It was championship delight for Team HARD. Racing’s #24 Ginetta of Tom Barley and Simon Rudd in 2018 as they took the GT4 class honours in this seasons Britcar Endurance series. Consistency was the key to the pairs success as they finished on the podium in all 14 rounds of the championship, which was no mean feat with the large array of competition that was present in this season’s championship.
Peter Farrow, who heads up the teams GT program applauded the whole team performance over the season.
“It’s been a fantastic year for our GT team and to end the season with 3 podiums, a pole position, a fastest lap and winning the GT4 class we have really shown what amazing team work can do. Having worked with Simon and Tom for several years now we were able to work in cohesion to help give them the best package possible. In doing so they duly delivered.
Huge congratulations to Simon and Tom for their outstanding season, securing a class podium every race weekend is a record to be proud of.
Finally, thank you and well done to my amazing team, from the mechanics to the hospitality crew. Everyone has worked incredibly hard this year and we have had a year to remember, giving us motivation to come back even stronger in 2019!”
Having been in a tight tussle with the Track Focused KTM over the course of the season Simon Rudd believes that partnering again with 2017 team mate Tom Barley was a key to the championship going their way.
“It’s been a great year for us. We were on the podium for every race and won the most competitive class. The team have been faultless all season and I can’t thank them enough.
It’s been amazing to partner up with Tom again. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and used that to bring together the best package, it’s been so much fun.
As ever, a huge thanks to Team HARD. Racing, all my sponsors (Elsfab, Jackson Lift Group, VTS, Momentum Consultancy, DJMotorsport and Lester Controls) and my friends and family for sticking with us during 2018, at times it’s been a bumpy ride, but we have pulled through!”
Team-mate Tom Barley echoed the words of team-mate Simon highlighting just how in-sync the pair have been in 2018.
“14 races, 14 podiums. That’s the best way to sum up 2018! What a phenomenal season Simon and I have had. Team HARD. racing have put a flawless car in front of us every weekend, which made winning as easy as possible, we really had no excuses this season!
It’s been my most enjoyable and successful season to date. Here comes 2019! Thank you to IG.com and Engine Carbon Clean, without them this season couldn’t have happened.”
With the season now over, it was a fitting end to a successful season both on and off the track for the team. Motivation is high as the team look forward to a number of 2019 championship campaigns.
Radical racer Harper-Ellam in for Britcar finale
Ryan Harper-Ellam joins Team Hard in their Britcar campaign at the season finale this weekend at Brands Hatch. The current Radical racer joins the championship for its showpiece event, it’s ‘into the night race’. On both Saturday and Sunday, the Britcar championship will race from dusk and into the night in a 50-minute race on Saturday and a 2 hour race on Sunday offering a unique challenge for spectators, drivers and teams alike.
The GT manager at Team HARD, Peter Farrow, is looking forward to the weekend. “As a team manager I relish unique weekends such as this. We’ve got creative with the cars by adding glow in the dark stickers and extra lights to put on a show for the fans in attendance this weekend. I’m also delighted to have Ryan onboard, especially after seeing his domination on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit last weekend. We honestly believe he can help our title charge despite lack of seat time in the #285 Ginetta G55.”
Ryan is hoping to continue where he left off last weekend at Brands Hatch “I’m really excited for the opportunity to race with Team Hard in the Britcar finale this weekend. It’ll be my first race in a GT car so I’m looking forward to seeing how I get on. Obviously, the aim is to be at the front but mainly it will be a huge learning experience. Having taken two wins, two pole positions and 2 fastest laps at Brands Indy last weekend in the Radical I hope to continue my good form this weekend!”
With the title still all to play for, come down to Brands Hatch this Saturday and Sunday to witness a rare motorsport spectacle in the UK, night racing.
Michael Crees in for Britcar ‘into the night’ finale at Brands Hatch
2018 Ginetta GT4 Supercup AM champion Michael Crees will take to the wheel of the Team HARD. Racing Toyota Avensis in the Britcar finale at Brands Hatch. Michael will be joined by Britcar regular Sam Randon in what will be one of the strongest pairings on the grid.
Crees is delighted to get more track time in a touring car. “It’s safe to say that after testing the Team HARD CC and Avensis this week I’ve caught the touring car bug! The Britcar championship is a perfect opportunity to get more track time in the car and get used to front wheel drive which is all new to me after two years in a rear wheel drive Ginetta. The weekend also provides a very special opportunity, driving a touring car at night! I’m relishing this opportunity and would like to thank Team HARD for having me onboard.”
