British GT Donington Park 29/30th September 2012

The final round of the 2012 Championship for the Predator CCTV Racing Team would be a little bit like the whole season, disappointing.

Once again the gremlins that plagued the Ferrari Scuderia GT3 throughout the season decided to show themselves the day before the race weekend, with the JMH Automotive crew working hard to find and fix and electrical fault which seemed to somehow keep frying the engine ECU’s and wiring looms but with no avail.

A sad end to a difficult season as it meant we would miss the last race of the year, ironically it would have been our best circuit in terms of race pace, I think it’s safe to say the Ferrari Scuderia has seen it’s day in GT3 racing and the future is in the hands of the latest generation of GT3 cars.

A massive thank you to Phil Burton and both GWM Motorsport and JMH Automotive for their hard work and efforts this season, and also all our Sponsors and supporters.

I hope to see you all again in the 2013 British GT Championship.

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British GT Silverstone 8/9th September

The British GT Headed to Silverstone for the longest race of the season a 3hr endurance race on the GP circuit.

A record of 33 GT cars entered the race and the with 26 degrees sunshine it turned out to be a very popular race.

The Predator CCTV Ferrari was working well in Free Practice but and whilst running 1 second faster than ever going before on the circuit, we were still some way off the ultimate pace and would only qualify in 21st Position for the race.

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For the race start Phil Burton would take the first stint with the team planning 3 pit stops with re-fuelling and new tyres to be fitted in each stop as well as a drive change in stop it was sure to be a busy race, the first stint went well for Phil and he was soon up to 17th before coming in after 40 minutes to hand the car over to me, I managed to make a little progress and after 1 hr 30 mins we were now up to 14th position, the car was handling really well and JMH Automotive had done a fantastic job with getting the car reliable but I just didn’t have the ultimate pace of the leaders but we just pressed on.

I came into pit and hand over to Phil Burton again, with another super slick pit stop we rejoined still in 14th place and gaining slightly on the cars in front however an oil line split and Phil had to pull off the circuit to extinguish a small fire rendering the car out of the race with still 1 hour to run.

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I think a top 10 was on the cards so we were all disappointed to not to carry onto the finish.

For some images from the race please click here

The next race is on 29/30th September at Donington Park for another endurance race this time 2 hours.

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Lotus Festival – Brands Hatch with Go Green Racing

Last weekend I was invited to drive for the Go Green Motorsport team at Brands Hatch for the popular Lotus Festival in a Lotus Motorsport car featuring the UK and European Lotus Cup race, the last time I drove one of these cars was back in 2000 when I won the Original Lotus Motorsport Championship taking quite a few wins ( I think 13 ) along the way so was looking forward to getting back in one, and the Go Green Motorsport was definitely the car to be in, highly modified and arguably the fastest car on the grid so I said yes please !

Free Practice didn’t quite go to plan and an engine part failure on my first lap meant I had to return to the pits and the team quickly set about fixing the problem but sadly by the time the new part arrived and was fitted meant we would miss Free Practice and Qualifying so would line up on the very back of the 44 car strong grid in last place with very little testing or car setup.

However the race was a different story, Rob Fenn started the race and drove superbly and quickly managed to make his way up the order and with a couple of ‘expected’ safety cars which worked out perfectly for us when I rejoined the circuit I was in second place only seconds behind the leader and the Go Green Motorsport car was flying, I caught him up initially through the traffic but the tyres on the car had seen their best and with 30 degrees heat the front tyres had started to fade away and I was unable to make a challenge so we eventually finished in 2nd, a great result from last on the grid.

Click here to view some onboard footage from Brands Hatch in the Lotus.

A big thank you to John Danby Racing who ran the Go Green Motorsport car and did a fantastic job all weekend including calling the race perfectly too and also the whole Go Green Motorsport team and David and Rob Fenn.

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British GT Snetterton 4/5th August 2012

The next 2 rounds of the British GT Championship was held at Snetterton in Norfolk, and Predator CCTV Racing had moved to a new team JMH Automotive to take over the running of the Ferrari Scuderia GT3.

They hired a new gearbox from car manufacturer Kessel racing in Switzerland and pretty much all the ancillaries that go with it, so we were confident the car wouldn’t suffer any of the gearbox issues that had plagued us all season.

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Free practice 1 went well and I was running P6 at the start of the first session on used tyres and full fuel so it was clear that the car was working well, we did a little setup work and eventually ended the session in 10th place after most the other cars ran new tyres at the end when fuel was light so we were pleased with that.

