Simon Pullan pushing for points at Castle Combe.
GTO Preview: Round Seven, Castle Combe
The British GT Championship opens its account on the second half of the 2002 season next weekend with current GTO leaders Simon Pullan and Martin Short gunning for victory number five at Castle Combe in Wiltshire.
"We tested at Castle Combe last Saturday and I'm confident we can achieve a very good result come race day," Pullan says. "The Xavex Texaco TVR Tuscan R is superb on most circuits and Combe is no exception. Last year, Martin and his then team-mate Rob Barff were storming away to an easy win when the engine let go so we'll be looking to put that straight this year.
"I last raced at Castle Combe two years ago in a Caterham Roadsport. That had 130bhp compared to the 460bhp of the TVR Tuscan R so it will be quite a different proposition this time around. Having said that, it is a circuit I enjoy and pole position and second place in the Caterham race is testament to that."
One of the oldest established circuits in the UK, Castle Combe is sure to provide close, exciting racing when the British GTs take to the track on June 23. The 1.8-mile circuit has some of the most challenging corners on the calendar and because of planning restrictions, only limited redevelopment projects have been carried out since the 1950s. Reshaped and resurfaced in recent years in order to reduce average speeds, drivers must be extra cautious in order to get the most out of a hot lap due to the minimal run-off areas.
"The main thing about Castle Combe is to get to grips with the bumps so you can build up your confidence under braking," Pullan explains. "There's very little run-off so if the balance of the car is disturbed on a bump under braking for the corner and you aren't prepared for it, the consequences could be disastrous."
Along with Short, the 19-year-old Lincolnshire resident has set a scorching pace in GTO so far this season with four race wins and one further podium position already on the score board. Although they head the points standings going into round seven, rival TVR Tuscan R runners Eclipse Motorsport, Veloqx's Calum Lockie/Jamie Davis and the Porsche 911 of Tim Sugden/Steve O'Rourke will all be looking to stop the Xavex TVR Tuscan R in its tracks in the second half of the year. As Pullan explains though, the Rollcentre squad won't be too concerned if they don't win at Combe.
"The aim will be to win because that's what we always set out to achieve but a good points finish is just as important. We've had a brilliant run in the first six races and I'm sure we can carry that momentum with us into stage two. Our overall aim though is to secure the GTO class title and the only way to do that is to be consistent. "