in Michelin Le Mans Cup race at Monza recently. http://andymeyrick.com/news/view/109
After a two-hour race at Rockingham on Sunday 30th April, that will be remembered as a thrilling contest with an uncertain ending ,Rick Parfitt Jnr and Seb Morris, driving the Team Parker Racing Bentley claimed victory in the 3rd round of the 2017 British GT, after a confusing race full of Safety Cars and penalties!
After Qualifying, Rick started the Bentley in 5th place, and Lee Mowle started the Groundhog Mercedes in 6th place! The 2hr mini-enduro race began with the Aston Martin of pole-sitter Derek Johnston retaining the lead from the Lamborghini Hurruican of points leader Jon Minshaw,.
After a brief Safety Car period at the start of lap three, the lead battle quickly developed into a three-horse race, while Farmer dropped back into the clutches of Rick Parfitt Jnr, Cameron, Lee Mowle and Liam Griffin whose poor start saw his Lamborghini plummet from fourth to eighth.
Further back a pivotal moment in the race’s outcome was developing. Cameron’s repeated track limit violations earned his Ferrari a five-second penalty, which was added to his in-race time. That meant the Ferrari 488 GT3 was five seconds further behind on the timing screens than it appeared on track! After the pit-stops it was Mitchell – taking over the Aston Martin from his co-driver Littlejohn – who emerged ahead of Seb Morris whose co-driver Parfitt Jnr gained a place before the stops.
Griffin rejoined fourth but immediately cleared Ryan Ratcliffe’s AMDTuning.com Mercedes-AMG before setting off after Mitchell and Morris. His deficit was eight seconds but such was the Ferrari’s pace that the lead soon became a three-way scrap. The trio ran nose-to-tail for a short while until Seb forced his way into the lead at the final chicane, followed by the Ferrari of Griffin.
Cameron’s five-second penalty was carried over to his team-mate Griffin, who still had to pass Morris and pull away if he wanted to take victory himself! The green Ferrari finally forced his way past Seb by barging him out of the way! This would have repercussions later, meanwhile Seb kept the Ferrari in sight, until the race was interrupted by a bungled third Safety Car period with 24 minutes remaining. The Ferrari was waved passed, with gave him a ‘Get out of Jail Free’ card.
However, although the Ferrari was the first car to take the chequered Flag, the car and drivers were swiftly demoted to 2nd place, giving Team Parker Racing, Parfitt Jnr and Morris the victory and moved them into their rightful position as race winners of round three to secure their first silverware of the new season – also moving them into the championship top two.
“We’re obviously all delighted to have taken the win, especially after how the race ended”, said 21-year-old racer Morris, “The only reason the Ferrari got past was because there was contact, so I’m pleased the officials made the right decision with the penalty. I thoroughly enjoyed it out there, we were competitive and had a very strong race. We seemed to gather more pace towards the end and the Bentley looked after the tyres well. I really got into the swing of things in my stint, had a good battle and produced some good moves. We’re very happy.”
The end to the race was really confusing, none of us knew what was happening when the Ferrari was waved by the Safety Car. It all worked out the right way in the end, though, so we’re happy with the result and looking forward to Snetterton now.”
Ryan Ratcliffe came home sixth in his AMDTuning.com Mercedes-AMG.
A puncture put paid to Ian Loggie and Callum Macleod’s hopes in the second Team Parker Bentley, but they did recover to finish ninth ahead of Team ABBA with Rollcentre Racing’s Richard Neary and Martin Short.
However, while questions were asked about the Safety Car procedure – which was handled correctly by the letter of the regulations – an investigation was immediately launched to establish whether Griffin had gained an unfair advantage by making avoidable contact when passing Morris. There was enough evidence to suggest he had, but with the race run there was no way of allowing the Bentley to re-take the position without imposing a post-race penalty. 26 seconds was therefore applied. Championship Manager Ben Franassovici: “What happened today with the Safety Car procedure was very unfortunate but, given the letter of the regulations, not something we could have controlled. We follow the MSA’s regulations which state the Safety Car must pick up the race leader, which in official timing was not the #21 Spirit of Race Ferrari. Race Control therefore had no choice but to wave it by. Applying in-race time penalties contributed to this but these are the rules by which we and others race under the MSA’s jurisdiction. Today we found an annomally, which will be investigated fully. One way or another there must be changes to avoid this situation from arising again.”
There is now a four week break in the British GT Championship calendar with rounds four and five, which revert to the 60-minute duration format, scheduled to take place over the weekend 27th/28th May at Snetterton 300 Circuit in Norfolk.
