Tracsport – One Down, Three To Go
We had the
news here on June 3, that Tracsport would be entering the ex-Stanley
Dickens Lola B2K / 40 in the three remaining LMES events. Ahead
of the team’s international debut this weekend, we caught
up with Rick Pearson, John Ingram and John Gaw, to find out who’s
behind this ‘new’ team – a very interesting character
– and how the three of them see their season developing (from
the left, John Gaw, John Ingram and Rick Pearson).
So how did
you arrive at this project?
Ingram: “Dudley Wood – yes, the Dudley Wood
– was running the three of us in our 2003 championship winning
Caterham R400 Team…..
Pearson: “My style of driving didn’t really
suit the Caterham, which has a distinctive ‘flex’ in
the chassis – I prefer something stiffer. Plus our professional
approach did not suit the championship. Anyway, between ourselves
and Dudley, we’d always been in discussion about moving the
team into an international category, and when we were offered a
good pedigree GT3-RS, we focused on the LMES.
Ingram: “We all felt that LMP2 was a phenomenal opportunity
to race a well run, reliable car. Dudley has got the international
experience of course.”
Pearson: “With John (Ingram) and John Ingram Snr.,
sorting out the funding, we were very pleased to have received some
backing from MAN Financial in the City of London.”
Ingram: “We spent a long time researching which chassis
and engine combination we would run. We had discussions with Pilbeam,
and we were seriously thinking about the Jota Pilbeam, John Stack’s
car. We spoke at some length with Sam Hignett and John Stack, and
we came very close there…
Pearson: “Dudley visited Lola, and he knew Nick Jordan
anyway of course, and Nick put us in touch with Stanley Dickens.”
Ingram: “Dudley and myself went to Sweden to see
the car, and we agreed to buy it… so there we were, the proud
owners of the 2001 FIA SCC Championship-winning SR2 car. A fortnight
later, the truck went over to collect it, and it was back here on
Pearson: “We were out testing on June 4, less than
two weeks later. The car then was as it ran in Stanley’s colours.
We’ve since had a lot of work done to it – including
the changes needed to meet the ACO specifications - and recently
shook it down at Snetterton, where it ran very well.”
Ingram: “We’re running the AER, Nissan-based,
3.0 V6, and we’ve got two engines, both upgraded with larger
restrictors, a new spec. ECU, with both engines re-mapped. We’re
looking at a reliable 450 bhp, and the engines are fantastic. The
new ECU is the same one as on the 3.2 engine, but the benefit is
that we get a stronger smoother power curve, compared to the 3.0
as it used to be.”
the plan for the Nurburgring this weekend?
Pearson: “The same as for Silverstone and Spa: we
want to run to the finish of all three rounds.”
Ingram: “If the Courages run problem-free, there
is no denying that it will be a challenge to catch them… yet.
But when we’re really up and running, who knows?”
At this point John Gaw
joined the conversation, and he was interested to hear the latest
developments regarding the LMP2 entry at the ‘Ring: that is
a couple of very serious runners have fallen by the wayside.
of you familiar with the Nurburgring?
Gaw: “Only on the Play Station!”
Pearson: “I made myself sick last night, learning
the track on my Play Station. I think I was too close to the screen,
and I was upset by the lack of G forces !”
are the team’s plans after the third of the three LMES events?
Ingram: “We’re keen to take in the last two
ALMS races, but currently we only have the funding for the European
races. We’re working on it though. We’ll carry on with
this car into 2005. We understand that the plan is to extend the
LMES a little next year, and that will suit us. We want to go to
Le Mans next year, so we’ll be out to prove that LMP2 cars
can run reliably over long distances. We aim to show that we can
complete 1000 kilometre races this year.”
with a discussion regarding a particular speed record that could
be down in the record books against Dudley Wood’s name. We’ll
check that with Dudley on Friday. This should be a very interesting
meeting for the LMP2 newcomers.