Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Scottish Motorsport Festival launched.

McRae R4, Jimmy McRae and a fellow who looks strangely familiar...

Formula One World Championship titles, Indianapolis 500 victories, Le Mans 24 Hours wins, World Rally Championship crowns... the small nation of Scotland has left an indelible mark on the motor sport world over the decades and it continues to do so today. To celebrate this long-running success and to look to the future, the Motor Sports Association, the sport’s UK governing body, has created the ‘Scottish Motorsport Festival’, a week of events (1-9 October 2011) book-ended by the Colin McRae Forest Stages Rally and the RACMSA Rally of Scotland (7-9 Oct), two of the country’s premier sporting events.

The newly created Scottish Motorsport Festival will feature lots of highlights and activities. There will be star driver forums; the best of Scottish rally talent competing in the final round of the Scottish Rally Championship on the McRae Stages; an introduction to karting for schools; a special autotest between the media and leading competitors from the Intercontinental Rally Challenge; Scottish debuts for some of the late Colin McRae’s car collection; the excitement and speed of Europe’s best crews tackling the RACMSA Rally of Scotland stages; the launch of a new rally championship for 14-17 year old children at Scone Palace; plus the final round of the Scottish Motor Racing Club’s year at the Knockhill circuit. All these experiences give the Festival an exciting and packed programme with something for everyone to enjoy. As well as these sporting events, there will be engineering tours and visits to top racing and rallying teams by university students studying relevant courses.

Backed by EventScotland, the national events agency, this inaugural Scottish Motorsport Festival puts the spotlight on rallying and the partners believe that this new initiative has the potential to embrace an even wider spectrum of motor sport disciplines as the Festival evolves and grows in future years.

Five times British Rally Champion, Jimmy McRae said: “To have a motor sport festival that is designed to further promote all the opportunities that exist within our sport means that we look to grow on Scotland’s success into the future. That so many of the activities include kids is one of the reason that the Colin McRae Vision Charity is supporting this initiative as this is the reason for the charity, but it is also where the future champions will come from.”

Paul Di Resta, the latest in a long line of Scottish F1 drivers, commented: “Scotland has a fine tradition of producing some great motor racing talents, which is remarkable when you consider that we’re not the biggest country in the world!

When I was starting out in karting there was a lot to inspire me. I was always hearing stories about the great Jim Clark and, of course, Sir Jackie Stewart, who continues to help and support Scottish drivers. More recently there was David Coulthard, who I remember watching on television when I was growing up. It was always my goal to follow in his footsteps and help make Scotland proud.

But it’s not just Formula 1 where Scottish drivers have shown their skill. We have been well represented in most major championships around the world with drivers like Dario Franchitti, my cousin, winning the Indy 500 twice and Allan McNish having great success in sports cars.

We also have a great tradition in rallying thanks to the legacy of Colin McRae, who is surely remembered as one of the most spectacular drivers of all time. With icons like these there is plenty to inspire the next generation of Scottish motor sport stars.”

The Festival starts with an all-star forum run by Colin McRae Vision on the eve of the McRae Stages Rally on Friday 30 September at 8.30pm. Those attending the forum include 1984 World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist (the original ‘Stig’!) and 2004 World Rally Champion co-driver Phil Mills. The following day Blomqvist will take part in the Historic section of the McRae Stages before the Scottish Rally Championship crews take to the stages for the last round of their eight-rally season.

Forthside Park in Stirling sees the Intercontinental Rally Challenge stars take on a new challenge with an autotest against their media counterparts. Autotesting is one of the cheapest forms of motor sport to enter and the stars from Skoda, Peugeot, Proton and Citroen will use road cars in these maneuverability tests on the Tuesday evening (4 Oct).

Once back in their rally cars, the IRC crews will leave Stirling Castle on Friday night (7 Oct) to tackle two and a half days of flat out motoring over the world famous stages of Perthshire, Lanarkshire and Stirlingshire to find the winner of Rally of Scotland. The spectacular Stirling Castle start will feature motorbike trials demonstrations as well as an opportunity for fans to see the Colin McRae R4 rally car for the first time in Scotland. There is also an autograph session during which fans can meet the very best rally drivers Europe has to offer.

On Sunday 9 October, the Knockhill Race Circuit in Fife hosts the final race weekend of the Scottish Motor Racing Club’s busy season. An action-packed afternoon of racing will feature Scottish Formula Ford, Legends, Mini Cooper, Sports & Saloon and Classic Sports & Saloon championships.

With one eye on the future, the Scottish Motorsport Festival will culminate at Scone Palace on Sunday evening (9 Oct) with a sneak preview of a new rally championship aimed at finding the next Scottish champion. To be introduced in 2012, the championship is for 1000cc cars driven by children aged from 14-17 years of age. Accompanied by experienced competitors in the co-drivers’ seats, these budding young Colin McRaes can start learning the art of driving over loose surfaces before they are allowed on the open, public roads. To showcase this exciting new series six of the cars will be providing a demonstration around the final two stages of Rally of Scotland at Scone Palace.

The full schedule of events and timings are available from the new Scottish Motorsport Festival website:

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Overdrive September 2011 - and about time too!

Featuring Sporting car trials, Marshals and Walter's arena... oh and a Mitsubishi Evo X. Enjoy!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Newsham takes on Shedden at Knockhill

David Newsham - Well we think it is anyway!
Dave Newsham is hopeful of joining fellow Scot Gordon Shedden on the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship podium at his home circuit of Knockhill (3-4 September).

Newsham, from Inverness, will arrive at the Fife circuit off the back of his most competitive showing to date in the BTCC, the UK’s premier motor racing championship.

Three weeks ago some 500 miles away at Snetterton in Norfolk he finished all three races on the day inside the hallowed top ten and even briefly tasted the lead in one of them.

Now he’s back home – running his successful Norscott coffee vending machine business out of its headquarters in Inverness as well as another base in Aberdeen – and feeling confident about his chances at Knockhill.