The race will be screened live in the UK on free-to-air digital channel Front Runner. http://www.frontrunner.tv/
Bank Holiday Monday Outon Park British GT + BRDC British F3 Championship + Andy Meyrick & Matt Parry
Ben Hingley gets an Oulton Easter F3 podium, as Seb, Rick & Ryan struggle in Brit GT!
BRDC F3. Highlights for Ben. Also due to delays the Saturday’s programme there were 3 races in one day for the Formula 3 runners, including Ben Hingley from Abergele. Ben, driving with the Fortec team, started the first race in 4th place which he defended throughout in an excellent fashion! In race two, initially he was running in 3rd place, but accident with 2 other cars, brought the red flags and meant the race had to be re-stared for a 4 lap sprint to the flag! When the lights changed Hingeley stormed into 2nd place, which he had to defend from 2 other cars, as the leader Ahmed escaped to win. Speaking after the race, Ben said ‘I’m very happy especially as I started 5th, and my steering took a hit, as I was quite involved in the incident at the first corner, but I was struggling to turn right. P2 though, I couldn’t be more happy. It has put us slightly on the back foot for the final race, as I am starting seventh, but I’ve got more points and that is all that matters!’ Team Boss Richard Dutton who gave out the awards said ‘The boy done good!’
After finishing in 7th place in the 3rd race, Ben is in 4th place in the points standings, with 60 points. Enaam Ahmed leads with 95 points. http://www.britishf3.com/
Brit GT – Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt jnr had blitzed the field on Saturday to take Pole Position for both races for the opening rounds of the 2017 British GT Championship at Oulton Park on Easter Monday. Due to the narrow pit lane at Oulton Park the normal endurance format cannot be used, and this means the event takes place over two 1 hour races, with a driver change allowed at between 25 & 35 minutes!) However Ryan Ratcliffe did not have such a happy time after, the Llanelli drivers’ team-mate, Lee Mowle, crashed the car, and damaged the front suspension!
In somewhat typical Bank Holiday weather, Easter Monday in the Oulton Park area dawned overcast with some heavy drizzle! There was a warm-up session and then two 1 hour races for the British GT runners. However Lee Mowle went someway to save the day for the Groundhog team by posting a quick time in the damp warm-up session!
British GT – RACE 1 – track wet
As the cars crossed the start-line the Lamborghini Hurrican of John Minshaw took an immediate lead and drew away from Rick who stablised the Bentley Continental GT3 in a steady 2nd place! Meanwhile Lee Mowle was on the move in the 6.3 litre Mercedes! However it almost came to an end when he got on to the grass and hit the barriers again, but got going again at the tail of the field. After 30 minutes, Rick came in for a late pit-stop to hand over to Seb, who had an immediate fight on his hands and dropped to 4th place. Late in the race Seb managed to latch onto the 3rd place Aston Martin of Johnny Adam. In a classic duel Seb closed in under braking, only for Adam to pull away on the straights and was only .5 of second behind at the end! ‘We don’t have any wet weather traction so I didn’t really didn’t really have a chance. Even so 4th isn’t so bad, as we don’t have any success penalty to serve in race 2!’ Ryan Ratcliffe managed to get his Mercedes back up to 10th, to score a single point. ‘The team told me to take it as test session so we could try some things. I was on the radio, every lap ‘I’ve got a lot of understeer. When I got back to the pits I could see the splitter was on the floor! I’ll enjoy
driving a car that’s not damaged’
Brit GT Race 2 – track – drying. With Seb on board it was strange to see him beaten off the line and he was 3rd after the first lap. Things got a little strange as both TPR Bentleys’ got together, with the no7 car spinning off! The stewards decided to look at the incident, but whilst that was happening, Seb, in the ‘31’ car, took 2nd place after a muscular move! But he was then handed a ‘Drive through’ penalty, rejoining the race in 7th place. Ryan Ratcliffe, in the AMD Mercedes, was making good progress. Some press on driving and a late race problem for one of the leaders, moved Seb n Rick up to 5th and Ryan n Lee up to 7th both handily placed for a run to the end in prospect. However the race ended after only 55 minutes under safety car, after a major collision between several cars, left the track littered with debris & cars. Post-race action from the stewards, pinned the blame on the No 7 Bentley, which was being driven by Ian Loggie, and the car was excluded from the results! The points after the 2 races show Seb & Rick in 4th place overall with 22 points and Ryan & Lee have 7 points! Minshaw & Keen (Lamborghini Hurrican) lead with 50 points! The next races in the Brit GT & F3 package is at Rockingham on
Race Results on http://www.tsl-timing.com/event/171505
Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt jnr blitzed the field to take Pole Position for both races for the opening rounds of the 2017 British GT Championship at Oulton Park on Easter Monday. Due to the narrow pit lane at Oulton Park the normal endurance format cannot be used, and this means the event takes place over two 1 hour races, with a driver change allowed at between 25 & 35 minutes! Qualifing was split into two 10 minute sessions and Rick took pole position for Race 1 on his final lap. ‘It was a real banzia lap’! Seb dominated his session and banged in a quick time of 1.32.93 secs. No-one else was able to match his time, and so the Bentley duo will lead off the grid in both Mondays races! (The second TPR Bentley run by Welsh leg-end Jules Westwood, were not so lucky) However Ryan Ratcliffe did not have such a happy time after the Llanelli drivers’ team-mate crashed the car, and damaged the front suspension! ‘I did what I could but the car was almost too difficult to drive’
On Easter Monday there will be a warm-up session and then two 1 hour races for the British GT runners. However due to delays in the programme there will be 3 races in one day for the Formula 3 runners, including Ben Hingley from Abergele.
