“It Was Our Best Weekend Of The Season So Far” – Ben Wallace Enjoys Solid Weekend At Silverstone (12.06.18)
Ben Wallace, driver of the #88 Team HARD Ginetta G55, enjoyed his best weekend of the season so far with a solid seventh place finish in class and making up eleven places on his qualifying position for Round Seven of the 2018 British GT Championship.
Driving for the first time in 2018with Alex Reed, Southport-based Ben Wallace was very pleased with how the new driving partnership developed over the course of the Silverstone weekend,
“It was the first time I had met Alex and we got on very well,” said Ben. “He has a lot of experience both race-wise and testing so I felt he was the ideal person for me to gain experience from. As this was the first time I had raced on the Silverstone GP circuit, Alex’s experience and advice helped me a lot.”
Ben prepared in his usual meticulous way with extensive time in the simulator as well as two track-walks around the 5.89kmsNorthamptonshire circuit.
“I walked the track twice on the Friday and the Saturday just to get a feel for it and I saw things that I hadn’t seen on the simulator and while I was driving,” said Ben. “That preparation paid off as I got quicker as the weekend progressed.
Due to a drive-shaft failure, Ben only had limited time in the car during practice and qualifying was a challenge.
“I didn’t do as well as I wanted in qualifying but Alex did a mega job, especially as Silverstone is not the greatest tack for the Ginetta G55 GT4 and performance balancing was not in our favour.”
“However, for me, morning warm-up was where all the preparation, hard work and Alex’s advice paid off,” said Ben. “I set a lap-time of 2:13.790, nearly two seconds a lap quicker than I had gone previously and I felt very comfortable and confident in the car. It showed a lot of improvement.”
The #88 Team HARD Ginetta started from 34th overall on the grid and 18th in the GT4 category.
The race had its challenges but the crew of the #88 car battled hard and had made up nine places at the end of the first hour and went on to finish 23rd overall and, most importantly, seventh in the GT4 Silver category.
“I took the start and pushed very hard in the opening stint, taking a lot out of the tyres in the process,” commented Ben. “I had contact with a GT3 car going through Maggots and Beckets which pushed me down the field. Our race wasn’t helped due to penalties for track limit infringements but that’s racing.”
Overall, Ben was delighted at the way the weekend had progressed.
“Alex and I worked really well together,” said Ben. “‘I was really happy with the weekend because finally everything came together. Alex did a top job and in the end we got seventh in the GT4 Silver category and tenth overall in the GT4 class. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
The British GT Championship now moves to Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on July 21 – 22 for Round Seven.
“I’m looking forward to Spa-Francorchamps as I’ve raced there a few time and had some success there. With the confidence that I’ve gained from Silverstone, I think we could do very well.”
Practice begins for the Round Seven at Spa-Francorchampsat 09:00 local time on Saturday July 21.
The 2018 British GT Championship visits Silverstone on June 9 – 10 for Round Six of the nine-round series. The three-hour race is the blue-riband event for the UK’s premier GT series and all eyes in the endurance racing world will be focused on the historic 4.00km Northamptonshire grand prix circuit as the Championship reaches the mid-point of the season.
Although Southport-based Ben Wallace, driver of the #88 Team HARD Racing Ginetta G55 GT4, has not raced on this circuit before, he is excited about the challenges that the three-hour race, with multiple driver changes and a recently resurfaced track, will bring.
“I’ve been working hard in the simulator to prepare myself for the weekend as well as focusing on my fitness,” said the LIPS Reifendahl-backed driver, currently lying twelfth GT4 drivers standings. “I’m very much looking forward to racing on the Silverstone GP circuit.”
Performance balancing measures, guided by the SRO, the series organisers, meant that the Ben and Team HARD were unable to demonstrate the full potential of the Ginetta at the previous rounds at Snetterton. Those measures have, however, been eased for Silverstone and Ben is confident that the car will be a lot more competitive for Round Six.
“The ride height has been lowered and weight taken out of the car which is certainly better than we had before,” said Ben. “It will be interesting to see how much quicker the car feels around the GP circuit. My preparation work in the simulator suggests that the circuit is not as intimidating as it looks. Once you’ve become familiar with it, it’s a fast and very enjoyabletrack, even more so after the recent resurfacing.”
Ben’s teammate for the weekend is Alex Reed.
Practice for the British GT grid begins at 09:30 on Saturday June 9 with the four-part qualifying session starting at 15:25. The lights go out for the race at 13:10 on Sunday June 10. Live timing throughout the weekend can be found at www.tsl-timing.com and the race will be live-steamed via the British GT Facebook page.
Jordan Stilp returns to the British GT Championship for this weekends Silverstone 500 race with Team HARD. Racing.
Jordan has been a part of the team for a while now and helped us to the British GT team championship title in 2016. He is also heading up the Stilp HARD. academy which is a great programme for our young aspiring racing drivers looking to learn their trade in the world of karts.