Team boss Tony Gilham has been impressed with Michael’s performances this week. “Michael was quick straight out of the box on Tuesday when he drove our CC at Snetterton. With our #24 car still in contention for the overall Britcar endurance championship I’ve been searching for a driver to partner Sam and help take points off our rivals. Michael fits the bill perfectly and his champion status makes him a force to be reckoned with during the final round of the season. We want to end our season at the top.”
Head down to Brands Hatch on 17th/18th November to see Michael and the rest of the crew in action in what is set to be a fascinating weekend. Furthermore, this is one of the few events held in the United Kingdom that finishes at night. What better way to close the Motorsport season.
SAM Randon may have had a frustrating 2018 motor racing season – but the young Ashbourne driver knows exactly what he will be doing next year.
Randon has been signed up by Team Hard – the BTCC and GT racing team he made a winning guest appearance for recently. This season saw Randon struggling first with funding issues then, when he had funding in place to drive a Maserati in the GT Championships, he was unable to find a funded co-driver for the endurance race format, which requires drivers to swap over.
Sam raced and won the last Britcar round at Donington Park with Simon Rudd. This weekend they race against each other.
“It will be strange racing against Simon this weekend.” said Randon.
When one of Team Hard’s drivers was unavailable in July, Randon stepped in – and he and Simon Rudd not only won their GT4 class but won the race outright in Team Hard’s Ginetta G55.
Team Hard boss Tony Gilham, an ex-British Touring Cars driver, said: “We’ve been watching Sam’s progress over the last couple of seasons.
“It was great to finally welcome him to the Team Hard family for the last Britcar round at Donington.
“As expected, Sam was the perfect choice to replace Tom Barley and went on to win on his debut and put in a complete performance to keep our championship aspirations alive.
“Sam is a great driver and very professional on and off the track, which is needed in modern day motor sport.
“Being the complete package is essential and Sam is exactly that, so we are very much looking forward to building a great relationship moving forwards.”
Randon had stepped up to GT racing from Clio Cup competition, in which he had also struggled for finance. But, despite the big, powerful cars involved, GT racing represents relative value for money for aspiring drivers and, as a team event, the costs are shared between two or sometimes three drivers.
Randon’s 2018 season is not quite done, as he will guest again for Team Hard in another round of the Britcar Championship this weekend at Snetterton, standing in this time for the team’s other car in the championship.
This time he will be racing with Angus Dudley, also in a Ginetta, but against his teammate last time, Rudd, with whom he clearly hit it off.
“It will be strange racing directly against Simon,” said Randon.
“We got on so well at the last round and were very similar paced. But at least we know the team this time and the car so it won’t be quite as daunting.
“Angus is a quick driver so I’m hopeful we will work well together and can be challenging for the silverware.”
By Colston Crawford – Ashbourne News Telegraph
Team HARD. Racing are very pleased to announce that rising star Callum Hawkins Row will return to the Britcar Endurance Championship this weekend at the Silverstone GP round. Callum will be replacing Darron Lewis alongside regular driver Adam Hatfield as Darron is away on a family holiday.
Callum is no stranger to the Britcar championship having completed a full season in 2017 achieving multiple podiums and enjoying lots of successful race weekends showcasing his ever improving talent.
Callum will be at the wheel of a freshly built Ginetta G55 GT4 spec car and will have his first taste of the new machinery tomorrow during testing following a successful shakedown this afternoon with Adam at the wheel.
Callum has been competing in British GT so far this season and will have to adjust to the car that has no ABS or traction control unlike his 2018 GT4 Ginetta.
Tony Gilham said, “Callum has been an integral part of the team for a number of years now and it has been great to be part of his journey so far. He is a very special talent and is developing as a racing driver in all areas. We talk a lot about being the complete package in modern day motorsport and Callum has the ability to succeed at the very top of the ladder with an all round quality both on and off track. Im sure he will once again take this in his stride and form a very strong pairing with Adam who himself has been a revelation since joining team HARD.”
Callum added, “I am very much looking forward to working with Adam and being part of the Britcar championship again. I had a great year in 2017 and had a great weekend at Silverstone last year so cannot wait to get back out on the GP circuit. We won twice last year on this circuit so will be looking to build on that success and see what we can do this weekend in the new car. I love my racing and have been working very hard to improve so can’t wait to see how we get on against the other guys in our class.”