Seb & Rick – team-mates again for 2017!
The GT Season starts with even more Welsh drivers joining in! The 2017 Britsh GT season starts at Oulton Park on Easter Monday when Seb Morris & Rick Parfitt Jnr will return as team-mates in the Bentley Continental GP3 car run by Team Parker Racing, ready to make a even bigger challenge for top honours, after finishing in 3rd overall in their debut season! Known to the drivers as ‘The Beast’ there has been input from Bentley aimed at improving the car, to make it even more competitive! Joining the team as title sponsors are Ast Transport Branding with Eddie Stobart confirmed as providing key logistical support, the two new partners feature prominently on the car’s striking new green and white colour scheme.
Additionally, Saxon Air is confirmed as a new partner while existing backers Venu and Liberty Properties Plc return to support Morris’ British GT Championship bid. Parfitt Jnr, meanwhile, brings backing from Geoffrey Insurance, EG Solutions, Aggreko and Flat Pack Direct among others.
Seb said, ‘I know everyone at the team, Rick and I are determined to bring some big results back for all of our amazing sponsors.”
Since the end of the 2016 season, Seb has had a spectacular debut in the Daytona 24hr race, and although sadly Ricks dad died, he himself has been able to make sure he has more time to devote to racing by making sure races do not clash with concerts with his own rock band!
Speaking on behalf of headline commercial partner Ast Transport Branding, Managing Director Mark Aston said: “This is a fantastic opportunity and we’re excited to be working with Seb and Rick for 2017.” Saxonair will also sponsor Seb on a personal basis. Saxon Air is a private air travel company which operates from bases throughout Europe covering both Helicopter and Aircraft operations at London Luton, London Stansted, Norwich and Cambridge. Team Parker Racing principal Stuart Parker said: “Having Seb and Rick back in the car for the 2017 season is fantastic news for all at Team Parker. The whole team is motivated to get better than in 2016, having continuity is paramount in what is going to be the hardest fought British GT Championship for years. The relationship with M-Sport and Bentley has blossomed and we look forward to representing them again this year.”
Joining Seb on the Britsh GT package is Ben Hingley from Abergele who will contest The BRDC F3 Championship with Fortec, the top F3 team run by Richard Dutton who has a long & happy history of success with Welsh drivers, including Seb Morris himself!
One of Sebs contemporaries Matthew Parry from Cardiff is also moving into GT racing and will take part in the 2017 Blacpain GT3 championship with Bob Nevilles RJN Motul Nissan Nismo GTR GT3 car! havng agreed a deal to pilot RJN Motorsport’s #22 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup and will partner Jersey’s Struan Moore and Australia’s Matt Simmons in all five Blancpain endurance rounds this season. (RJN is run by our friend Bob Neville) Matt makes the switch from single-seaters having reached the heights of GP3, standing atop the podium in 2016 and posting top ten championship finishes in each of his campaigns. Parry’s open-wheel career also includes titles in both Formula BMW and Formula Renault, leading to his achievements being recognised with the 25th McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, where he got his first taste of GT machinery during the assessment process. Despite having focused on single-seaters since graduating from an ultra-successful karting career, Parry insists that he will have no trouble adapting to the very different sportscar arena.
“After racing in GP3 for two years, we evaluated our options over the winter and, while there were opportunities to continue in single-seaters, the chance to link up with a team like RJN and run in a championship-winning car like the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 was too good to pass up,” Parry explained, “I already had a taste for GTs following the McLaren Autosport BRDC assessment, and getting the chance to test different cars in the last few months convinced me that it was the right time to make the step over to sportscars – and endurance racing in particular. That was a big attraction of this deal as endurance racing is one of the few things missing from my CV, and I’m really looking forward to testing myself in the cauldron of Blancpain competition.” http://www.mattparryracing.co.uk/LatestNews.aspx?ArticleId=176 (RJN also ran fellow Cardiff racer Jann Mardenborough in 2010 so Matt is in good company.)
