Monday 30 July 2012


Toyota's GT86 Artists impression looks fantastic!
A famous name from British motorsport history is to return to the track in September with an entry
from Team Toyota GB in the UK’s toughest race, the Britcar 24 Hours. The newly reformed squad will field a Toyota GT86 in the Production Class of the Silverstone enduro. The livery on the new coupe will echo that of the double British Touring Car Championship winning AE86 from the mid-1980s.
Work on the first British racing GT86 is well underway at the Buckinghamshire technical centre of
GPRM, the race preparation firm behind the successful BTCC Toyota Avensis prototype. The emphasis is on turning the potent 2.0-litre sports car into a competitive track machine while retaining as much of the standard road car’s specification as possible.

GPRM’s Gary Blackham and Roger King will oversee Team Toyota GB, and Blackham believes the GT86 will be a strong contender: “The new Toyota has all the makings of a great production class racer. We are concentrating our efforts on stripping back the chassis, lightening and strengthening it and of course equipping it with a roll cage and all the other safety gear required, as well as quick-refuelling equipment. Other than that, the GT86 will remain essentially in road car form.”

An announcement on who will drive the GT86 in the 24 Hours will be made in coming weeks.
Powered by a 16-valve double overhead cam horizontally opposed ‘boxer’ engine delivering 197bhp,
the Toyota GT86 captures some of the best elements of three models from Toyota’s rich sporting
heritage: the Sports 800, 2000GT and AE86. It went on to sale in the UK to critical acclaim at the
beginning of July.

The Britcar 24 Hours is the only round-the-clock race held in Britain for sports and GT cars and last
year attracted a 55-car field. The action takes place on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit over the
weekend of 22 and 23 September.
Team Toyota GB earned fame in the 1980s and ’90s thanks to championship victories with the Corolla in the British Touring Car Championship and UK rallying. The team’s last appearance was in the BTCC in 1995 with the Carina Es raced by Julian Bailey and Tim Sugden.

Thursday 26 July 2012

Michael Epps Croft report

Rounds 8 & 9 of the Formula Renault BARC Championship were staged last Sunday (22nd July) at Croft. Michael Epps charged through in his first race, getting his best (and his team’s best) finish so far in the series.Engine problems halted Epps’ first Qualifying very early on. On only the third lap going down the fast back section, the car’s oil pressure dropped to zero and the engine lost power. “I cut it off pretty much straight away, there was no way that would get back to the pits, it already sounded very rough before I even got to switching it off. It was the first lap I’d really pushed it as well!”

This is just another nasty piece of luck during what has been a terrible season for Epps, but that said he still qualified 19
th with no flying lap. Sadly the engine had blown, and much of it’s insides were now scattered all around the car. The team worked hard but it couldn’t be fixed in time for the second qualifying session later this afternoon. This was a huge blow for the Anytime Fitness backed driver.

Starting 19th in his JWA-Avila Renault machine for the first race, he got a decent start and began to pick his way through. With other cars off and many having their own battles through the field, Epps picked a few off and took advantage of others messing around to get through to 10th position by the flag. This was his first top ten finish in one of Europe’s most challenging single seater series.

JWA-Avila were very happy too, being a relatively new and inexperienced team in single seaters and F-Renault. “I’m pretty happy that I could get that far up, and it was from 19
th place! Now all we need to do is start 10th or better and we are laughing.”Epps was upbeat going into the second race later in the afternoon, starting in last due to not taking part in the second qualifying with a blown engine. He got a lightning start, passing 5 cars in the first lap, each at a different corner. Coming into the second lap however, Epps yet again became a victim of someone else’s incident. Following a few cars ahead into the first corner, one car ahead went for a late overtake and spun, taking Epps off with him.

“Everyone seemed to bunch up and slow down, it was like the first lap again. The guy ahead of me braked quite a lot later than those ahead and ended up hitting one of them and flying off track. I was on the outside of him and had nowhere to go really except into the gravel, which is where my race ended pretty quickly. I wish I had stayed right instead of going left, but what can you do.”

The term “that’s racing”, has been used more than too often this year for Epps, but he remains confident going into the last 5 rounds of the season at Donington and Silverstone. “I’ve had so much rubbish luck this year, not one weekend has gone right yet. The next one is at Donington, and last time I was there I had a double win in Formula Vee last year, so I’ll naturally have more confidence again heading back there.”

We just need to get qualifying right, I was on for a good position this time but then the car let me down. I guess that’s just how things can go.” All the bad points ignored though, Epps has once again proved his ability to race and get through the field, and probably earned some more respect as a driver in the series.

The next 3 rounds are at Donington Circuit in Derbyshire on 18
th/19th August, where Michael will be aiming to improve vastly.