Cadena GTC – New Team
New Car – Familiar Faces

A new team, a new car, so is a major global race, for one of the nation’s most prestigious and historic motorsport trophies (the RAC Tourist Trophy), the right place to make your debut (Silverstone, May 15)?

Driver Gavan Kershaw thought so.

“Nobody knows us here, we’re not one of the regulars, so there are no expectations. There is not the pressure that there would be at a British GT race, where our past performance would be the benchmark.”

Cadena GTC has grown out of what was Gavan Kershaw Racing, retaining the core of the previous team, with some additions and changes, a new transporter, and with ambitious plans for expansion in the future. After a season learning GT2, a two-car team is proposed for 2006.

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So why the Mosler?

Gavan Kershaw takes up the story. “It suits our needs, because it is a modular design, and the bodywork is mainly cosmetic. You can remove large sections to change them, which is handy if you tag somebody, or get tagged. It’s an innovative design, which has shown great potential, and has been proven in the hands of people like Martin Short.”

Added to this, the body styling has scope for dynamic liveries, which they hope will attract sponsors, and the Mosler constructors, Breckland Technologies, are just a few miles away from Cadena’s Long Stratton base in Norfolk.

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“We have also built partnerships with suppliers,” adds Kershaw, “for instance with Dynamic Suspensions, where Peter Studer has developed the shimless damper, which allows you to predict and simulate conditions, and aid set-up.”

With everything so new to a group of people used to running a Lotus, and not knowing what to tweak on the Mosler, the team was getting restless in the few short days between delivery and test. “ We had to do something”, said Gavan, “so we sprayed it.”

Paul Whight is team principal, Cadena being the name of his consultancy business, and son Barrie (above, left - with Rob Guthrie), together with Gavan Kershaw (all names familiar in British GT over the last few years) make up the driving squad. Seven more people complete the team, though only one is full time. Gavan’s father David is team manager, and Rob Guthrie is chief mechanic. Rob recently gave up his job in the motor trade to concentrate full-time on Cadena GTC. “I worked part time for Gavan Kershaw Motorsport,” explained Rob, “but if you want to run a team like this properly, you’ve got to have somebody around all of the time, to co-ordinate things”.

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Kevin Reynolds is number one mechanic, whilst Mike Bishop looks after the power train, and his brother James is number two spannerman, and refueller. Russell Gibbons manages the pit lane, and truckie Tim Richards handles logistics as well as helping out with refuelling. Race Engineer Justin Cole, a long-time collaborator with Gavan, has been drafted in to take the chassis-related issues, relieving Gavan to concentrate on driving. ”We’ve been working together for 18 years,” said Justin,” my company, Howard Cole Developments, constructs all kinds of short-circuit cars, Hot Rods, F1 and F2 Stock Cars, and we built all of Gavan’s cars when he was doing oval racing ”

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And so to the race – the Tourist Trophy. Paul Whight was impressed with just about every facet of the FIA GT Championship. “For a start, there’s the organisation,” he expressed. “You’ve got to have certain forms handed to race control at certain times, and you get into trouble if you don’t. It instils discipline. Then there are the driving standards, which seem a whole lot better than the domestic championship – you feel safe, because nobody seems to do anything stupid.”

“….and the marshalling too” interjected Barrie Whight, “it seems better, and there are more of them.”

Despite having never previously turned a wheel much before race week (the car was shaken down at Snetterton), the Mosler proved trouble-free in the free practice and qualifying sessions, a creditable 1;23.401 was set, 23rd overall, and third of the three G2 “invitation” class runners, which were all Moslers – the most of that marque ever to race together at a European circuit.

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With no concerns identified during the Sunday morning warm-up, the team was looking forward to a steady race. “To finish would be a win for us,” said Paul Whight. Barrie took the start, but after a grassy moment at Becketts midway through his stint, was pitbound with the engine temperature soaring.

dailysportscar.com”There was a lot of grass on the track at Copse, and I had trouble braking for Becketts. I went on the grass, and a short way up the Hangar Straight, collecting grass in the intake, which overheated the engine to 115 degrees, and caused a small plastic tube to fail. We lost eight laps while we fixed it, and cooled the engine.”

Gavan took the middle stint, and clearly had the car in its optimum condition, catching and passing the Eclipse Mosler, though, with several laps deficit, sadly not for track position; “I was out there for an hour and a quarter – it was an awesome stint. I had a good battle with the Balfe Mosler and the LNT TVR.”

A somewhat surprised Barrie was called upon for the third and final stint, Paul electing to stand down to give Barrie more track time in the car. Sadly, a wheel problem intervened - in other words, a wheel failure. “I was putting more into it, really pulling cars in, particularly under braking, and had a great dice with the red Ferrari 360 – and then this happened,” he rued.

Finishing 40 laps down, but taking the chequered flag, the team was satisfied with the performance. “It’s been a terrific experience, a whole year’s learning in
two days,” summarised Gavan Kershaw. “We took the flag, and we did what we set out to do – it’s been a success,” added Barrie Whight.

Next stop for Cadena GTC is the British GT round at Thruxton, but anything beyond that is subject to a review of budget.
STEVE WOOD

 

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