Airwaves Racing keep up the pace during mid-season break
Fans of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship may well been dreaming of a return to the on-track action during the long seven week break following round 5 at Croft back in June, but leading Independent team Airwaves Racing have been far from resting on their laurels for the past few weeks.
A jam-packed mid-season schedule has made sure that the Motorbase-run team have had plenty of activity to fill their time with, and also a good reason to celebrate following their recent success in the Porsche Carrera World Cup.
A visit to sponsor Leyland Paint’s head office for a staff family and friends day over the Croft weekend was first on the cards, where the team and drivers were on hand to meet with the hundreds of staff and fans that came throughout the day. Both Mat Jackson and Liam Griffin also got the chance of some real hands on experience by mixing paint in the factory and even driving the forklift trucks! The day was a great success and a staff auction featuring Airwaves Racing team memorabilia managed to raise over £300 for local children’s charity Levi’s Star.
Following the visit, Airwaves Racing driver Liam Griffin said: “The visit to Leyland Paints was a great insight into the factory and the company and Mat and I were delighted to be able to help with a bit of paint stirring and pot stacking! The staff enjoyed getting up close and personal to the cars and drivers and I think it was great to be able to see how Airwaves Racing is helping to promote their brand.”
The team then continued north to Croft for what was the most successful weekend for the Airwaves Racing team so far this season and an amazing six days for Motorbase, as the BTCC team secured yet another a win and two top five finishes leaving Mat Jackson a mere nine points behind the overall Championship lead heading into the mid-season break.
After a hectic turnaround at the Kent workshop, it was straight off to Germany for the Motorbase Porsche team on the following night for the 330-mile trip to the world famous Nurburgring where they would compete against one hundred 911 GT3 cars in the Porsche Carrera World Cup race. The race, over six laps of the toughest circuit in the world, ran in conditions that caught out many drivers, but Tim Harvey drove a superbly measured race to win the Porsche Carrera Cup GB element and finish in thirteenth position overall.
"That's the one you want to win," said an elated Harvey. "This was the big one and it is a wonderful feeling. It was about being safe on the first lap because I'd never driven a racing lap here in the wet. The car from Motorbase was easy to drive and once I got past Stephen I was able to pull away. It's been a fantastic event and one of the best race meetings I can remember."
Team Principal David Bartrum was delighted with the team's first Carrera Cup victory of the season in such challenging conditions. "What a week," said Bartrum. "We had a brilliant weekend at Croft and then a great weekend at the Nurburgring. It was an amazing week for all of us!"
There was another quick pit stop for Mat Jackson and his Ford Focus on the way home from Croft, as they called in to assist with the opening of team sponsor The Money Shop’s 400th store opening in Leamington Spa where they celebrated in style with the staff and customers.
Buoyed by their recent success, it was straight back to the workshop for the team as their attentions turned to development and testing on the Ford’s in preparation for second half of the season. A test day at Brands Hatch offered Airwaves Racing the ideal opportunity of running the highly anticipated third Ford Focus and sent the BTCC rumour mill into overdrive by placing previous Motorbase driver Jonny Adam in the seat alongside current Porsche Carrera Cup driver, George Richardson.
Speaking of the team’s recent activity, Team Manager Oly Collins commented: “It’s been a long break, maybe a little too long but we've been busy in all areas. We've done a fair amount of work on the handling of the Focus, we're getting it ever closer to where we want it but also doing that on a tight budget makes the task a little harder. The engineers and mechanics have been doing a great job improving the car and from the drivers feedback at our recent tests we feel we're moving the right direction.”
In regards to the speculation surrounding the testing of the third Airwaves Focus, Collins added: “We would like to run 3 cars at some stage this season and we're hopeful to do it sooner rather than later, as usual it all comes down to having the right package to do the job. We have 3 cars so it makes sense, but to cover the spares package we would have to invest some more. We certainly don’t want to do it half-heartedly. Jonny has experience with our team and with front wheel drive turbo charged cars. We know he's quick and there is some unfinished business there. So fingers crossed and watch this space.”
Once again, it was all hands on deck as preparations began in earnest for the team’s appearance at the 201 1 Airwaves/Wrigley staff conference. Over 120 Commercial colleagues gathered in Reading for the annual event which was this year themed ‘How a team works’. Supported by BTCC paddock favourite Alan Hyde; the Airwaves team set up the full race day hospitality awning and cars for the staff to come and experience the race day set up for themselves. Interactive question and answer sessions enabled the Airwaves staff to engage with the team and gain an understanding of how closely everybody at Motorbase works as a team.
Pleased with the success of the team’s appearance at the conference, Airwaves Racing driver Mat Jackson said: “Hopefully by coming here today, the Airwaves/Wrigley staff will gain an understanding of how we go about the racing and relate that to their business. It’s a great way of showing how even in such a short time over a race weekend, with only just over an hour between races, pulling together as a team is huge and can produce amazing results.”
Wrigley Field Sales Director Simon Knight was equally positive about the team’s input, commenting: “I feel very pleased and excited about the day. Having these types of session is really interactive and the guys have truly enjoyed it. You could see from looking around that people were really getting involved, milling around the cars, talking to the drivers and the mechanics and really understanding the importance of great teamwork and it’s definitely something that we would look to do again.”
Airwaves Racing and Motorbase will be back to what they do best, racing, at Snetterton on the 6th and 7th August, where the action kicks off again for round 6 of the British Touring Car Championship and Porsche Carrera Cup GB.
by: Airwaves Racing