And while Fife racer Shedden, who drives for the high-profile factory Honda Racing Team and is currently in the running for the BTCC crown, is expected to shine on home ground, Newsham is also hopeful of giving Knockhill’s trackside crowd another name to cheer.
Newsham in the thick of the action at Snetterton

The 45-year-old, who races a SEAT Leon for the Special Tuning Racing team, told “It was only my third event with the team but Snetterton showed just how much the car and I have gelled. I’d say we are now genuinely showing mid-top ten pace.

“Gordon’s been in the BTCC for five years now and is always the big name when the BTCC comes to Scotland, but I was ahead of him in one of the races at Snetterton for a while. I don’t think I got the results I merited there either so I’m going to Knockhill pretty fired up. I really want to be on the podium and believe that the SEAT, given its past results there, is capable of it.”

Although he originally hails from the North West of England, Newsham very much considers himself to be Scottish and takes great pride in the fact that it was at Knockhill last year where he won the Renault Clio Cup drivers’ title before his graduation to the BTCC for 2011.

“I moved up to Inverness to start the Norscott company in 1994. My first ever race on four wheels was at Golspie kart track about 60 miles north of Inverness. I won my second race there and was also the local club champion.

“There’s a lot of Scottish blood running through my family’s veins as well: my dad was half Scottish and my wife’s grandfather was from Orkney, plus both my kids who are now into their teens were born and raised here and I couldn’t have wished for a better upbringing for them.

“Inverness might be three and a half hours’ drive from Knockhill but people up here are used to driving long distances to get to events. And from what I’m hearing a lot of people from the town and from around the area will be driving to Knockhill for BTCC weekend and that makes me feel great. It brings a bit more pressure but that only adds to the buzz.”

Newsham will come up against his BTCC rivals, including Shedden, in three headline races at Knockhill (Sun 4 Sept). Another 11 hotly-contested races will also take place on track during the weekend with action from the ‘resident’ supporting Ginetta GT Supercup, Ginetta Junior and Porsche Carrera Cup championship plus the guesting Scottish Classic Sports and Saloons and Mini Cooper Cup championships...

... Which is where we at overdrive would like to add a point - Going to a high profile motor racing event like BTCC and only watching the main event is missing a lot of really great action! Knockhill has one of the best set of support races this year on the BTCC circus with the usuals, plus two hotly contested series that don't get nearly enough coverage - the Scottish Sports and Saloons and Scottish Minis. They're fast and furious, and definitely worth a watch.

When's the next programme of Overdrive coming out then?

Consult the countdown clock!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Formula Renault BARC gets close at Thruxton

Dindo Zampareli leads Formula Renault BARC to Thruxton - but will he lead afterwards?

Only four races remain in the fight to be crowned 2011 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Champion and ahead of next weekend’s penultimate event of the season at Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire, just six points separate the top three in the driver standings.

Rounds nine and 10 of the campaign, which will both take place on Saturday, 3rd September, at the ultra-fast 2.35-mile track near Andover, are going to be absolutely crucial in determining who will head to the televised season finale at Silverstone in mid-October in the box seat.

After, by far, his best outing of the season last time out at Croft in North Yorkshire with a victory and second place finish, Antel Motorsport’s Dino Zamparelli (Bristol) currently leads the championship by a single point from fellow double race winner Josh Webster (Stowmarket, Suffolk).

While Zamparelli’s title aspirations were significantly boosted during Formula Renault BARC’s annual visit to the North East, Webster’s weren’t helped at all after a highly unfortunate non-finish during the first of the two encounters – triggered after first corner contact between his Fortec Motorsport team-mates Kieran Vernon (West Chiltington, West Sussex) and Archie Hamilton (Hook, Hampshire).

Third in the championship is another two-time winner, James Thorp (Evesham, Worcestershire), and a strong Thruxton weekend will be essential for the MTech Lite racer as he is one of the few who will be affected by the category’s ‘drop-score’ ruling come the end of the campaign.

While the other title contenders all have zero points to drop, as things currently stand Thorp must subtract 11 points at least from his eventual total due to the fact he cannot drop the exclusion he received from round six at Oulton Park. Quite clearly, this could have a major bearing on his final championship placing and two consistently strong results next weekend are a must.

Scorpio Motorsport’s Kourosh Khani (High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire) has produced a tremendous run of late and after securing his first podium in round four at Brands Hatch, he made headlines as the first ever Iranian to win a Formula Renault race during round six at Oulton Park. Ahead of the visit to Thruxton he is fourth in the driver standings, 23 points adrift of Zamparelli.

Hamilton and Vernon complete the championship top six, just two and three points behind Khani respectively, and while the top three of Zamparelli, Webster and Thorp do have something of an advantage their immediate pursuers are all capable of podium success next weekend.

Protyre Formula Renault BARC rookie Zaamin Jaffer (Milton Keynes/Dubai UAE) leads the next group which includes series veteran Steven Durrant (Oxford), Howard Fuller (Kingston-upon-Thames) and impressive car racing newcomer Matt Mason (Nottingham).

Qualifying for rounds nine and 10 of the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship is scheduled to get underway at 09.30 next Saturday, 3rd September, with the first race set to begin at 11.30 and race two expected to follow at around 15.10.

Along with headline sponsor Protyre, the championship is additionally supported by ELF, Michelin and NGK Spark Plugs.

Provisional 2011 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship Points (after Rd8):
1st - Dino Zamparelli / Antel Motorsport 175pts
2nd - Josh Webster / Fortec Motorsport 174pts
3rd - James Thorp / MTech Lite 169pts
4th - Kourosh Khani / Scorpio Motorsport 152pts
5th - Archie Hamilton / Fortec Motorsport 150pts
6th - Kieran Vernon / Fortec Motorsport 149pts

Friday, 26 August 2011

Aston Martin Endurance moves to Brands Hatch

Astons at Oulton Park - Imagine them diving into Paddock Hill bend at Brands Hatch!

