Well here we are, the new Motorsport.ie Thank you for all the kind messages and the irritated “where the f&*& is your website gone” queries. It is nice to know so many people use the site and even visit it a few times a day to check on the latest news.
As you will see, the site has changed and we will continue to add to it during the coming months. Since I last wrote a blog, I have left Mondello Park and taken the big step of setting up on my own. Leo Nulty Promotions will supply various services to the Motorsport and Motor Industries, amongst others. We have already signed deals to look after Douglas Motorsport, ASK Racing, Jack Newman Rallying and Cian Carey Racing in the last few weeks and will announce more shortly. I have just recently inked a deal for Blackchurch Motors to take over from Patch Tyre Equipment as title sponsor of the Mondello based Fiesta race series. I have also negotiated for E Fox Engineers to continue their sponsorship of the bridge at Mondello Park and am currently working on a few others.
David Hall has begun writing F1 blogs for the site, slightly tongue in cheek and already very popular and we have both expressed an interest in the progress for Formula E too, so we will follow that closely. As ever blogs will be a big part of the site and I am delighted that Billy Coleman Award winner Dean Rafferty and Sexton Young race driver winner Jonny McMullan have both penned articles for us, with Irish Ferrari driver Matt Griffin and WRC3 star Daniel McKenna also joining the team too. If you would like to write a blog, we would love to hear from you- please get in touch.
In terms of circuit racing, 2015 looks pretty much the same as 2014, with the exception of the exciting new SEAT Supercopa series. Running with the ITCC this year ahead of a stand alone in 2016, Rod McGovern and Eoin Murray would appear to have tempted many of the former Dunlop Supercar drivers out of retirement. They, as Brian Fitzpatrick has shown us, are capable of lapping the Mondello National circuit in well under a minute so all but the quickest of the ITCC M3s will be in a spot of bother, as nobody has managed to break the minute officially in a Honda just yet. These SEATs are proper race cars, almost a junior Touring car in fact, with
the driver sitting well back in the car, somewhere around 300bhp and a sequential with paddle shift. In short, all the modcons! Happily they have brought Oisin O’Briain onboard, he was the man behind the promotion of the manufacturer backed Punto Abarth series back in 2002 and will no doubt do an equally good job for the SEAT series. Eoghan Fogarty has purchased Erik Holstein’s all conquering ITCC M3 and I was privy to have a quick look at an iPhone clip of him test driving it before purchase. Believe you me, he is not afraid of it- so that will be interesting to see. Steven Maher has apparently bought Dave O’Brien’s newer, but equally effective E46 M3- he went well a few years ago in an unusual M3 engined 3 series Compact, so it should not take him long to settle in. Holstein, we assume, will move to the SEAT class, which should be worth watching. As a former Punto Abarth champion, fwd won’t phase him so expect him to be at the sharp end from the off!
Junior Fiestas have been given the nod from Dawson Street for 2015 which will be interesting. This means a father and son could potentially buy a car for as little as €2,500 and both race it on the same day at a race meeting! Perhaps this will help us to get more young drivers into racing as the Ginetta Junior Ireland class, superb as it is, rarely breaks into double numbers. Will they affect each other? Well yes and no. The Ginettas were not exactly bringing in hordes of numbers, despite great efforts- but are a lot quicker than the budget tin tops and, as Niall Murray and Sean Doyle have shown us, are a great training ground for FF1600 success.
Speaking of FF1600, the silence is deafening so I am not sure who will be out. That said, it will be interesting to see how Dunlop Sexton Winner Jonny McMullan goes in the Bernard Dolan run van Diemen. Great move by his
team and Motorsport Ireland releasing details of his season plans- they are going to be busy on both sides of the Irish Sea, which can only be a good thing. Both car and driver are proven quantities and I suspect the combination will be hard to beat. Sean Lillis moves up from Fiestas with a Ray chassis and it should be interesting to see how he progresses. I hear Jake Byrne and Stephen Daly are planning to compete in The Champion of Brands FF1600 series, which is wonderful, but won’t help domestic grids at all. With Messrs Doyle & Murray also planning to race elsewhere, it looks like a tough year for the class.
Formula Vee continues to regain strength due to trojan work of a small but effective committee and there are even talks of a Moore Vs Hearty rematch at some stage. Adam Macaulay bought a Formula Sheane but sold it just as quickly and now plans to dovetail a few domestic races with some UK Championship rounds too- that should be well worth watching. The Finol Star of Tomorrow Championship for novices continues for 2015 and should bring new talent to the class again. The championship winner will get to race Paul Heavey’s slick shod, bike engined Leastone F1000 at the end of the year in Oulton Park!
Future Classics should be back even bigger and better- they even have a new website for the 2015 season and a few new contenders too. No doubt Brendan Travers and Sophie Byrne will renew their 2014 rivalry with Ian Thornton, David Hammond and a few others in there too.
In other news, I would like to welcome Aaron Mac Goilla Rua to the Motorsport.ie team, you can see his Galway rally report already posted with images from David McLachlan. Galway was a great event, by all accounts and wasn’t it great to see Dean Raftery being thrown in at the deep end with a second Colm Quinn backed MINI WRC. Despite minimal testing, the Billy Coleman Award winner acquitted himself admirably Also, as I mentioned above, David Hall has broken under pressure from me and agreed to pen the F1 pieces for us. David is a former Formula Sheane champion and Dunlop supercar race winner so not just a hurler on the ditch so to speak. Somewhat lesser known is the fact that during his UK Formula Renault days, he was once quicker than Lewis Hamilton. Obviously I wanted that to be his tagline, but made me promise not to mention it. (Oops…..)
One more thing. Many people have helped and continue to help with this site. To all those people who have submitted photographs, articles and information- a huge thank you. (Oh and keep ’em coming!)
until the next one,