Welsh racer Matt drives well at Silverstone, but Seb sidelined after Bentley bent!

Matt makes a big impression in the big Nissan , but Seb sits out the race as the Bentley fails after only 8 laps!

The 2nd round of the prestigious 2018 Blancpain Endurance Cup took place on the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday 20th May, where Welsh racers Seb Morris & Matt Parry tried to mount the strongest possible challenge for a class victory in the pan-European championship. With 52 cars it was a packed grid and both the Welsh drivers Matt Smith and Seb Morris needed to be at their best to make a mark in their ‘home’ race.

However Parry was the first to try’  and he was 15th in his session but once his times were added to the times of his team-mates, Alex Buncombe and Lucas Ordondes it gave them 18th place on the grid. Team owner Bob Neville, was realistic ‘ Being in the top 20 is good, by we expected much more’

Meanwhile Seb Morris and his team-mates were unable to break into the top 20 and the Bentley would start in 25th place! More importantly they were 2nd in the Pro-Am Class, only 0.787 behind the Class leading, Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 488! Jules Westwood the Bentley cars engineer confirmed, ‘We are in with a chance of taking the Pro-Am Class win! Seb wasn’t able to get a quick time, due to the traffic but his team-mates were quick in their sessions, so it looks good!’ Indeed when the Rinaldi Ferrari pulled out after only 3 laps it looking good as the Team Parker car took over the lead in the Pro-Am Class, with the Class Win in their sights! However it all turned sour after only 8 laps, when the Bentley drifted into the pits, after Derek Pierce had hit the kerb at Copse very hard and cracked the sump, losing all the oil, and sending the Bentley into instant retirement! This was a severe disappointment for Seb who was looking forward to putting on a show, for the large contingent of his supporters! It’s always frustrating when you have so many friends and family along to a race and this sort of thing happens, and especially as we were looking very strong. The car was great at Paul Ricard when we tested there, so I’m really looking forward to the next round now.”

There was also dis-appointment for the RJN Nissan team, which had qualified in 18th place, but were relegated to start well back, in 48th place, after being penalised for a strange offence, which meant that Lucas Ordonez’s best laps were disallowed!  However the stage was set for a great comeback and with Alex Buncombe at the wheel for the first stint, the car rose to 26th when Matt took over! Pushing as hard as he could, and passing car after car, and despite having to re-pass one of his victims, he handed over to Lucas with the car in 20th place! Ordonez continued the good work and took the cheqeured flag in 16th place, but agonisingly outside the points, which start at 10th ! But for the penalty, a very big result would have undoubtedly been on the cards.  “Despite starting where we did, we were always optimistic of a good run,” Matt confirmed, “There was a lot of performance in the car from the start of the weekend, and Alex really underlined that in the opening stint. I’m a little frustrated with the mistake I made trying to pass one of the Lamborghinis at turn nine, but I don’t think it made much difference to our overall result, and Lucas was still able to bring the car home well inside the top 20. The number 23 Nissan had great pace throughout my run and I enjoyed being able to chase down the cars in front of me, so we know what it is capable of in the remaining rounds, It’s up to us now to piece together the perfect weekend.”

Round three of the 2018 Blancpain GT Championship Endurance Cup takes place at Circuit Paul Ricard (FRA), in Southern France for  the annual six-hour ‘into the night’ race, on Saturday, 2nd June with extensive live and highlights coverage on the Eurosport and Motorsport TV channels in the UK.

International News! edited by Rob Allender

Preveiw

The 2nd round of the prestigious 2018 Blancpain Endurance Cup takes place on the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit this weekend, 19th/20th May, where Welsh racers Seb Morris & Matt Parry will be mounting the strongest possible challenge for a class victory, for their respective teams,  in the pan-European championship. With 52 cars it will be a packed grid and both Matt and Seb Morris will need to be at their best to make a mark in their ‘home’ race.  Matt & Seb  had contrasting fortunes at Monza in Round 1 after strong qualifying performances.

