As you can imagine, the archive cupboard at Ginetta towers is a lot like Aladdin’s cave. Yesterday, when we were done with watching the LMP1 Wind Tunnel Video over and over again, we decided to give our eyeballs a rest, grab a cup of Yorkshire Tea and have a poke around some of our coverage files from years gone by.
Imagine our surprise when we found one half of everyone’s favourite ITV Sport commentary duo staring back at us from a 2010 page of Motorsport News. It was only real-life racing river Paul O’Neill. Now, our good friend Owy never misses a trick when it comes to taking the Mickey out of his nearest and dearest, so first and foremost our eye was drawn to his rather serious-looking headshot, which we’ve helpfully zoomed in to for your viewing pleasure here.
Jokes aside, we were delighted to see that Ginetta G40 was still absolutely bang on the money in terms of ‘smiles per mile’ back in 2010 as it does today. We can’t quite believe it’s been seven whole years since this test day, but we reckon if we got Paul back behind the wheel of a G40 he would still love it.
Speaking of which , how do you guys think he’d get on in one of the Ginetta Junior races he loves so dearly?
As Ginetta HQ prepares for Movember, we have seen our first ‘move for Movember’ challenge get underway. Our PR & Marketing Executive Ruth Harrison has challenged herself to complete laps of the Talk Radio studio (read on for a sensible explanation) as part of team We Are Ginetta. Below, she explains….
Given my inability to grow any form of facial hair worth writing about, I contacted my buddy Andy Jaye at Talk Radio to ask if he would be up for setting me a ‘Move for Movember’ challenge, which we could co-promote using the power of the airwaves.
He came up with the idea of me taking on an 800m running challenge which involved in completing said distance in as short a time possible. We agreed to set a benchmark time prior to the start of November, and then see how I was getting on mid-November.
To make things interesting, we decided to make the 800m sprint into a challenge. Ginetta vs. The Motor Show. I would be representing Ginetta whilst Lo Parsons, our very own ‘weekend warrior’ who works as Championship Assistant during BTCC events would represent The Motor Show.
Adding an extra level of competition were our newly recruited ‘personal trainers’ - I managed to rope in multiple Ginetta Champion and Sir Chris Hoy’s ELMS winning teammate from 2015, Ginetta factory driver Charlie Robertson, whilst Lo would be trained by Richard Jones from the Ord Academy in Godalming, Personal Trainer of the Year 2015.
So, Sunday 16 October was the day we set our benchmark time. On our way to Donington Park – the venue for Day One - both myself and Lo decided it would be a good charity challenge, but we wouldn’t go ‘mad’ on trying to become Mo Farrah. That was until we set our times.
Now, when I saw the course, I’ll admit, I thought “easy”. I’ve been doing Gillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred for a good year now and I feel fairly fit. How wrong I was. 800m took me a colossal 4m 14s, with Lo only doing marginally better with a 3m 43s effort – and after it, we had to stop for a coffee and some cake.
So, on the way home, we made a pact to take this ‘really, flipping seriously’ and make sure to improve our own personal fitness. What we had entered into thinking would be ‘a bit of a laugh; suddenly got serious. So much so that two training sessions in 24 hours later and I’ve got some pretty big blisters on my feet.
I popped into the gym today and managed to ‘cover’ – I say cover, as it was a mix of running and power walking – 3km in 25 minutes exactly. A worse ratio than my benchmark efforts, but I’ll be blogging whether or not I actually managed to bring that number down over the course of the challenge.
So, if you were thinking about joining us for Movember, whether it be as a tache’ grower or a fitness fiend, do share your efforts with us so we can share in shouting about our progress.
Here at Ginetta towers, we get lots of praise for our superb racing drivers and the endless laps of entertainment they provide. Yet, you – the public – often don’t get to find out what’s going on under those race suits and helmets. Okay, so it’s usually fireproof underwear, but what about the drivers themselves, what makes them tick?
So, because we love nothing more than a good chatter over a mug of Yorkshire Tea and some custard creams, we’ve sat our drivers down to ask them a couple of questions which should give you an insight into their lives. Or just entertain you for a minute.
Jamie Orton has skipped out of the Knockhill meeting seen as though he’s about to become a daddy for the first time. Before he trades his race suit for an entirely different Babygro though, we hit him with our questions:
Ginetta: What do you have to set to ‘record’ on your TV when you’re away racing?
Jamie Orton: BTCC
G: Who would play you in a film about your life?
JO: David Blunkett
G:Who’s the most exciting person that follows you on Twitter?
JO:Anyone of the other 82 people I've never heard of.
G:It's up to 139 now @JamieOrton71!!!
G: Do you have any pre-race rituals?
JO: Lots of visits to the little boys room.
G: What’s been the hairiest moment behind the wheel of a race car or go-kart?
JO: A fellow driver turning into me at Hawthorns, Brands GP last season!
As a PR person, seeing the headline “Marshall ‘lucky to be alive’ after 100mph crash” after a pre-event test day isn’t usually the type of coverage you’re trying to achieve. In the case of Ashley Marshall however, the fact he’s back on track two weeks later is testament to the strength and safety of Ginetta cars.
Sadly, incidents are a part of motorsport. I challenge anyone to head to a race track and have a day free of contact / yellow flags and safety cars. That is why it’s important to make sure when any driver jumps behind the wheel of a racing car, they feel as safe as they can be.
Ashley Marshall races with Ginetta in the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge and found one of his pre-event tests brought to a rather rapid end when a simple mistake sent him hurtling towards a safety barrier at a bone-shaking 100mph.
Now, if he was on the M62 and driving a 1995 hatchback, we might not be sat here celebrating such a ‘lucky escape’ but thanks to the incredibly strong build of all Ginetta race cars - plus the mandatory safety equipment the driver wears – we are currently sitting watching Ashley return to the scene of the accident as he tests at Croft Circuit.
Although he was forced to sit out the Silverstone meeting on doctors order – better to be safe than sorry – Ginetta and Optimum Motorsport have rallied together to get him back on track. We caught up with Ashley to get his take on what happened:
“Basically I just ran out of talent. I had been doing well so far and my times were consistently dropping. Due to a lack of experience I had a small but costly mistake on the entry to "Sunny In" where I slightly missed the apex which unsettled the car and exited the track at 100mph. I had to go onto the grass which dragged in straight into the barrier nose first.
"The car really kept me safe as it was a huge impact so it really goes to show the strength of the Ginetta cars. After a check over by the medical staff both in the car and the circuit medical centre, the damage was little more than some bruising and a headache. If the car safety standards we not as high as they are I feel things could have resulted very differently for me, so I can only thank Ginetta.
"The car is going to need a complete rebuild and me not being 100% fit I had to miss the Silverstone round which really was painful for me having to watch everyone else out there but we decided not to take the risk of having another accident which could result with my injuries becoming more serious than they are.
"From now I would just like to forget about what happened and focus on the future because I can't change the past but only learn from it.”
We wish Ashley and his fellow GT5 Challenge competitors a safe and successful weekend.