The 2020 Ginetta GT5 Challenge saw a truly classic race decide the title at Silverstone a week ago, and Scotland’s Gordie Mutch had the best seat in the house to watch it unfold.
The seventeen-year-old, with a magnificent moustache, won that final round as Josh Malin and James Taylor fought for the crown behind him, with Malin coming out on top at the chequered flag.
It was a stunning battle that has launched the Ginetta GT5 Challenge series into the eyes of the wider motorsport community.
Speaking exclusively to The Checkered Flag, Mutch said: “It’s gotten quite a lot of popularity on social media, people like Paul O’Neill have retweeted it, praising the three of us for the race.
“I think what was so magical about the race was that Josh and James were only one point apart for the championship so it was a dogfight between them. You’d have thought that they would be trying to take each other out or whatever they could do to stop the other from winning, but it was remarkably clean and fair.
“It was one of the best examples of what motorsport is all about and should be about.”
The Lockerbie-based teenager finished third in the standings, as he did in 2019, but despite aiming for glory before the season begun, he was delighted to come away with a top-three finish under the circumstances he and his Fox Motorsport team were under.
“I was hoping for the title,” said Mutch, “But going into every single race, we were on the back foot by three or four steps.
“Every single time we finished a race weekend, other drivers and teams would say, `see you next time’ but we had to say, `we’re not so sure actually’.
“The whole season has been done on a race-by-race basis and there was some rounds where we were doing Thursday or Friday practice and we didn’t know if we’d be taking part in the race weekend.
“The perfect example would be the first round at Oulton Park where most drivers had done five days of testing. I found out on the Wednesday I’d be doing the race weekend so my first time in the car was qualifying.
“I think we’ve done more than we expected to do, but I’m a racing driver and I’m very competitive so P3 with the circumstances we were given, I’m not sure any of the other drivers could’ve achieved what we did with the circumstances, but I also want to be the guy lifting the championship trophy.”
The natural progression next year would be for Mutch to advance to more powerful machinery and more competitive racing.
But he is well aware that his racing calendar in 2021 will be largely down to the money he can bring to the table and if he can sustain that throughout the year.
Mutch said: “It’s going to be really tough to get something organised for next year. Everybody is in the same circumstances so if they’re getting on the grid and you haven’t and you blame the circumstances, you’re just not doing enough.
“It’s just an excuse I don’t want to use. It’s going to be a lot more effort and a lot of work but I believe we can get something together. The goal would be to do something like British GT. I’d love to do that because I’m crazy for GT cars and that’s where I want to make my career.
“I’m not as interested about going to Formula One because it would take too much money to get there and there’s something rather beautiful and mesmerising about a big GT3 car blasting up Eau Rouge at four o’clock in the morning in the wet.”
Racing with Ginetta as he has done for the last two years could see Mutch move up to the Ginetta GT4 Supercup which would increase his exposure greatly with live coverage on free-to-air TV being lucrative for sponsors
He said: “The GT4 Supercup is something we’re looking at as a very good option for the coverage you get on ITV4.
“I also think it would be a very good stepping stone into GT cars. It’s fast, it’s got aerodynamics, it’s got bigger tyres. I think the Supercup cars are actually faster than the British GT4 cars so it would be a really good option to do that and then go to British GT.”
The Scot isn’t afraid to test himself in other machinery either, as he raced at Thruxton back in August, testing the waters in a 1955 Cooper Bobtail, previously driven by the late Sir Stirling Moss.
“One of my sponsors John Clark who has been with me for years, very generously invited me to Thruxton to do the Thruxton Historic.” Said Mutch. “We had a Cooper Bobtail, 1955 which was a works car for Stirling Moss. It was a totally different experience to anything I’d driven before.
“The first thing you notice is how dangerous and flimsy the car is. Sat down on the floor on just metal, it was one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve done in my life.
“I’m also a fair bit taller than John so the steering wheel, because it was so big, was between my legs and I had to drive it with my hands at the top of the wheel because my legs were in the way.
“My right leg was resting on the fuel tank and I remember thinking, `it’s only a sheet of aluminium between me and the fuel’. It’s basically a mobile bomb.
“But it was also probably the most fun I’ve had in a car. The GT5’s I drive is very brutal, it punishes you very often if you get things slightly wrong so hopping into the classic cars was very easy.”
“I found I could very easily slide the car one-handed through Church trying to fix my visor because I hadn’t tightened it properly.”
Like many a teenage racing fanatic, you can find him on his simulator at home when not at the track as he indulges in his greatest passion outside of racing.
Mutch has been a keen sim-racer for a number of years now but the lockdown back in April motivated him to push on and start to take things more seriously.
He said: “I’m a huge sim racing fan and I have been for a few years now, more recently I’ve gotten more into it, especially over lockdown as many drivers did.
“I’m involved in the Motorsport UK Championship the inaugural season of that and there’s still one more round to go but I think I’ve already wrapped up the title for that which is awesome.”
He is at such a level in the sim racing universe that he has started working with professional Esports outfit RaceKraft Esports.
Mutch said: “I’ve recently started working with RaceKraft Esports doing GT and endurance racing on the simulator with them.
“It’s a lot of hard work. As soon as you get into a pro team, you need to have more involvement with the setup. You can’t let someone else do it you have to be a contributor to the team; it just doesn’t work like that.
“It’s really competitive, sometimes I think it’s more competitive than real life, it’s very hard work.”
“Because it’s SO competitive, it requires just as much professionalism and commitment as real life. If you turn up having done half an hour practice and think you’ve set a good lap time, then you just won’t do well.
“Some of my teammates are trying to qualify for PESC (TAG Heuer Porsche Esports Supercup) this year and my team manager Brian Lockwood actually put in 60 hours’ worth of practice for last year’s qualifier.”
For someone of his talent, personality and professionalism, it is a real worry that he may not be able to pursue his dreams in 2021 with sponsorship money needed to get on the grid.
We hope he and his team are able to put together a package that will see Mutch fighting at the very front of the grid in whatever he races next.