Sam Randon received a late call up to end his season by stepping in for a drive with his team, Team HARD, in the final GT Cup round at Snetterton.
(Edited) story by Ashbourne News Telegraph
And it proved successful for the Ashbourne driver, as he partnered Niall Quinn to victory in the GTA Class in the endurance race. They secured class honours and the overall championship for the season for Team HARD after also coming a close second in the sprint race.
Sam Randon and Niall Quinn took the GTA class win for Team HARD this weekend
Qualifying in pole position for the shorter sprint race, Randon finished ahead of the competition as they crossed the finish line, but his 4.5 second track advantage was just short of the 5 second penalty he collected for exceeding track limits, and he had to settle for 2nd place.
In the longer endurance race Randon, again in class pole position, led from the start and handed over the first spot to teammate Quinn at the pit stop, who maintained the dominance and brought the car home for the win. Despite a number of driver changes over the season, the win gave the Team HARD car the overall GTA class championship.
Randon hopes to next race in the premier championship – the Millers Oils Ginetta GT4 Supercup for Team Hard next season and admitted it was slightly embarrassing to pick up a championship win after one race weekend in the GTA class.
“I feel like a bandit turning up for one race and getting my name on the GTA Championship but I raced to help out (team boss) Tony Gilham and to get some laps under my belt in preparation for next year,” he said.
Snetterton, Norwich, UK – Tuesday 29th October 2019: Dunboyne’s Niall Quinn made a sensational return to racing in Snetterton last weekend following a three year spell on the side-lines, to come away with pair of podium finishes that included an overall win in what was the former championship winning driver’s first endurance race of his career.
In a last minute deal with top British outfit Team HARD. Quinn was using the opportunity to evaluate his options ahead of a planned full return to racing in 2020. Enjoying many years of success in Karting and single seater racing around the world, taking on the final round of the 2019 GT Cup Championship would be his first taste of true endurance racing, something he was relishing.
With limited mileage in advance of the weekend itself, it was certainly in at the deep end for the former Motorsport Ireland Young Racing Driver of the year. Saturday’s track conditions were certainly far from ideal for Quinn who was set with the task of getting to grips with the hugely popular and successful Ginetta G55 on a soaking wet Snetterton circuit. Added to this, steering rack failure in qualifying would limit his running to a single flying lap. However, that one lap would amazingly place him in second on the grid for the opening sprint race of the weekend. Sadly however, unable to ready the car in time for the race, Quinn was forced to sit on the side-lines and lament what could have been.
Picking himself up for the second race of the day, this time the much longer 50 minute encounter, Niall had it all to do starting from the rear of the field. As the lights went out, Quinn set off on a charge that would seem him move past over 10 cars on track, including a superb move around the outside of the challenging Coram corner to pass the newly crowned GT Cup champions in the McLaren. As is often the case in endurance racing, an ill-timed Safety Car would drop the Team HARD. driver down a lap from the main pack, meaning Niall would have to settle for ninth overall and second in the GTA class.
Joined by Ginetta GT4 Supercup & GT Cup regular, Sam Randon on Sunday, Quinn was looking forward to the chance of working with a co-driver on a now dry Norwich circuit. Teaming up for Sunday afternoon’s 50-minute endurance race, Randon started the race and put in a superb display to dive into the pits from the class lead. Handing the car over to Niall, he matched his GTA class rivals pace to maintain their 10 second advantage at the head of the class and secured a superb victory to complete a very positive weekend.
Niall Quinn – #79 Team HARD. Ginetta G55:
“I am really happy with how the weekend turned out. It was a real shame to miss the sprint race due to the steering rack failure, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy coming from the back in the Endurance race! It was a real challenge making progress through the field of cars with different strengths and weaknesses and figuring out where the Ginetta could do the job and get by. Sunday was another great day, Sam did a fantastic job in the first stint and I’m delighted I could finish the job and get a win for the team. Thanks to Tony and all of Team HARD. for the opportunity.”
Tony Gilham – Managing Director, Team HARD.
“It was great to have Niall onboard this weekend to help us seal the GTA class championship in our debut GT Cup season! You really couldn’t tell that Niall had spent three years away from racing as he got on the pace from the get go. His wealth of experience was valuable over the course of the weekend which saw beautiful sunshine and torrential rain. What a great debut for Niall, a class win in the final race of the season. Things are looking good for a full time return in 2020!”
Niall Quinn will pilot one of the Team HARD. Racing Ginetta G55’s at next weekend’s GT Cup finale at Snetterton in Norfolk. A deal which came about last minute while discussing plans for 2020, it will serve as a perfect opportunity for Niall and the team to get to know each other as a launchpad for 2020 success.
The weekend will kick off on Friday 25th October with free practice sessions at the Norfolk circuit. Niall will then pilot the Ginetta G55 in one of the weekend’s 25 minute sprint races, along with joint driving duties in the two 50 minute endurance races.
Niall will be returning to the scene where he won the 2008 Formula Palmer Audi Autumn Trophy, albeit arriving to a significantly revised layout. The 2.9 mile 300 circuit retains a lot of the character of the classic layout, and Niall will be using this familiarity to hit the ground running.