Backing up Matt & Seb is Andy Meyrick, and in addition to his MSA duties, Andy will actually be racing himself in 2017! He will be driving a McLaren 570S with Bullitt Racing in the GT4 European Series Northern Cup in 2017, with his new teammate Stephen Pattrick.
Andy said: “I’ve been keeping a very close eye on GT4 for the last couple of years now, I really admire the racing and the close competition.The team is well organised and I’m sure will be competitive very quickly, this was a key part of my decision to take the role. ed by David Price, the team has a great opportunity to challenge at the front of the pack this year. I’m excited to be a part of GT4”.
Team principal David Price said: “We were looking for an experienced GT racer to lead our team and take the fight to straight to the front, Andy is perfect for the role. We are delighted to have him onboard”. http://gt4series.com/ NORTHERN CUP CALENDAR 2017, 2 April Misano, Italy, 7 May Brands Hatch, 11 June Red Bull Ring, Austria, 16 July, Slovakia Ring, 20 August Zandvoort, Holland, 17 September Nürburgring, Germany
Plus Andy annouced that he’ll be racing in the 2017 Michelin Le Mans Cup with Motorsport 98, driving the dramatic looking Ligier JS P3! alongside accomplished Belgian driver and Motorsport 98 team owner, Eric De Doncker.
Andy said: “I’m really excited about working with Motorsport 98, who are a really well established race team, and it’s great to get behind the wheel of the Ligier JS P3 in the LM P3 series. Alongside my current drive in the GT4 series, I’m looking forward to varied challenges within the 2017 race calendar. The Michelin Le Mans Cup is the perfect stepping stone towards the European Le Mans and World Endurance Championships for the team, and having previously finished 4th place overall in 2010 Le Mans, it will be fantastic to be racing there once again.” The Michelin Le Mans Cup action kicks off on 13th May at Monza, by which time its hoped that Andys cowl and cape will arrive for his first drive in the Liger ‘Batmobile’!
Also Rory Collimgbourne, from Newport, Gwent, has signed a deal to contest the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia with top team Leipert Motorsport.
The 19-year-old, from Newport in Wales, has competed in the Renault UK Clio Cup for the past two seasons but is now setting out on a path into the world of GT endurance racing in the prestigious one-make Lamborghini category as team-mate to Australia’s Ben Gersekowski.
“Very exciting times are ahead”, said an elated Collingbourne, “This year is going to be a big challenge, but one I am more than willing to take on! Turning professional at 19-years-old isn’t what a lot of people my age achieve, especially racing on the opposite side of the world.
“Driving for Leipert Motorsport has definitely given me the best chance to compete at the sharp end in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia, it’s a world class team with proven results. This is just the start for what we have planned for the future and Veloce Sports (who are run by Rupert Sevensden-Cook) have been a massive help – it’s a world class management team and I can’t wait to represent them as a driver.” Rory will do well to match the success of Jake Rattenbury, who became the Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Champion in 1985
Over the edge with Andy! Race Ace Andy Meyrick, originally from Swansea but now living in Cheshire, is set to do a 240ft abseil, after he joined Team Humphrey as the newest Patron of Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity. Andy comments: “I’ve seen first-hand the incredible work the hospital does and how the Charity works hard to support the hospital which is why I’m really excited and honoured to become an official patron. I know how much the hospital means to so many families across the North West who have needed to use its services, and for that reason I couldn’t think of a better local charity to support. I’m excited to be able to give something back to my local community who have always been so very supportive of me”
Andy has already signed up for his first challenge, a 240ft abseil over the edge of Liberty Heights in Manchester City Centre to help raise funds in support of the Children’s Hospital.
Andy adds: “Although I’m used to extreme sports I’ve never taking part in an abseil before and let’s put it this way, it won’t be the easiest of challenges for me! I’m sure my stomach will be turning when I’m at the very top but knowing it is raising money for such a good cause, and to help poorly children and the hospital will spur me on!
Sarah Naismith, Head of Charities at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity commented: “. I’m delighted that Andy has pledged his support and we look forward to working with him more in the future.”
Sponsor Andy’s abseil by visiting his Justgiving page here: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Andy-Meyrick
Ellis Social Media, Office 19, 15 Church Street, Weybridge, Surrey KT138NA
Seb Morris Management/Commercial Contact:
Tel: +44 (0)7595 956145
Action images supplied courtesy Jakob Ebrey Photography