The seventh round of the GT4 Challenge of Great Britain will take place this weekend at the iconic Brands Hatch circuit in Kent on Saturday 27 August.
In only its second year the one-make, factory-backed Aston Martin GT4 Challenge of Great Britain has already visited some spectacular circuits and seen exhilarating action, firmly cementing itself as one of the highest calibre single-marque racing events. The cars, which are closely based on the road-going V8 Vantage and V8 Vantage S models, are an ideal first step on the GT racing ladder.
Throughout the season there has been a closely fought battle at the top between regulars Vantage Racing and Nicholas Mee Racing, however throughout the pack the competition has been strong. The final two rounds will decide which team will have achieved the most success in 2011.
The Aston Martin GT4 Challenge of Great Britain has so far visited: Silverstone, Snetterton, Donington, Spa Francorchamps, and Oulton Park The close yet fair competition, camaraderie amongst the participants and the shared passion for the Aston Martin Vantage raced by all, make the GT4 Challenge of Great Britain a truly unique experience.
Brands Hatch offers a world-class arena for teams and spectators alike. Racing on the ‘Indy’ circuit drivers will enjoy the likes of ‘Brabham straight’ and ‘Graham Hill bend’ whilst spectators will enjoy an amphitheatre style view of almost the entire circuit.
Practice and qualifying begin at 09:40 and are due to conclude at 10:10 with the race beginning at 14:20. For those wishing to make a day of it, Brands Hatch will also be playing host to the AMOC race meeting featuring cars from throughout Aston Martin’s illustrious history.
After this weekend, the Challenge will head to the final round at Dijon Prenois, France on the 10th and 11th of September.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Jason Pritchard goes continental

It's great to see young British drivers doing well on the international scene, and regular visitors to Overdrive will know about Jason Pritchard. Jason has left the British Rally Championship to focus on his international career and entered the WRC in Germany recently. Here's how he got on...

Jason Pritchard made his overseas World Rally Championship debut this weekend and made his mark during the ADAC Rallye Deutschland. Pritchard finished an impressive 28th overall and 3rd in his class and was “absolutely delighted” with the end result. The rally, based in the historic town of Trier, saw Pritchard tackle 359km, of competitive rallying over the three day event.

Pritchard, who was joined in his North Road Garage backed Subaru Impreza by co-driver Dale Furniss, made the long journey out to Germany the Sunday before the event but the trip was well worth it for the 23-year-old Welshman: “I’m absolutely delighted with the end result” said Pritchard, “we came out
to Germany after a run of a bad luck in our last few events, it’s great to finish and even better to make the podium in our Group N class, especially finishing behind two local drivers. It was a real team effort out here and I can’t thank the team enough for their support this weekend, it’s been superb from the word go.”
Pritchard gained invaluable experience from the event and is extremely proud with finishing 28th in such a prestigious field.

Sebastien Ogier was the number one driver over the weekend, finishing in front of fellow Citreon driver Sebastien Loeb. Rallye Deutschland has the honour of being the first world championship event of the 2011 season to take place on asphalt, although it’s an asphalt rally like no other, offering a real test for drivers and their teams with all three days of the event held on different types of sealed surfaces.
 Experiencing a number of testing conditions along the way, including temperatures in the high 30s most days, Pritchard encountered problems on the Saturday with a number of punctures during the second day and he also had to drive with a broken gear lever for sections of the race. Even so, he overcame the trouble to finish strongly on the Sunday: “You couldn’t allow your concentration to drop at any point over the three days; I had a tough day on the Saturday and experienced two punctures, the second one resulting in me changing the tyre whilst still on stage as I had 12km to go until I finished. “If we hadn’t had problems on the Saturday we could have had a good chance of finishing higher on the podium but that’s rallying, we finished on a real high and I can’t wait to compete at this level again, the whole team excelled this weekend and the only way is up.”
Pritchard displayed grit and determination over the three day event and really demonstrated his potential and ability to compete at the very highest level in the world of rallying.

Look out for a special feature about Jason Pritchard's adventures in Germany on Overdrive!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Mazda works teams ready to go around the clock

 Mazda UK has entered three MX-5s into the Britcar 24hr race at Silverstone on 1 October. The three Mazdas will be taking on rivals Seat, BMW, Lotus and Ginetta on the 3.666 mile Silverstone GP circuit. Two of the cars are production race cars based on the Mazda MX-5 2.0i Soft-top Sport Tech alongside the world’s fastest and lightest Mazda MX-5, the MX-5 GT car. This is the fourth time that Mazda UK has entered the Britcar 24hr race, previously with the rotary engined Mazda RX-8 in 2005 and 2006 and two Mazda MX-5 production cars in 2010.

The three race prepared Mazda MX-5s will be relying on their handling, nimbleness, and lightness to reduce pit time through fewer tyre changes and frugal fuel consumption, while maximising track time to beat the race thoroughbreds including Seat, Honda, Lotus and BMW. The cars are expected to complete 1,000 competition miles in 24 hours making this the most gruelling race in the British motor racing calendar.

Currently, the 850kg Mazda MX-5 GT ranks fifth overall in the championship and third in class, while the Mazda MX-5 production race car, which is essentially a standard MX-5 with safety modifications required by the Motor Sport Association, is fourth in class and eighth overall. The entry is in keeping with Mazda’s challenger spirit - competing against much faster race cars but relying on the attributes of the MX-5 to bring victory within its grasp.

Over the 24 hour race each car will be driven by a team of four drivers. The line-up for the MX-5 GT race car see regular drivers Mark Ticehurst from Hassocks, West Sussex and motoring journalist and racing driver, Owen Mildenhall from Dartford, Kent joined by Le Mans veteran and ex F1 driver Mike Wilds. The first of the two production MX-5 race cars will be driven by a team of four journalists: freelance journalists Andrew Frankel and Jethro Bovingdon, Ben Anderson from Autosport and Matthew Prior from Autocar.

Driving the second production MX-5 race car will be a team raising the profile of British Armed Forces Charities in motorsport. These include 
The Not Forgotten Association – one of the 2011 chosen charities for the RAF Typhoon Display Team, of which Mazda is the 2011 vehicle sponsor, Help for Heroes, the 'Soldiers’ Charity' - the Army Benevolent Fund, Forces Children's Trust and Scotty's Little Soldiers.

