Tech 9 – A Masterclass In Winning
© Mark Howson

As the winter settles in over Britain with its usual flourish (i.e. it’s cold, damp, foggy and generally miserable), thoughts inevitably turn back to earlier in the year and the British GT Championship – one characterised by some great racing taking place over the course of the classic British summer; i.e. cold, damp, foggy and generally miserable conditions.

dailysportscar.comWhilst the sun rarely shone in 2005, the skill and professionalism of the majority of teams certainly did, and nowhere was the glow brighter than in the Tech 9 awning, Phil Hindley’s outfit once more running off with the spoils.

As news begins to emerge about the 2006 championship, and as Hindley and his team look to the possibility of a pair of campaigns next year (British GTs and the new FIA GT3 European Championship) it is timely to look back over the three years of the life of the class in British GTs, to see just how dominant the Merseyside team has been.

dailysportscar.comRight from the start, in 2003, GruppeM/Tech 9 set the pace and made the running. The Cup competitors may have been few in numbers in the early days, but there was no denying that Tech 9 was approaching its campaign with a total earnestness. The young driver pairing of Patrick Pearce and Matt Griffin proved to be a perfect match for the rapid and seemingly bullet-proof Porsche 911 GT3 #76 and won the first race of 2003 in style from pole position.

For the majority of races in that first season the team ran two cars, and finished the year with three Porsches at Brands Hatch. Nick Staveley’s 911 GT3 ran as #78 and he was accompanied by Michael Mallock, Steve Moore, Liz Halliday and Jeff Wyatt at various times throughout the season. Liz Halliday started to race a third 911 GT3, #77, with Tom Shrimpton from Round 7 at Oulton Park. For the Spa 1000ks, this pairing was joined by Amanda Stretton and the trio famously took the victory.

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But Griffin and Pearce were the constants throughout the season, and recorded a crushing eight wins out of eleven races (Silverstone, above) to claim the Drivers’ Championship by a considerable margin. Tech 9 became champions by a similarly huge margin.

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2004 was a curious year for Tech 9 and once again it was the dominant team, although this fact was obscured somewhat by the many changes that took place within the outfit during the season.

dailysportscar.comUnlike the previous year, there was no constant. Tech 9 divorced from GruppeM in the early part of the season and it seemed to be musical chairs in the driver department – at Donington we had Jonathan Rowland and Phil Hindley (winning the first race of the season, left); at Mondello it was Rowland and Adam Sharpe; by Castle Combe it had changed again to Sharpe and Hindley, before finally Sharpe was joined by Dominic Lesniewski at Oulton Park and for the remainder of the year. Only at the final two meetings did the team run a second car (the ex-ABG 911 GT3), David Wandless driving at both meetings and being joined by Mark Cole and Phiroze Bilimoria respectively.

Despite all the changes, the team still was rarely anywhere other than at the front and Sharpe was in with a shout of the drivers’ title towards the end of the season, having taking three wins, but also having had to cope with copious amounts of success ballast throughout most of the campaign. The penultimate race saw Sharpe’s hopes disappear, but the two young drivers rallied to take victory in the final race, in the rain at Brands Hatch, and secure the Team Championship for the second year running.

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For 2005, Tech 9 went back to the formula that had worked so well in 2003; a stable driver-pairing – this time the drivers being GT-ace Piers Masarati and Greek driver Dimitris Deverikos.

dailysportscar.comOnce again, the black Porsche was the pace setter and took four wins from the first five races - including the first race of the year, again. A run of consistent point scoring after that meant that the driver and team championships were wrapped up before the season-ending Silverstone races. Masarati and Deverikos (below) didn’t enter the last brace of races and so the team put James Murphy and Ian McKellar Jr in the car - and they promptly won the first race. Paul Mace joined Murphy for the last one of the year, but the season ended with a DNF – only the sixth such result for the team in three years.

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There had been 41 races in the period from 2003 to 2005 and Tech 9 recorded:

21 Wins
6 Second Places
6 Third Places
3 Team Championships
2 Drivers’ Championships
14 Pole Positions

A truly astonishing record and almost Audi-like in scale.

As 2006 approaches and the team prepares for battle once more, it is a sobering thought for the rest of the class field that Tech 9 has yet to come away from a British GT Cup/GT3 meeting without at least one item of silverware.

 

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