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

What Happens When You Swap Your MX5 For A G57-P2

What Happens When You Swap Your MX5 For A G57-P2

Jason Coupal had only ever been racing a Mazda MX5 when we met him a few months ago. Whilst at Dubai preparing for the 24 Hours, we met him once again and mentioned there was a slot in the G57-P2 if he fancied making the step up to prototypes.

We get it. Swapping an MX5 for a G57-P2 is not for the faint hearted. Nonetheless, when Jason jumped in the prototype for the first time, he blew us all away, and his times only got better and better. We were astounded by his driving talent, but this is what it felt like for him.

“When a Spec Miata racecar starts up, you’re not intimidated. Stimulated, yes, because it is a race car and it makes a satisfying little crackle that tells you it wants to go fast, but four-cylinder engines are never intimidating. Not so in the case of the 6.2L V8 that hides deep within a Ginetta G57-P2-P2. When that starts up, it sounds a bit like what I imagine a deep space electric storm would. This is intimidating.

So you’ve heard the G57-P2 start, and now you’re beginning to wonder just how you’re going to drive it. You get into it, grip the butterfly steering wheel and take a look around. You see lots of switches and buttons, an accelerator that’s over in the passenger side footwell, and a window to the outside world through which you’re meant to see where you’re going. You have absolutely no idea how you’re supposed to go about driving this thing with any sort of pace.

You’re wheeled out onto the pit lane and told to start the 6.2-litre powerplant (I use the word because it could probably power the Chevrolet factory it was built in for a few days). It bursts into life and the overwhelming feeling that you’re not going to be able to handle the thing returns. Still, you’ve been strapped in like any other race car and now you’re being waved on down the pit lane. That’s a least a few seconds of 40 km/h driving to get accustomed to it. You begin to bleed away the clutch and nearly stall about eight times on the way to the giddy heights of 40. It becomes immediately clear that the G57-P2 doesn’t like going slowly. It sputters and lurches, throwing you side to side and back to front. You pass the end of the pit lane, and decide to get it over with and put your foot down.

Second gear is required in less than a second, and third another second or two after. Turn one is coming and you’re on track. ‘Cold tires’ you remind yourself. The corners go slowly, you get to downshift once or twice with the carbon paddles. If a Saturn V rocket needed to downshift at any point, I imagine this is how it would do it. Then the back straight beckons. May as well see how fast it goes. ‘Very’, is the G57-P2’s response. The industrial-sounding yet lightning-quick gear changes flash by with no discernible hesitation on the car’s part, pushing you well past the fastest you’ve ever been in a car before.

Quicker than you’d thought possible, some braking is required. You brake conservatively well before the 100m marker, and you’re basically stopped before the turn in. Navigating the corner is simple enough, and then you accelerate out, fighting some fantastically controllable power oversteer. Another tight corner follows, before you start rapidly approaching the supposedly flat out left sweeper. You’ve been told it’s flat out, so you go for it. Easy. Why were you ever concerned, you begin to think. You could have easily ridden around the outside of that corner at full-speed, thanks to the incredible downforce. Your first lap in a prototype hasn’t resulted in a crash, and in fact you’ve gained considerable confidence. This might just be doable, you think.

By the end of your first session, you’ve befriended the Ginetta. There’s an understanding between you and it, one whose goal is the fastest lap time, the highest speeds. You’re confident hanging the tail out on corner exit, confident pushing the braking zone just a little deeper each lap. The grip means you’re not scared to carry more speed, and the responsiveness means you’re not worried to overdo it slightly with power application. This is the magic of the G57-P2. Unlike some of the more primitive racing cars, the Ginetta wants you to feel at home. After all, that’s the best way to win races.

This is how my first day driving a prototype went. I had only driven a 1999 Mazda Miata before then, and had never been more anxious to face a challenge. I suspect all those around me and the team were nervous to have put an inexperienced 16-year-old in their prototype, too. If I had been driving anything other than a G57-P2, it’s likely that day would have not gone nearly as well. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the Ginetta wants you to feel comfortable. It actively helps you to drive, to feel like you can get the best out of what is one of the fastest cars out there. If you think you can’t handle driving it, think again. The satisfaction you’ll get from conquering the G57-P2 is worth the initial nerves, and you’ll likely find yourself massively hooked."

Sideways into the New Year - Ice Driving Experience Offer

Sideways into the New Year - Ice Driving Experience Offer

Here at Ginetta towers, we’ve been getting into the Christmas spirit and have teamed up with our friends at Ice Driver to offer you a superb opportunity to experience a brand new driving course in Norway.

The awesome Ice Driver collective over in Geilo, Norway, will provide accommodation in the Vestlia Ski Resort as well as food and transfers to the hotel from the station and Motorsport Centre. You’ll be accompanied by a team of highly experienced Ice Driver instructors as you pilot cars around frozen ice lakes in the middle of the most stunning Norwegian mountains.

For more information, check out www.icedriver.com or call Alison for availability and further information on +44 (0) 7495 605839. Quote ICEGIN17 at the time of booking to receive a 10% discount on all their packages.