Niall Quinn: “I am really excited to get back behind the wheel in GT Cup. I met with Tony and Team HARD. Racing and was instantly impressed with what they are doing. I am looking forward to getting to know the whole team and looking at working together in 2020. It is extra special to be returning to Snetterton where I have great memories of our Formula Palmer Audi success. This will be my first taste of multiclass GT endurance racing, and I am relishing the opportunity.”
Tony Gilham, Managing Director, Team HARD. Racing: “I’m delighted to have Niall with us for the season finale of the GT Cup championship. We have had a good season with multiple class wins and I am hopeful of adding a few more in the final round. Niall has fantastic racing pedigree having competed in the highly competitive Indy Lights series in America and A1 GP series and it was a no brainer to get him behind the wheel of one of our cars.
With the GT Cup finale being Niall’s return to racing after a 3 year break, we are hoping that this is just the start of our partnership with as we look at options for a full 2020 campaign together.”
Team HARD. Racing’s #79 Ginetta GT4 Supercup challenger went into the Brands Hatch weekend sitting pretty at the top of the GTA class championship and sat 5th overall in the GT Cup standings. Kris Prosser returned after sitting out the last round of the series and partnered Nicholas Scott-Dickeson who deputised last time out.
The team were honoured with prime TV coverage during Saturday’s event with the #79 car having onboard cameras for both the sprint and feature race, TV viewers were not to be disappointed.
Prosser qualified the car on pole position after setting a lap some 1.5seconds faster than the 2nd car in class. Some were thinking it would be an easy run to chequered flag for Prosser. It was far from it.
Prosser set off with some scorching pace in the early stages as he lapped the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit a dazzling 2 seconds a lap faster then his nearest class rival. An uncharacteristic mistake at Surtees on lap 4 saw him drop down to 3rd in class and left him with plenty of work to do for the remaining laps of the race. Clearly determined to hit the front once again, Prosser continued to push, beating his own fastest lap again and again until disaster struck on lap 11 as the cockpit of the #79 Ginetta began to fill with smoke. Prosser, doing the sensible thing, immediately pulled off the circuit at druids and was forced to retire from the race.
A fire broke out at the rear of the car with fibre glass rubbing on the exhaust after a small altercation with another car in the holding area before the race begun. Prosser was taken to the medical centre for checks after inhaling a large amount of toxic smoke given off from the burning fibreglass on the #79 machine. Thankfully Prosser was given the all clear and was unharmed from the incident.
Unfortunately for the team the #79 car was beyond repair for Saturday’s endurance race, meaning both Prosser and Scott-Dickeson were forced to sit on the side-lines.
The Team HARD. Racing boys pulled off a mini miracle and arrived at the circuit in the early hours of Sunday morning armed with a new car ready for Prosser and Scott-Dickeson. An amazing achievement after Saturday’s events.
Sundays sprint race saw Scott-Dickeson take to the wheel and immediately slot into 2nd before being forced to surrender the position after a race long battle with the #8 BMW with just 8 minutes to go of the 25-minute race.
Scott-Dickeson was delighted to bring home silverware for the team “The sprint race was a great challenge for me as my last race at brands was at night. The car on fresh tyres really brought out the best in the car and me as I posted my fastest laps of the weekend trying to chase down the other GTA runners. I was happy to finish in a podium position and it was only when I got back to the garage I could see how happy my team and Tony were on my pace which was a massive boost to have getting out of the car.”
The feature race saw another dice with the #8 BMW as Prosser took over for the opening stint and raced into 1st place. Prosser held off sustained pressure until he dived into the pits for the mandatory pitstop and driver change on lap 20. The #79 was hit with a success pit-stop penalty which dropped the car back down into 2nd once it returned to the track with Scott-Dickenson at the wheel. Despite pushing hard for the win, the pair had to settle for 2nd, important championship points in the bag and more silverware for the team.
A tale of two halves for Prosser who was in reflective mood on Sunday after the racing had reached its climax. “Having jumped into the car for qualifying on the Saturday not knowing the GP loop it felt quite odd turning left at Surtees. It didn’t take too long to learn the circuit and put the car on pole for the race!
I noticed halfway through my race that the car was starting to smoke slightly, after pitting to check if the car was okay, I got sent back out with some mist to unlap myself! Putting in a hot lap but possibly too hot! After turning into paddock, the car began to produce a large amount of black smoke in the car. I pulled over by an orange marshal board to get a fire extinguisher. The car at first didn’t seem too bad but once the fire caught a fuel hose at the back it began to produce huge flames down the side!
The team realised before the race had finished that they’d need to get a new car so by the time I was discharged from the medical unit the guys had gone back to the workshop to build a new car for the next day. I visited the guys later that night at the new unit and the new car was looking good!
Sadly, as the fire damaged car had a lot of powder & foam inside, this was a priority to clean as it can damage the electronics inside.
