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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
There had been 41 races in the period from 2003
to 2005 and Tech 9 recorded:
6 Second Places
6 Third Places
3 Team Championships
2 Drivers’ Championships
14 Pole Positions
A truly astonishing record and almost Audi-like
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.