Free practice 2 much the same again, we concentrated on setup rather than an ouright laptime and we finished up P12, I was confident I could make a top 6 Position in Qualifying.

However with severe weather warnings issued the weather didn’t disappoint and the whole circuit was under at least a couple of inches of rain water so most the afternoons races including our Qualifying session was cancelled and we would start race 1 from free practice 1 position and race 2 from the 2nd practice session.

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Phil Burton would take the start from Race 1 and did a good job to bring the car home in P12 setting consistent lap times, I managed to make a couple of positions and get us back into P10, however with around 15 minutes to go the car wouldn’t downshift gears and I was caught quickly by the Ferrari 458 of Aaron Scott, I did all I could to try and hang onto 10th and the last point scoring position but he managed to get by and we took the flag in 11th.

The JMH team were quick to point out the Gearbox problem it seems a gear actuator was at fault on the hired gearbox, and unfortunately there was little they could do to rectify this problem with only a couple of hours to the next race so we planned to run until it caused a problem then we would have no choice but to retire the car.

I took the start of race 2 and made a few places coming round in 9th place just behind the race 1 winning McLaren of Matt Bell but the car wasn’t working 100% as it should and I quickly lost places first to Matt Griffin in the Mtech Ferrari then a couple of others down to 12th again, after 5 laps I decided it was safest to retire from the race to bring a sad end to our race weekend as it was looking initially that we would be able to run at the front of the field.

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For images from Snetterton please CLICK HERE

The next race is a 3 hour endurance race at Silverstone on 8/9th September.

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British GT Brands Hatch, June 2012 Race Report

The British GT Headed to Brands Hatch for a 2hr event on 23rd June 2012.

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Free Practice:

A circuit I was looking forward too, as I knew it would be a good circuit for the Ferrari Scuderia, should it manage to behave itself, however me and Phil only managed a handful of laps each and the gearbox selector drum failed sending parts into the freshly rebuild gearbox bascially destroying every gear in there and locking the back wheels bringing the car to a halt on circuit.

The team recovered the car and worked non stop using what parts we had available, by the time the car was operational again it was Sunday with about 15 mins to go before the race.

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Race:

Phil Burton would take the start and the plan was he would run up to 55 minutes then come in and hand over to me, however after making up several places on his first lap he was hit up the rear and sent smashing into the Barrier damaging the rear bumper, breaking both right hand wheels and tyres and the front bumper, splitter and rear diffuser.

Whilst the team we working on the car I noticed that Phil was having some problem with his hand so went to see what was the problem, and his thumb had become dislocated in the accident, so if true never give in style I popped it back in and he went back out on his way, albeit now 3 laps down due to the work on the car.

Click here to watch the Thumb Operation ! ( NOTE: Don’t watch if your Sqeemish !! ).

Phil managed to get to the end of his stint and came into hand over to me, as I took to the circuit he headed for the Ambulance, I was impressed he managed to drive almost an hour like that.

The car wasn’t at it’s peak performance due to the missing splitter and diffuser I had two old tyres on the right hand side as phil has used up my new ones during his pit stop but at keat the gearbox working and I was able to be lapping only 1.5s slower than the leader and climbed up to 12th place at the finish.

Phil is undergoing scans on his hand and hopefully will be all fixed ready for Snetterton in 4 weeks time, we haven’t had the best season so far but hopefully we can turn it around for the last 3 events of the year.

CLICK HERE to view Photo Gallery

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Round 3 British GT Rockingham Speedway

Predator CCTV Racing competed at round 3 of the British GT Championship at Rockingham Speedway with their Ferrari Scuderia GT3 for a two hour endurance race.

“We completed a shakedown of the car at Mallory Park so we were confident it wouldn’t have any of the gearbox issues that we had at the Nurburgring in Germany last month, however as the team did a warm up of the engine before the first free practice session at Rockingham, despite working perfectly back the the Gerry Wainwright Motorsport workshop the car had developed a misfire, which later turned out to be a coil pack but meaning the team would miss the first free practice session”.

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For free practice 2 the car ran well and the team set about finding a good setup for Qualifying, and Phil getting some laps in the car.

