“I Learned A Lot About The Car And I Had Another Fantastic Start!” – Team HARD’S Ben Wallace Takes The Positives From A Challenging Weekend. (29.05.18)

Photo: Ian Cutting

Ben Wallace, driver of the #88 Team HARD Ginetta G55 GT4 with teammate Joshua Jackson, got the best they possibly could from Rounds Four and Five of the 2018 British GT Championship, held at Snetterton, Norfolk over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Consisting of two one-hour sprint races around the 4.82km Snetterton 300 circuit, Jackson and Wallace qualified the #88 entry in eleventh place in the GT4 Silver class for both races. A pair of ninth place finishes means that the young duo added an additional four points each to their tally in the GT4 Silver Drivers standings.

Southport-based Ben Wallace is now in twelfth place in the standings, just 3.5 points off of breaking in to the top ten.
Recent success for Ginetta G55 GT4 in the GT4 European Series encouraged the series organisers to apply performance-balancing to the car, meaning that it became very difficult for either of the Team HARD Ginettas to compete for podium honours in the glorious Norfolk sunshine.

#88 a.a. 18.05.29

Photo: BritishGT.com / Jakob Ebrey Photography

Despite the disappointment, Ben Wallace was determined to find the find the positives which he can take to the next round.

“I learned a lot about the car because, in extreme cases like this, you learn more about the car when it is difficult to drive than you do in easier circumstances,” said Wallace. “It helped me gain a lot more confidence in the car.”

“I had two off-track moments from which I recovered and it taught me more about the car than I would have normally learned,” continued Ben Wallace. “Again I showed I can make a fantastic start and made up a number of positions. I was driving the car on the absolute limit and beyond! I was pushing and pushing and the team was great in letting me know how far the next car was in front.”

The British GT Championship now moves to the Silverstone GP circuit on June 9-10, a venue that Ben Wallace has some experience of.

“I’ve raced on the National circuit in the Ginetta Juniors but this will be my first time on the Grand Prix circuit,” said Ben Wallace. “Assuming that the Balance of Performance issues are addressed, and I’m sure they will be, I am confident that we can show the true pace of the Team HARD Ginetta G55 GT4 over the three-hour race. I’ll be spending a lot of time preparing for the weekend in the simulator and I can’t wait to convert all our hard work into results on-track!”

“If Everything Is Perfect, I Think We Will Be Able To Challenge For A Top Five Finish” – Team HARD Racing’s Ben Wallace Looks Forward To Snetterton And Rounds Four And Five Of The British GT Championship. (22.05.18)

After the opening two weekends of the 2018 British GT Championship were held in less-than-ideal conditions, the premier national GT series returns to Snetterton, Norfolk on May 26-27 where the forecast for hot, dry weather should allow for some close and competitive racing.

Southport’s Ben Wallace, driver of the #Team HARD Ginetta G55 GT4, is looking forward to building on the confidence he gained at Rockingham Motor Speedway in Round Three, where he gained 16 places during his stint and impressed everyone with his commitment and determination.

“I think I’ve shown to everyone at Rockingham that the pace is there and that we should be front-runners,” said the Lips Reifenhandel-backed driver. “I still feel the same for this weekend. Anything can happen, that’s for sure, but if everything goes right, I think we can finish in the top ten. If everything is perfect, I think we will be able to challenge for a top five finish.”

Although this will be the first time that the young driver, who finished third in the 2017 VAG Trophy, has experienced Snetterton in the Ginetta G55 GT4, he has a wealth of experience on the Norfolk circuit in Ginetta Juniors and VW Golfs.

“I have had quite a bit of experience in the Juniors and the Golf but this will be my first time at Snetterton in a powerful rear-wheel drive car,” said Wallace. “I want to be realistic in my expectations but, at the same time, with my knowledge of the circuit and my increased confidence in the Ginetta G55 GT4, if we get some luck I think we could do very well”

Snetterton will be hosting Rounds Four and Five of the British GT Championship – two one-hour races where the action never stops. Does Ben Wallace think that the sprint-race format will be an advantage to the #88 Team HARD Ginetta?

“I think the two one-hour races will be in our favour,” said Wallace. “If we can establish a good set-up early in the weekend, it will be an advantage but the second race allows you to reevaluate, if necessary. If we are on the first few rows in the GT4 class for Race One, then everything’s obviously all good.”

Ben Wallace carries the logo of Diabetes UK on his Ginetta and will be working with the country’s leading charity that cares for, connects with and campaigns on behalf of all people affected by and at risk of diabetes in the build-up to the weekend’s racing.