Seb will be hoping for more joy like in Monza

Seb Morris started the event by posting the 4th fastest time in his qualifying session but with the grid position decided on the combined time of all the teams drivers, the Team Parker  Bentley Continental GT3 started in 2nd in the Pro-Am class, 23rd place overall, and with teammates Derek Pierce and Rob Smith taking the first 2 stints, they were in for a good result and were contesting the Pro-Am Class with the Ferrari 488 GT3,  until a slow pit-stop allowed the Ferrari to build an advantage. Morris took over the Bentley for the last hour but after passing car after car the Ferrari was just 20 secs ahead at the end of the 3hour race.  Seb summed up “I think a lot of people were taken by surprise with how quick we were at Monza. Our entry into the championship was obviously quite late, we hadn’t really had much testing, and yet we came through to finish P2 in our first race which was pretty faultless. I can’t wait for the weekend, I’m more prepared than I ever have been and a lot fitter since Monza too. Silverstone is one of my favourite tracks, if not the favourite, and the nature of the circuit with the high-speed corners really does suit the Bentley. Monza was a great track for our car, but I think Silverstone can be even better for us.”  Having won the British Gt race last year at a canter, Seb and the Team Parker team will be hoping for a repeat.

 

Matt hopes to get more silverware soon!

Matt Parry will also be hoping for a good race at Silverstone, having suffered from ill fortune in Monza. As the rest of the  grid started the 3 hour race by charging into the first of Monza chicanes, Smiths car, the GT Sport Motul no. 23 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 run by Bob Nevilles team RJN, was forced to start from the pit-lane, when his teammate Alex Buncombe was hit by gearbox problems on the starting grid! Once started, the experienced Buncombe made good progress and made into the top 30 before handing over to Parry, but a fumbled pitstop and more car problems dropped them back. Parry did his best to recover, but problems dogged the car, but at least Lucas Ordonez  (who raced with us in 2009,  after winning the Nissan Playstation GT Academy competition)was able to bring the car to the chequered flag, albeit several laps down!

Parry commented “It’s a frustrating way to start the season, especially after the promise that our run in qualifying had shown. However, we have to remember that this is an all-new car and that there will always be teething troubles. Hopefully, we will have got most of these out of our system now, because there is certainly a lot of potential in the car’.

  • Free Practice for the Blancpain Endurance Cup runners at Silverstone will take place at 10.45 on Saturday, 19th May, with Pre-Qualifying following at 15.45.
  • On Sunday, 20th May, final Qualifying will begin at 09.45 with the big race itself scheduled to commence at 15.00.Live streaming of Qualifying and round two will be carried online at  www.blancpain-gt-series.com/ with further coverage on digital satellite and cable channel Motorsport TV. In the UK Freesat – channel 253  – Sky – channel 447 -Virgin Media – channel 545

 

  • Team Parker Racing
  • Drivers Derek Pierce, Rob Smith, Seb Morris GBR
  • Car number 31
  • Bentley Continental GT3
  • Pro-Am Cup after 1 Round

2nd     Sebastian Morris 18 points

 

GT SPORT MOTUL Team RJN

Drivers Matt Parry, Lucas Ordonez, Alex Buncombe

car number 23

Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3

 

 

 

Seb blasts Blancpain Monza race

Blancpain Endurance Cup debutant Seb Morris produced a remarkable performance during the opening event of the 2018 season at Monza in Italy on Sunday, 22nd April, with a fabulous second place finish in the Pro-Am class for Team Parker Racing. The 22-year-old Welshman,  was on sensational form from the outset at the Italian venue at the wheel of the No.31 Bentley Continental GT3.

Photo by Jacob Ebray

Scorching to the fourth fastest time overall in qualifying, second in Pro-Am, the reigning British GT Champion turned heads again during Sunday afternoon’s three-hour contest where he delivered a masterclass in overtaking in the final stint of the race on his way to second place in Pro-Am.

Partnered by fellow British drivers Derek Pierce and Rob Smith, who both performed extremely well during the first and second hours respectively, Chester-based Morris is now incredibly excited ahead of the championship’s visit to UK soil next month for round two at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit.

“I’m really happy, we had a mega start and Derek drove a really good stint to get from fifth up to first”, said Morris, “Unfortunately, we lost time in the pit-stop due to a radio problem, but we pushed as hard as we could and Rob did a flying stint in the second hour. When I jumped in, I had a really strong stint and we kept the tyres with us the whole way.

