Tue 23rd Aug 2016
In July Brian was very privileged to be offered a seat in a Porsche 911 GT Cup Car. This was only possible thanks to the backing of Simon Orange of Orange racing and Marcus Webb at Mac Tools UK.
The car in question is a 997 GT3 GT Cup left hand drive car complete with flappy paddles and big slick tyres, completely different to what Brian is used to. The car belongs to and run by MAS Motorsport who have been a well respected team in the GT Cup paddock for a good few seasons. Brian would be teaming up with MAS Motorsport boss Mike Sellar and be racing in the B category of the GT Cup races at Oulton Park.
GT Cup is an awesome paddock to be in, the cars are stunning super cars split into various power to weight categories. Great hospitality, media coverage including TV and great racing attracts sponsors and drivers alike.
GT A.. You can’t really call it the slow cars... but this is where you find likes of BMW M3s and Ginettas.
GT B comes next, made up mainly of Porsche 997 cup cars are found here along with a couple of high spec BMW M3s.
GT C is where the likes of Ferrari 458s, McLarens and Lamborghini Hurricanes hurtle around looking.
GTO is the fastest category. Anything goes here. Currently a Blancpain Bentley is stunningly the quickest car of the entire field.
Brian and Mike were to share the car for one day at Oulton Park. The day would consist of...
10 min warm up, this would be the first time Brian would drive the car.
25 min qualifying, Mike to drive first for 10 mins and Brian to drive the last 15 mins
25 min race, Brian to drive
50 min race, Mike to drive the first 25 mins, Brian to drive the second 25 min.
Brian climbed in the car for the first ever time to familiarize himself with the car and the track. The car was 20 seconds quicker than anything Brian had took around Oulton before.
“It didn’t take long to get comfortable, MAS Motorsport have been me a great car. A few more laps and a little tweak and I think we could have a quick package.”
Brian would end the 10 min session 3rd in class, an awesome result for his first ever drive.
Both drivers needed to have at least three laps in the car to tick the MSA rules. MAS Motorsport owner Mike Sellar would go out first. Mike's speed grew nicely over his laps and brought the car in safe and ready for Brian to take over...
“Quali was hard work. I had five laps to set a time, each lap was a little compromised with faster traffic coming past or me catching slower traffic up. I was a little nervous about overtaking cars. Visibility is quite poor and I haven’t been around the other drivers enough to know if I can trust going down the inside of slower cars without being turned in on. Last thing I want is to damage Mike’s car or another driver.”
Brian shouldn’t have worried, he done a solid job and his time would put the MAS Porsche in 5th place in GTB.
“Not knowing anything about the car or the paddock. My goal today is to bring the car back safe in one piece without mechanical or body damage and to try and be the quicker man out of my pairing with Mike. Mike and the guys at MAS Motorsport have had to put alot of trust in me driving their valuable car. I’m not prepared to let them down.”
“Mike is an absolute gentleman and letting me race the car in the sprint race. Never done a rolling start before, so this should be quite eye opening.”
The cars headed out on their formation lap. Four GTB cars starting ahead of Brian. It wasn’t enough for Brian to be happy just to finish, his sights were firmly set on the leading GTB BMW M3, but first he would need to get past three other 997 Cup cars and a Marcos.
The cars thundered over the line to start the race. Brian was quick to dispatch one Porsche and line up the Marcos. Into turn one they went at over 100mph to be greeted by a spinning Lamborghini taking out a Lotus and the leading GTB BMW. Brian had to take to the grass to avoid the accident and spinning cars. He was to rejoin 3rd in class and without damage. He set out straight away to chase down the leaders and was in a great position for the rest of the race. Unfortunately red flags came out on the second lap to halt the race due to cars and carbon fibre being spread on the exit of turn one.
Unfortunately the race had to be cancelled due to the amount of damage. “That was a shame. I got a good rolling start and was just focused on getting up the grid. I came round turn one and started to see carnage unfold. I had picked where I was going to place my car, but that option was quickly filled by another car. I looked for another option but that car braked really hard to avoid the accident. I decided the safest place was on the grass. This all happened within about four seconds. I bounced over the grass and safely rejoined the track to find myself 3rd in class and sitting about 7th overall. I was gutted to see the red flag come out. I wanted to be on the podium!”
The race will be re run at another track later in the year. Brian would love to race with them again but it depends if he can get the money or the sponsorship together in time.
50 MIN RACE
This race was held at 5pm and Mike would be taking the rolling start this time. Again he would set out 5th in class. This time everybody got round turn one in one piece and Mike was shadowing the 4th place Porsche nicely. The two cars lapping inches from each other for the first stint. Unfortunately eight laps in Mike reported back to the pits that he was stuck in gear. The Porsche was in 30 seconds later, popping and banging on the pit lane speed limiter.
The MAS mechanics jumped into action and fired the car up on its air jacks. Under trays were quickly removed and a faulty bolt quickly identified on the gear selector mechanism. The bolt was quickly replaced and the car dropped from its air jacks. Now unfortunately four laps down and not yet inside the pit window, Mike thundered out of the pits and was on the radio saying all was ok with the car. He carried on for two more laps until the pit window opened then once again the GT3 Cup Car popped and banged down the pit lane where Brian would jump in for his stint.
Straight away Brian got up to speed and within a couple of laps Brian had drawn the attention of the commentators with his pace. He was the 6th quickest car on track and lapping at a similar pace to the leading GTB cars. However, Brian knew he wouldn’t be able to unlap himself so just went as fast as possible and enjoyed his stint. Commentators later likened him to Sir Stirling Moss to be able to jump in new cars and pretty much be instantly on pace.
“That was great fun. Yeah, we picked up a problem, that’s just racing and the guys at MAS Motorsport dealt with it fast and professionally and got us back out. I knew I couldn’t get us on the podium, so I had two goals in my head; to be quicker than my team mate and get a lap time within one second of the leading GTB car.” Brian achieved his goals.
“The car was great to drive and Mike and the guys from MAS Motorsport couldn’t have been more welcoming. It felt a bit strange at first, I’m used to running my own team and cars, but it did make a lovely change to just be a driver. I really hope I can work again with MAS Motorsport and their Porsche, it all depends on budget and attracting sponsors at this level. I would love to work with Mike and the guys again in the Porsche.”
There are two rounds left of GT CUP, with the season ending at Snetterton in October.
“Snetterton is my local. I would love to finish 2016 in that awesome Porsche. I will be doing as much as I can to secure a budget.”
Brian and his team BC Cars Motorsport are looking for sponsors to come on board, and you too could find yourselves enjoying the sights and sounds of racing and the perks of track days and the great media coverage and interest that racing cars achieve. All packages to suit all budgets and can be tailored to the individual/business. Contact Brian on 01440 709985 to discuss sponsorship.