” Qualifying for the two hour race was a single 30 minute session and the plan was I go out on new tyres but with quite a lot of fuel on board and set a time, come in hand over to Phil who would complete his mandatory 3 flying laps and then get back on board for an all out low fuel new tyre run, I came in after the first run and was P6 however once we tried to remove the wheels the right hand front wheel nut had become somehow locked on and despite lots of effort wouldn’t budge so I had to take to the circuit with only 3 new tyres and one tyre that had now done about 9 or 10 laps and running out of track time fast, I managed only 2 flying laps in traffic then the flag dropped and we ended up a disappointing 18th and I felt I could have managed a top 6 with better circumstances”.

“Sunday morning warm up and Phil was bedding in his race tyres ready for the first race stint, came in to pit and I got on board to do the same with just enough time to complete 1 flying lap and managed to set a time 0.5s faster than my qualifying time and ended the session fastest overall in P1 so we were feeling confident we could make our way up the order in the race after the difficulties we had in Qualifying”.

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Phil Burton would take the start of the two hour race, and was setting some good lap times and running in P12 until a big accident involving the Beechdean Aston Martin brought out the Safety car and with the Predator Ferrari using a 100 litres of fuel an hour we couldn’t enjoy the early pit stops the other cars were able to enjoy and had to stay out longer until 55 minutes to pit, re-fuel change tyres and I would climb on board to finish the race, but it did mean that Phil would take the lead of the race at the 60 minutes mark so at least the Predator was once again back in the lead of a British GT race… all be it briefly.

“When I took to the track I noticed the brakes were already starting to fade and was really struggling in the 2nd turn stopping from maximum speed but still I was able to lap reasonably quickly and over took a few cars to jump up to P10 and was gaining on those just in front but just letting the car settle down and saving the brakes and tyres for a real push towards the end of the race, however as I exited the chicane with about 25 minutes the cars drive shaft broke and that would be the end of what was a very frustrating race weekend, I feel we if we had made it to the end we would have eventually been much higher up the order as lots of cars were stuggling with tyres and ours would have been relatively OK”.

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For more images from Rockingham please CLICK HERE

The next British GT race is at Brands Hatch on 23/24th June.

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Round 2 British GT Nurburgring, Germany 2012

Predator CCTV Racing headed to the Nurburgring in Germany with their Ferrari Scuderia GT3 for two, one hour races last weekend.

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Free practice and all was looking well, despite winning 4 races previously at the Nurburgring it had been a while since I last raced there 7 years previous so I did a short run of 10 laps to remember which way the circuit went and on old tyres was running comfortably in the top 6, Phil Burton took over who never having driven the circuit before was planning to complete the hour session, however after 10 laps as he approached the first corner the Ferrari wouldn’t change down the gears and broke down at the first corner leaving the team to watch helplessly for the rest of the 2 hour session, until the car was brought back to the pits.

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The GWMotorsport crew quickly found the problem a tiny 1mm shard of steel, presumably from a dog ring had lodged it’s self in the gear selector drum locking it up solid, this was removed, all gears stripped and checked and put back together for Qualifying.

Phil Burton would qualify the car for Race 1, and not really knowing the circuit did a good job to be only 4 seconds off Pole Position but still way down the order in 19th position.

I really thought I would be in with a good chance of a top 5 qualifying position even with only 10 laps of the circuit myself but it was not to be, the gear shift wasn’t perfect and was taking a long time to shift up to 4th and 5th gear. So the best I could manage was also a lowly and worst ever 19th place.

The team once again completely stripped the gearbox, this time replacing all the gears and dog rings with new ones, it should be working like clockwork for race 1 and hopefully we can climb up the order.

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For Race 1 Phil Burton took the start and after 2 or 3 laps it was clear that the Ferrari was still having gear selection issues, and eventually on lap 5 Phil came back to the pits and parked the car as it became stook in 4th gear.

Again the team managed to strip the car and by 2am in the morning the car was once again, surely this time fixed !….

Saturday morning, and I was going to start Race 2, on the green flag lap the car was fine, up and down the gearbox no problem, as I approached  the start line the lights went green and I pressed the paddle for 3rd gear but it was this time stook in 2nd gear and wouldn’t change so I had to crawl around for one slow lap back to the pits the end of a very disappointing weekend,

It seems as though on top of the gearbox problems we also have a selector fault, the GMWotorsport team are replacing every sensor on the gearbox and new actuators ahead of the next races at Rockingham on 9/10th June so hopefully we can get the Predator Ferrari back up the front where it belongs and start racing again !

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To view more images from the Nurburgring please CLICK HERE

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