“I pulled off some great overtaking, both for position in class and position overall, and it was just a really good, fun race – I think I showed what I can do on the European stage. The leading Ferrari just got too far ahead from us, but at a lot of points during the race we were the fastest car on track so I’m really happy with that.”

He added: “I’ve always said I could compete at this level with the right opportunity, it’s so nice to do that and prove that in my first race in Blancpain which is arguably the biggest GT championship in the world.”

On track with the quickest drivers in the championship during the final hour, including many ‘factory’ racers and vastly experienced international professionals, the Welshman absolutely starred. Holding sixth place initially, he quickly moved back into the top four and produced a memorable pass on the newer generation No.7 M-Sport Bentley Continental at the Parabolica for an overall position gain.

Running 2.5 seconds shy of the class podium placings, Morris reeled in the target AF Corse Ferrari and grabbed third place with just over half an hour to go. Closing down the next gap to the similar Kessel Racing Ferrari, Morris took second place with 25 minutes remaining where he stayed.

“It’s been a fantastic start in Blancpain and this result has only added to our confidence”, he added, “Silverstone next is a good track for us, we were strong there in testing and I obviously won there by a minute and a half in British GT last year, so we’ll go there aiming for another strong weekend.”

Round two of the Blancpain Endurance Cup will take place at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit in the UK over the weekend 19th/20th May.

2018 Blancpain Endurance Cup ‘Pro-Am’ Driver Standings
2nd Seb Morris/Rob Smith/Derek Pierce, 18pts

 

Big Drive And Top-Ten Result For Andy Meyrick In The Michelin Le Mans Cup Season Opener 

April 14, 2018, Le Castellet, France –  WRDA member Andy Meyrick put on a show-stopping performance t to bring the Motorsport98 team home a season-opening top-ten result.

The week started extremely well for Meyrick appearing at the top of the leader board in the official practice day on Wednesday. With a day off to strategize, the team returned to the Circuit Paul Ricard for the race weekend. After a second practice day, co-driver Eric De Doncker took the wheel in the morning’s qualifying session before starting the race 16th on the grid. In the Michelin Le Mans Cup, qualifying is done by the Am of the Pro-Am driver pairing.

As the first hour of the race came to a close, Meyrick took over from De Doncker in 13th position. As the race continued Meyrick continued to gain ground and positions. The last half-hour of the race proved to be a test of Meyrick’s driving capabilities as he fiercely succeeded in keeping ahead of the #22 United Autosports Ligier. An exhilarating battle, the pair caught the attention of the TV screens and commentators who agreed that both drivers would have massive grins on their faces after this race.

Andy confirmed “That was a tough race at the end there but good fun as a driver! Unfortunately we were unable to get the qualifying position we had hoped for but Eric put on a great performance in his stint to get us up to 13th. It was an exciting race and a great season opener and I’m happy we could secure a top-ten for the team. They did a fantastic job with the car and as we proved on the official test day, we have the ability to be up in P1. I look forward to the rest of the season and showcasing this some more.”

Next up for Meyrick and Motorsport98 will be The Monza Round at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza on May 12th.

British GT is Rockingham-bound for first endurance race of 2018

ROCKINGHAM TIMETABLE

Saturday 28 April
09:30 – 10:30: Free Practice 1
11:45 – 12:45: Free Practice 2
15:25 – 15:35: Qualifying 1 – GT3 Am
15:39 – 15:49: Qualifying 2 – GT3 Pro
15:53 – 16:03: Qualifying 3 – GT4 Am
16:08 – 16:18: Qualifying 4 – GT4 Pro

Sunday 29 April
09:30 – 09:40: Warm-up

13.10 – 15.10 Race

1

LIVE COVERAGE Sunday’s two-hour race will be streamed live on the championship’s Facebook page and website, as well SRO’s GT World Youtube channel

Pre-race smiles from Ryan Ratcliffe! Photo by Robert Allender

Stop Press- the Championship stewards have declared a result for the 2nd race, which never was! Rick n Ryan therefore scored 1 point for starting in 10th place! Full details at http://www.britishgt.com/

Q & Race report – In Qualifying Rick was 2nd fastest in his session, but in his session Ryan was 11th.Speaking after Qualifying Ryan confirmed ‘It was an awesome effort from Rick to put us on the front row for Race 1 on Monday! Mixed feelings for my Qualifying, I was getting faster and faster in the car but still not 100% confident to push on new tyres! P11 for me. Let’s see what Monday brings, as its all very tight!