Britcar Endurance at Rockingham brought us an eventful time on a warm and sunny day.
With three pairings of Simon Rudd/Tom Barley (#24), Adam Hatfield/Darron Lewis (#285) and Benjamin Wallace/Graham Roberts (#88) the Team were kept busy with a warm-up session, qualifying and two races in one day. An eventful day resulted in two P3 podium finishes for Simon and Tom, a lost door, a small fire and a birthday surprise on the podium for a very embarrassed Simon Rudd!
Eddy Hall, GT Manager said: “Testing on the Friday was the first time back in the cars for some of our drivers. All drivers were quickly on the pace. I think we were hoping for a bit more out of qualifying but none the less still a strong result. It was a good start to the season for us after both races for Team-HARD with some good solid points and a great result for Simon Rudd and Tom Barley in the #24 car. P3 in both races gave the drivers and the Team the reward for the weekend. Moving on to the next round I think we will be in a better position as we now know more about our competition and our drivers are more confident in the cars and themselves.”
Simon Rudd – “It was great to be back out racing again. We knew the weekend would be tough against the three upgraded 2017 cars but we were still aiming for the podium.
We restricted our warm-up to 3 laps and also our qualifying plan was to run as short as possible. Although there were some red flags that messed the plan up slightly, we still managed P3 which we were happy with.
Race 1 was a solid start with a P3 finish and some good points. Race 2 was great for us as we worked hard to get P3 in the overall race. It was slightly harder with safety cars and the competition but we made it work to our advantage.
Overall, a really solid start to our season with 2 podium finishes. Hopefully we can continue the good form!”
Tom Barley – “What a great weekends’ racing to kick the season off!! P3 was the theme of the day, with us taking that position across qualifying, race 1 and race 2. Despite our pace being competitive, even compared with British GT, we were struggling to match the seemingly super-fast and newer Ginettas. Both Simon and I had some great battles on track, and once again showed we are here to try and take the big pot home at the end of the year!
Thanks to everyone at Team-HARD for a faultless weekend on and off track. Wins incoming at Silverstone!”
Adam Hatfield – “It has been a challenging weekend for the opening Britcar Endurance round. A lack of Ginetta winter testing certainly hindered our results whilst struggling to get the feel back through the brakes! However it certainly started to come through during the weekend.
Race 1 we finished in a solid 4th place which is all good points towards the Championship. However race 2 we had much better pace and we built a healthy gap in 3rd. Unfortunately contact robbed us of a class podium resulting in the #285 Ginetta having to pit with damage which lead to a fire! Darron however put in a great performance to salvage another 4th in class. All things considered I think we did ok and salvaged what we could.
Mine and Darron’s pace in race 2 certainly shows what we can do.”
Darron Lewis – Saturday didn’t quite get off to the best start as we lost one of the doors in qualifying, so we struggled with pace. We got off to a good start in Race 1, making up some positions. Then I handed the car over to Adam, who did a great job gaining even more places. We were changing the set-up all weekend to find a nice balance. We tried a set-up change for Race 2 and the car was much better. Adam started the stint and, with a storming drive, he got us up to 3rd in class before the safety car was deployed for an incident. Just before the restart Adam got tagged by a BMW meaning he had to pit early. As he came down the pit lane the car was on fire so we thought it was all over! But thanks to Aaran and the boys at Team-HARD, we got back out. We were 4 laps down but I was up for a fight so we did exactly what the Team says ‘go hard or go home’ and we were quickest on the track for a while and we managed to get back up to 4th in class.
So all in all I think with everything that we had to deal with, we managed a reasonable result. Roll on the next race weekend at Silverstone.”
Benjamin Wallace – “In the #88 Team HARD Ginetta G55 GT4, I was joined by 2017 Fun Cup UK champion, Graham Roberts for the opening round of the 2018 Britcar Dunlop Endurance Championship at Rockingham Motor Speedway. Graham will be contesting selected rounds of the Britcar Dunlop Endurance Championship whilst I am focusing on my first full-season in the premier national GT championship”.
The Southport-based driver saw the weekend as preparation for Round Three of the British GT Championship, which visits Rockingham on April 28 – 29.
The Britcar weekend consisted of practice, qualifying and two races on Saturday April 14; a 50 minute sprint and a two-hour race, replicating the race length for the British GT Championship.