Jordan will be racing alongside Callum Hawkins-Row in the #34 Ginetta GT4 this weekend and hoping that they can work together to move up the grid. Silverstone is the home of British Motorsport and Jordan being a BRDC rising star will be keen to impress yet again on home soil. Callum will also be looking to impress and learn as much as he can from his new team mate.
Jordan said, “It has all happened very last minute but having been working with Team HARD. for the last 3 years, I feel really at home and am ready to jump at the chance to return to the British GT Championship. Thanks to the team for the opportunity and I will do everything I can to achieve the best results possible for the team.”
Jordan continued, “The latest GT4 spec car will be new to me with the abs and traction control but I’m sure I’ll be able to progress throughout the weekend and hopefully help the team achieve some strong results. It will be great to work with Callum who is a very capable young driver having seen what he can do last year in Britcar where I was working with a couple of the team drivers. “
Tony added, “As a team we are always looking to improve in all areas and we arrive at Silverstone this weekend in arguably the best shape of the season and with a very strong driver line up across the two cars. We are very happy with our pairings and it’s great for us to have Jordan back behind the wheel. He has natural talent and all the guys at Team HARD. are in very good spirits as we look to kick start our 2018 campaign with our best results to date.”
There is a 1-hour test session tomorrow afternoon for the new pairings to work with each other for the first time. As a team this is a very important weekend and we look to assess our plans for the rest of the season and beyond.
Alex Reed of Horsham, West Sussex is set to make a comeback to the British GT Championship in one of two Team HARD Racing with Trade Price Cars-entered Ginetta G55 GT4s in the forthcoming Silverstone 500 (9-10 June).
Reed is one of the brightest young talents in UK motorsport, who saw success during sporadic appearances in the Ginetta Junior Winter Series, MSV Trackday Trophy and Michelin Clio Cup Series before embarking on full-time Lotus Cup UK campaigns and two victorious seasons in the British GT Championship.
In 2016, he took a podium result in only his second competitive British GT appearance at Rockingham Motor Speedway, before sensationally breaking his race wins duck on hallowed ground at Belgium’s Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.
Because of his on-track achievements, Reed was granted access to what is arguably the most prominent and exclusive club in world motorsport – the British Racing Drivers’ Club – when he was selected as a BRDC Rising Star.
He was also tipped as a hot favourite for the 2017 British GT4 title and duly delivered one race win and three podium finishes to keep his championship hopes alive until the final round of the season at Donington Park, where his bid was struck by misfortune.
However, the 20-year old from Horsham, West Sussex is set to make a comeback to the British GT grid, having been signed to race alongside Benjamin Wallace in a Team HARD-prepared Ginetta G55 GT4 in the Silverstone 500 – the championship’s blue riband event and the sixth round of the 2018 season.
“I am delighted to be returning to the British GT Championship and I will do my utmost to achieve a big result in the Silverstone 500, as a thank you to Tony Gilham and Team HARD for this amazing opportunity,” said Reed. “I came so close to winning the British GT4 title in 2017 and hoped to return for another run at it this year, so it’s great to be involved, especially as I’ll be back behind the wheel of a Ginetta, which I’m so familiar with. I’m confident in Team HARD’s ability to provide a competitive racecar and there’s no doubt in my mind that we have the potential to achieve something spectacular at Silverstone.”
Team HARD has a high-visibility presence in a wide array of categories, including the British Touring Car Championship and VW Racing Cup, but can now be regarded as a long-standing British GT competitor, having run GT4-specification Ginettas in the championship since 2016.
The #34 Team HARD Racing with Trade Price Cars Ginetta G55 will remain in the capable hands of Callum Hawkins-Row, but Reed steps into the #88 entry as teammate to Wallace after agreeing a last-minute deal with the Kent-based outfit.
Team HARD Founder and Team Principal, Tony Gilham, said: “We are very proud and excited to welcome Alex (Reed) to the Team HARD. family for the next round of the British GT Championship at Silverstone, for the legendary 500 race. It’s the longest race of the year and one that we hope to achieve the best results of our season so far.
“We have had a frustrating year up to now and will be looking to build on the potential that we have within the team and, also, with the pace and experience that Alex will add to our line-up. He is a proven talent and, having competed against him over the last couple of seasons, we are very much looking forward to what we can achieve together for the coming weekend and beyond, as we look to the future. There are some very exciting opportunities and some new plans for Team HARD’s GT operation for the coming years, with Alex on-board.”
Two one-hour free practice sessions are scheduled to take place at 9.30 and 11.40, ahead of qualifying at 15.25 on Saturday (9 June), while the three-hour British GT Championship Silverstone 500 will commence at 13.10 on Sunday (10 June).
Ben Wallace, driver of the #88 Team HARD Ginetta G55 GT4 with teammate Joshua Jackson, got the best they possibly could from Rounds Four and Five of the 2018 British GT Championship, held at Snetterton, Norfolk over the Bank Holiday weekend.
