High’s and Low’s of Motorsport!
It always amazes me when the breaks in the BTCC calendar come around, it feels like we’ve only just started the season and already we’re pausing for a month! The Clio Cup is slightly different in the fact that we only compete in 8 of the 10 BTCC rounds, mainly as a cost-cutting exercise – so we get even more gaps between races. It’s rubbish! The Britcar Championship has kept us going though, and with SV entering more and more GT races throughout 2014 – I’m sure we’ll appreciate the break at a later date!
It’s been a mixed year so far really, Stefan Hodgetts has won a good few races for us but at the same time , had some incredible bad luck – such as the fire extinguisher going off quite by random during qualifying at Donington Park! That meant he had to start at the back in both races. Not good for the Championship points.
However, he has been on an excellent run of form recently, and has rarely been out of the podium positions.
It’s been good to see Ant Whorton-Eales develop into a real front-runner now – consistently in the top few cars, which is good for his level of experience. I think he’ll be winning races for us and the KX Akademy in the not too distant future. Another one to watch is Devon Modell, he’s been putting the work in behind the scenes and is totally committed to succeeding in the Clio’s. Whilst in the races, he has probably been getting involved in too many small incidents that hamper your progress – he has still manage to show tremendous pace during each round at certain points.
Josh Wakefield is the most frustrating driver in our team! He can be so fast during testing, for example at Snetterton he wasn’t out of the top 3 all day on the Friday but then come qualifying he struggles slightly and qualifies 13th. He is making huge progress with the techniques involved in driving the Clio quickly, and just needs to put everything together now – he could be so fast. In the wet he has a different style to everyone else, and it really works – if we manage to get a wet race this year, he’ll be top 3 – now there’s a bet for you all to have!
Finlay Crocker and Ronnie Klos have had the worst luck of anybody! Ronnie hasn’t finished many of the races this season – due to a number of different reasons really, but mainly being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He almost suffers from his own success, as his standing starts are so good – he ends up being slightly out of position on the first lap and then gets involved in other peoples accidents. Finlay has had moments of brilliance, like at Croft when he really should have brought the car home in 8th, which would have been a tremendous result for the most committed man on the grid! ITV media star Paul O’Neill coaches both Finlay and Ronnie and can see massive improvement in both of the drivers – for example Ronnie was quicker than all the younger drivers through the first corner at Snetterton, plus the last corner – Coram. This is a huge achievement for these guys.
New Clio for 2014
There is to be a new Clio for 2014, as Renault phase out the model that has served the Championship for 7 years or so. It looks great and features a tuned 1.6-litre turbo-powered Renault engine, producing 220hp, it also has a sequential six-speed gearbox which, for the first time, is linked to a steering-wheel mounted paddle-shift gear change. It also has adjustable dampers, meaning that you can fine-tune the suspension now, similar to the BTCC cars.
We have ordered 4 new cars, so it’ll be interesting to see how things develop. It’s always difficult when a new car is released, all the teams then have to get on top of the car as quickly as possible – and whoever does that in the fastest time, will get the jump on their competitors for sure.
My only fear is the budget required to run the cars. Renault saw the demise of the Formula Renault car not too long ago, as parts were incredibly expensive and the cars were difficult to work on. Let’s hope that the same doesn’t happen to the Clio UK series, as at the moment we have a fantastic Championship that has 25 cars on the grid and everyone loves watching the action!
Clio BARC 2014
For 2014, the redundant Clio model will be able to enter a new series supported by the BARC. This is a great initiative designed to help people get on to the grid without spending a fortune! There has been a taster series this year – we have been running a new driver, James Weston, and he has thoroughly enjoyed the action. At the last meeting at Rockingham, he got within 7 tenths of the leaders pace, which represents a huge step forward for someone who has never raced or set foot on to a racing circuit. A real star in the making, but like all things – budget is his biggest enemy.
We intend on running 3 or 4 cars in the BARC Series next year, and I really think this package could surprise people, my bet is 20 + cars on the grid for 2014. Low cost, close racing without the pressure or expectancy of racing at the BTCC level. Great fun!
GT’s and Britcar
Paul Bailey and Andy Schulz have been producing some fantastic drives in the Britcar Championship, and as things stand they currently top the leaderboard in Paul’s Aston Martin GT3.
It’s been great for SV to develop a working relationship with Aston Martin, something that can only help us in the future. Paul is also keen to run the car in 2014, and is currently thinking about how best to organise his driving exploits. We also entered the car in Aston’s Centenary meeting at Brands Hatch in July, this was the first real test for Paul and Andy against some excellent opposition. It was a great race, with the SV car eventually finishing in 5th place with fastest lap, huge well done to the guys!
Paul has also acquired a McLaren 12C GT CAN-AM, this gives more powerful engine performance of up to 630hp, and a unique aerodynamic package package that gives up to 30% more downforce. I can’t wait to work with this car – it looks awesome!
We are also entering the Zandvoort round of the British GT Championship with Paul and Andy. Watch this space to see which car we enter and how the weekend goes!
We have also entered the ‘grass roots’ of saloon racing with a driver of real promise – Adam Hatfield. The Sax Max Championship is for drivers of 14-16 years old, and is a great place to coach the talent of the future. Adam has just secured his first podium position of the year, and at the age of 15, has a bright future ahead of him.
Big shout out to our staff, without them grafting away – beyond the hours of duty, we certainly wouldn’t be able to keep developing the business at the rate that we are, so Chris, Jay, Paul, Ben, Matty, Dave and all other guys that represent SV during the season – thank you! Keep up the good work!
Bring on the next few months, we needs some more highlights!!
Looking forward to your continued support this year, we’re loving every minute.
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Thanks for reading, remember it’s all about #winning! Be good ;)