Sunday, 7 October 2012

Silverstone 22nd September

Race Three

Marcus and Ben were 4th and 5th on the starting grid for race three giving us a great start but also due to various mechanical difficulties both of the 993’s had to drop out of this last race leaving few top contenders, so the race was most definitely on and wide open. The Hartech drivers were a little close for comfort in this last race - nothing could affect their championship positions so there were no team orders but coming in to contact round Club corner on the first lap and being locked together, not knowing if they would be able to separate themselves, wasn’t the ideal way to start.  
They did thankfully manage to wrench themselves apart though and then had to set off after all the cars that’d mugged them of places as they were falling over each other. It certainly made the race an interesting one for Marcus and Ben as they fought their way through. It did get a bit close for comfort again though round Stowe corner on the last lap and Marcus nearly threw it all away going a little wide at Brooklands into Luffield but with 200 yards left to go he managed to get it all together, stay ahead and take 3rd place making it a podium finish at last!
 To view the in car video from this race please Click here

Silverstone 22nd September

Race Two
Race two looked promising right from the starting grid with Marcus on the second row and Ben on the 3rd. Marcus passed Proctor on the first lap and managed to defend against Ben, who had been eagerly trying to pass right from the start. Marcus unfortunately was passed by both Proctor and Ben on lap 2, out of Copse and down the Hangar straight respectively.  Proctor continued to do well passing Richard Ellis on lap 4 putting him in 3rd place.   Ellis later suffered an engine problem leading to him dropping from 4th to 6th place but this meant both Marcus and Ben had a chance to get good finishing positions.   Having deliberately held station behind Ben for a few laps, in the hope of them both hunting Proctor down (rather than both losing ground battling each other), Marcus decided to make the most of his better pace on lap 8 when he passed Ben at Club corner. 
 He then went on to pull a gap of over 2 seconds and was chasing Proctor down but there wasn’t enough time left to catch him before the chequered flag, meaning he missed out on the final podium place.  Hartech were pleased with finishing 4th and 5th though, a great team result. 

To view the in car video for this race please Click here

Silverstone 21st September

Race One

Marcus got a good but not great start into race 1. His grid place unfortunately put him close to the wall meaning he was on a damper piece of track so it was harder for him to find grip to launch him into the race. He initially gained a place off John McCullagh and managed to hold off his opposition until Copse corner but Mark Proctor had taken the advantage of the pit straight, built up some good speed and took Marcus from the outside. The race between Marcus and Proctor was on again! Proctor was then left chasing Ben trying to pass at every opportunity with the pair touching as they were exiting Village corner but Ben showed some excellent defending skills and was able to hold him off. Marcus was then able to get past Proctor again on Village corner (lap 4) and defended this place for another two laps until Proctor made a move on Woodcote. Ben was lined up for 4th place but coming down from Luffield corner on the last lap him and Proctor were neck and neck but Proctor just pulled past on the very last 2 seconds. Team Hartech finished 5th and 6th - not a bad result for the first race of the weekend.

Our championship co-ordinator has finally admitted that in the 2012 regulations they didn't get the balance right across the model types in the class (which is done by specifying a minimum weight to go with the standard horsepower), leaving the 993's with a small advantage and the 996's with a significant one (but all 911's have a torque advantage over the Boxster S's). So, the first race the results of 2 996's followed by 2 993's followed by our 2 Boxster S's were no real surprise.

To watch the in car footage from this race please Click here

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Silverstone 21st september

Marcus had a brillant start into this quallifying session. He was able to find space as he was at the front along with the 968's. Keeping up the pace well he was P2 the first time the lap board came out. By this point Marcus' tyres were getting quite worn out so he was sliding about a bit but he managed to average similar times across the whole session. He finished with good times putting him in 6th place on the first grid and 4th on the second. Ben also managed a great qualifying session putting him 4th on the first grid and 5th on the second.

Silverstone 20th september

It was a kick start to this meeting with team Hartech sending both the cars straight out for an hour testing session as soon as they arrived on Thursday afternoon. The weather was great providing excellent conditions to test in. By the second lap or so Marcus was going as quick as anyone had gone last year (the first time this layout was used), which was really pleasing for him as he thought his car felt really down on grip, particularly at the rear, which was put down to the tyres being "past their best". However, we then learned how much faster other cars had been going so we knew we had our work cut out come Qualifying on Friday morning. The test session confirmed to us that the cars were set up right for the track but it was going to take a detailed stratagy to contend with the 996's and 993's.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Silverstone showdown !

