I have a lot to cover in this blog and I’ll try not to bore you all too much. This year I have made the move back into saloon/GT cars from single seaters, which I have being racing for the past two season, very successfully with Morgan Dempsey of MCP.
Earlier this year Alan Kessie of ASK Racing came to me with an opportunity not to be sniffed at. Alan has being planning for over a year now to bring back the very exciting RT2000 cars (now called ASK Supercars) and he asked would I have an interest in racing them. As a child my dad (Vincent) brought me to Mondello to see some car racing, The RT2000 cars were the one cars that stood out at a young age, so when the opportunity arose I couldn’t resit it. This isn’t my first time to race an ASK Supercar. In 2013 former MD of Mondello John Morris offered me his car, to race in a couple of Time Attack events. The first one was on the Mondello Park National Circuit in the reverse direction and I won the event overall. The following week, on the same track but going the normal way around I finished first in class.
The first ASK Supercar weekend arrived in mid March and was very much anticipated by a lot of people in Irish Motorpsort, who were looking forward to seeing the RT 2000s out once again. I qualified first for both races, ahead of Peter Barrable. For the first race I didn’t give the car enough revs off the line and bogged down at the start losing my place, but the race was red flagged and we had to return to our original gird positions which was a relief. I got a better start second time around and led the race from start to finish. With slight brake fade, which means the brakes were not as efficient as they should be, coming to the end of the race, I nursed the car home. Race two was much the same story, I got a much better start to take the lead the of the race from start to finish once again and took home full championship points. Our next round is April 25th in Kirkistown Northern Ireland.
Recently I met Greg Murphy owner of Murphy Prototype Endurance Racing team and we talked about a few different ideas one of which was to go to one of the races to see how racing is done at a much more competitive level. About two weeks ago I got a call from Greg to see would I be able to go to Silverstone the weekend just gone to see how it all works, I quickly booked the flights and arranged accommodation for the weekend with the team manager, Alan McGarrity.
I met Greg and Ciaran, a friend and sponsor (Celtic Airspares) at the airport, I could tell it was going to be a fun weekend in Silverstone. We got to the track and I went to the garage to see the car and I met the team while I was there. They had the car up on the flat patch getting it set up for the free practice on Friday. It was great to see the car on track on Friday as I had never seen LMP2 cars before and they were so quick it was unbelievable, I never imagined they’d be that quick looking at the size of them. I was in the garage during testing with a headset on listening to what was going on during the session and when they did a tyre change it was my job to clear all the pickup (excess rubber) off the tyres and wash the rims to have them ready for the next set of new Dunlop tyres.
As the team’s sponsors arrived at the track for their day out with Murphy Prototypes, I was given the job of assisting Sarah with the thirty guests. I brought them on their pit garage walk where they could meet the drivers and get closer to the car. The popularity of the Murphy prototypes Team was soon apparent as they drew in the biggest crowds during the pit walkabout.
Following their garage tour we brought the guest to the corporate suite to watch the start of the race. We had a great view and could see the cars coming down the Wellington Straight into Beckett’s and Luffield corner. During the race we brought the guests back down to the garage during the pit stops so they could see first hand how everything was done, they were also allowed to listen in on the crews radios. We finished by taking them out to watch the race trackside , all the time explaining what was going on in the race and with the drivers.
Trackside is the best place to watch an ELMS race as the TV coverage doesn’t do these LMP2 cars any justice at all in terms of how quick they are travelling Unfortunately the Murphy prototypes Car had to retire with an electrical problem in the late stages of the race which was very disappointing after seeing how hard the team had worked over the last couple of days.
We didn’t have a race on Sunday we went to the track to watch the World Endurance Championship (WEC) where a driver that Greg manages, Brendon Hartley, was racing for Porsche in the 919 LMP1 car. Greg very kindly got us into the Porsche hospitality suite to watch the race from where there was food and even a masseuse when needed. Unfortunately Brendon’s car had to retire early which was a shame as they were in a good place for a win but had a drivetrain issue.
I’d just like to thank Greg for the opportunity to see first hand how a professional team works, it really makes you proud to be Irish when you see such a great team doing so well and to have such great people working for them. I was made feel welcome from the off, I’m really looking forward to the next ELMS race in Imola in May with Murphy Prototypes.
Until next time,
Images Michael Chester/Murphy Prototypes/Sean Doyle