Rob Gaffney is looking forward to a change of scenery in 2011, as he switches from the Renault Clio Cup, his home for the past three and a half years, to the new surroundings of the Ginetta GT Supercup. Running a Ginetta G50 with his own Meridian Motorsport team, Gaffney told TCF at the recent Ginetta Media Day that he is looking forward to a new challenge.
He said: “We looked at it initially a couple of years when it became the G50 Championship but it wasn't viable. We've managed to put together a late deal and I just fancied a change from the Clios. I've been in the Clios a long time and the next progression from Clios is Touring Cars, but that comes with a higher price tag, so let's try a sidestep and see where we can go from here really.”
Despite the move into a more sportscar based series, competing in the British Touring Car Championship is still the ambition for Gaffney: “Touring Cars is always the route. With the ladder Ginetta have got, it's always good to be in their books, especially with the G55 and the touring car drive; which could be a thing we aim for next year.”
After competing in the Clio Cup for so long, Gaffney acknowledges he will have to change his driving style for the G50: “It's going to be a lot different; I drove the Junior Ginetta's in 05 and 06 and learnt my trade in rear wheel drive, so it's kind of going back to what I know. I had to learn a lot in the front wheel drive but now it's just putting more power in the rear wheel drive.”
The switch to the Supercup sees Gaffney return to his roots, after he competed in the Ginetta Junior Championship back in 2005 and 2006. The 21 year old has been impressed with the way Ginetta have grown since then: “We started our when it was a very small company, we brought the fifth Junior Ginetta ever made and we still had to kind of fix half of it as we brought it.
“It's been very impressive, especially since Lawrence Tomlinson from LMT has taken it all over, how big they've now become, obviously building the G50, the new G40's and the G55. They're very impressive cars and the build quality is so much better than what they used to be.”
After running with the likes of Robertshaw Racing and Westbourne Motorsport in the past, Gaffney is now running his own team Meridian Motorsport, which he admits is a tougher way of doing it: “It is hard work; you've got a lot more during the week time. I'm quite lucky I've got the time to go through the car if we need to, to prep it. But it is hard, just the logistics of getting the thing up here, it becomes much harder to transport mechanics out, if things go wrong you've then got to be on the floor as well as driving the thing. It can be quite hard but if you plan it right, you can do it properly.”
Gaffney, from Waltham Abbey, Essex, had his first chance to drive his G50 during the Media Day's first 25-minute session around the Silverstone National circuit, though a mechanical fault stopped him completing a single lap: “We had a problem with the prop-shaft, three out the six bolts managed to snap about 50 yards from the pit garage, so that wasn't particularly very good.”
The problem now leaves him with very little time left to get to grips with the car before the first race: “We've now got the two sessions left here today and then Friday practice at Brands, so it's a bit of a steep learning curve.”
Despite the troubles, Gaffney is still looking for success from the off this season: “It's going to be hard but our aim is podiums and if we can get a good couple of podiums in the first couple of rounds then we hope we can get the sponsors to carry on the rest of the year.”