British GT Championship – Silverstone – Saturday Morning
26 - & Sorting Out The Porsches

The only car missing from the provisional entry is the Prosport – two having appeared on the initial list, then one, then none.

A very overcast morning, and there was some rain at 08.30, with some damp patches as the free practice session got underway at 09.00. There was also oil down at Becketts and beyond.

Friday’s drama involved the unusual sight of a rod through the block of the Chevy V8 in the Eclipse Mosler.

“Shorty had a spare engine at Breckland, so we got hold of that late yesterday and fitted it last night,” explained co-owner Chris Pollard. “We’ve been running it in this morning.”

So the #69 Mosler was well down on the timesheet, in 17th. The Monaro was further down than that, but the returning Matt Griffin only went out at the start of the session, and he felt there were another two seconds to come, at least (on the 1:28.702, 23rd fastest).

“I’m hungrier than ever. I’d been getting a bit down earlier in the season, but once you’re not doing it, you realise how much you miss it. We’re struggling on straight line speed, but we’ve got a reliable engine in the car.”

Matt looked very lean and very fit, with not too much of a limp: he was displaying some impressive scars on his left leg.

At the other end of the ‘grid’, it was Scuderia Ecosse 1-2, #35 from #34, Andrew Kirkaldy setting the 1:21.583, half a second quicker than #34. Then it was the Embassy and Eurotech / John Guest Porsches, then Steven Brady in the Ultima – then the fastest of the GT3s, Stuart Moseley in the #96 Motorbase Quaife 911. Piers Masarati was second quickest in the Trackspeed Invitation Class 911, and delighted with life.

So was Shane Lynch: “This is my kind of team – they’re so laid back,” he said of Hector Lester’s United Christian Broadcasters Ferrari team.

Overall, there seemed to be remarkably few problems.

The only car not to go out was the bio-diesel Trident. “We’re down on turbo boost,” commented team owner Phil Bevan. “We’ll be out for qualifying, but don’t expect too much from us yet. We’ve ‘only’ got about 375 bhp and 700 lb ft of torque.”

Notice the twin Garrett turbos nestling down at the front of the Hummer engine. This unit has been on the test-bed for eight hours, and it should run forever at its 4,500 rpm limit, "with only a hint of smoke from low revs."

Porsche Confusion
It has been hard work keeping track of all the various comings and goings in certain parts of the GT3 Porsche pack this season, but it finally looks as though things are settling down.

We began the season at Donington with Bill Barrett Motorsport (BBM), RPM/Quaife and Motorbase, but by the time we arrived at Thruxton, RPM and Quaife had gone their separate ways. Now we had Motorbase running a car for Phil Quaife and Dave Pinkney, an arrangement that was later formalised to Motorbase Quaife. BBM arrived at Silverstone in August with a Motorbase car, having leased the car following the catastrophic loss of their race engine in testing. Now, at Silverstone for a second time, the #36 car is to be found running under the RPM banner.

The various driver moves are even more numerous and confusing, but they also now seem to be reasonably sorted.

So with two distinct two-car teams, Jules Phillips of RPM explained how the latest merger came about. “After we (BB) lost the engine in August, we came to an arrangement with Motorbase and they really helped us out, but after that race we needed to decide on what to do next.

“We considered a link up with Motorbase, but we had a really good, experienced bunch of lads at BBM and didn’t want to risk them being dispersed throughout the Motorbase setup, so we started talking to RPM.” Phillips has connections throughout national motorsport through his company, Aurok.

“Having spoken to Robin Mortimer, it looked like the ideal set-up. RPM had the cars, but not the experience of longer distance racing, while we had the experience but no car.”

Phillips confirmed that this is a permanent arrangement. “We’ve got big plans for next year. We’ll definitely be running two cars in British GT with these drivers (Sean Edwards, Steve Warburton, Tim Harvey and Alex Mortimer), but we may also run a couple of cars in Britcar to bring on other drivers. We’ll also definitely be entering the Britcar 24 next year.”

The team also has plans beyond these shores, with several endurance events in the pipeline.

So is there any rancour between the teams after all the chopping and changing? “No, not at all,” smiled Phillips. “It’s serious at the circuit, but we still meet up at the pub for a few points later. In fact, we’re sharing a table with the Quaife boys at the awards party next week, so it can’t be that bad, can it?”


Contents Copyright © All Rights Reserved.