The next day we got the car out for Nick who took 5 seconds of his lap time which was amazing work! I started the final race of the weekend last on the grid to pull into 1st in class when I was brought into the pits. Sadly, due to our excess pit penalty we lost a lot of time to the BMW. P2 in the end but an amazing job by the mechanics to turn around a new car within 15 hours!”
To round the weekend off in style the Team HARD. Racing mechanics were award with ‘Team of the Weekend’ for their sterling efforts in getting the #79 car back out for a double podium finish in Sunday’s races.
You will be able to view highlights of the eventful Brands Hatch weekend on Motorsport.TV and Youtube over the coming weeks and for LIVE action, the GT Cup squad is at Donington Park on 21/22nd September for the penultimate round of championship.
Last season’s Junior Saloon Car Championship runner up and current Nankang Tyre BMW Compact Cup star Steven Chandler joins Team HARD. Racing for the third round of the GT Cup championship at Snetterton. Steven will be at the wheel of the #79 Ginetta G55 SuperCup car partnering Kris Prosser, the car currently sits 5th in the overall championship standings.
Steven, 17, is thrilled to be racing in a proven front running car. “I’ve been watching these cars compete at the front of the field in both the GT Cup and Ginetta SuperCup this season and thought to myself ‘wow, I’d like to show everyone what I’m made of in one of those’. So, when Tony (Gilham) offered me this opportunity I just had to take it.
I’d like to thank WJ Horrod Ltd, Munihire, Stig’s Grab Services LTD and Vision Techniques for helping me take this opportunity and experience the next step of the motorsport ladder.
I’ve Ginetta G55 SuperCup car is going to be different to anything I’ve driven before but with the rear wheel drive experience I’ve gained from racing in the BMW Compact Cup I’m confident that I will be on the pace from the off.
To be honest I can’t quite believe that this opportunity has become available with Team HARD. Racing and I’m looking forward to challenging the top stop of the podium to add to my JSCC victories last season. Lastly, I’m determined to continue the teams impressive run of results!”
It’s been an impressive season for the team so far with both the #79 and #21 car taking multiple class wins over the eight races held so far this season, the Ginetta proving that it is one of the strongest packages in the series.
Team HARD. Racings Managing Director, Tony Gilham is delighted to have another young talent under his Motorsport umbrella. “I met Steven whilst at the recent BMW Compact Cup meeting at Snetterton. A genuinely lovely kid who clearly has so much potential to unlock.
Steven was quick on that day, but lady luck wasn’t on his side, we will be aiming to change that when we head to Snetterton at the end of the month (27/28 July).
Partnering Kris (Prosser) will prove a fantastic benchmark for Steven with Kris being one of the quickest drivers on our books. Not only quick but also a great team player, Kris will be helping Steven understand the car and with a bit of luck, together they will keep the #79 car at the top of the GTA championship!”
Team HARD. Racing currently sit 5th and 7th in the overall standings after a solid start to the season which has yielded multiple podiums and class wins in the GTH and GTA classes of the series. The GT Cup championship is available to watch on Youtube, Front Runner TV and Amazon Prime with the next round being held over the weekend of the 27th-28th July.
Photography Credit: AViT Media
Former Volkswagen Racing Cup entrant Callum Jenkins will make his GT Cup debut at this weekends round held at Snetterton and joins Kris Prosser with Team HARD. Racing. Jenkins raced for the team in 2018 taking a top 4 finish in the Volkswagen Racing Cup on the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit last term. Jenkins will be at the wheel of the #79 Ginetta G55 Supercup car that currently sits 4th in the championship standings after the opening round at Donington Park and will be in the GTA class.
Team HARD. Racing Managing Director Tony Gilham is pleased to see Callum back in the driving seat with the team. “Callum is a very likeable guy and I’m glad that we’ve been able to help him get back on the grid in 2019.
Callum had a strong season in 2018 driving one of our Volkswagen Golf Gti’s last season in a campaign that saw him get stronger and stronger as the season progressed.
This weekend will present a new challenge for Callum who will be mastering a rear-wheel drive race car for the first time. He has some fantastic teammates to learn off and I have full confidence that he can hit the ground running and help our championship charge.”
This is the first full season Team HARD. Racing has entered the GT Cup series. The team had a great debut three weeks ago at Donington Park taking all but one class win over the weekends racing. The opening weekends display demonstrated that the Ginetta is a proven package in the series.
Jenkins is looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of racing machinery this weekend. “I’m really excited to have the opportunity to be racing in the GT Cup with Team-HARD. Racing. I have aspired to do GT racing since I began racing and I am grateful for the support that the team has provided to progress me through the ranks to get me to this stage.
Taking over the #79 car is big shoes to fill after their clean sweep of wins at Donington but I’ve been doing all that I can to make sure I hit the ground running and carry on the team’s great form, it’s going to be a great weekend.”
Team HARD. Racing currently sit 4th and 6th in the overall standings after a solid debut weekend which yielded six wins and a further two podiums in the GTH and GTA classes of the series. The GT Cup championship is available to watch LIVE on Facebook and Youtube with two one-hour races taking place on both Saturday and Sunday (11th-12th May).
Media Accreditation: Avit Media