Interview with Dion von Moltke


Dion1Born in Texas and of South African heritage, Dion von Moltke was a mere twenty years old when he made his ALMS debut in 2010.  Since then he has amassed over two dozen victories worldwide including this year’s coveted Daytona 24 Hr. Dion kindly took time out between a jam-packed season of racing to speak with us about his amazing year.

Since the Daytona 24 hrs you had little time to take stock of your incredible achievement with Watkins Glen just around the corner. In retrospect do you think that was a good thing or would you like to have had more time to celebrate? 

I was actually back in the gym just the day after I got back to Miami, which is where I live!  To be honest in the midst of the season, you always have to be looking forward and working towards the next event but right after Daytona I actually had no clue what I was doing next.  I didn’t have any full season deals, which was not a very comforting feeling…

What that did give me was a lot of extra motivation to be working as hard as I can physically and mentally to stay ready just in case any opportunities came up.   Luckily I got an offer to the Sebring 12 Hours in GTC for the second year with Alex Job and we were able to win there.  That gave me some more momentum, which is when Flying Lizard Motorsports called me and offered me a full season drive.  This season has been a weird one with a lot of peaks and valleys, while success wise it’s been my best season, it has also been by far the toughest of my career as well…  As a driver not having a full time drive, or not knowing what your next race will be is extremely stressful, so there were definitely a lot of down moments early in the year.  The Watkins Glen deal didn’t even fully come together until the week of the race actually!  But I am very thankful of my relationship with Audi; they have some amazing people working for them and have built very fast cars, so working closely with them is really special.

Watching Filipe during the final hour must’ve been unbearable. What did Olly, Edo and yourself do to occupy yourselves? 

Unbearable is most definitely the way to describe it!!! We were locked arm in arm staring at the TV feed and the live timing and scoring monitor cheering him on as loud as we could.   We knew we had to pit with about 10 minutes to go, so the whole time we were trying to do the math of how much time we needed to pit and stay out front.  As he came down pit lane we actually thought we didn’t have a chance to come out in front, so when he exited the pits right in front of second place and still leading we erupted! (As you can tell apparently we are not the best at mathematics!) We knew there was still a huge fight ahead of him over the last 3 laps, but he drove just an amazing stint to hold everyone off and win the race.  After he took the checkered flag I can even describe the scene in our pits, it was so emotional.  So many people worked so hard over the last months or even years to get us to that point, and to finally pull off the win was so special.Dion3

There’s a great shot of the three of you in unison watching the timing screen. Do you think there’s an inherent camaraderie in sports car racing that you don’t find in open-wheeler categories?  

There is most definitely camaraderie in sports car racing that is essential to success and is also unique to this part in the racing world.  Edo, Filipe, Olly and I got along really well, and that was a huge help throughout the entire week.  At Daytona you really are working on getting prepped for it since November, so it’s very easy to burn out before the race even starts.  We all kept each other motivated, we all agreed on how we wanted the car, we all contributed in different areas to limiting any potential mistakes and it’s all of these details put together that are vital.  If you do them, they don’t guarantee a win, but if you don’t do them you simply will not win the race.  The competition is so tough that you really need to focus on every little detail and not over look anything going into the race.

Allan McNish said his early impressions of Dindo Capello were somewhat based on his early experience with Italian drivers, but after a day of testing they became firm friends. How’s your experience been like being thrown in the deep end with strong international line-ups? 

I remember the first time just seeing my name on the car along side all of the Audi Sport factory drivers and just being like whoa, these three guys have achieved so much in their careers and having to sort of pinch myself before hoping in the car.  But as soon as you start working you forget about all of that, you focus on yourself, you do your job and you soon realize that these guys are here to do the same thing.  It helped that all of them quickly became good friends of mine and were quick to give advice and support which made the whole experience amazing.

You display a proud South African heritage, even so far as your adventure tour partnership with South African Airways. Were you aware of the likes of Jody Schekter growing up and were they an influence? 

Absolutely!! My Dad and Uncle grew up during the height of Kyalami and it’s presence on the Formula 1 calendar, so they got to see some really amazing races growing up there.   South Africa has a really strong history in racing with some fantastic drivers that I look up to.   Motorsports is still really strong there, and there are so many talented drivers now, one of which is Hennie Groenewald who I got to drive with in the U.S. who came in right away and performed extremely well.  I hope we can see South Africa return to being a power house in producing world class racing car drivers like we once saw!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vH5AVHzDtfg&list=UUrEMOK-WHCpl0mvEYNjJMqw

Have you learnt any specific things from the Audi factory drivers that have surprised you? Inversely, have they learnt anything from you? 