The final race meeting will take place at Silverstone race track from the 21st to the 22nd September with the contenders battling it out to be named Porsche club champion 2012 on the full GP circuit. Nothing is certain for this meeting, with Mark Sumpter (current reigning champion) unable to attend this meeting who knows just what might happen., the door has been left wide open for others to leap-frog his lead on the points table.

Hartech have great hopes for Marcus and Ben with Ben already having one win under his belt from brands and Marcus holding his place quite consistently always getting excellent qualifying and lap times. Ben is currently 4th in class (212 pts net) and Marcus is 6th in class (179 pts net) but with Sumpter not attending both drivers should better his points if they finish all 3 races.  Hopefully Ben will make it on to the 2012 championship podium and Marcus will achieve his aims to be at least 5th as well as to get a podium finish in at least one of the races.

The racing is spread over the two days. Qualifying is at 11.20 on Friday morning and the first of the three races is at 15.25 that afternoon. Saturday’s two races are at 09.35 and 13.20.
Currently it looks like we will be in luck with the weather the forecast being dry and cloudy which would make the racing just that little bit easier for everyone drivers, mechanics, reporters and spectators alike.

Along with our two days of racing will be the Britcar 24hr race. Marcus actually has experience in the Britcar races after having previously driven a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car in the 2009 Britcar 500 event and he may (depending on available places) enter next weekend’s race.

Paul Jurds  pre-meeting report can be found here

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Castle Combe 27th August

Race two

Well the impossible happened and the weather actually got worse, this was going to be a fully wet race and for Marcus it was going to be on worn dry tyres. This was most certainly a challenge! The set of wet tyres went onto Bens car due to him having a higher position on the
 starting grid however there was a problem with his cars clutch, struggling to even make it of the line, he managed to limp round ½ a lap before being forced to retire. Marcus’ car was really struggling in the conditions, it never quite seemed to be able to manage a straight line, there was aqua-planing one minute and power sliding the next. Hartech had done a fantastic job of balancing 
the car with it even being able to cope through folly at 90mph but a few twitchy slides certainly kept Marcus on his toes! Throughout the race Marcus had been fighting for a place off John McCullagh (who was on proper wet tyres) but wanting to bring the car back in one piece Marcus decided it was better to concede the place in the last 2 laps and followed McCullaghs tyre tracks as he’d moved some of the standing water out of the way giving Marcus some track to grip on and not just surface water. Marcus managed to keep his car on track and bring it home in one piece finishing in 5th place. Marcus was relived when the race was finally over but was very pleased with how he had managed to get the car round in these challenging circumstances. 

In car videos of both the Castle combe races are available to watch on you tube, to view Click here. The video may look a little jerky but this is mainly due to the track conditions causing the car to slide around ( a lot!) 

Castle Combe 27th August

Race one

As predicted the heavens had opened and the Hartech marquee was proved not to be to waterproof and seemed to enjoy playing a game of Russian roulette to soak the team members one by one while we were pepping the cars for the race. The great qualifying times had given us excellent places on the first and second rows of the starting grid.  Unfortunately when the lights went out Marcus displayed a most spectacular wheel spin so didn’t achieve the start into the race he wanted but rose to the challenge of catching up the competition. Marcus was fighting hard to regain his grid place and the constantly changing weather conditions alternating between sun and rain didn’t help as he initially struggled to find grip on the wet track. The bad start had pushed Marcus back 6 places but despite Mark Proctor getting close 
Marcus managed to hold him off. Going into quarry Marcus caught up and passed Richard Ellis on the outside but this unfortunately was lost again ,this also left a gap for Proctor to pass. Marcus went for a similar move at quarry on the next lap and strolled back past Proctor again relying on the boxster’s superior brakes.Although proctor was never too far behind Marcus was still able to concentrate on gaining a place of Ellis. The two pulled up side by side going into Avon rise and Marcus just had the advantage and passed him on the outside. 

 On the same lap Marcus passed Richard Bennett on camp corner. Further back on track Proctor had been making similar moves to Marcus and by lap 7 had caught up. Proctor was soon joined by his team mate Mark McAleer as Marcus passed him on quarry corner. Now in 4th position Marcus was closing in on Ben and constantly managed to hold his place for 7 laps over Proctor who was pushing him from behind. This battle ended when Proctor eventually passed Marcus coming out of the pit straight and into folly meaning Marcus crossed the line in a respectable 5th place while Ben managed a podium finish in 3rd

Castle Combe 27th August

With our qualifying session being first of many in the day it was a nice early start for the Hartech team. With a rather large grey cloud lingering over head we knew the previous days good weather was not going to continue so some strategic planning was needed. It was decided to push the cars as hard as they could go during the first half of qualifying in order to get some good times down while the track was still dry. Strategy paid off and we finished qualifying 2nd and 3rd with some fantastic times, Marcus even managed to go faster than he had ever done in his previous 911’s. There was a minuscule gap of 6/100th of a second between the two Hartech divers which was a great result for Marcus who felt, after Wednesdays testing, that Bens was the better car.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Castle Combe 27th August