Although it was dry during Qualifying, it was wet and rainy when Race-day dawned on Bank Holiday Monday! Wet weather traction is the Achilles heel in this version of the Bentley Continental GT3 car, and so it was no real surprise  in the wet, morning ‘warm-up’ when Rick spun off at the Island bend! Afterwards a clearly unhappy Rick explained ‘I squeezed the throttle gently and the car did a slow spin. There was no traction control at all!’  However the front ‘splitter’ was damaged & the Team Parker mechanics worked frantically as they had only about an hour to fix the car.

Rick gets ready to start the race, before the safety car spread the field all around the circuit! Photo by Robert Allender

Showing their superb professionalism, the car made it to the grid. Rick declared ‘I am just going to drive nice & easy and maybe we can pick up some points’ Ryan interjected ‘I told Rick to try for the lead, and then the others will be eating your spray!’ However it turned out to be not so simple as the race organizers decided to start the race behind the safety car! It set off at a pace and lead the pack around for 3 laps. However, rather than backing off on the ‘In lap’ to bunch the pack up a little, by the time the safety car headed to the pits, there was 45secs between the first and last cars, and the leading car was heading into the first corner, before Rick in the 2nd place car had even exited from Lodge corner! Rick was soon under pressure from Ian Loggie in the 2nd Team Parker Bentley who got past, but they were some both passed by the Lamborghini of Minshaw and Keen.  Rick faded away before pitting for Ryan to take over. However Ryan also found ‘The Beast’ a handful in the wet, and made a big bid to stay in the points, until a slight moment dropped him back,  to finish out of the points in 12th place. In the end the Aston Martin of ‘Flick’ Haig and her teammate Johnny Adam won the 1 hour race by almost 28 seconds! Another Aston Martin was in 2nd place on a day that suited them. Minshaw and Keen looked on their way to a good result, until a broken wheel forced them into a pit-stop, and they ended in 4th place. With the car in one piece there was at least another race to try to get Rick n Ryans  2018 points tally started, as the Jools Westwood engineed car of Ian and Callum were able to pick up some points with a 7th place finish. However worse (or better depending on your point of view) was to come as the heavens opened and torrential rain flooded the track! Given that in race 1, a dry line did not appear even with 36 cars pounding around for an hour, the track surface was retaining water, and after another 3 laps behind the safety car, the race, and the rest of the programme, was abandoned.  Rick summed uop. ‘Race 1 was bad enough, but it was far too dangerous to race! Onwards to Rockingham where we shall let the thunder roar!’

The other big news at Oulton Park was the return to racing of Billy Monger. Also known as ‘Billy Wiz’ he lost both his lower legs after an awful crash in  April 2017, he was a sensation 12 months later in his first race in the 2018 F3 Series, finishing 3rd in his specially adapted car!

Reports by Marion A

Preview While some Welsh drivers are getting ready for the Welsh Sports & Saloon Championship to start towards the end of April, some Welsh drivers are already to start their season now! Whilst Ben Hingeley for Abergele has been working hard and showing well in the European F3 test days, Ryan Ratcliffe from Pontyberem near Llanelli, actually starts racing this weekend in the first round of the British GT Championship at Oulton Park! Ryan will link up again with Rick Parfitt Jnr who is the current GT3 champion! Rick was partnered in 2017 by Seb Morris, but now that Seb is moving on to race in the Blancpain Endro Series in Europe, Ryan has taken his place. Rick & Ryan already know each other as they won the GT4 championship together in 2013! They will continue with the Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3 car, but with all new sponsorship! Whilst Oulton Park may not be thought of as a ‘Bentley’ circuit, last year Rick n Seb were on  pole position for both of the traditional 1 hours races, and Callum Macloed in the 2nd of  the Team Parker Racing Bentleys, set the fastest lap, lowering Seb Morris’ record time set in 2016! Team Parker will run 2 GT3 cars again, with Ian Loggie partnering Callum Macloed again! Qualifying will be on Saturday 31st March and the first of the 2 x 1 Hour races starts at 11.00 am on Bank Holiday Monday.  (Preview by Marion A)

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