It’s hard to point at one specific thing and be like this right here is what I learnt from them.  It’s more of how the present themselves, how they communicate with engineers and work within a large company and get things done that they need to get done.  Driving for a manufacturer is was different then driving for a team and they have really opened my eyes to this.  I have not had the chance to really experience this for myself, but I hope one day I will get that opportunity.  I’m not to sure if they learnt anything from me, you will have to ask them!

Dion2David Brabham said that he rated his Aston Martin GT win at Le Mans right up there with his outright win and that he found the ALMS more intense than the WEC. What’s more challenging for you? GT or prototype racing? 

Each has their challenges, but from my personal experience I have found GT racing to be more difficult.  In the GTC class in the American Le Mans Series we have four other classes of racing in the race at the same time that are faster than us.  So as a driver you are not only looking forward and concentrating on the next corner but you also have to constantly be looking in your rear view mirror on who is catching you.  You also have to use your intuition to figure out where on the track these cars will pass you, and how to position your cars to not let anyone you’re battling with pass you as well as losing the least amount of time.  Mentally racing alone is very tough, but this added element really tests the mental fortitude of any driver!

Do you find its easier for drivers to forge a career in the U.S. as opposed to Europe at the moment?

Well I haven’t had much of a chance to really try and forge a career in Europe so it’s hard for me to comment on that.  I will say anywhere in racing it is extremely tough to forge a career it takes a ton of determination, hard work and luck.  But I will say if the driver really wants it, if he works to his absolute limit, and then a little more he can definitely make it in the racing world.

How do you juggle the business side of racing with finding your own rides and effectively being in control of your own destiny?   

The on trackside of racing is really only 1% of the job.  I’m finding out with every passing year more and more different things that I should be doing.  I have always believed you need a really strong support unit around you and luckily I have that through my parents who really have been the biggest contributors and supporters in my career so far.  I also have my manager Duncan Dayton who has really helped me in not only finding rides but also giving me the belief in myself that I do belong in this sport.  As well as my Kelly who helps with all of my PR efforts – this is a massive part of any professional athlete’s lives.

How do you put the business aspect aside when you finally have to jump into the car?

I think to be successful in anything in life you have to be fully focused on what ever the task at hand ahead of you is.  Before I get in the car I try and clear my mind and tell myself to push everything aside, push all other thoughts or emotions out of me and focus 100% on the task at hand.

Image courtesy of Chapman Autosport

Image courtesy of Chapman Autosport

You’ve mentioned that you use iRacing to help you remember little things when you’re at the real track. Do you use the simulator to improve hand-eye co-ordination in conjunction with your tennis and other sports? 

I find the simulator is a great place to work on the mind as well as just get the rust off and get your mind visualizing the track well ahead of the race weekend.  I am definitely a huge believer in testing your body and skills in different sports as that challenges you in different ways which can most definitely translate to the race car.  In tennis I find the mental challenge very similar to racing, it’s a very individualistic sport and the pressure is fully on the player and the more pressure situations you can put yourself into the better you can get in them!

Can you explain the theory behind ‘anerobic conditioning’ and the VO2 max test you undertook at the Formula Medicine training camp?

Formula Medicine is a facility that works with some of the best drivers in the world, from Formula 1 drivers, to DTM, to sports cars they know how to get the most out of any driver physically and mentally.  One of the tests they do is the VO2 max test.   This is a great test of many different factors in racing, which are vital.  The fitness needed to be a driver is something that isn’t as well publicized as it should be but it is a violent environment to be in.   The V02 max test really pushes you to the complete ragged edge, and I find the more you can push away the pain and fight on the better.  When it gets very hot in the race car, and you can barely breathe and you feel like you have given all you can give but you still have five laps to go, you can fall back on this experience and push your body to a whole other level.

Can we expect to see you running with Flying Lizard Motorsport next year?  

Nothing is for sure yet, but I sure hope so!  I absolutely love driving for them, and I actually have not been with the same team in back to back years since my early days of go-karts so that would be really nice.  Every time you start at a new team there is a learning process where you have to learn how the team operates and communicates, and they have to learn what you like as well.  If you go into a year already communicating and with the knowledge of how each other likes to work it can be a big advantage.

Dion6Thanks again Dion. Congratulations on 2013 and all the best for your future challenges! 

Thank you very much!

