Trackspeed Racing – New Team For ‘05
Porsches - And A Masarati Too
was on the ball back in early April, when he introduced Trackspeed
Racing, and co-owners David Ashburn and Rory Fordyce, to dailysportscar
readers – here.
The first image, below, shows Ashburn / Fred Moss on the way to
second in GT3, in the British GT event at Knockhill earlier this
year - their best result of the season, so far.
A chance conversation with Piers Masarati on the
morning of August 19 revealed that Trackspeed is based at Dunsfold
Park, a working aerodrome and engineering centre near Guildford
in Surrey. That’s 10 miles from dsc HQ, so a Friday afternoon
visit became a necessity – especially once Piers mentioned
that the airfield is currently ‘home’ to a Boeing 747.
The story goes
that once David Ashburn discovered how much these old girls are
worth, he immediately suggested that he wanted one – as his
office! So perhaps another 747 will turn up at Dunsfold. Oddly,
we know a man who can find one David…
That gives a
flavour of the sense of spirit and adventure that accompanies this
bunch. It’s too early to get a feeling for the team’s
plans in 2006, but Ashburn and Fordyce have taken the novel step
of employing Piers Masarati as their Team Manager.
Moody was in charge from the moment the team was created in February
this year,” explains Piers, “but he found that he was
doing everything – or trying to do everything.
and Rory employed me to give the team some direction – at
least I think that’s why they employed me! That leaves Steve
to look after the engineering of the cars.
“There’s a plan in place to divide the
workshop into a road car area and the rest for the race cars, but
I think Steve has been too busy to worry about details like that
during the team’s first season.”
is one of those vastly experienced guys who seem to have been around
our kind of racing forever: he worked with Parabolica and their
McLaren F1 GTR in 1997, and has had spells looking after Panoz GT1s
and a Roadster (the Dave Sims car in 2001) since then.
He was checking
over the gearbox of a 911 GT3 on Friday (below), this the the chassis
that had been through a fairly extensive (Avon) tyre test a couple
of days earlier. Steve Moody is also vastly experienced with Ferraris.
(in the blue Dave Price Racing shirt) next to a pet project of David
Ashburn’s – a very solid looking, but a bit tatty around
the edges, Bentley. Ashburn found this one e-bay, and it will be
restored in due course. There are a number of ‘shops at Dunsfold
Park – a paint shop, for example, which handles the liveries
of the Trackspeed cars – which could play a role in restoring
the Bentley… but perhaps the mechanical work will be handled
in house, over the winter?
Piers Masarati has a slightly conflicting role until
the end of this season – he’s competing against Trackspeed,
on the British GT tracks. Be careful if you find a green and white
or green and yellow Porsche ahead of you Piers. Perhaps the livery
will be changed before next season? Perhaps the team will change
classes too? Nothing is set in stone at the moment: it’s simply
too early to seriously consider the team’s 2006 plans. All
in good time.
owners have certainly found a fascinating location for their new
operation. It was essential that Piers took me on a quick tour,
in his Civic Type R, despite a steady rain falling for most of the
and sales operations for road cars, we found hangers for maintaining
various smaller aircraft, including a twin-engined business jet,
and a small McLaren workshop. Chris Goodwin pops in from time to
time, to shake down one of those McLaren Mercedes machines. There’s
also a company doing some interesting things with Lotus Exiges.
uses the runway and access roads at Dunsfold Park, to test cars
for its television programme, and enable a variety of ‘celebrities’
to try and set a lap time in a humble saloon car. Entering the airfield
from the ‘wrong’ side ensures an editorial trip around
part of this track, and Piers and I retraced those ‘steps’
to get across the runway to see the Boeing 747. The Storm Aviation
technicians who were removing the Rolls Royce engines couldn’t
have been more welcoming, and were more than happy for us to climb
the steps and look within the cabin. Various instruments and other
equipment will also be removed for refurbishment.
has a fascinating history – which you can read all about here.
It began as a base for the Royal Canadian Air Force, which flew
Mustangs and Mitchells from here from 1942/3, the Royal Netherlands
Naval Air Service soon also operating Mitchells from this spot.
D Day, Arnhem, the Berlin Airlift – they all featured active
roles by aircraft flown from Dunsfold. The airfield also housed
released PoWs from liberated Europe, and aircraft from disbanded
squadrons were flown to Dunsfold in their hundreds in late 1945.
By the following year, Dunsfold was no longer an
active military airfield – but in 1951 the Hawker Aircaft
Company began using the ‘field as its flight test centre,
for aircraft built at its Kingston factory. Hawker Hunters were
a regular sight over the Surrey skies – and it was here that
the Harrier made its first (tethered) flight, in 1960. Future production
Harriers typically first flew at Dunsfold.
it’s a facility for both aircraft and cars, and Piers Masarati
and Steve Moody can use the tarmac to, say, run-in a new gearbox,
or test a car before an imminent race meeting.
have a successful British GT event at Silverstone in the middle
of August, David Ashburn hitting the UCB Ferrari and losing his
fluids on lap 1: perhaps it will be 2006 before we see this new
outfit really beginning to ‘fly’? They seem
to have everything in place to do just that - and by then, it's
looking as though they'll have a British GT Champion on their hands