Leading this team will be Major James Cameron of the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment (2RTR) based at Tidworth in Wiltshire. James has just returned from Afghanistan where he commanded the Warthog Group - Task Force Helmand's independent armoured Squadron.   He is joined by Brigadier Mike Hickson, the Director of the Royal Logistic Corps.  Mike is a keen racer, campaigning in single seaters as well as racing classics, most recently at Silverstone and Le Mans. Former Royal Signals Sergeant Will Browning is the third driver, a keen racer and drifter from Bath who is now a Metropolitan Police Officer in the London Borough of Hackney.  Completing the line up is TV presenter and racer Tony Jardine, an ardent supporter of Forces Charities and himself the son of a Royal Navy pilot.

The Forces MX-5 will be supported in the pit garage by soldiers from the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment including some who are recovering from injuries sustained while on operations in Afghanistan.  

In just our first year of racing the MX-5 GT race car we are currently fifth overall in the championship which has included two podiums and we are third in class. The Britcar 24hr race will be a true test of our award winning roadster’s ability,” comments Graeme Fudge, PR Director, Mazda UK.

It is an honour to support these British Armed Forces charities with an MX-5 race car and with the team’s endurance spirit combined with the handling, reliability and durability of the car, we are hopeful of a good result.”

The Britcar 24hr race starts on Saturday 1 October and the winning car will be the one that completes the most laps of the 3.666 mile circuit in the 24-hour period.

The MX-5 GT features a modified Mazda engine that produces 275bhp, a manual sequential gearbox and race differential. On the exterior, the Mazda MX-5 GT boasts a Spirited Green metallic body colour - a first on the MX-5 for Mazda UK - complimented by Jota Sport corporate coloured liveries in orange and grey.

For further information on the Mazda MX-5 GT race programme go to or simply click here to download the free Mazda MX-5 GT motorsport iPad app from the itunes store.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

"Flash" Gordon heads home

Gordon Shedden leading the pack, he'll hope to repeat this at his home Circuit of Knockhill

There are little more than two weeks to go before Scotland hosts its only round this year of the UK’s premier motor racing championship, the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, at the spectacular Knockhill circuit on the weekend of 3-4 September.

The BTCC’s annual arrival at the Fife venue just north of Edinburgh represents Scotland’s biggest motor sport fixture of the year and 2011’s event looks set to attract a bigger and even more enthusiastic trackside crowd than before.

The reason is Fife’s Gordon Shedden who is better placed to win the BTCC crown – one of the most coveted in motor sport in the world – than any Scottish driver for more than a decade.
Trailing the damaged front wing, Shedden lines up his car with a barrier
(Photo : ITV Sport)
Gordon makes contact with the barrier
(Photo : ITV Sport)

The wing flies off against the barrier and Shedden carries on racing Nash
(Photo : ITV Sport)
Shedden will go into his home round lying second in the standings after an extraordinary piece of precision daredevil driving – two weeks ago while rounding a corner at 100mph at Snetterton in Norfolk he deliberately drove his Honda Civic into a barrier to remove its mangled front wing (see photos above). It meant he avoided having to make a costly pit stop for repairs and instead was able to go on and score a few more valuable points. [we don't recommend that racing drivers start doing this as a regular manouvre! OD]
Earlier in the day, in the second of three races, he’d taken his third win of the season to briefly lead the BTCC table for the first time in his career. Now three more races await him and his BTCC rivals at Knockhill (4 Sept) and he’ll start them just eight points adrift of the leader, Airwaves Ford Focus driver Mat Jackson and, crucially, ahead of his own Honda team-mate Matt Neal and reigning champion, Chevrolet’s Jason Plato.

Flash’ is clearly hoping that at Knockhill he can move back to the top and stay there to go on and become the first Scottish driver since John Cleland in 1995 to lift the BTCC Champion’s trophy.

A very happy Scotsman
Shedden, aged 31 from Dalgety Bay, commented: “The move at Snetterton was very risky – I don’t know if I could do that again if I was given another 100 attempts! But I had nothing to lose and it paid off and although Mat Jackson won the race and slipped ahead of me in the championship it means I’m just that little bit closer to him.

“Racing in the BTCC in front of my home crowd is always awesome but this year it’s going to be even more special. I’m in the strongest position I’ve ever been in and doing the business at Knockhill and leaving with the championship lead is of course the dream scenario.

“The gap to Jackson is only eight points – there are 15 for a win and three races on the day so there’s a lot to play for. This is also the most competitive season I can remember in the BTCC with so many different drivers and different types of cars capable of challenging for a place on the podium. I’ve driven thousands of laps around Knockhill but it counts for zero – the drivers at this level are into the groove with any track within five laps. I’ve got a great car in the Honda Civic and a great team in the Honda Racing Team but we will all have to be at the top of our game on Knockhill weekend to keep our championship challenge going.”

Macdowell chases down Newsham
In addition to Shedden, the trackside spectators will have another ‘local’ to cheer on in the BTCC’s three races at Knockhill (Sun 4 Sept), namely Dave Newsham. The Inverness racer will be making his first appearance in front of his home crowd as a BTCC driver after winning last year’s Renault Clio Cup title. Newsham will arrive at Knockhill off the back of his best showing to date – he was in the points in all three races at Snetterton, even leading one of them briefly in his Special Tuning Racing SEAT Leon.

Meanwhile Knockhill’s big BTCC race weekend (3-4 Sept) will feature 11 more races for the ‘resident’ supporting Ginetta Junior, Ginetta GT Supercup and Porsche Carrera Cup categories as well as the guesting Scottish Classic Sports and Saloons and Mini Cooper Cup championships.

Race day (4 Sept) tickets cost £25 in advance and can be booked right up to the eve of the event (Fri 2 Sept). To book or for details of other ticketing options including discounts on weekend passes and concessions visit the website or call the circuit on 01383 723337. Admission for children aged 12 and under is FREE all weekend.