Check out Dion’s progress at www.dionvm.com and on twitter twitter@Dionvmracing

Watch Dion in action at http://www.youtube.com/user/Dionvmracing

Images courtesy of Chapman Autosport and Dionvm.com

White fights back to Bathurst podium and Sunday pole


Dunlop Super Dealer V8 Ute star Stephen White has shrugged of a difficult practice to take second in Saturday’s V8 Ute race as the curtain raiser to the Bathurst Top Ten shootout.1374537_10151988079104714_1913633049_n

After struggling down the order in position nineteen during practice, the Dunlop Super Dealer team performed some last minute tweaks to allow White a fighting chance on one of the toughest tracks on the Australian V8 Ute Racing calendar. Lucky for Stephen, the changes worked; propelling him to secon place at the end of combined practice behins pole-sitter David Sieders and directly in front of Nathan Pretty and Ryan Hansford.

A fantastic start from White saw him take over the lead heading into Hell corner and headed the field through Reid Park and over the top of the mountain. For the next few laps Sieders through everything at White, but the Victorian held firm under increasing pressure.

On the drag out of Forest Elbow on lap four, Sieders managed to get a tow behind White’s Holden and the pair were side-by-side for the third time down Conrod Straight.

Holding the most valuable real-estate, it wwas Sieders who gained the advantage through the high-load Chase, re-taking the lead from White and was never headed.

White went on to finish second and fourth in race two; which set him up for a reverse-grid pole for Sunday’s feature race.

Race three of the Australian V8 Utes takes place tomorrow. Check local guides for broadcast times.

High Fives all-round for Dunlop Superdealers


999326_475347322540333_1348154080_n-1On a glorious Melbourne day, Stephen White has scored two consecutive top five finishes in both the Auto One Ute championship and Australian Touring Car Masters series.

Getting the call-up late Friday evening to stand-in for John Bowe in the Dunlop Superdealer/Wilson Security Mustang, White had little time to adapt to the decades old machinery and jumping from right to left-hand drive. Nevertheless, Stephen capitilized on his strong qualifying performance to run a consistent 6th until he was shunted off at turn one by an out of control Greg Crick.

Dropping back to 8th, White wasted no time in scything his way back through the field and in the process netting a superb debut 5th place by less than half a second. White’s performance earning plaudits from television commentators and team-owner John Bowe.

It was a similar story in the Auto One Ute Race 1. White made the perfect start from 5th on the grid to be 3rd by the end of the firt lap, however some slight over-exuberance whilst challenging for 2nd saw him flat-spot his front tyres; resulting in a slight loss of pace and no doubt a rattling pair of eyeballs. Stephen rode out the deformation to again close on the podium finishes to record a strong 4th.

With tomorrow’s race starting in a reverse-grid lottery format, White will start just outside the top ten in 11th position – a perfect position to score some much needed points and more attention-grabbing headlines.1230060_513585658716499_491679996_n

 

Both the Auto One V8 Utes Series and the Australian Touring Car Masters can be seen on 7 Mate

White takes a Bowe in the Australian Touring Car Masters


Stephen White will be on double duties during this weekend’s Sandown 500. Whilst preparing to continue his assult on the Australian V8 Ute Championship.

993712_513528368722228_852413402_nStephen received a last minute call to replace John Bowe at the wheel of his #18 Dunlop Super Dealers/Wilson Security Ford Mustang, after Bowe was excluded from Practice Sessions 1 and 2 after inadvertently clipping the foot of a pit-lane marshall.

Whilst the regrettable altercation was a set-back, the Wilson Security Mustang will continue to run in the capable hands of White; who was jumping out of his skin at the opportunity.

“This is an exciting opportunity, one that I will take on with the greatest of respect for the car, the team, and for John’s (Bowe) position in the series.” said White this morning.

“We hope to go out and put in a strong showing for our shared sponsors and the fans of motor sport, with the main aims to keep ‘Sally’ on track, and bring the car home clean. It is an honour to have been asked by John (Bowe) to take over control of his successful and well known car, and I will do my best to make all involved proud that they chose me.”

Stephen was one of the original Holden Young Lions who went on to compete throughout the United Kingdom and Europe, racing everything from British Formula Ford, Formula Renault, Formula Vauxhall Lotus, British Formula 3, British Formula Palmer Audi and testing with the leading Formula 3000 teams, before returning to Australian shores to challenge in the Auto One V8 Ute Racing Series with Dunlop Superdealers and Century Batteries. White took out his season’s first race victory at Townsville’s Round 4, White has been a consistent podium contender during season 2013.

