Bedford based Bradley Philpot competed in the VLN Endurance Series last year which races on different configurations of the legendary Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit in Germany.
Securing the 2018 SP2T Class title within the VLN Endurance Series driving for Nett Motorsport, The Checkered Flag spoke to Philpot at the 2019 Autosport International Show.
First of all, how does it feel to have secured the 2018 SP2T Class title? Has the feeling sunk in yet that you’re a Champion?
“It feels very good, it feels like the next step in a journey that started fives years ago which led to myself racing on the Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit in Germany,” explained Philpot.
“The aim was always to win the championship and then to move onto great things for the following year at the same venue.”
A lot of British drivers often go and race abroad in different series. What led to the decision to race in the VLN Endurance Series?
“The move that led to it initially was my taking part in the Peugeot 208 GTi Racing Experience Competition which I won back in 2013 also included some opportunities to race in the VLN Endurance Series and the chance to qualify for the Nurburgring 24 hours event,” said The Peugeot driver.
“That gave me the bug for racing at this legendary circuit and my focus since then is to become an expert of the venue as I feel its the best circuit in the world to be racing on. Nett Motorsport believed in me and gave me the chance to race in a class that’s really competitive in a car that’s capable of giving me the chance to win.”
During your time in the VLN Endurance Series, you have always competed in a Peugeot. What was the original choice behind this decision?
“At the culmination of the original Peugeot Scholarship, Jurgen Nett who was one of my team-mates and had driven for Peugeot previously in the Nurburgring 24 hours and we kept in touch afterwards. On the way to a VLN Endurance event back in 2016, my car broke down and Jurgen was able to help me out in getting to the venue,” explained Philpot.
“After this, there were discussions between myself, the Nett Motorsport Team Manager and the Peugeot Dealership in Germany that led to my chance of racing a Peugeot 308 Cup car in the TCR Class. So this led to my association with Peugeot and racing at the Nurburgring Nordschleife.”
The Peugeot 308 Cup car is the predecessor to the current Peugeot 308 TCR machine. Have you had a chance to drive the 308 TCR and compare the differences between the two cars?
“I haven’t had the chance to drive the Peugeot 308 TCR yet, however, I am aware of the differences between that car and the Peugeot 308 Cup car. That being said, I’m hopeful that I’ll be driving the Peugeot 308 TCR during the 2019 season,” said the 2018 SP2T VLN Champion.
“As far as I can tell, there would be similarities between both cars however the 308 TCR will have more downforce and more power. I imagine that this will be a more powerful and faster version of what I’ve driven already. Last year we had to maximise the benefits of the 308 Cup Car against the other competitors so I’m hopeful of being in the mix with the newer TCR car.”
With the TCR UK Series having completed its first season, is there a temptation to return to racing in the UK full time?
“I have been following TCR UK with interest last year and racing in the UK is something I’d like to return back to. That said, my current budget is focused on racing in Germany,” explained the Peugeot driver.
If we could put a package together to race a Peugeot 308 TCR in the UK Series then I would be over the moon with this chance. The very near future will be focused on the VLN Series however I won’t rule out a return to the UK in the future.”
For those who don’t know about your background in Motorsport, can you give us a quick overview of your career so far?
“I started Karting from the age of 10 years old until I was 18. In 2007, I raced in the Toyota MR2 Challenge where I was able to secure the title in my first season. After a couple of years out of racing, I signed up at the Bedford Autodrome working for MSVR where I was employed for 12 years, making my way through the ranks,” explained Philpot.
“In 2013, I won the Peugeot 208 GTi Racing Experience Competition and raced in the European Final where I secured the drive with Peugeot for the SP2T Class and finished third overall. In 2017 I signed up with Nett Motorsport where I have competed in the Peugeot 306 Cup for the last two years, securing the SP2T Class title within the VLN Endurance Series last year.”
The Checkered Flag sends its thanks to Bradley Philpot for taking the time to speak with us at the NEC.