For all the latest BTCC news visit the championship’s official website.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Chevron shows it's strength

The Chevron GR8 smashes against the Donington Park barriers - And Jordan Witt walked away!
Chevron Racing Cars rising star racer, Jordan Witt, 20, survived a massive 110mph, 30g crash in his Chevron GR8 GT at the infamous Redgate corner at Donington Park this weekend – but, thankfully, walked away unscathed, proving what a safe and strong car the compact GR8 race car is, even in such a high speed racing incident.

The weekend was going perfectly for Chevron and youth race sensation Jordan Witt ( – with the diminutive, heritage-rich GR8 GT qualifying for its first pole position in the GT Cup, in dry conditions, despite the extra 60kg of ballast the car was carrying from its Brands Hatch win last time out, again beating the Ferrari 430’s, Porsche GT3’s and other supercars.

Then, at the start of the first race, disaster struck, through no fault of his own, in an incident involving a Ferrari 430 driven by ‘Secret Millionaire’ star, Gary Eastwood at the challenging turn one, Redgate.

Jordan said: “Most unfortunately after getting into pole position, Gary Eastwood in his Ferrari 430 made contact with me, just after the start line before the first corner at ‘Redgate.’ The high-speed impact plunged me backwards into the inner circuit concrete wall. It was quite a shock. The impact data from the in-car telemetry systems shows the car was at 110mph and pulling 30g when I hit the wall. The crash energy was so high, it broke the wall in three places and sent me bouncing back across the track in front of other cars, into the outside gravel. Very fortunately, I got out with no injuries apart from a minor one to my elbow. Most sadly, the race car is a mess, but it is our intention to be back out racing at the next British GT race at Rockingham on 03/04 September.”

Gary Eastwood was black flagged by the Clerk of the Course instantly, and after three laps, eventually came into the pits and was removed from the race. His race licence was later endorsed.

Chevron’s Managing Director, Helen Bashford-Malkie said: “Obviously, it was most disappointing when Jordan had got the Chevron onto its first pole in the GT Cup and we were all very worried that he was going to be OK after such a big crash. But we were very pleased the Clerk of the Course saw fit to address such a serious accident in such a prompt and efficient manner. And, on the positive side, we were extremely pleased with how safe and secure the GR8 is in such a massive impact. Whilst the car may have looked a complete mess after hitting the wall at 110mph, and having been hit by the heavier Ferrari 458, the safety cell remained perfectly intact and our roll cage protected Jordan perfectly. I’ve seen much lesser crashes result in far more serious personal injuries in my time racing, and we are all glad Jordan is OK.”

We are focusing now on re-building the GR8 for the next round at Rockingham, just a few days away, and hope to continue our run of success with the new, exciting GR8 race car – which is getting some great results against established names and racers. Jordan is a superb driver and we are very confident the Chevron GR8 will continue its run of success, just a few months since we launched the new race car,” Helen added.

Jordan Witt
Chevron Racing Cars made a stunning race debut in the GT Cup Championship ( in August – with an inaugural victory in the ballistic Chevron GR8 GT at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit. Jordan Witt, took a huge victory – by over 11 seconds – in the second of two sprint races in the Chevron GR8 GT Car, blitzing Ferrari 430’s and Porsche 911 GT3 racers to take the chequred flag in style, in the pouring rain.

The GT Cup Championship Sprint (25 minutes) and GT Trophy Endurance Series races are designed for GT Cars with both up-and-coming racers, like Jordan, and “gentleman drivers,” like his father, David Witt – who was racing alongside his son at Brands Hatch in the Chevron Challenge Car in August, and again at Donington Park. The Challenge Car runs mainly the same high specification as Jordan’s Chevron GR8 GT Car, with a re-worked version of the GT version’s full aero pack.

Unbelievably given his pace and success already, Jordan Witt has only been racing competitively for twelve months, in the Dunlop Sport MAXX Cup, Chevron GR8 Challenge and in the epic British GT Championship, in the Chevron GR8 GT. And, as well as his recent crash at Donington, the Cheshire race ace has also just recovered from a dose of the mumps and a serious bout of conjunctivitis prior to the Brands Hatch GT Cup races. But that didn’t stop him taking the c260 bhp, 750Kg Chevron GR8 GT to a historic inaugural victory in the second of the two sprint races, and getting pole position at Donington Park before the crash. The future is bright for young Witt, and the Chevron GR8.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Croft looks forward to more nostalgia

Ford Mustang vs Austin Mini - a regular sight in historic touring car racing.
Croft Circuit can confirm that its retro motor sport-themed festival, Nostalgia, will continue for a third consecutive year in 2012 after it defied bad weather to successfully run the event for a second time.

The Historic Sports Car Club, whose packed race programme forms the backbone to the event, has already requested a date for next year after again being left impressed by the North Yorkshire circuit during its recent 2011 Nostalgia weekend (6-7 August).

Heavy rain on the Saturday threatened to disrupt the event but 16 races were still run thanks to the tireless efforts of the HSCC, circuit staff and marshals.

Even wet weather failed to dampen the mood
Grahame White, the HSCC’s Chief Executive, commented: “We were hugely impressed by the enormous effort that the team at Croft put in – their co-operation plus that of the marshals and our drivers meant we still got through the whole programme which was quite amazing.
“Furthermore Croft is a very popular venue with our competitors – the circuit is a real challenge for them and there’s also a very friendly reception all weekend-long. The huge line-up of entertainment off track from classic cars and military vehicles is also superb and means nobody is ever left waiting for something to happen. It is just a hugely enjoyable weekend, in fact one of the highlights of our calendar, and we very much want to return for a third Nostalgia weekend in 2012.”

In total some 240 drivers signed on for competition during 2011’s Nostalgia weekend with more than 250 racing cars dating from the Forties through to the early Eighties in action for the crowds. In addition more than 400 classic cars plus 100 World War Two military vehicles were on display while numerous side shows themed around music, fashion and living history from the Forties-Seventies added to the value-for-money-entertainment for the public. Admission for children aged 15 and under was free all weekend.