Currently 11th in the series, White has qualified 5th for todays first V8 Ute race and jumped straight into the iconic #18 Mustang for Australian Touring Car Masters qualifying to qualify an outstanding 7th on debut. There will be little rest for Stephen this weekend but one suspects that’s just how he likes it!1235072_10151687848258165_1096583415_n

Follow Stephen on Twitter at twitter@WhiteDog_Racing

or Facebook at http://www.facebook/whitedogracing

The Road from Rouen Interview with Steve Richards


richo2After wins at Clipsal and the Melbourne Grand Prix, Steven Richards and Laser Racing Porsche Carrera Cup team are sitting fourth in the 2013 Australian Carrera Cup Championship heading into Round 5 five this weekend at Winton Motor Raceway. Steve will be dividing his time on Friday between the Porsche and getting more miles in the Ford Performance Racing Falcon he’ll be partnering with Mark Winterbottom for the V8 Supercar endurance series. Steven found time to catch up with us before the trek to Benalla.

It’s been a pretty successful year so far in Carrera Cup. Are you looking forward to Winton?

Steve: Yeah, it’s our home track but most of the guys have done a lot of miles around there. The thing is that the track itself changes so much when the V8’s go there that testing can become a little bit irrelevant. When you have 28 cars plus the support categories your initial set-up can alter dramatically.

How have you found the Porsche this year? Is there anything you’ve been able to unlock performance-wise as opposed to previous years?

Probably in the middle part of last year we lost our way a little bit, but when I say that it was more in terms of our competitors finding a little bit more and it took me a little while to get on top of that. But realistically from Bathurst last year through to the start of this season we’ve had the equal pace of pretty well everyone. The championship might not reflect that but that’s down to a few things that’ve been out of our control. We had a disappointing meeting in Townsville where we had the speed but had a bit of a bad start in race one put us on the back foot. But the difference is that some of the teams have the international resources to grab hold of where we’re taking all the advice we can get – that people are willing to pass on. Sometimes that’s not always the right way to go so you have to find out what works in the way you drive the car.

You had two early wins at arguably the more prestigious rounds (Clipsal and Melbourne). That must be pretty rewarding in itself?

It’s even more rewarding because Steven Richards Motorsport is full of very experienced people but we’re kind of doing it based on our own knowledge and utilizing our own resources. SO when you do get a result that satisfaction you get is incredible. As a competitive individual you want to beat the best and the benchmark is Craig Baird. Craig’s consistently scoring points and even when he has a bad day he always manages to get something from it so when you can knock him off it’s unbelievable.

Richo on route to a win at Clipsal

Richo on route to a win at Clipsal

But the top four or five guys have been incredibly consistent which makes the job even harder.

The surprise packet this year has probably been Warren Luff, who statistically hasn’t had the speed but he’s had the right combination at Rensport. He’s driven the car really well and hasn’t made too many mistakes which helps with the championship.

Does working in a smaller team give you more room to move rather than being in a big operation?

Oh yeah. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’m probably guilty of trying to do too much whereas there are other guys who just turn up to the track and just concentrate on the driving. But at the end of the day I’m trying to forge a path for Steven Richards Motorsport, who’ve got customers and people who want to enjoy going racing. My time is shared between all of those things so I don’t for one minute use that as a reason or as an excuse, but when you do get a result it makes it all the more rewarding.

You’re just a few points of Nick Percat at the moment, is third a realistic target in the championship or do you think there’s possible more on offer?

We could still realistically win the championship, but it would take three outstanding rounds of either first or second with Bairdo having an uncompetitive round, but the reality of finishing second is absolute, so that’s where our efforts are going to start at Winton. The reality is we have to start winning rounds, which isn’t easy but we’ve got the knowledge now with the car to produce something fast. If we can qualify on the front row we’ll be in a good position.

Craig Baird has been the Carrera Cup benchmark for many years

Craig Baird has been the Carrera Cup benchmark for many years

You’ve of course been testing the FPR (Ford Performance Racing) Falcon with Mark Winterbottom for the V8 Supercar endurance series. How have you found the Car of the Future versus the older model? Some people like Russel Ingall are saying it’s more driver-friendly.

To be honest there’s virtually no difference in terms of driving the car. The car’s are of a similar weight with the same tyre width. Initially – by all accounts – the cars were a bit different, but that’s when they really hadn’t been sorted out. From an FPR standpoint, now that they’ve got the car working better there’s not much difference at all. You certainly don’t have to change your driving style. The car’s still slow in the middle of the corner – maybe a little bit better – but there’s probably a fair way to go still in the development of the cars. We’re finding in testing that you can make a small change and find or lose two tenths which hasn’t been the case for a number of years.

How has the initial development for the enduros been going?