 

Week Two - We Are Ginetta vs. Movember

Week Two - We Are Ginetta vs. Movember

We are nine days into the Movember challenge here at HQ and it’s ‘so far, so good’ as we near the halfway point. We have staff growing moustaches, our BTCC front of house girl attempting to conquer 1958 kettle bell squats and Ruth and Lo from our PR and Championships team attempting to run 800m around the Talk Radio studio in the quickest time possible.

Below is how they have been getting on, but first, we are really keen to expand our We Are Ginetta Movember team, so if you are doing ANYTHING to raise money this month, drop us a line via pr[AT]Ginetta.com or donate to this fantastic cause at the following link: http://moteam.co/we-are-ginetta

 

Ginetta Mechanics – Growing the Mo’

Nine days into Movember and the boys are going strong! They are currently in the midst of battling through ‘itchy tash’ and working out how best to eat without having food stuff stuck in their beards.

Samuel is unimpressed with his beard growth this week but at least his face is being kept warm in the snowy weather conditions. Some of the fathers of the group have received ‘complaints’ from the kids due to ‘chin pie scratching’ but it’s all for a good cause.

The competition is tough going, the testosterone has kicked in, beard wax, combs and a variety of oils and potions are being deployed in a bid to conquer Movember.  All in all a great week for facial hair and making the Ginetta workshop incredibly proud.

 

Joanne Sutcliffe – 1958 Challenge

My Movember Challenge is to complete a total of 1958 kettle bell squats, which is around 65 per day. I decided to do more from Monday to Friday to give me rest days over the weekend.

I started out with a strong 110 on November 1st.  This was a mistake. By the end of November 2nd  my legs were like jelly!  With hindsight, I should have started lower and built up the numbers.  I struggled on through another 110 regardless, telling myself it would be easier on day three - wrong!  By November 3rd I could barely walk, and trying to sit down meant I had to hold onto something stable to stop myself dropping like a stone.

In the gym at lunchtime I only managed 90 squats, and had to be encouraged by my colleagues, one of whom joined in to get me through the last 40. It’s slowly become easier though and after a couple of rest days at the weekend (and one cheeky extra day off) I have been back in the gym again and have completed 430 in total, with 1528 still to go.  I’ll be back on it at lunchtime so watch this space…

 

Dash in a Tash – Ruth and Lo

We have been busy training hard for the 800 dash. Lo has the added benefit of having her personal trainer Scout, a massive Samoyed who forces her to walk / job / run at least 5km a day. That’s a stark contrast to myself (Ruth) who walks as far as the Ginetta office coffee machine.

So it’s safe to say Lo is already way ahead of me in the training stakes. She ran as a hobby before, whereas my gym commitments were more ’30 Day Shred’ and various keep fit DVDs, putting me at an instant disadvantage. However, the pair of us are working at Brands Hatch this weekend as part of the Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Winter Series, therefore we plan to get our training on track (literally) at the end of each day.

Check back next week for some photo updates of our progress thus far.

Here come the boys – Movember Is GO at Ginetta HQ

Here come the boys – Movember Is GO at Ginetta HQ

The Ginetta boys never shy away from a challenge (or confectionery-based bribery) so when we brought all our leftover ‘Trick or Treat’ goodies into Head Office this morning, convincing them to join our Movember efforts was as simple as taking candy from a baby.

Self-appointed Ginetta ‘mum’ Ruth Gawthorpe rallied the troops in the workshop and although most of them already have some facial hair, no fewer than eight Ginetta superstars have committed not to shave or trim their beards again until December 1st. Nik Gawthorpe, Sam Stanton, John Stanton, Mark Webber, Sam Williams, Geoff Falconar, Sam Dolby and Ayrton Todd – we salute you!

You don’t have to grow the mo to save a bro though. There are plenty of people taking part in the ‘Move For Movember’ efforts. LNT Group CEO Matt Lowe, LNT Software MD Leigh Ellis and LNT Construction Planning Manager Jo Sutcliffe are each taking part in a 1958 challenge, in celebration of the year Ginetta was founded.

Not only that, but we have real-life radio and telly SUPERSTAR Andy Jaye on the cusp of joining our team, we reckon a bit of a beard and he’ll look just like a young Gandalf – who wouldn’t want that to their name?

Don’t be a stranger, join our team or simply make a donation here: http://moteam.co/we-are-ginetta

We Are Ginetta - Prepare To Mo' Tomorrow

We Are Ginetta - Prepare To Mo' Tomorrow

The LNT Group will kick off their 2017 Movember efforts tomorrow morning and below are three examples of ways in which we will be raising both money and awareness for the charity.

We are really keen to expand our We Are Ginetta Movember team, so if you are doing ANYTHING to raise money this month, drop us a line via pr[AT]Ginetta.com or donate and / or join the team at the following link: http://moteam.co/we-are-ginetta

 

Leigh Ellis, Director of LNT Software.