Croft Circuit manager Tracey Morley commented: “We’ve had our fair share of rain down the years but the weather we experienced on Nostalgia weekend was extreme by anyone’s standards. I cannot praise enough our staff, marshals, the HSCC race officials and competitors, Teesside Yesteryear Motor Club, Military Vehicle Trust, the exhibitors and of course public for the terrific spirit and goodwill they displayed in what were very difficult circumstances.
“The feedback has been nothing but positive and we know all will be returning in 2012 to be part of this fabulous event again. We still have a busy schedule of events to complete in 2011 but hope to announce our 2012 Nostalgia date in the near future.”

Still to come at Croft Circuit in 2011
Indeed there are still four ‘stand-out’ motor sport events for the public to enjoy at Croft Circuit this year. As ever, admission to all will be free for children aged 15 and under with adult tickets costing no more than £10 per day. For more details call Croft Circuit on 01325 721815 or visit the website.

The first two of those four events are for cars on the weekends of 10-11 September and 24-25 September and headlining the bill of action at both will be the penultimate and then title-deciding final rounds of the Darlington & District Motor Club’s hotly-contested Northern Sports and Saloon Car Championship. Its 60-plus entry consists chiefly of competitors from in and around the North East region and is recognised as one of the best supported club-level race championships anywhere in the UK.

For two-wheel fans, Croft will host the visiting Derby Phoenix Motorcycle Club’s race championships on 15-16 October – a number of local aces are expected to take part as ‘wild card’ entries.

Biggles and Algy ride again
Historic racing does not mean boring demos!
And then it is back to four-wheeled action on Saturday 3 December when Croft Circuit hosts a competitive timed special stage for more than 100 cars competing in the touring Roger Albert Clark Rally – renowned as one of the world’s best events for historic rally cars. The stage, featuring two ‘laps’, will be run twice meaning the exciting prospect of several cars in action against the clock at the same time. Croft’s vast race paddock will also become a major service area for the afternoon providing the public with a golden opportunity to watch mechanics busily working on the cars. The line-up of machinery, dating from the Sixties to the early Eighties, is set to include ‘old favourites’ such as Ford Escort MkIs and MkIIs, Vauxhall Chevettes, Lancia Stratos and Fulvias, Saab 96s, Mini Coopers, Porsche 911s, Triumph TR7s, Opel Asconas and Renault 5 Turbos.

Fans can further keep in touch with what’s happening at Croft Circuit online via Facebook (look up CroftCircuit), Twitter and even ‘own’ a little bit of the circuit by joining the Supporters Club. See or email for more details

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Mazda MX5 teams enjoy success in Britcar Production

We think this may be Mike Wilds driving the MX5... but we're not sure!


The Mazda MX-5 production race car finished third in class in round seven of the Britcar Dunlop Production GTN Championship 2011 at the Snetterton 300 Circuit in Norwich on Sunday 15 August 2011.

After qualifying seventh in class on Saturday, the Mazda MX-5 production car’s 50:50 weight distribution, handling and performance combined with the driving experience of legendary ex-F1 driver Mike Wilds saw the MX-5 race car fight its way to first in class in the first half of the race, further demonstrating its potential to challenge more powerful race cars in its class.

During the halfway point on race day, Mike Wilds handed over to Piers Ward, Senior Road Test Editor, BBC Top Gear Magazine, to complete the final hour of the race. The Mazda MX-5 production race car continued to prove highly competitive and out handled rivals Seat Toledo, Seat Leon Cupra and the Synchro Motorsport Honda Jazz to give the production car its second podium of the season and third podium win for the team.

Also competing was the MX-5 GT race car - driven by Mark Ticehurst, Mazda works driver and Owen Mildenhall, racing driver and motoring journalist – and despite 
a misfire during qualifying, the Jota Sport team resolved the fault and on race day the 850kg car climbed to fifth in class before a drive shaft issue saw the car recovered to the pits and unable to finish the race.

Despite the new Snetterton 300 circuit lending itself to the faster cars on track, we had a great result on Sunday, which is testament to the drivers and the handling and reliability for which the MX 5 is renowned,” commented Graeme Fudge, PR Director, Mazda UK.
The next race is the Britcar 24hr at Silverstone Circuit on 1-2 October 2011.

For further information on the Mazda MX-5 GT race programme go to or simply click here to download the free Mazda MX-5 GT motorsport iPad app from the iTunes store.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Goodwood Celebrates Freddie March

Among the many attractions and special tributes taking place at this year’s Revival (16-18 September), Goodwood will pay homage to Lord March’s grandfather – Freddie March, the Ninth Duke of Richmond – on the 80th anniversary of his historic win for the Works MG racing team in the famous Brooklands Double Twelve race of 1931.
Freddie March celebrating winning the 1931 Brooklands Double 12 Event
The Ninth Duke was an accomplished racing driver, taking many victories for both the MG and Austin works teams at Brooklands in the 1930s, before going on to establish the celebrated Goodwood Motor Circuit in 1948, the scene of Britain’s first post-War public motor racing event, and now home to the Goodwood Revival.
Goodwood will mark the 80th anniversary of Freddie March’s important 1931 race win with the MG team of five cars that he created, by staging an authentic recreation of the MG team’s Brooklands paddock at the Revival, including a line-up of supercharged racing MG C-type Midgets from the early 1930s.
At least six authentic racing MG C-types will be on display at the 2011 Revival, including two Midgets that competed in the Brooklands Double Twelve endurance race. A total of 13 C-types were entered in the Double Twelve in May 1931, with the MGs securing the coveted team trophy, as well as the top five places, with Freddie March taking the chequered flag.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Damian Cole finds Success in Newcastle

Damian Cole flies in his Ford Focus WRC

Damian Cole was supposed to be on a family holiday in Devon at the time of the Tyneside Stages Rally (July 31), but when you’re increasingly well placed to win the REIS MSA Asphalt Rally Championship for the second year in a row, you don’t let a little matter like that prevent you from getting behind the wheel! The effort brought due reward too, with Cole and co-driver James Morgan winning the event outright in their Ford Focus WRC and becoming the first pairing of 2011 to achieve two maximum scores.