Benjamin and Graham qualified 5h in class and finished in the same position in Race 1. In Race 2 the #88 Team HARD pairing finished 6th in the Endurance Classification.
Benjamin said that “the weekend was excellent preparation for returning to the Corby circuit in two weeks for the British GT Championship. Rockingham was a new circuit for me in the Ginetta G55 GT4 and finding a set-up for the track, with its high-speed banking and twisting, bumpy infield sections, is challenging. As a result, the weekend has definitely helped us to prepare for the British GT weekend. We found some set-up solutions and the track-time helped me build up my experience in the car, especially at this circuit.”
Commenting on his team-mate for the weekend, Benjamin was delighted at how quickly he formed a working relationship with Graham Roberts. “Graham was quickly on the pace. We both had the same challenges with the Ginetta, Graham probably more so because he’s only driven the car twice. It was a new experience for us both.”
I’m really looking forward to the British GT weekend. The Britcar Dunlop Endurance Championship experience was very positive. We probably found out more about the car and the circuit than we expected so it was definitely the best preparation ahead of returning in two weeks’ time.”
Graham Roberts – “For qualifying we took a reserved approach, looking only to do 2-3 laps each then park the car to save the new tyres for the race(s). Ben put together a solid lap putting us 5th in class after his initial two attempts were thwarted by red flags. I got 1 clean lap out of 3 and it was ok but there was more time to come so Ben’s lap gave us our qualifying position of 11th overall and 5th in class.”
Describing Race 1 Graham said: “I took the start for Sprint Race and managed to judge the start to a ‘T’, got a great run round the first corner and with a late dive on the brakes into Turn 2, we were 6th overall and 3rd in class. Now I had my sights set on the two Black Mamba Racing Ginetta’s in front but first I had to get past a Class 2 BMW. Sadly no matter how I tried I couldn’t get past the BMW as although it was holding me up in the corners, it was miles quicker on the straights. After a while I dropped back a little and had a nice gap where I just focussed on trying to keep my pace whilst looking after the tyres for when I handed the car over to Ben. Coming up to the pit stop window, I got caught by traffic both slower and faster in all the wrong places which meant Tom Barley was right behind me as I dived into the pit lane to hand over to Ben.
After the pit stops, Tom’s teammate Simon Rudd came out ahead of us. Ben was able to close the gap to Simon but then had a slow lap, possibly due to traffic and wasn’t able to close the gap again. Ben was then left defending 4th place from the Track focussed KTM which he managed very well but just got pipped to 4th by Adam who was on late charge.
Race 2 preparations completed, it was onto the 2 hour race. “Ben took the start for the Endurance Race and held a steady 5th place in class for the majority of his stint then pitted to hand over to me. Unfortunately that’s when issues began to occur for us. I tried to leave our pit box but the car simply wouldn’t move. One of the mechanics quickly clocked on to what the problem was and fixed it but the hold-up cost us an extra minute in the pits, losing plenty of time to the other competitors. I left the pits and tried to set a good pace to try and close down the gap to the cars in front but had no idea how far ahead they were. A safety car appeared when one of the Black Mamba Racing Ginetta’s suffered an engine failure which closed up the pack. At the restart, I managed to worm my way past Tom Barley as we both un-lapped ourselves from the leader but a few laps later Tom retook the place and pulled a gap on me as I was struggling with tyre wear. A few laps later I ended up taking a trip across the grass and scooped up a marker board at the same time, however it got stuck in front of the radiator grill and the engine temperature began to creep up. Another visit to the pit lane to remove said marker board cost us some more time! For the last 15 minutes, I was trying my best to drive as smoothly as possible as the tyres were completely shot at this point and the car was experiencing some fuel starvation coming out of Turn 2. In the end we finished 6th in class and 8th overall.”
Summarising his first Britcar race weekend Graham said: “My first race weekend in Britcar with Team-HARD has been brilliant. There were a lot of difficult factors for me to contend with, like learning the Rockingham circuit having never driven there before and learning to drive a 2017 Ginetta with ABS and Traction Control. All this whilst being in an uncomfortable driving position all weekend. But I got on really well with my teammate Ben and we could have had a podium from the Sprint Race so everything considered it’s gone really well. I’m already looking forward to the next one, albeit hopefully in a car that is more accommodating to my lofty physique!”
The next Britcar Endurance race is 12th May 2018 at Silverstone GP circuit.