In 2016 I raced again alongside Nigel Hudson with HUD Motorsports / JMH Automotive in Nigel’s Audi R8 LMS in the GT Cup and some Britcar races.
The car being a relatively old 2011 car put on some great performances and rewarded us with one win at Donington as well as many podium finishes throughout the year and we finished 3rd in the GTO championship, as well podium finishes in the Britcar.
For 2017 Nigel has purchased an Aston Martin Vantage which we will again compete in the GT Cup Championship.
HUD Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT3 for 2017
For the final round of the 2015 GT Cup Championship it was Oulton Park on the 10th October, it was another new circuit for Nigel Hudson so testing was all about getting him as much time in the car as possible as a result I only did 3 timed laps in Free Practice and the tyres didn’t get time to get to operating temp but it was clear the setup we chose was going to work well and I headed the session in P1 until the very end when I slipped down to P2 but still a positive start to the day.
Free Practice times
As per the Championship rules ( Only AM drivers can qualify ) Nigel would qualify the car, but disaster struck half way around the first lap with him going off on some un-treated spilt oil from the previous session and hitting the Barriers quite hard damaging the car and meaning he would have to start race one from the back of the Grid.
Nigel going out to Qualify
For race 1 Nigel had to start from the back of the grid after not getting a qualifying time and drove superbly through the field and grabbed 9th on the very last lap which was incredible considering it’s his first ever race at Oulton Park and had limited running beforehand.
Nigels race 1 start position
For race 2 I would drive the HUD Motorsports Audi R8 and start in 8th place and despite the cars now appearance and tank taped front end was driving great and enabling me to easily climb up the order, I got stuck a little bit behind a Porsche but soon as I got by I was able to catch up and over take the Audi Ultra for 2nd place and soon catch the leading Porsche 935 to battle for the lead, however whilst I was able to lap faster getting by was another story, Oulton Park is a notoriously hard circuit to over take but we had very different performance and whilst I could get close in the braking and corners on the straights it was another story.
Still I am pleased with second place and looking forward to competing in the whole season next year with Nigel in the Audi now we have a little bit more experience of the car we will be front runners from the start.
Click here to see video of me having a go at getting by the Porsche
Click here to see me catch the Porsche and the difference between the cars
It’s been great to be back on the race circuit recently with HUD Motorsports testing some cars ahead of of our 2016 GT Racing campaign.
We tested a host of cars that we felt would have been competitive for a GT Racing series first we tried the Praga R4S at Snetterton last time I drove this car was back in 2011 in Slovakia when it was first launched and it had the RPE V8 engine fitted and around 500+ Bhp.
However after a few installation problems the car has since gone to a Nissan VQ 3.8 engine with around 420 Bhp, a cracking car to drive with huge amounts of Aero but I did feel it lacked the power of the old V8 motor.
CLICK HERE to see Praga onboard footage
Next up on the list was the Audi R8 LMS GT3 car which I am no stranger to having worked as team manager and race engineer to a British GT team on and off since 2013.
The Audi was surprisingly easy to drive, felt just like a powerful road car and had the smoothness and drivability of well…an Audi !
Loads of power from the V10 5.2 Litre engine that it shares with the Lamborghini Gallardo and even on old tyres and well used brakes was very stable and offered good grip levels through the corners, could be a contender…
CLICK HERE to see Audi On Board footage
And then we tried something completely different an Aquilla CR1 LS7 which looks and feels more like a LMP car than it does a GT with this particular car running 750+ Bhp and weighing in at 900Kg was sure to be fast.
The car was like a missile on the straights and with its lightweight and huge aero dynamics was amazing in the braking zones and cornered like on rails, however to run this car in some GT series we would need to restrict the power hugely or add arround 400kg of ballast to adhere to the rules.
CLICK HERE to see Aquilla onboard footage
Had a good day testing the Nissan GT3 yesterday and the first Turbo race car I’ve drove since racing the C-West Nissan Silva S15 in Japanese GT back in 2003.
Car seemed very quick in a straight line was was relatively easy to drive once I got used to the Turbo Lag and Throttle response, I completed 15 flying laps and was straight down into the 1.06’s at Donington on the National circuit by which time the temperature had dropped to around 7.5 degrees which was positive, I’m sure would be a competitive car.
Click HERE for some onboard footage
For the final round of the series myself and co-driver of 10 years Phil Burton raced with the Factory Aston Martin Racing Team in an Aston Martin Vantage GT3
Having only completed a handful of laps before qualifying I was keen to get my head down and get us up the grid, however I had a few problems with the dash board and being new to the car couldn’t reset in time so would end up 20th on the grid for the race.
Phil Burton took the start, and it was clear early on the Aston wasn’t running to it’s full performance ( the data showed after the race that we only had 11 cylinders instead of the full V12 power ) but we soldiered on.
Phil came into pit and that didn’t go quite to plan either a small fire and then I got fire extinguished in my eyes just before my stint… Click HERE to watch pitstop incident
My eyes were stinging more than a little but I got my head down and carried on, my fastest lap was only 0.8s slower than the other Aston Martin that won the championships fastest lap, which was good considering I had a 1/12th less power I’m sure that equates to more than 0.8s.
Click HERE to watch some onboard footage
I really enjoyed working with AMR and driving the Aston Martin even with a few dramas it was still a pleasure to drive.
Looking forward to be back racing next weekend at Donington Park in the final round of the 2013 British GT Championship with Phil Burton in the Predator CCTV – Aston Martin Racing, Aston Martin Vantage GT3.
We raced back in June in the Mtech Ferrari 458 GT3 but didn’t have much luck and struggled with the Braking system.
Click HERE to view some onboard footage of the race
So we are hoping that a change in car manufacturer will yield a better result this time round, we have already tested the car which will be ran by Aston Martin Racing themselves a few weeks ago and although I haven’t completed many laps I’m feeling confident I can mix it up the front of the grid again the car feels awesome to drive and Phil and I are both really looking forward to the race weekend.
See the British GT website for further info. Click Here
After a relatively successful Brands Hatch where Rob Fenn and I finished in 2nd place from the very back of the 44 car strong Grid, Go Green Motorsport kindly asked me back to go one better at the 90 minute Donington Park race driving their Lotus Motorsport car.
This time the car was working perfectly and we managed to complete some running on a test day prior to the event, as the race day format is only 20 minutes Free Practice and 20 Minutes Qualifying a single driver would do one session, and Rob did a great job to kick off with fastest in the mornings Free Practice session.
I would Qualify the car and start the race, I managed to set a time over 1 second faster than the 2nd place car and secure pole position for the race.
Go Green Lotus Motorsport Car
At the race start the circuit was pretty much covered in oil the whole way round from a previous BMW race so I just hung onto my lead for a couple of laps whilst the circuit got cleaned up by the big grid of cars and then started to push to get as big of a gap as possible before the pitstop and the hand over to Rob, I pitted after around 50 minutes and had managed to build up a 45 second lead setting the fastest race lap along the way.
A perfect pit stop and refuel by the JDR Racing team and Rob was on his way still in the lead, and was doing a great job lapping very quickly and making light work of the traffic and extending our lead in what was quickly becoming a night race as we approached 7pm, the flag fell and we eventually won the overall race by 1 whole lap, putting Rob in the lead of the ‘open’ category and in contention for the overall championship honours with only 1 race at Snetterton to go.
I was pleased to go one better at Donington than Brands hatch and would like to thank Rob and David Fenn and the whole Go Green Motorsport team, JDR Racing who once again did an extremely professional job enabling us to take the top spot and I hope Rob manages to secure the overall Championship at the next and final round.
On the Podium after the race