Good mate. The reality of a test driver is that you go to a test day and hang around until the guys decide to give you some mileage in the car. Then they stick you on the oldest set of tyres that they have and you go and drive the car. You do five to ten laps, bring it in and then the main driver continues to test. Having said that I was probably luckier than most in that Mark WInterbottom was off overseas on a holiday and FPR had to reschedule a test day which gave me a full day in the car. We’re also at the stage preceding the enduros where in Friday practice the co-driver gets the first thirty minutes in the car so I’m probably as well prepared as any of the test drivers out there at the moment.

And with the enduros just around the corner and Richmond in the finals you must be full of confidence?

Yes (laughs) it’s been a good year! We’re only a few weeks away from the Sandown 500 so it’s come around unbelievably quick. The teams themselves are still pretty anxious because these cars aren’t as reliable as the old cars were. We’ve still got a few little things to sort out with them so we’ve all a little bit nervous still.

The FPR Falcon Richo will share with Frosty in the V8 Endurance series

The FPR Falcon Richo will share with Frosty in the V8 Endurance series

With the relative gap between Carrera Cup and V8 Supercars, have you found New Zealand SuperTourers useful in terms of keeping your eye-in?

No not really. NZ Supertourers are a great category but you’d still put that in the same relative category as Carrera Cup which is essentially a one-make championship where everything is the same. They’re still developing the rules and regulations so it can be a moving goal-post and often you don’t know if you’ve got the same weapon to take to war so to speak. Having done the series last year didn’t hurt me, but they’re still very simple compared to a supercar.

You also dabbled in the Australian GT Championship with M-Motorsport. How’s the Lamborghini Gallado been treating you?

They’re awesome. The GT3-spec cars are just fantastic to drive. You’ve got good power and good grip plus the guys at M-Motorsport are terrific people and from my perspective it’s great to help out them go better as well.

Thanks for your time Steve!

laser crewLaser Racing Porsche Carrera Cup team are a big supporter for variety children’s charities, providing fifty ride days a year. To find out more please go to www.laserracing.com.au

 

Images courtesy of Laser Racing Carrera Cup

White Streets the V8 field in Townsville


Former V8 Supercar Young Lion Stephen White has shocked the Australian V8 Ute Racing Series with at race 2 win at Townsville last weekend.Whitedog 002

After struggling with set-up in practice, White was unlucky to just miss out on a top-ten starting position, but his battle for 10th with Adam Marjoram stole the limelight at the end of race 1; with White prevailing in the Erebus Dunlop Super Dealer Holden to take tenth.

Clearly buoyed by his race pace, White was confident of a strong showing in race 2, which saw the Dunlop Super Dealer Holden start on the front row of the grid as part of the V8 Ute Series lottery system.

Stephen started race 2 in second and – true to form –  after a superb start made the front by turn one and was never headed. By race’s end White was 1 second in front of Kris Walton and well ahead of the regular series superstars of Nathan Pretty, Ryan Hansford and David Sieders.

Stephen White gives his thoughts after the win:

http://streaka.com/profile/v8-utes-australia/v/5ynPA9VLMjw/

White’s win comes after contesting just four rounds into his debut season in V8 Utes; and has confounded many seasoned competitors (and pundits) who spend a good six months coming up to speed in the category as they learn the equipment. With a near-win in Darwin already on his CV, it was only a matter of time before the Dunlop Super Dealer Team began fighting consistently at the pointy end of the field.

Whit's win comes on the back of a strong 2nd place in Darwin

White’s win comes on the back of a strong 2nd place in Darwin

Stephen spoke with us at the beginning of the year about new sponsors Dunlop Super Dealers and Century Batteries and what he expected entering such a hard-fought category. Having won in everything from Formula Ford, Formula Holden and FOrmula Renault in Europe, Stephen new that adapting to a heavier and less responsive machinery would always be a tough ask. Whilst coy on the subject of potential wins, Stephen clearly had the bit between his teeth:

The next round of the V8 Utes Series is at Sandown from 14-15 of September.

Checkout Stephen and the crew at WhiteDog Racing at http://www.facebook.com/WhitedogRacing

Whitedog 003

Battle Scarred Burdon Extends Euro Nascar Lead


Josh 002Josh Burdon has taken a stunning race win and the round honours at Tours Speedway (France) for the fourth round of the NASCAR Whelan Euro Series this weekend, 6-7th July 2013.With two front row starts and finishing runner-up on Saturday, Burdon’s Sunday victory has seen the 20 year-old from Hobart (Australia) extend his lead in the Open Class to 31 points.

“I enjoyed the racing, and my first time on the oval I thought it was a big success,” said Burdon, “100 laps is a long way around here in this heat, and I loved the crowd’s support, this French crowd rocked… We managed to win the round and extend the Championship lead, so I’m definitely one happy boy tonight.”

