Fly January - Charlie Robertson Blog

Fly January - Charlie Robertson Blog

For many in the world of Motorsport, December/January time is ‘Off Season’. However, for myself and everyone competing in the Far East, things were just starting to hot up. January 2017 was arguably my busiest racing month ever, and I am definitely not complaining in the slightest. After a lovely break with the family over Xmas and New Year, it was time to get back in the hot seat and so the three week racing adventure began.

First stop Thailand, Chang International Circuit located near the town of Buriram. It was an interesting journey, involving a strange Thai internal flight in a plane dressed as a chicken… But we arrived safe and sound, ready for round three of the Asian Le Mans Series. The PRT racing Ginetta looked the part as always, and our pace was strong straight out the box. I was once again racing alongside Ate De Jong, who had great pace throughout testing so we were confident going into the race. Qualifying went well, we added a little bit of rear wing angle which helped us in the high speed corners. I managed to put a lap together which placed us P3 on the grid and highest placed Ginetta, which we were very pleased with.

Race day was hot and humid, but testament to the Ginetta air flow and driver cooling was not a problem. I managed to get a great slingshot when the red lights went out, making up two places straight into the lead. The perfect scenario! As a driver all you can do is get your head down and give it everything to get a gap. All went well and by the driver change we had a decent gap back to 2nd. Ate hopped in and set competitive and consistent times, however some minor issues cost us some time meaning the podium was a tough ask. I clambered back in for the last hour and brought the car home in 4th with fastest lap, a mega result for car and team. It was also a brilliant day for Ginetta as the two sister ARC Bratislava ‘Yellow Submarines’ claimed our first win in Asian Le Mans with a 1-2 finish.

No rest for the wicked however, after the post-race celebrations we headed straight back to Bangkok as we had a flight to catch, next stop Dubai for the inaugural round of the 24H Proto Series. This would consist of 3x3 Hour races over two days at the prestigious Dubai Autodrome, in our flagship car the G57-P2. Ginetta were certainly out in force with eight G57-P2’s on the starting grid.

It was special event for me as I was back with HHC Motorsport, the team I spent the first four years of my car racing career with and learnt my craft. Our car was fast but we had some issues which hurt us, however once these were ironed out we knew it will be a great endurance racer and a formidable package. The other G57-P2’s did exceptionally well throughout the event, scoring both overall and  class wins in the hands of different teams and drivers, proving just how accessible the car is. Even though it was a tough meeting, it was awesome to drive the Dubai Autodrome in a car with masses of aerodynamic capability and near enough 600 horses under your right foot.

After the Dubai event we had some time to chill, my girlfriend Joanne flew over along with Pete’s (Chief Design Engineer) other half Lennie. It was good to have some time off and be typical tourists for a few days. Visiting the Burj Khalifa and of course going to a waterpark with slides where the floors fall away which actually made me more nervous than climbing aboard a race car! It was all good fun, and I was definitely ready and refreshed for the third and final leg of the journey. Malaysia beckoned.

The final round of the Asian Le Mans Series would be held in the sweltering heat of Sepang circuit, most certainly the toughest race on the calendar from a physical and mental perspective. We arrived fairly early to acclimatise to the conditions. In the run up to the weekend we visited Zen Low’s Aylezo Facility, Zen races the Aylezo Ecotint Ginetta LMP3 with us in Asian Le Mans Series. I was jealous as he has an all singing all dancing simulator, every racing drivers dream!

Luckily we were able to give it a blast, all I can say is it was an impressive piece of kit. Simulators are always useful, obviously there is not a substitute for the real thing but it will always help with familiarisation of a circuit. As always very quickly it became competitive with Mike Simpson and I trading lap times for an entire afternoon, and my engineer Stephan spending a lot of time pirouetting. All good fun though and a great way to prepare for the weekend ahead.

Testing went well, the car was fast on old tyres. I was confident that would could be right up there challenging come qualifying. Ate was also on great form, his experience at Sepang was paying off as he was one of the fastest Bronze drivers of the weekend. We headed into qualifying fairly confident, however it turned out to be the closest session of the season…on the longest circuit. I put a lap together which put us P5 only three tenths off pole, once again the fastest Ginetta which was positive. I would have liked to have been in the top three, but with it being so close I couldn’t really complain.

