BGT Media Day 5 - The Porsche Pack
There are less Porsches in the 2006 GTC field than expected - with Tech 9, Team Parker and ABG absent from the entry list. Despite this, there are still nine Zuffenhausen representatives, and all are capable of delivering results. Trackspeed and Hawthorns will be covered elsewhere, so what news from the others?

After all the chopping and changing amongst the RPM, Motorbase and Bill Barrett Porsches last year, it is with some relief that 2006 appears to promise stability on that front.

On the face of it, Dave Bartrum’s Motorbase Performance outfit has a quiet 2006 ahead, running just one car under its own banner and one more for Hawthorns. But appearances can be deceptive. “It’s actually our busiest ever year and I’m already knackered,” laughed Bartrum. “We’ve got these two cars in BGT; we’re running Dave Pinkney in the BTCC in a Honda; and we’ve got three cars in the Porsche Cup. We’ve also got a third car for Andy Britnell, which we’ll run at selected rounds of the BGT. The biggest problem is the date clashes – it looks like we’ll need three teams some weekends.”

The three Porsche Cup drivers are well known to British GT followers; Tim Harvey, Phil Quaife and Michael Caine. “Cainey was the last piece in the puzzle and I’m delighted we’ve got him as he always makes me smile. He’s ex-Tuscan and I love working with Tuscan drivers,” said Bartrum, himself a former driver. In fact, most of Motorbase’s 2006 driver squad have driven Tuscans before, so it sounds like they’ll have a good year.

Phil Quaife was present at Silverstone, but not driving. It turns out that he will only be driving at Oulton Park in the BGT before concentrating on the Porsche Cup. Why the switch? “I learnt a lot last year,” said the 19 year old, “but I’ve always shared a car when I raced, never on my own. It’s important for me to prove that I’ve got the ability, and the Porsche Cup offers that chance. I’ll then come back to endurance racing.” There are other attractions too; “Plus I get to drive a shiny new 997. It’s a fantastic car.”

Former Team Parker racer, Gary Eastwood, has signed for the full year of BGT with Motorbase (in #16) and it is still possible that Harvey and Caine will guest in the series in ’06 if the schedule allows.

RPM starts 2006 where it left off last year, with a brace of Porsche 911 GT3s. Despite a disjointed 2005 campaign, Alex Mortimer is looking forward greatly to the coming season; “We’ve got a sequential box for the first time and the car is really sorted; we’re definitely going to push for the Championship.”

He set the fastest Porsche time on Wednesday, but running Dunlop tyres at the time (as was the Team Tiger Marcos, fastest in GTC).

Mortimer’s 2005 season started on a high, with pole position at Donington and ended on a high, with a victory in the Invitation Class at Silverstone. In between those two races, the parting of the ways of RPM and Quaife effectively meant that he only ran half a season.

“That was unfortunate,” said Mortimer, “but the past is the past.”

As well as the BGT, Mortimer will be racing a Radical in 2006. The second RPM car will be contested by Phil Glew and John Ingram (below), while the second seat in Mortimer’s car is still up for grabs.

The control fuel has changed from Sonoco to Petrochem Carless for the 2006 championship, and the Motorbase Porsches (amongst others) were clearly unhappy with last year’s fuel, hence the Invitation Class. The new fuel appears to be much more to the car’s liking, allowing RPM to concentrate on the GTC Class. Both RPM Porsches have yet to run on Avon tyres.

RSS Performance was showing off its Porsche’s impressive colour scheme, courtesy of Chronoswiss. It turns out that this car has an unusual history; “This is the car that won the GT2 class of the Bahrain GT Festival in 2004,” explained Graeme Mundy. “At that time it was running as a full RSR (for Infineon Team Farnbacher) before Tech 9 brought it to the UK and turned it back into a GT3 in 2005.”

Mundy will be sharing the car with former Damax and DRM driver, Jamie Smyth. They will contend the full season, with the exception of Rockingham, owing to the small matter of Smyth’s wedding.

With no Tech 9 in British GT this year, the Porsche honours (and the title, perhaps) are up for grabs.
Mark Howson

 

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