With Castle Combe circuit being a long journey for both drivers and the rest of the Hartech team it was decided to test the cars at Oulton Park on Wednesday 22nd August. Improvements were made to the set up of both cars to allow them to perform there best even on Castle Combes bumpy surface.
Marcus has a history of success on the Castle Combe circuit, when he last raced there in 2010 he got 2 poles and won both his races and to top those two achievements off he was also awarded the circuit's "Driver of the day" trophy. The 911's remain to have a speed advantage over the Boxsters so such achievements may be challenging on this fast track but Marcus will be trying his hardest to get the same victories.
It looks as though we will be losing our dry spell of races and be back into grey overcast and drizzle (the exact conditions won outright pole in previously) but hopefully we will get some big local crowds to spur us on during the bank holiday weekend. We have another early start to the day with qualifying at 8:30am, Race one at 12:40pm and race two at 16:05pm. Along side our racing on the 27th there are a multitude of other races going on including ; the TriMarque Challenge, Morgan Championship and Pirelli Ferrari Open. 

Danny Walton Photo Gallery - photos from Outlon park 11th August Porsche club championship and MG racing.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Oulton Park 11th August

In car videos from both the races are now available to watch on youtube, to view click here.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Oulton Park 11th August

Race two

Race two was shortened to 20 minutes due to an incident in an earlier race which caused a delay in the programme (and gave us plenty of time to give the cars a winning polish !). Following race 1 it was clear that the car set-up could be improved but following a consultation with Hartech Race Director Rob Carnson it was decided it was better to leave the car as it was, the potential improvement out-weighed by the risk of trying out an un-tested change making it worse in race 2.  Marcus got a good start but had to fight with Mark Proctor around the first bend, Old Hall and along The Avenue - a slightly nervous moment for him given that he’d had a very big accident at that part of the track exactly a year earlier - and managed to stay ahead into Cascades, leaving Proctor to deal with Mark McAleer who was close behind, allowing Marcus to concentrate on Ben ahead, chasing Mark Sumpter and Pete Morris.

 While Marcus was holding off Proctor and McAleer Ben was able to secure podium 3rd. Ben remained directly behind Pete Morris and Mark Sumpter, who were disputing over 1st place, the entire race.                                                                                                     During the next couple of laps Marcus was chased down by the more powerful cars behind that had caught up, however a defensive move at Lodge at the end of lap 3 compromised his speed down the start/finish straight which Proctor capaitalised on, McAleer following suit on the next straight after Cascades.  The rest of the field were well down (5 seconds back to the next car).  For a while Marcus was able to keep on terms with McAleer, getting very close into Lodge at the end of lap 5 (his fastest lap), only to lose pace exiting Druids on lap 6 due to gearing difficulties which also caused problems going into old hall resulting in a black marker in just the wrong place at Knickerbrook, this unfortunately put him further back.  
The Hartech team celebrating after Ben's podium finish!
                                                                                     Due to the harsh track and weather conditions the Boxster was suffering with overheated brakes and tyres, allowing Richard Ellis in his 993 to close up a little in the last but one lap, so rather than push it too much and take risks Marcus drove the last lap a little cautiously to secure the position, finishing 6th.Ben held on to his podium position and Sumpter managed to defend his lead against Morris.  

Oulton park 11th August

Race one                      
After the excellent qualifying results we had good placements on the 2nd and 3rd rows of the grid however, Marcus was hassled by Mark Mcaleers 911 directly behind that was bound to get a better start into the race than the Boxster S. Mark then past leaving the two hartech team mates yet again in close pursuit. Marcus had to back off a little in order to avoid hitting Ben going into both shell and the first chicane. Although Marcus 

was averaging the same lap times as Ben he was slightly less consistent due to having to defend his position against John Mccullagh. Marcus fought well and managed to pull away but there was no possibility of him catching up the cars in front in the time left. Race one ended with Ben and Marcus in 5th and 6th place not bad with the surrounding competition. 