Burdon’s Forza Motorsport / Xbox Chevrolet SS showed great pace out of the box in Practice, and despite a small error during qualifying for Saturday’s race, he found himself starting on the front row, but on the undesired side of the track.

“I started on the outside in P2, and when you’re on the outside you just get swallowed up, where the inside is just like a train and you’ve just got to push across as quickly as you can.”

With several safety car periods, Burdon frequently found his advantages gained in racing lost by restarting on the outside, but on lap 45 he was able to push his way to the lead, where he stayed until the final lap, where he was unloaded but managed to hold on for second place.

“I’m kind of lucky to have finished; I copped a couple of fairly big hits from behind at turn one off the restart, I think three times, so I was nearly out three times there,” said Burdon, “I would have liked to win this first race on the oval, but Julien [Goupy] was quite aggressive behind me and I guess really, really, wanted to win. The Championship definitely came into my mind and I eased off a little and thought that second was much better than ending up in the wall with more work and no points.”

In Sunday’s qualifying shootout, Burdon’s time of 14.405s had another season pole position in his sights, until last-runner Joaquin Gabarron set a 14.383s lap on the second of his two lap sprint.Josh 001

“It was looking really good for pole until the very end,” said Burdon, “pole would have been great, but mainly because it would have had me on the inside line for the race start”.

In Sunday’s race, Burdon was involved in an opening lap incident, which saw most of the shell ripped off the driver’s side and cost him a number of places at the time, but he managed to find his way to the front with 28 remaining, and held on for his fifth race win of the season.

“What a race today,” said Burdon, “I started P2, got taken out the first corner and put back to seventh, then fought my way through in one of the most, if not the most aggressive races I’ve been in, and took the win”.

The Championship proper will next head to Monza in Italy on 28th September 2013 for the first of two finals, where the points awarded are doubled.

“We have a bit of a break to get the car straight and fully checked over to have it in the best possible condition for the finals, and we may have a handy lead at this point, but that can disappear quickly with double points on offer.”

Josh 003EURO RACECAR NASCAR TOURING SERIES
OPEN CLASS CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS:
P. DRIVER Country MAKE POINTS
1 Josh Burdon Australia Chevrolet SS 357
2 Anthony Gandon France Chevrolet Camaro 326
3 Julien Goupy France Ford Mustang 317
4 Gabriele Volpato Italy Chevrolet Camaro 289
5 Guillaume Rousseau France Ford Mustang 280

Images courtesy of Patrice Bompas

Burdon Stuns Opposition in Opening Euro Racecar Round at Nogaro


Australian Josh Burdon has built on his 2012 form by taking a comprehensive win in the opening race of the 2013 Euro Racecar Open series in Nogaro, France.Burdon3

Last year, the Nogaro-based French squad Scorpus Racing won the Open title with Simon Escallier, with Burdon competing for the first time overseas at the end-of-season Valencia and Le Mans rounds where he showed astonishing speed on debut. Alain Veyssière has doubled the size of his race shop at the Nogaro circuit to take the next step in the development of his team.

The former Australian Formula 3 driver, Burdon began the weekend in style by taking out the coveted pole position in his Forza Motorsport Cheverolet SS and built a solid foundation on his qualifying by pulling a crushing 9 second gap on the opposition during the 25 minute race. Josh then set into a rhythm, finishing 6 seconds ahead at the flag. Burdon’s team-mate, Sebastian Baron rounded out a solid result for Scorpus Racing in fifth.

Burdon was full of praise for the Scorpus steam on Saturday, saying “Yeah good feeling! Cheers to the hard working team. Now to try back it up tomorrow!”

Burdon 002In 2013 Scorpus Racing is enjoying a positive start thanks to partnerships with Microsoft France, Xbox and Forza Motorsport.

The series will also return to England’s Brands Hatch as the headliner for American Speedfest in June, as well as Tours Speedway in France in July. The Tours race will be held once again on a temporary oval just outside Paris.

