dailysportscar.com

Tech 9 – GT Racing Is The Shop Window
Racing for some is a passion, for others a core business, but for Phil Hindley’s Liverpool based Tech 9 it’s both of these - but also provides an ideal opportunity to advertise the company’s skills in car preparation, the racing part of the enterprise providing “only about 25% of the business, but it is absolutely fantastic for the brand,” says the team owner.

The ‘brand’ is a team of nine staff, tuning, modifying and developing already potent road cars. Tech 9 is the UK importer for TechArt, the biggest Porsche tuning range in the world. It’s a lucrative but highly competitive market and racing clearly gives Hindley’s concern an edge.

dailysportscar.com

“Our servicing operation continues to be very healthy and with the TechArt brand we prepare and modify a large number of brand new cars for customers all over the UK: our client list includes a number of famous names from the world of sport, TV and film and music.

“Engineering excellence is the company motto. Whether it’s fitting wheels and spoilers or complete engine/gearbox overhauls, we like to do it properly. I take a particular pleasure in seeing the cars we prepare winning races, not just in British GT but across a number of different Championships: some we prepare for the customer and they run themselves, others we support as required.”

dailysportscar.com

2004 though has been a far from easy season for the 2003 Cup Class champions, Tech 9 Motorsport - but Phil Hindley has never chosen an easy course, from his very early days grass track racing in 1986 / 87, through to his debut in circuit racing in 1992.

“I bought a crashed Porsche in 1991, rebuilt it and raced it through 1992, until the formation of the Porsche Cup the following year. After a couple of seasons racing there, Tech 9 was formed.”

The 1995 season saw a Tech 9 prepared Porsche 944 Turbo backed by air conditioning concern York International. The racing success grew, but so did tension with the championship grandees. 1996 saw Tech 9 field both Hindley and Mark Hales in Porsche 964 and 993 models respectively. It yielded nine race wins from 11 starts - “We were undoubtedly the team to beat” - but then end of season controversy saw the team thrown out of the championship on a technicality. It was a period when other preparers had direct involvement with Tech & Regs, not a combination that tolerated a newcomer treading on their toes!

It was a bitter blow after such racing success and led to Hindley and Tech 9 temporarily turning their backs on Porsche racing, unhappy with the prevailing atmosphere and Championship conditions.

The TVR Tuscan Challenge was where the focus was redirected, and it was a real baptism of fire. The Tuscan Challenge was at its height, with a stellar line-up of drivers. “In 1997 a top ten finish was regarded by everyone as being a good result and we had finishes in the top five with a used car. Realistically it was a learning year, before we got a chance to go away in the off season and re-engineer the car.”

The Tech 9 boys were back in 1998, with a Tuscan featuring their own diff. and dampers and that made an immediate difference - in a season where Hindley campaigned alongside new team-mate Martin Short. “We’d carried over the backing from our sponsors into 1997 but they pulled out for ’98 and were replaced by McQuay International, again an air conditioning concern. We rewarded them with a Championship win.”

1999 would then see that most difficult of tasks, a title defence. Things got off to a bad start – “I sold the championship winning car as we had been given a race car by a main dealer as part of a sponsorship package – it was a big mistake, the car was nowhere close to being the car our other one had been. There was an additional burden of carrying the race number ‘1’. It does seem to mean that people race a bit harder to try to beat you, whether for the lead or for tenth: we had more than our fair share of ‘incidents’ and actually finished third in the championship.”

A TVR Tuscan campaign continued into 2000, but without Hindley at the wheel – the team running customer cars. The team’s first steps into the British GT Championship were also taken that year, as Hindley reached a deal with Cor Euser to run a project with himself and Ian McKellar Jr. driving, in one of the awesome Marcos Mantaras.

Tech 9 was to be fully supported by Euser’s Eurotech concern, with the Liverpool base acting as a spares hub for both the Tech9 #9 car and the Euser / Lockie #1 car.

It all sounded very promising indeed, but a minor accident in Donington practice for the second race of the season saw the team withdraw from the meeting, as they were without even the most basic spares package: the promised supply had not arrived and the deal foundered soon afterwards.

It was midway through the season before the team regrouped, running a Porsche 993 GT2 for Jonathan Rowland and Ashley Ward. Further customer Porsche outings in the championship followed in 2001.

2002 saw the Tech 9 racing effort take a different course, turning towards the Porsche Carrera Cup, the team running up to three cars throughout the season. Hindley himself was back behind the wheel, and battled hard for the Championship against Mark Cole. “Mark beat me by just a couple of points for the title. It was a great season’s racing and working with the 996 GT3 Cup cars gave us great experience for the future.”

dailysportscar.com2003 saw a tie-in with GruppeM, in the brand new Cup class of the British GT Championship. The team dominated the year’s proceedings, finishing up with a title win for Matt Griffin and Patrick Pearce in the lead car (right), and a win for Tom Shrimpton, Liz Halliday and Amanda Stretton in the prestigious Spa 1000kms.

Tech 9 started the new season with Kenny Chen’s GruppeM Porsche 911 RSR under its wing, alongside a singleton Cup class Porsche. By mid-season though the RSR effort was back in the hands of an in house GruppeM squad and Hindley and co. were concentrating on their efforts to secure a second consecutive Cup class title. 2004’s races are well documented elsewhere on the site.

dailysportscar.com

A two car entry in the dailysportscar.com Cup class at Thruxton could become a three car entry at Brands Hatch for the final 2004 Championship double header, while an N-GT car is a key part of the team’s 2005 plans.

“I’m looking to get a top class driver pairing in the car for a championship challenge alongside the Cup class effort. We would like to take the N-GT car and the #76 Cup car to Bahrain.”

With Tech 9 wins in all three major championships it has entered, the established order will no doubt be taking a close interest in the N-GT plans of the boys from Merseyside.

dailysportscar.com

Take the free tour to find out why dailysportscar.com is the world’s most widely read sportscar and GT racing website. For more news, views, race reports and interviews subscribe now for just £35 for 12 months.

              Contents Copyright © dailysportscar.com. All Rights Reserved.