Oulton Park 11th August

Well the forecast was right, we were lucky enough to have yet another race in the sun! Both test days done with the cars had shown some promising times and all hopes were pinned on a podium finish. The good weather brought out the crowds for the race and there were lots of friends, supporters, Hartech staff and families present to cheer us on. As well as the table full of hob-nobs the team were treated to a fantastic feast of cream cake, fancy ginger biscuits even strawberries by an Autoperform customer. The competition atmosphere was introduced early on in the day with The Olympics on a TV hooked up in the garage. It was a good qualifying session for both drivers with Ben coming 4th and Marcus coming 5th with only 2 hundredths of a second gap between them.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Return to Oulton - 11th August

The Porsche Club races are making there second visit to Oulton Park this season for rounds 9 and 10 of the championship. We will be doing two test days with the cars, one on Tuesday 7th August and one on Friday 10th August. So far the weather forecast looks to be good so fingers crossed we will get our second dry race as well.

MotorsTV airings

MotorsTV have done a series of programs called 'Last Lap' following the Porsche club championship races. With a full hour of footage from Oulton Park our race cars our now famous! There are 2 more programs left in the series, one on 6th August at 11.35am and one on the 9th August at 16.10pm. Motors TV can be found on channel 413 on sky and is also available  on virgin.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Croft race day 21st July

Race two
With the grid starting place much further back in this second race (14th) Marcus had his work cut out but knew he was capable of finishing much higher up the order. Against the odds he made an excellent start making up 5 places in just the first lap. Having quickly cleared the slower cars out on track Marcus was pursuing and closing in on Ben but things soon came to a halt when the red flag came out on lap 8. Richard Bennet had spun off track on the blind hairpin exit, most managed to dodge the stationary car but unfortunately Mark Koeberle was unaware of the stranded 993 and struck it.
With around 11 minutes of the race left it was decided to continue once the cars had been cleared up. The grid was reformed with positions decided on the lap before the incident and the cars went out for a 5 lap sprint.
Marcus was hopeful he may be able to progress further up the field and there was a good chance after another good get away. Things soon got quite crowded at the front of the pack and Marcus was put under a considerable amount of pressure into Hawthorn this meant he found it impossible to avoid nudging Ben slightly from behind. As the sprint continued Marcus proved his pace, being the 3rd quickest car out on track but felt it not enough for a clean risk-free pass particularly past a team mate. Marcus kept very close to Ben throughout the last few laps but with Richard Ellis closing in on them as they diced slightly into Clervaux on the last lap Marcus decided it was best just to follow for the rest of the lap and get a clean finish. The results were a repeat of the first race with Marcus getting 6th place, a most impressive outcome after moving up 8 places from where he started.
 The next outing is a return to Oulton Park on Saturday 11th August.  The team are hoping to be out testing beforehand and able to challenge for the podium spots at this track, a favourite for both drivers.

In car videos from both races are on You Tube, to view click here.


Croft race day 21st july

Race one
Despite being quite far back on the grid Marcus manage to get a decent start into race one. He made the risky manoeuvre of driving straight down the outside. This could have resulted in him being shunted into the gravel but he pulled it off and gained a couple of places. Regrettably he lost the gained places due to having to avoid contact with Ben and two 968’s which subsequently put him on a head-on collision course for the tyres he appeared to grow rather fond of on the chicane exit, avoiding them put him back yet another place.
After closely tailing dyer for a good half a lap, He finally gained a place back by passing Chris Dyer on the left hand side coming out of the hairpin down the pit straight then later passed Paul Follett from class 2 entering Tower bend. Both Ben and Marcus managed to hold good places in the race and finished 5th and 6th. Not bad from 10th place on the grid!

Croft race day 21st July

At last, we have had a race in the sun and in the north east at that. It’s hard to tell which one is more surprising! This brighter weather seemed to give everyone a new lease of life on track and we had a technical change on our side allowing the Boxster S’s to run 15kg lighter. This isn’t a lot, but at least it's a step in the right direction towards the 911's - all of which (and particularly the 996 variant) run far more favourable power to weight ratios.
During qualifying Marcus found himself stuck behind other slower cars and was held up by a few yellow flags making qualifying tricky business this time as he struggled to get many clear laps. He was on line for an excellent lap time but it ended up being little compromised at the end.  So unfortunately was placed 10th on the grid but with only hundredths of a second between him and the next 4 cars. His second best lap was worlds away from what he and the car have been achieving hence he was 14th on the grid for the second race.

Some changes were made to the car after what was learnt from the racing at Donington and it was further improved in a pit stop during qualifying. This proved just how far the team has come over the last few months with them finding and accessing the problem in just under one minute showing how well they all worked together particularly under pressure.
Marcus also managed to find the team something to fill in the large amount of time between qualifying and the first race by “mis-judging ” the tyres on the chicane exit, hitting them & causing damage to both the left wing and the bumper. The Hartech team rose to the challenge and had the car fixed ready to go out in time for the first race with enough time to spare for a little final polishing.