I'll get the ball rolling (no pun intended) as part of the LNT Group efforts. I’ve previously grown the facial fuzz, but this year I’m going to be a part of the Move for Movember campaign.

Considering I haven't been in the gym for about a year, it’s about time I got myself back in the game. With that in mind, I’m signing myself up for a 1958 challenge to celebrate the year Ginetta was founded, and will do 1,958 push ups in November! Watch this space.

 

Matt Lowe, LNT Group CEO.

Bringing the fight to Ellis is our group CEO Matt Lowe. He’s never one to shy away from a challenge and gets involved in every single one of the Group’s fundraising activities. The Group motivator has put his money where his mouth is this Movember and has pledged to ascend 1,958m on his bike. That is the equivalent of climbing Scafell Pike twice!

He said of his efforts; “ I’ll be burning lots of calories so, as usual, all confectionary donations also gratefully received...” – standard Lowe.

 

Ruth Harrison, Ginetta PR & Marketing Executive

My father recently overcame prostate cancer, so to raise money for Movember, I’ve roped in my BFF Lo Parsons to launch ‘Operation Dash In A Tash’.

Together, we have set a benchmark time for how long it takes us to run 800m and will be training throughout November to improve our fitness levels before we try to beat our benchmarks LIVE on Talk Radio with our celebrity bezzi M, Andy Jaye.

 

A Cuppa Tea With... Phil McGarty

A Cuppa Tea With... Phil McGarty

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.

This week, we’ve been chatting to one of the biggest characters in the Ginetta Racing Drivers Club, the one and only Phil McGarty.

Ginetta: What do you have to set to ‘record’ on your TV when you’re away racing?

PM: I have Hollyoaks on record on TV.

 

G: Who would play you in a film about your life?

PM: I think Tom Cruise with Cuban heels could play me. In fact I think I could play him if I was needed to.

 

G: Who’s the most exciting person that follows you on Twitter?

PM: The most exiting person to follow me has got to be a little lass from Yorkshire called Ruth Harrison.

G: That’s the third person to say that now, I’m getting an ego.

 

G: Do you have any pre-race rituals?

PM: Pre-race I prefer just to sit on my own in the car when we get to the holding area.

 

G: What’s been the hairiest moment behind the wheel of a race car or go-kart?

PM: The hairiest moment behind the wheel has got to be when I ran out of talent coming in to Paddock Hill Bend at Brands Hatch. The transmission locked and my car span, missing the barrier by inches – I was lucky.

 

Move For Movember. Operation Dash In A Tash Is GO!

Move For Movember. Operation Dash In A Tash Is GO!

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.

Join our Movember team (or make a donation) by clicking here.

Driver's Eye View - Magny Cours in the G57

The storied Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours in central France played host to the latest round of the V de V Championship last weekend and saw a Ginetta G57-P2 win from pole in the hands of Ginetta boss, Lawrence Tomlinson and works-driver, Mike Simpson.

In its GP Circuit configuration the track measures 2.7 miles and the lap record for the 17-turn circuit is still held by the legendary Michael Schumacher, who covered it in 1:15.38 in his Ferrari F2004.

Our man Simpson left the competition trailing with a 1:32.18 last weekend, and we have the onboard footage to show how he did it.  Let him know what you think at @MikeSimpsonP1.

P.S. he'll be irritated that we told you Schumacher was faster...

 

October 12, 2016 by Paul Zwicky-Ross
A Cuppa Tea With.... Guy Redwood

A Cuppa Tea With.... Guy Redwood

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.

This week, we’ve been chatting to one of the founding members of the Ginetta Racing Drivers Club. His passion for motorsport and enthusiasm for the Ginetta brand is second to none. To top it off, the only time he’s seen without an eye-poppingly bright shirt is when he’s wearing a race suit – meet Guy Redwood.

 

Ginetta: What do you have to set to ‘record’ on your TV when you’re away racing?

GR: Obviously the live coverage of the Ginetta GT5 Challenge races so I can watch it all again on Sunday night as soon as I get home! Also Suits – I think Harvey Specter would make a great driver coach with lines like “I'm not about caring, I'm about winning” as well as “The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary.”

 

G: Who would play you in a film about your life?

GR: Guy Martin – We have a very similar outlook on life and I think he’d enjoy wearing my shirts.

 

G: Who’s the most exciting person that follows you on Twitter?

GR: Most exciting racer that follows me would be @Tom_Oliphant. Almost every one of his races has me sat on the edge of my seat, shouting at the TV screen when Tom’s doing his thing.

 

G: Do you have any pre-race rituals?

GR: A can of Red Bull just before we head out to the holding area. I also aim to drive the track twice in my head whilst sat waiting before a race. Although I’m easily distracted and rarely make it half way round!

 

G: What’s been the hairiest moment behind the wheel of a race car or go-kart?

GR: I once did the unthinkable and lifted off the throttle mid-corner at Westfield on Brands Hatch GP circuit. The back stepped out and rapidly ended up on the green stuff. Lesson learnt: never lift mid-corner on the brow of a hill.