“I am proud to be associated with Diabetes UK,” said Wallace. “I hope I can act as an example to other young people and demonstrate that diabetes should not hold you back in your pursuit of your sporting dreams.”

Track action at Snetterton begins with practice at 09:30 on Saturday May 26 and the four ten-minute qualifying sessions start at 15:50. The lights go out for the first one-hour race at 11:00 on Sunday May 26.

Asian Le Mans Series – “Bigger And Better For 2018” (15.05.18)

The A.C.O. has announced details of the 2018/19 Asian Le Mans Series, promising that “it will be bigger and better than the 2017/18 season that delivered record coverage for the teams, drivers and sponsors.”

The biggest change is that there will be two trophies to be won in the LMP2 class – a professional trophy for the outright class winner and an amateur trophy for all-amateur crews. Winners of both categories will receive invitations to the 2019 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

As well as the LMP3 class, which has been growing in popularity, the GT class will be open to GT3 as well as cars from the GT300 class of the Japanese Super GT Championship.

As a result, there will be four invitations to the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans – two in the LMP2 class, one for the winners of the LMP3 category and an invitation to compete in the LMGTE Am class for the winner of the GT class.

The Series will visit the Shanghai International Circuit, China in November, Fuji Speedway, Japan, in December, Buriram International Circuit, Thailand, in January 2019 and concludes at the Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia at the end of February.

President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, Pierre Fillon, is looking forward to the news season.

“The Asian Le Mans Series is a very important championship for the ACO, particularly with regard to the role the Series plays in the development of endurance racing in the region,” said Pierre Fillon. “The significant growth in coverage is opening the sport up to a new audience, whilst it offers local teams and drivers the opportunity to develop before making the step up to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”

G-Drive / Rusinov / Pizzitola / Vergne Win At Monza (14.05.18)

Photo: Europeanlemansseries.com

Signes, France-based chassis manufacturer ORECA dominated the LMP2 class at Round Four of the 2018 European Le Mans Series from Autodromo Nazionale Monza, taking the top six positions in the premier category in a race that saw four interruptions for safety-car interventions.

The #26 G-Drive Racing ORECA 07, piloted by Roman Rusinov, Andrea Pizzitola and, taking the final stint to the chequered flag, Jean-Eric Vergne, won in decisive fashion, 29.828 seconds ahead of the #33 TDS Racing ORECA driven by Matthieu Vaxivière in the car he shared with François Perrodo and Loïc Duval.

Taking the final podium position in the LMP2 class, and just 2.108 seconds behind the #33 car, was the #28 IDEC Sport entry with the driver line-up of Paul Lafargue, Paul-Loup Chatin and Memo Rojas.

In the LMP3 class, the #11 Eurointernational Ligier JS P3, piloted by Giorgio Mondini and, taking the final stint, Kay Van Berlo who took the victory ahead of the #6 360 Racing Ligier of Terrence Woodward and Ross Kaiser.

The LMGTE class saw an almost lights-to flag win for the#55 Spirit Of Race Ferrari F488 GTE driven by Duncan Cameron, Matthew Griffin and Aaron Scott.


Ben Hanley, at the wheel of the #21 DragonSpeed ORECA started from pole and had begun to open a gap to fellow front-row starter Roman Rusinov in the #26 G-Drive entry but, with less than 15 minutes run, the #39 Graff ORECA, driven for the opening stint by Alexandra Cougnaud, went off at speed at T7, bringing out the safety-car and neutralising the race for 19 mins. DragonSpeed took advantage of the pause to pit the#21 car and change drivers to Henrik Hedman.

The race had enjoyed green-flag racing for less than 10 minutes before the safety-car was called in to action for the second time when Enzo Guibbert, taking the opening stint in the #40 G-Drive Graff-run ORECA, went off. Guibbert was unhurt and the race was neutralised for a further 18 minutes for recovery and barrier repair.

When the race restarted, the #29 Duqueine Engineering entry, with Pierre Ragues at the wheel, led the field, closely followed by the #30 AVF By Adrian Valles Dallara driven by Henrique Chaves.

As the 90-minute mark approached Roman Rusinov took the lead in the #26 G-Drive entry, pursued by Philip Hanson in the #22 United Autosport Ligier JSP217, just over three seconds behind. However further disruption was just round the corner after the #20 Racing For Poland Ligier JS P3 spun at the Ascari Chicane, causing the race to be neutralised for nearly 20 minutes to allow for recovery.

