British team looking for new opportunities
Since its creation in mid-2011 British sports car squad Von Ryan Racing has earned a reputation for being one of the most professional, trusted and capable teams competing in European GT racing.
But after contesting last season’s British GT Championship and Blancpain Endurance Series with its trusty McLaren 12C GT3 (in photo), the team has seemingly disappeared. So what’s going on?
Allow team owner Dave Ryan to explain all…
Q: Dave, simple question to start: why haven’t we seen the Von Ryan Racing McLaren competing in 2014?
Well, we certainly intended to be racing, that’s for sure! We paid the British GT entry fee in anticipation of contesting the championship, but unfortunately the deal we’d pinned our hopes on hasn’t come to fruition. Our McLaren is fully prepared and ready to race. It’s obviously very frustrating.
Q: So you’re actively seeking fresh opportunities?
Absolutely. But that’s not to say we will race at any cost. To uphold our high standards, which have marked us out in the past, we need a realistic budget that’s based on what it costs to run the car properly. You always need a bit of luck in endurance racing, but having said that proper preparation is something we pride ourselves on and is one of the reasons for our 100% finishing record at the 24 Hours of Spa with the McLaren. Every penny is spent on the car; there are no large overheads or flashy motorhomes to consider. With all of that in mind I think we represent very good value for money.
Q: What about the McLaren itself? It seems to have taken a step forward this season.
I think that’s true. In the past some people have suggested it’s difficult for gentlemen drivers to set up and drive the 12C GT3, but McLaren GT have worked hard to dial this out and now the teams understand how to set the cars up correctly it’s really no longer an issue. You have to remember the McLaren is a lot more race-orientated than most of the other GT3 models, but with two full years of racing and development behind them the teams have really got to grips with how to get the best out of it. Of course that’s not to say it was ever particularly bad! Last season we finished second at Brands Hatch in British GT with 90kg of extra ballast on-board, which was a superb result. Also, when you look at the impressive performances by some of the other McLaren teams already this season then it’s clear to see that the car is definitely a very competitive package.
Q: Is there an assumption that Von Ryan Racing is a semi-works team, given your previous association with McLaren?
Yes, but that’s certainly not the case! Obviously I was with McLaren for a very long time but McLaren GT is a company in its own right and I would like to think we have developed a close working relationship. They are a very professionally run operation and as such we receive exactly the same parts and support as those made available to every other McLaren team.
Q: So does the McLaren link bring any benefits?
I guess the answer to that has to be yes, but purely because I know so many of the people working on the project. You have to remember that the 12C GT3 is McLaren GT’s first ever racing car so they have been on a very steep learning curve. To be where they are in such a short period of time is quite remarkable. They are also very pro-active when it comes to helping their various customer teams from an operational perspective, and there isn’t a race weekend that goes by where I haven’t had at least two or three of their technicians or engineers with us to lend an expert helping hand. Likewise with their professional factory drivers, all of whom are made available to the teams for the different championships. All in all they offer fantastic factory support that’s useful as and when required.
Q: British GT is an obvious fit, but would you run elsewhere?
We’re eager to hear from anyone who wants to race a GT car across Europe, really. Like I said, we have a confirmed British GT entry and are based here, so that makes most sense. But we would be open to continental offers, too. We have a perfect finishing record at Spa, contested the Blancpain Endurance Series in 2012 and ’13, and even oversaw Sebastien Loeb’s French GT outing at Paul Ricard in 2012! We’re certainly not afraid of a challenge.
Von Ryan Racing