Putting his Kumho tarmac rally tyres to optimum use, Cole enjoyed a day-long battle with last year’s Tyneside winners Simon Mauger and Brian Cammack, and such was the closeness of the fight that the teams were level pegging after five of the nine stages. However, the Otterburn Ranges took their toll and Mauger’s venerable MKII escort suffered a driveshaft failure during the penultimate test, leaving Cole to cruise to victory and further extend his championship lead with three rounds remaining.

Among others relying on Kumho rubber were the popular RAF Typhoon Rally Team of Chris Daykin and Dan Megannity. They arrived lying second in class for the championship, despite missing rounds due to key team members being on overseas operations, and left in the same position following another very solid performance in their Group N Subaru Impreza. The next round of the series is the Mewla National Rally that will take place on Sunday August 28.

Said Kumho’s European Competition Manager Steve Thompson, “I’m sure Damian will enjoy his holiday all the more for winning the Tyneside rally and simultaneously lengthening his lead in the series. We look forward to joining forces with him again at the next event.”

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Coming up on Overdrive...

Rosie meets Sporting Car Champion, Ian Wright
 It's nearly here at last! The first programme of Overdrive this year will be released soon!

We've got 3 features in this upcoming programme, First, we travel to Catton Park in Derbyshire to try out the uphill challenge that is Sporting Car Trials with British Champion driver Ian Wright. Then it's to Wales for a fast ride around the Walter's arena rally stage, before joining Pembrey Circuit's team of Marshals as they train to keep their skills sharp and answer that all important question : "What do the marshals do?"
Meet the Marshals!
We'll be revealing the release date of the new programme very soon, and remember that you can see it here, on Youtube at and there will be links on Twitter ( and facebook (

Meanwhile we're already at work on the next programme and we welcome any suggestions you have for features, reviews, or anything else!

Hope you enjoy it all!
This Is Overdrive!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Caterham celebrates 100th race at Castle Combe

Members of the Caterham Graduates Club in action

British sportscar maker, Caterham Cars, will feature in its 100th race at Wiltshire circuit, Castle Combe, on August 13.

Twenty-five years after Caterham’s iconic Seven first raced at Combe, drivers in the Caterham Graduates Championship will take part in a 20-minute race as part of the August Cup race weekend on the track described by Autosport Magazine as “the best club racing circuit in Britain”.

Caterham has a rich motorsport heritage in the UK – its innovative Caterham Academy has launched the careers of more than 850 brand new racing drivers since its inception in 1995, more than any other race series.

Among the drivers to have raced, and won, at Castle Combe in Caterham Sevens since the marquee first raced there on July 5, 1986, are ex-Formula One driver David Brabham, ITV4 British Touring Car Championship commentator Ben Edwards, and former motorcycle racer and MotoGP commentator, Steve Parrish.

Caterham Motorsport Manager, Simon Lambert, said: “Castle Combe has long been a firm favourite with club racers across the UK because of its fast, flowing nature. It has doubtless produced some of the finest Caterham racing of all time in the quarter century we’ve been going there.”

Tickets for the Castle Combe race weekend are available online at, costing £8 (£4 OAP and free for U16s) for the Saturday and £15 (£7 OAP and free for U16s) for Sunday. Paddock access is free when booked online or £2.50 on the day.

Please visit or call 01883 333 700 for more information about joining the Caterham Academy or any other of Caterham’s motor racing championships.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

BTCC Team's round up

Macdowall chases Plato at Snetterton
We love to hear from teams about their successes and activities across all kinds of British Motorsports including the British Touring Car Championship. Here then are some reports from Chevrolet, Honda and Toyota about their weekend at Snetterton.


The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship looks set for a thrilling second half of the season, after a huge points haul at Snetterton put the Silverline Chevrolet team, and 2010 BTCC Champion Jason Plato, right back in the mix after a frustrating start to the season.

It was a weekend of high drama that began with an eventful qualifying session. Plato set the fastest time with minutes to go, but the main story of the afternoon was a dramatic fire that engulfed the front of Alex MacDowall’s car after a fuel leak. The Cumbrian was pulled free from the car and the fire quickly doused by the RML team, yet despite missing much of the qualifying session he’d still scored a sufficiently good time to start Race One from third position.

MacDowall with his prize for second place
The strong qualifying positions were critical going into the day’s first race, with Plato’s Chevrolet Cruze surviving an early tangle with Matt Neal’s Honda to reveal a clear track. With Neal out of contention, MacDowall did a superb job defending second position from Honda’s Gordon Shedden, meaning Plato was left clear to take his fifth victory of the season, as well as setting the lap record for the new Snetterton 300 circuit with the fastest lap of the day.

Going into Race Two, the two Cruzes were at the front of the grid, but both were pushed wide after contact in the first bend, allowing Gordon Shedden’s Honda to push its way through.
Plato and MacDowall came out of the incident in fourth and fifth positions respectively, but both managed to pass Frank Wrathall’s Toyota Avensis to finish a solid third and fourth overall, with Plato once again on the podium.

Plato celebrates another victory
The BTCC’s reverse-grid formula made for an interesting start to Race Three – Plato and MacDowall began the race in fifth and sixth positions, but battled their way through the field in what was arguably the day’s most exciting race. Plato spent much of the race tussling with Dave Newsham’s SEAT, using every inch of the track to finally squeeze his way through to take third, while another sterling performance from Alex MacDowall saw him come in a creditable fifth, giving him his biggest weekend points tally of his BTCC career.

But Plato wasn’t the only Chevrolet driver on the podium. Privateer Paul O’Neill, at the wheel of the Tech-Speed racing Cruze, was also a beneficiary of the reverse grid system, scoring his best ever finish of the season in second overall.

We needed both a good haul of points today and for Matt Neal to have a spot of bad luck,” said Plato. “In truth, today wasn’t easy, but we got what we wanted under the circumstances and it gives us a real chance to capitalise on this as we head into the last four rounds of the season.”