OPEN DIVISION

Pos. No. Driver Team Laps Gap
1 18 Josh Burdon Scorpus / Forza Motorsport 16
2 7 Anthony Gandon TFT – Leclerc 16 6.342
3 44 Julien Goupy Rapido Racing by Still 16 13.404
15 Vincent Gonneau Gonneau Racing / OverDrive 16 21.172
5 20 Sébastien Baron Scorpus Racing 16 22.467
6 13 Guillaume Rousseau Bull Racing Team 16 43.181
7 3 Enzo Pastor TFT – Alpes Carrelage/Philippines 16 47.307
8 64 Gabriele Volpato Gonneau Racing / OverDrive 16 1:03.450
9 5 Joaquin Gabarron (G) Rapido Racing by Still 16 1:16.267
10 9 Zihara Esteban Scorpus Racing / Spirit 16 1:17.439
11 46 Christophe de Fierlant (G) Racing Club Partners 16 1:21.417
12 85 Nicolas Gaudin (L) VTS 85 16 1:27.757
13 100 Stéphane Sabates (G) Still Racing – Convergence 16 1:31.239
14 55 Jérôme Laurin (L) Pole Position 81 16 1:33.302
15 68 Renzo Calcinati (G) T-Engineering 16 1:40.043
16 28 Franck Violas (G) RDV Competition 15 1 lap
17 42 Caty Caly Autosport 42 15 1 lap
18 17 Philippe Beaudinière (L) Pole Position 81 15 1 lap
19 22 Léonard Vernet (L) Gonneau Racing / OverDrive 14 2 laps
20 14 Joseph Cozella (G) Still Racing – JDC Finances 11 5 laps
21 19 Marco Rocca (L) Scorpus Racing / RAWW 13 DQ
22 2 Eric Quntal (G) TFT-Banco Santander 13 DQ

The series has added France’s Circuit de Dijon-Prenois in May and Italy’s Autodromo Nazionale di Monza in September to the schedule, as well as a non-points stop at Spain’s MotorLand Aragón on Sept. 1.

Images courtesy of Nserre and Kevin Kevin Goudin Photographie

The Road from Rouen Interview with Emma Selway


selway2After an imposed four-year hiatus from full-time competitive motorsport, former Formula Palmer Audi driver, Emma Selway will embark on a season-long VW Cup campaign with Tony Gilham’s motorsport crew Team HARD. If Emma’s stunning Lotus Elise Trophy results are anything to go by, the VW class are due for a shake-up. Emma kindly donated some of her pre-season time to speak with us about her journey so far and plans for 2013 and beyond…

You’ve just teamed up with Tony Gilham’s outfit, Team HARD for the 2013 VW Cup. Can you tell us how that deal came about?

I spoke to Tony via social network back in November regarding testing his Touring Car; we spoke on the phone and asked me if I had considered doing the VW Cup. He told me more information about it; it made more sense me looking at a step just below BTCC due to me not having a full time drive for 4 years. Although, my full participation in the series will depend on what investors I can bring to the team and whether I can reach budget requirements.

Obviously there’s a direct link to the Team HARD BTCC team from there. Has there been much discussion about a future seat in the main game? Have you been given performance objectives or will Tony be taking a “play it by ear” approach?

BTCC is definitely my aim. We have spoken about the step up but have agreed that it will depend on my performance during the 2013 season. We haven’t set exact targets but I am sure we both have a similar understanding on what is considered a good enough performance to move up. Also funding is always an issue, along side my results I must find investors.

Your transition to open wheelers to tin-tops has been meteoric with two wins in your first three races in Lotus Elise Trophy. Do you put this down to anything in particular?

Emma's foray into the Lotus Elise Cup bore two wins in her first three races!

Emma’s foray into the Lotus Elise Cup bore two wins in her first three races!

My first weekend in a tin-top was a great success, a bit of an unknown at the start of the weekend as I had only tested the car once. I just seemed to suit the car and the close and competitive driving too. I knew before that weekend that it was only a one off as the team had a view to sell the car, they didn’t put any pressure on me for a win, even though that is what I set out for anyway. We had a lot of fun and the success was an added bonus.

With Formula 2 and now Formula 3 now feeling the economic pinch, do you see tin-tops as a more viable alternative for young drivers in the UK at the moment?

I really believe that tin-top racing is the future of motorsport, for one there is more longevity in it. Only a select few make it all the way in single seaters, whereas tin tops can offer so much more and at a far more sensible budget. It opens up avenues for more racing series’ such as prototypes, endurance and the multiple GT formulas.

You’ve mentioned it’s been a long while since you were able to plan your movements ahead of season. Have the few years away from driving full-time strengthened your resolve or help you devise a racing structure rather than perhaps accepting one-off drives that may not have lead to something permanent (or given you enough time to adapt to the car)?

To be honest in this game you have to accept anything that comes your way. Even in a one off drive you have time to prove to people why you should be given more opportunities. A full-time drive is always great if you have the backing there to make sure you can get that year upon year, but one off drives can be a lot of fun and give you chances to drive cars that perhaps originally you wouldn’t. Any race experience is good experience no matter what it is in, or on!

Your single-seater career and current tin-top calling was seperated by a stint in motocross in 2009. What was it like riding again after a 7 year absence? From a balance perspective it must do wonders for your confidence in a car – it worked for Damon Hill!

