After a torrid start to the season Joe Osborne accepts that he and Lee Mowle are out of the title hunt in this year’s Avon Tyres British GT Championship. However, he sees the early disappointment as an opportunity to chase every race win, describing he and Mowle as the “fox in the turkey coop.”
Osborne and Mowle’s feather ruffling will begin with the pair of the 60-minute race at Snetterton this weekend with the Triple Eight Race Engineering team going to unusual lengths to try and improve their fortunes ahead of the event.
In search of some better luck the pair are to switch from using the #8 on the black BMW Z4 GT3 to racing under the #88.
“We know that eight is meant to be a lucky number,” said Mowle. “The origins of the Triple Eight name come from the fact the number is synonymous with bringing luck. I’m not sure what has happened with us using this in British GT, but it hasn’t just been unlucky, it’s been phenomenally unlucky. I thought at one point we had a magnet in our car attracting others to hit us. It’s just been unbelievable to have received so much damage, so consistently. Our thinking is that 88 can’t be as unlucky. We literally can’t do twice as badly as we have this year, so it can only be a good thing!”
“It’s pretty logical when you see how lucky #888 has been this year compared to us,” explains Osborne. “We’re doubling the luck of the number eight. I have a good feeling about the change, as the number 88 is special to me for two reasons. Firstly it was the door number of my parent’s house for over nineteen years, which has a lot of sentimentality for me. It also reminds me of one of my most eventful nights out, which is often referred to as 88 by friends, in that it involved two fat ladies – the bingo call associated with the number.”
The pair’s outing at Snetterton last year was typical of their terrible luck since they joined Triple Eight’s GT team for the 2013 season. They were involved in a lap one crash in the first race before suffering from more contact in the second race, finished fourth, just off the podium places.
In contrast to Osborne and Mowle travails their teammates Luke Hines and Derek Johnston have scored consistently through the first part of the season and lie fourth in the championship.
The Snetterton track also hold happy memories for Johnston, who secured his prize drive in the 2010 Rolex 24 at Daytona by sweeping the Radical UK Cup weekend at the Norfolk track.
“I’ve got the same feeling [now] that I had in 2009 in Radicals when I won the championship,” said Johnston. “That was my best year of racing ever and I’m getting the feeling back. It’s great. The car took a bit of getting used to and if I’m honest I don’t know what it will do in every situation yet, but I’ve got my mojo back and I haven’t felt like that for five years. GT Cup wasn’t a challenge, and last year in British GT I felt it was a bit pointless – no matter what I did I couldn’t ever effect the finishing position of the car positively. This year, if I do the best job I can possibly do, the car can win. I need to be pushed and I like to be under pressure – I feel like the more I give, the more I get. One feeds off the other. I’m really enjoying my racing this year, hopefully that shows with my performances.”