British GT’s Media Day 2015

 

GT17

It was a sunny Wednesday morning and Life In The pitlane went off to Brands Hatch to walk their pit lane and admire all the fresh new British GT cars for the 2015 season.

GT15

I admit GT’s is new to me however as a McLaren car fan as well as the F1 team, I am very aware of their stunning cars, this is probably the main reason, the idea of prestige cars careering around a track, I mean come on! and with 13 Aston Martins in the mix to say the least, it seems to be in the common man’s term posh cars racing!

GT31

I had Leah Nicole with me, who likewise is no expert in this field even though we have spent many days at Brands Hatch, this has been to watch BTCC ,now ask me about that and i may actually have an answer.

GT23

However what did happen while there was a rush of emotion that can only lead to one outcome, a whole new motorsport love affair, to see a McLaren 650s and an Aston Martin Vantage racing around  track, with the roar of a big V12 engine…..oh that sound!!!!

GT24

lets not forget yes others were in attendance, BMW Z4 & Porsche,Mercedes Benz SLS AMG & Ferrari 458 Italia (not in attendance at the Media Day), Lotus Evora & Toyota GT86…..oh boy I suddenly have a lot more to do this year too…..alot more pit lane action for me!!!

GT2

 

 

Q & A With MG Trophy Championship Driver Alastair Rushforth

wpe5655ab1_05Those of you who know me from Twitter will no doubt already be familiar with Ali Rushforth’s name. I can’t say enough about this guy, a genuinely decent family man with an amazingly supportive wife, great sense of humour who was awarded Most Entertaining Driver in 2012, so it can’t just be me who finds him funny & pretty good at driving a race car fast too. Get following Ali on Twitter and go and say Hi, he is  very interactive with fans and always up for a joke. I also have it on good authority he cooks a mean BBQ in his hospitality area trackside on a race weekend!! He karted with Anthony Davidson and the late Dan Wheldon and Jenson Button, who’s Dad built both Jenson’s and Ali’s kart engines so i thought it was about time we all got to know more about what makes him tick before the various Tin Tops seasons get underway……..

Q )If you could drive any car on any circuit, what would it be?

A) Aston Martin GTE at Spa… That car is a work of art & Spa is an awesome circuit with some world famous corners that require big balls as well as skill.

Q) What got you racing?

A) My dad used to rally & hill climb so I was in rally stages & race paddocks as soon as I was born.
A garage my uncle, who’s not really an uncle owned had a make-shift motoX track at the back for his son, so my parents got me a bike when I was 5 or 6. But I think they decided bikes were dangerous as they soon found out about karting & we went that direction instead.

Q) Who is faster JB or you?

A) In a triathlon, JB… In a car, me of course 😉

Q) What was it like racing against Dan Wheldon?

A) Danny (he was Danny when we were all 10 years old & always will be for me) was great, even as kids he was the most professional out of everyone (including JB, Davidson etc).
On track he was hard, but in the paddock playing football or with radio controlled cars he just liked to laugh.

Q) For someone who has never seen MGCC before,what/who should I be looking out for at brands hatch?

A) MGCC are unlike any other club in the country as they organise car events as well as race meetings. At an MGCC race weekend expect to see anything & everything with an MG badge, on track & in static displays.
Te club is run by members for members so everyone is an enthusiast of the famous marque… It’s like a big family atmosphere & everyone is approachable… You’d love it 🙂

Q) Do you still see yourself racing in 5-10 yrs time & where would you like to be by then?

A) Really hope so. In an ideal world where there was lots of money in my bank I’d love to have a go at BTCC or even British GT’s which has really caught my attention recently.

Q) Could you ever imagine doing anything outside of motorsport & what would that be?

A) I’ve grown up around Motorsport my entire life & I’ve now subjected my wife & kids to this so I really don’t think I’d be any good at anything else… I was an average footballer, half decent sprinter when I was younger, but my golf swing is rubbish.

Q) You have a wealth of motorsport experience, working, driving, running your own team, if you could pick 1 year out of all of that as a favourite, what year and what were you doing?

A) That’s tough… Maybe 2007,
It was my 1st year in MG Trophy having raced minis previously & at the start of the year, the car wasn’t mine. I didn’t touch the car in any way & we won the first 2 rounds. I missed Cadwell Park, yet we arrived at the final round still able to win the championship. I had engine failure in race 1 & a rival team offered to bring parts to repair it for race 2, however they forgot 1 part. I didn’t take part in race 2 & their driver won the championship so who knows of it was accidentally or on purpose the part was forgotten.

Q) I think most people now appreciate how hard it is for independent drivers,but what are the best things about being independent as opposed to a works driver?

A) I’m not sure really, I suppose you don’t have the pressure from the manufacturer to perform & act a certain way on social media, but that said I don’t swear on social media anyway as you never know who’s reading.

Q) What is the toughest part of being an independent driver?