Honda Racing Team duo Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden suffered a weekend of mixed fortunes in the sixth meeting of the 2011 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Snetterton.
Shedden leads the pack at Snetterton
Shedden took his third victory of the season in race two at the Norfolk track in his two-litre turbocharged Honda Civic to keep himself in the heart of the title fight. Neal faced a huge fight back after being pushed off the track in the opening race. He recovered to take fourth in the third race of the weekend but has slipped from the lead of the points table to third place. Shedden’s results mean he has leapfrogged Neal to claim second spot in the race for the crown.
Flash’ Gordon said he was delighted with his victory and third place that have turned the heat up on the title contenders.
The championship has been so competitive this season that it is vital that you keep racking up the finishes,” said ‘Sheds’. “You can’t afford to drop behind, so coming away from this weekend with 30 points has been perfect. It is a shame that Matt had his problems, because otherwise we could have been first and second in the standings.
After finishing third in the first race, I thought a victory might be on the cards in race two and I just concentrated on hitting the front as soon as I could. When the chance came at the second corner, I just grabbed it and it was pretty comfortable thereafter. The Civic has an excellent chassis and that meant that even though I had 27kgs of success ballast, I was still able to draw away as I pleased.”
For Neal, the three races produced only a single fourth place finish after he was involved in a first corner collision with rival Jason Plato in race one. Plato was later reprimanded for his part in the crash.
"Flash" Gordon Shedden collects his prize
Neal explained: “I made a brilliant start from fourth place on the grid and was alongside Jason, who was in the lead, going into the first turn and he just hit my car from behind. I spun across the track at 120mph, which was pretty scary and I am thankful no one else touched me.”
That meant Neal finished outside the points and a puncture also thwarted his chances in race two. A storming comeback in the third encounter netted fourth place, but it was a weekend to forget in most respects.
I am angry because my chances were spoiled by an avoidable incident in race one which also put me at the back for race two, so that was two big points scoring opportunities gone,” explained Neal. “I was happy to get back to fourth in race three but when you consider what we should have been able to achieve here, I am annoyed. Still, there are plenty of races to go and we will work extremely hard to make up the ground we have lost here.”

Toyota independent team Dynojet Racing is today celebrating a milestone result in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – a fantastic fourth-place finish, and independent class victory, for Frank Wrathall and his Avensis.

Frank put in a stunning drive in the first of the day’s Snetterton rounds to secure his dramatic result and to open the second half of the BTCC season with a bang.

Lancashire driver Wrathall, 24, found it hard to take in as he was saluted on the Snetterton podium: “I can’t believe it… it’s absolutely incredible. It’s been such an epic journey from the first round in April. Now here I am standing on the podium. I’m speechless.

Frank Wrathall takes the prize for winning Independant

The aim for the year was to get into the points. To get fourth overall and top independent at the sixth meeting of the year is way beyond our expectations. From day one we’ve known that the Avensis had the potential. To put everything together and to get a podium is the best reward for all the hard work that’s gone in.”

Wrathall’s drive on the new three-mile layout of the Norfolk track was a copybook performance. He started seventh on the grid in his Toyota after the best qualifying showing yet from one of the ‘Next Generation Touring Cars’, then he survived an opening lap fraught with danger, successfully avoiding the spinning Honda of Matt Neal to claim a place.

I was a little worried about the start,” said Frank, “but I pulled away well from the line and put myself in the best possible position. I was tucked right up in the pack; then there was a lot of dust and a Honda spinning in the middle of the track. I used my head and picked my way through it.”

A brave dive down the inside of James Nash’s Vauxhall into Agostini secured him fifth on lap two, and Frank then latched on to the tail of fourth-placed Tom Chilton in his Ford. “I put him under a lot of pressure; he wasn’t holding me up but I was comfortable behind him. Then he made a mistake.” Wrathall’s pressure caused Chilton to run wide out of Riches on lap six, handing fourth on a plate to Wrathall.

By this stage the leading trio – Jason Plato, Alex MacDowall and Gordon Shedden – were four seconds clear and, though he chased hard, Frank was unable to reel them in. “The Avensis was good all the way to the flag; there were a lot of unknowns about how the car would perform towards the end of a race but in relation to everyone else it was brilliant.”

Wrathall’s result brought him not only maximum BTCC Independent Drivers points but also his first main championship points – the first-ever championship points scored by the driver of an NGTC car.

Frank Wrathall takes the chequred flag
Frank shone in race two also, holding third place for eight of the 12 laps after a brilliant start and making progress on the opening lap. The Avensis man started from fourth on the grid and outfoxed reigning champion Jason Plato first time around through Williams to seize third. Frank proceeded to challenge the second-placed Vauxhall of James Nash for several laps until an overheating problem – caused by damage to the radiator – set in.

I got hit from behind into the first corner,” said Frank, “and as a result I hit someone in front. From then on the car started to overheat, and it worsened as I came up behind Nash. I dropped back from him in the hope that some fresher air would help it, but it didn’t.”

Wrathall put up a spirited defence of third under pressure from Plato and his Chevrolet team-mate Alex MacDowall, but they both found their way past him on lap nine. Frank pulled over on the following lap to avoid damaging the Avensis engine. “I had a good go at keeping them behind me, but in the end it was impossible,” added a still-smiling Frank.

Alas the damaged radiator required complete replacement and there was insufficient time to achieve this before the third and final Snetterton race, so Wrathall had to watch from the sidelines – frustrated on one hand, but on the other confident that his performances in race one and two had more than proved a point.

There was a good showing also from Toyota’s other BTCC independent, Tony Hughes, who improved with every session in his Speedworks Motorsport Avensis. Tony qualified 24th on the grid and raced to 21st spot in race one; in race two he was holding 18th into the final lap when a throttle problem prompted the car to slip into ‘limp mode’ and Hughes pulled up to prevent possible engine damage; he too was unable to take the grid for race three.

Having had little seat time in the Toyota since the car was re-engineered to improve its handling performance, Tony’s results were respectable. “The chief problem I have is a lack of time in the car,” he said. “I need more testing time to get the best from it.”

The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship heads north of the border for its next fixture: the daunting Knockhill circuit in Scotland is the venue on 4 September.

The next round of the BTCC takes place at Knockhill, Fife, on Sunday September 4.