Motorbikes have always been a massive passion in my life, for as long as I can remember. Motocross was my first taste of motorsport at 12 years old. When my car racing career came to an abrupt halt after Formula Palmer Audi I needed to find a way of dispelling my excess energy and need for speed! I bought myself a motocross bike and started riding as many weekends as I could with friends. As well as being great fun it helped keep my eye in and kept me sharp. I also own a road bike, a GSXR-600, it keeps my 2-wheel itch under control! It helps me understand vehicle dynamics more as well as being able to enjoy road driving again.

Never short on committment, Selway's experience in open-wheelers, motocross and tin-tops gives her an "all rounder" edge most driver's dream of.

Never short on committment, Selway’s experience in open-wheelers, motocross and tin-tops gives her an “all rounder” edge most driver’s dream of.

In 2008 you competed against Jolyon Palmer and Alex Brundle in Fomula Palmer Audi. It reminded me a bit of Guido Van de Garde finally joining Vettel and Di Resta in F1 after waiting in the wings for years. It goes to show there are more paths in motorsport nowadays than what’s generally accepted. Does this cross your mind watching Jolyon in GP2 and Alex in GP3 and Le Mans?

There are far more series’ than people realise. Back in the day the set path to F1 was Formula Renault, F3, F3000 or similar and then F1. These days you can go from DTM to F1, as Paul Di Resta has proven. Look at Dan Wheldon, he was in the class of Button, Davidson etc but decided to take the route to America proving that F1 is not the be all and end all. There are many professional racing series’ the world over, I may meet Alex and Jo again in the future or we may just stay on our separate paths. Each driver has different interpretation on what the top is; to some BTCC or WTCC is the top, some GT1 or DTM, or others F1 or Indy Car.

Obviously your work with Palmersport gives you access to a lot of different machinery to strengthen your skills, but do you find coaching has improved your analytical approach to driving away from the pressure of a race weekend?

Yes, I have found working at Palmersport very helpful in assessing the way I drive and learning how the cars work and react dynamically. Before I used to just drive fast and know I was driving fast, but not know why. Now, after instructing for 6 years, I can “feel” a car a lot better and read what it is about to do and why it is doing it.

You’ve worked with Jaguar, Toyota, BMW, Vauxhall and Mercedes in a promotional sense to name but a few. Have you found corporate events and launches have given you a slight competitive edge in the marketplace as a driver?

In a professional sense it has helped as I can meet more people from all sorts of walks of life, but as a driver it does not make a difference really. It is a great world to be involved in as I get to drive some fantastic road cars and teach dealers things they did not know. I have made some great friends and increased my work commitments as well, on track and off.

Emma at the announcement of her Team HARD deal

Emma at the announcement of her Team HARD deal

Anthony Hamilton has come on board as a mentor with you recently. What’s it been like collaborating with someone who’s been through virtually every level of motorsport?

Anthony I have known each other for a very long time, the Hamilton family and I were close friends in my earlier racing days. Since Lewis reached Formula One Anthony’s commitments needed to change, which I fully respected. I keep in touch with Anthony now and again and enjoy watching Nic since he embarked on a career in motorsport too. He is a very inspirational person and a very cool guy!

Emma, all the best for this year and we look forward to watching your success in the VW Cup and beyond!

Thank you. Please feel free to follow me on Facebook: Emma Selway, and Twitter @emmaselway24

Drivers wanted for 2013 FIA ETCC Season


Drivers wanted for 2013 FIA ETCC Season

Together with G-Rex Motorsport, Vuik Racing will be contesting two Mercedes C200 S2000 cars in this year’s European Touring Car Championship.

With an extensive development program carried on from 2012, Vuik Racing are confident of having a package that will place them at the front of the grid for the FIA ETCC.

With 44,000 awarded to the top drivers in each race (and a 1 hr program on Eurosport 2 in conjuction with the WTCC), the ETCC is one of the most cost effective around.

In 2013, in addition to the Yokohama Trophy, the Lady Trophy Cup has been introduced – dedicated to all lady drivers (covering S2000 cars, S1600 cars and the Single Make Trophy class). All classes will be entitled to score points in the Lady Trophy Cup with prize money of 10,000 Euros per event. An additional start money of 1,000 Euros per event will also be given to each lady driver entered in the series.

For more details contact Henk Vuik at Vuik Racing at vuik@vuik-autos.nl or Andrew Winsall at winsall.race@bigpond.com

Visit Vuik Racing at http://www.vuikmotorsport.com

Vuik Racing
+31(0) 180 511000