A) Finding the money to go racing. True works drivers are employed by the manufacturer/team.

Q) If money was no object this season and all seats in all motorsport were available to you, what would you choose to drive?

A) BTCC with WSR or the 888 MG, or British GT’s in an Aston Martin.

Q) What other sports do you enjoy watching in your leisure time?

A) I’m big into athletics so get excited when the Olympics, Commonwealth or World championships are on. I also enjoy Speedway & go to watch at Swindon during the summer.

Q) You have just been given a one off race to arrange, with a bottomless bank account,any cars you want for any driver from any era, you are also competing, you can have 5 others,name them and the cars you want them in?

A) Birmingham Superprix with some 1990’s super tourer BTCC cars.

Driver wise I’d chose Steve Soper, Andy Rouse, Ayrton Senna, James Hunt & Jason Plato.

Q) Your son has not long been karting,what are your aspirations for him within motorsport?

A) More than anything I want him to have fun. There’s no agenda with it & certainly no pressure from me.
He’s started very late compared to a lot of kids in karting so for us, this is just some dad & lad time.
The fact he’s enjoying it as much as he is is very exciting to me.

Q) I am your fairy godmother for one wish to help make this year your best,what wish shall I grant?

A) Money to ensure I can do every round without worrying & also some rest days… I’ve not done any testing since 2010 so sometimes can be on a slight back foot when we arrive at race weekends.

 

For more information on Ali or to get involved and become a part of #TeamAli please visit www.AlastairRushforth.co.uk

Its not too late to see your business’ name on the car this year.

The MG Trophy Championship is televised on Motors TV with a viewership of over 1 million on top of those in attendance.

 

9d45

© Sandra & Ben Hebbourn 2015

So Near Yet So Far

 

gregganf1

So the time to get up at silly o’clock is here and that means the start of a new season in F1. The wait is over and its time to see who ‘s who on track.

As my role within F1 falls consists of Audio Visual work within the team Motorhomes my actual F1 season doesn’t start until May when the circus moves to a mainly European location.

This means that for the first four races I am watching as a fan but as well as looking at who’s who on track I am looking at who’s who off track. All the people that are walking the paddock and working in the garages are the same mechanics, journalists and ex racing drivers that will be at the races I will attend.

Although as I said I am watching as a fan I am also watching something very familiar, similar in some ways to a déjà vu.

I have loved Motor Racing from a teenager and I have followed F1 since then. That equates to around 10 years of viewing as just a fan. 10 years of not really paying that much attention to who was standing in the garage or who was at the podium celebrations etc. Then it’s just some bloke or a group of non-descript blokes jumping and cheering. 10 years of wondering what it would be like to be there.

Personally I was very lucky to get to work in F1 and I never, not once ever planned to get a job within the sport. The day I walked into a race circuit and then into a team garage and stand next to a real F1 car was a very surreal experience. One I will never forget.

These days my viewing of the race is of course completely different. I have a good knowledge of the way things are done, the protocols that are in place and the faces of those working in the garage. No longer is it some bloke, it is a person I may consider a friend, somebody that I have had some good times with and seen them doing and saying things that will forever remain in the private domain but I know happened.  I may see somebody that has been out of f1 for a season or two working for a team or organisation and I make a mental note to go see him or her when I get trackside.  On track if the car is does or is doing well it adds an extra buzz of excitement that you may get a chance to run to the pit wall and be apart of that crowd at the foot of the podium yourself.

As well as that there is also the realisation in the back of your mind that your season is fast approaching and whatever you may have left to do in your preparations in and out of work it needs to be done sooner rather than later. Work wise its not so bad because you have a set deadline and the set-up time at the circuit so any final things can in a worst case be finished there. At home however you are leaving for (in my case nearly a month) an extended period and so certain things need to be planned ahead or be in place because you don’t want to be sorting your personal life when you hundreds of miles away. Of course things do pop up when you’re away but its best to try and keep that to a minimum.

When your working at the circuit you may not get the chance to pay 100% attention to the race, you may not get to see it at all so being at home on the sofa with a cup of coffee and your racing buddy is nice. Once the race has finished you can turn the TV off and go make a Sunday roast which is also nice knowing that those guys out there have to now pack up. On the other hand there is a part of you that wishes you were there and it makes you look forward to getting involved.

That feeling also comes with a pinch of guilt if, like me you have a young family. You may be looking forward to being in F1 but you are not looking forward to leaving them behind.  Older children can be told and have an understanding of why you have to leave but a baby does not. This is something that I find difficult to deal with, knowing that mummy will have to deal with everything that the baby throws up which will include a few frustrated tears at wondering where I am. Skype does help a little but you can’t have cuddles through a web cam.

So watching the first four races is a mixed bag of emotions but one thing to look forward to when you do the European races only is that you know that you can watch the conclusion to the season back on the sofa with that cup of coffee and my racing buddy who also happens to be the love of my life.