Consisting of two one-hour sprint races around the 4.82km Snetterton 300 circuit, Jackson and Wallace qualified the #88 entry in eleventh place in the GT4 Silver class for both races. A pair of ninth place finishes means that the young duo added an additional four points each to their tally in the GT4 Silver Drivers standings.
Southport-based Ben Wallace is now in twelfth place in the standings, just 3.5 points off of breaking in to the top ten. Recent success for Ginetta G55 GT4 in the GT4 European Series encouraged the series organisers to apply performance-balancing to the car, meaning that it became very difficult for either of the Team HARD Ginettas to compete for podium honours in the glorious Norfolk sunshine.
Photo: BritishGT.com / Jakob Ebrey Photography
Despite the disappointment, Ben Wallace was determined to find the find the positives which he can take to the next round.
“I learned a lot about the car because, in extreme cases like this, you learn more about the car when it is difficult to drive than you do in easier circumstances,” said Wallace. “It helped me gain a lot more confidence in the car.”
“I had two off-track moments from which I recovered and it taught me more about the car than I would have normally learned,” continued Ben Wallace. “Again I showed I can make a fantastic start and made up a number of positions. I was driving the car on the absolute limit and beyond! I was pushing and pushing and the team was great in letting me know how far the next car was in front.”
The British GT Championship now moves to the Silverstone GP circuit on June 9-10, a venue that Ben Wallace has some experience of.
“I’ve raced on the National circuit in the Ginetta Juniors but this will be my first time on the Grand Prix circuit,” said Ben Wallace. “Assuming that the Balance of Performance issues are addressed, and I’m sure they will be, I am confident that we can show the true pace of the Team HARD Ginetta G55 GT4 over the three-hour race. I’ll be spending a lot of time preparing for the weekend in the simulator and I can’t wait to convert all our hard work into results on-track!”
Snetterton, one of my all time favourite circuits. A long technical track that, when driven right, is so rewarding. I couldn’t wait to get back out after the disappointments of Rockingham, but none the less I knew this weekend I would have to dig deeper than I have ever before as the BOP was so against us. For those wondering what BOP is well… its either a systematic way of keeping the grid full of different manufactures of race car, and used to even the cars out and provide close racing, or something for the drivers to moan about on a minute by minute basis. For us, it was the later of the two. Our car was seriously restricted, and on a power circuit like Snetterton, it really was a kick in the teeth. But still, we arrived with our heads held high and bags of confidence.
Saturday, Going into FP1 we had a set run plan, however some technical issue prevented us from keeping to that, leaving running to a minimum. FP2 struck us with some more bad luck, as the steering rack failed through a high compression corner, forcing us to retire the car from the session. Next session for us was qualifying, and both Anna and I were feeling a little unsure of the pace in the car due to the limited running we had earlier in the day. But we both strapped in and recorded our PB times, however both of us knew there was more time out there, and we just needed the seat time to find it. Now our heads were focused on the races.
Sunday. Race day! I woke up on Sunday with a spring in my step, as we had discussed our race plan the night before, and I was feeling rather refreshed about it all. After breakfast was a short 10 min warm up session, which we decided would be more useful for Anna to take part in, as she was to start the first race. Post session we decided to change the setup slightly to allow us to get more mechanical grip in the slower corners, and help us make the most of what we had performance wise. We then lined up for race 1, Anna in the pilot seat made a great start, but even from the pit wall, it was clear to see she had a problem, she wasn’t comfortable for some reason. No later than 10 seconds after I thought this, Anna came over the radio highlighting concern about the brake pedal. An issue involving brakes is never taken lightly and so she was forced to box so that the problem to be solved. This unfortunately lost us a lap in the race, and meant that my stint had become a glorified test session. However I never gave up and pushed every lap, to better understand the car and the setup, recording another PB lap time during the race. We finished without any more drama but were much further down the field than we hoped for.
Race 2 started, and with the time arriving at T minus 45 minutes there was a problem. During a set up change a part had failed and caused a huge delay to the car. The rear left suspension was in need of a rebuild, and things started to look rather bleak, but with the hustle of our engineer we managed to sort the issue as best we could and get the car out on the grid. Due to the nature of the issue it meant that the ABS in the car wasn’t working to its full potential, therefore limiting our efficiency on the brakes. never the less, I strapped in for the start of the race. I made a good clean start and and settled into my groove. Battling hard with our sister car to maintain position. However my efforts were thwarted as the faster GT3 cars came through and left me off line. Which meant I had to concede the position but I kept my head down and started to post faster and faster lap times. As the sister car drove into the pits for the driver change I opted to stay out to try and stretch the gap to them. With pure focus I managed to beat my previous PB lap time again, and got us a jump on our team mates. When I handed the car to Anna we were ahead of them. Anna put in a solid performance and brought the car home in a respectable position. The end result was not what we hoped for, but because of our BOP we really just didn’t have the pace in the car to push any further. I am still proud of what we achieved as we truly delivered the best we could with what we had. On the up, this means that our BOP will improve for Silverstone GP on the 9th and 10th of June. So now its all focus on the next round.