Race Day! It was hot and sticky, the #67 Ginetta looked great as it elegantly sat on the grid awaiting the start. Ate opted to start the race for the first time this season, after gaining a lot of experience throughout this year, we decided it was time. We had a tough race, Ate did a great job and handed me the car in sixth place. The heat was starting to subside as the race progressed into the evening. I managed to put in some strong lap times and climb up to fourth place, the car felt awesome and I was certainly in the groove.

However it was too good to be true, with 15 minutes to go while hunting down a podium we lost a front wheel, something that has never happened to me in my five years of racing Ginetta’s. Unfortunately this curtailed our race. It was a tough pill to swallow after such a strong race. But I can’t complain, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time racing in Asia. We have met a lot of great people and had some fantastic results along the way.

This won’t be the last you see of Ginetta in the Far East!

CR

Charlie Robertson: Live from Project CARS

Charlie Robertson: Live from Project CARS

We spent an afternoon with the team behind the multi-million selling racing simulator Project CARS this week so Charlie Robertson could set a few fast lap times and have a live-streamed chat with the game's Creative Director, Andy Tudor.

The original broadcast when out at 3pm on Thursday so we wouldn't blame you if you missed it completely, but if you fancy finding out what a real-world racing driver thinks of the virtual experience and want to hear him answer some questions from the game's die-hard fans, you can watch the full piece here.  Enjoy.

Watch live video from ProjectCARSgame on www.twitch.tv

August 20, 2016 by Paul Zwicky-Ross
Living Le Mans with a Philippine flag: Ate De Jong

Living Le Mans with a Philippine flag: Ate De Jong

 Ate De Jong is one of our newest LMP3 customers and he’s been racing with our very own Charlie Robertson as part of the Asian Le Mans Series. Ate is one of the newest players in the endurance racing circuit  and recently formed Philippine-based PRT (Pinnacle Racing Team) or PRT Racing for short.

He has been chatting to Brent Co from Auto Industriya about his latest motorsport adventures and we’ve got a little snippet of their conversation for you to feast your eyes on.

BC: What got you into LMP3?

ADJ: First time I stepped in a LMP3 car in Sepang, I was completely sold with the car. I just wanted to race it. I worked really hard to get my license just to join the 2016 Asian Le Mans. We were also quite lucky that Ginetta had an available car as it takes them months to build one.

 

BC: So I’m guessing you flew straight to the factory to pick up your car?

ADJ: Yes, that’s what exactly happened next. In February, I flew to Ginetta’s facility in Leeds, England. The Asian Le Mans season was coming up and we had to get the car to Asia in time for it. The feeling was absolutely phenomenal when I first saw the car brand new. I was introduced to my teammate Charlie Robertson, a driver recommended by Ginetta. I hopped in for a few laps at Blyton Motorsports Park, the car was initially loud at 150 decibels and I was called in and told we had to put the restrictor on. Charlie then did a quick shakedown with the car, while the factory team worked on a good set up for the car within an hour.

 

BC: Can you describe your first race weekend?

ADJ: I think we have a good team put together. Just like in business, when I'm setting up a team, I want everything to be perfect; done smoothly. This first week, I saw already that it was all good.

I'm very happy with the whole staff and crew and the car came with upgrades already for the race. I’ve only started dealing with Ginetta after buying my car last February. They sent two engineers from the factory with my team mate (Charlie Robertson); I must say they are very cooperative. They really aim for Ginetta to be a success in Asia. 

Contrary to popular belief, it is a very nice atmosphere in this racing scene. For example, one team had a problem with a drivetrain, the other with bell housings so they just exchanged parts. Everyone is very helpful. We got third place in our very first outing. I could not hope for anything better than this. I am fortunate to say that I have John O'Hara and Ginetta behind me.

 

BC: What are your future plans?

ADJ: My plan for the next two years is to stay with LMP3. Depending on how it goes this season and next season, I plan to move up to European Le Mans LMP3 but ultimately my goal is to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

At this moment, I can say I am living my dream. I call myself very lucky and my wife allows me to do this. My wife is very supportive. For sure in Zhuhai, they (my family) will watch. Prototypes have always been my dream and my dream came true. It's just the start and I need to be at a high level in two years. That is my goal.


Read the full article at Auto Industriya: http://www.autoindustriya.com/motorsport/living-le-mans-with-a-philippine-flag-ate-de-jong.html#ixzz4F3aexk7e