Andrea Pizzitola had just taken over driving duties in the #26 car when the safety-car was called upon for the fourth time after the #18 M Racing-YMR Ligier made contact with the #9 AT Racing Ligier JSP3 and the race was neutralised for 13 minutes. There was momentary confusion when the leading #22 United Autosports car with Philip Hanson at the wheel went past the safety-car and only correct and careful handling by Race Control avoided chaos.

When the race returned to green-flag running, Pizzitola retook the lead with Will Stevens chasing in the #23 Panis-Barthez Compétition Ligier.

The final driver change saw Jean-Eric Vergne take over driving duties in the #26 G-Drive entry and although Paul-Loup Chatin briefly took the lead with 30 minutes to go, Vergne brought the car home for the victory.

Roman Rusinov was delighted with the win.

“It’s a great weekend for us,” said the 36-year old Russian driver. “From the beginning the car was competitive and all the team did a really great job, Jean-Eric and Andrea were fantastic during then whole weekend also. We really showed our pace during the race. I did a good start but then it was impossible to follow the DragonSpeed with Hanley inside. Then we were unlucky with the first pitstop when we lost some positions, but then I think my teammates did an amazing job and we recovered from that quite well.”

Round Three of the 2018 European Le Mans Series takes place at the Red Bull Ring on July 22.

Vaxiviere Puts TDS Racing On Pole At Monza (12.05.18)

Photo: europeanlemansseries.com

Matthieu Vaiviere, at the wheel of the #33 TDS Racing ORECA 07 he shares with Francois Perodo and Loic Duval, took pole for Sunday May 13’s 4 Hours of Monza, Round Two of the 2018 European Le Mans Series, with a 1:35.456, .381 seconds clear of the #21 DragonSpeed ORECA 07 driven by Ben Hanley.

Completing the top three in the LMP2 class was the #31 APR-Rebellion Racing ORECA 07 of Ryan Cullen, Harrison Newey and Gustavo Menezes in which Menezes put in a 1:36.034.

The session was neutralised with as red flag with 2:48 to go to allow track workers to clear debris from the track. There was also drama just as the chequered flag went out to conclude the session when Ate De Jong, driving the #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP217  he shares with Mark Patterson and Tacksung Kim, went off the circuit at the exit of the Parabolica. De Jong emerged from the car seemingly unscathed but there will be significant work required to get the #25 car on the grid for Sunday’s race.

Vaxiviere was delighted at taking his first pole position in the European Le Mans Series.

“It’s been long, hard to get the pole but we are really happy to get this,” said the young Frenchman. “I am also really happy for Francois, for Loic and for the team because we have worked hard all the last season in the WEC. I did a good, decent lap for myself but maybe lost two tenths at T2 but I’m pretty happy with my lap.”

“It will be a long race and we need to see the weather first and then  work out where we can finish but we finished P2 in the ELMS at Paul Ricard so the goal is to get a podium again but we’ll see.”

In a packed LMP3 qualifying session, Mathieu Lahaye took class pole with a 1:45.386, .339 seconds quicker than the pole setting time in 2017, in the #17 Ultimate Norma M30. ahead of David Droux in the #19 M Racing-YMR Norma.

LMGTE pole went to the #80 Ebimotors Porsche 911 RSR with Riccardo Pera at the wheel, securing the Italian team’s second class pole position of the weekend.

The lights go out for the 4 Hours of Monza at 12:20 local time on Sunday May 13.




Devon Modell Steps Down From 2018 British GT Championship (09.05.18)

Photo: BritishGT.com / Jakob Ebrey Photography

Devon Modell, driver of the #24 RJN Motorsport Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 alongside team-mate Struan Moore, has decided to step down from the British GT Championship with immediate effect to concentrate on his business interests.

Modell, who first drove in the premier national GT championship in 2014, owns, with his family, the Gallery Superclub Maidstone and made the announcement ahead of the third round at Snetterton on May 26 – 27.

“It’s a shame,” said Modell. “I knew it was going to be a big risk to run the business and drive and compete over the same weekend. If I’m not able to be 100 per cent focused, it’s better someone else gets the chance to drive the RJN Nissan for now.”

“The Gallery Superclub is an new venture for me this year and it demands a lot of attention but I’m certainly not hanging up my helmet just yet and hope to return to the series on another occasion, maybe even later this year.”

“For now though, I will be focusing on business commitments and maybe the occasional outing in one-off events when my time permits. I would especially like to thank Bob Neville at RJN Motorsport for his understanding and wish him and Struan the very best for the remainder of the season.”