Chadwick enjoyed an impressive debut piloting a Motionsport Wolf GB08.
Ollie Chadwick, one of the bright new prospects in British motorsport, enjoyed an impressive debut on the international endurance racing stage on Saturday, 13th December, piloting a Motionsport Wolf GB08 sports prototype in the annual Gulf 12 Hours c in Abu Dhabi.
The 18-year-old racer from Tetbury, Gloucestershire, was a last minute entrant in the event after agreeing a deal to team with Pete Storey and Ben Gower to share driving duties at the wheel of the Honda-powered Wolf. As part of a 26-car field including the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari, Porsche and McLaren, the competition was fierce and featured some factory-supported racers and professional drivers.
I received lots of complimentary comments and I feel I’ve ticked another box on my racing ambitions.
Unfortunately for the Motionsport team, technical issues which affected the paddle-shift gearbox selection became evident during testing and qualifying. Even so, Ollie still managed to post fast laps only a second shy of the front-running teams.
The racing itself was divided into two six hour portions – the first run during the day and the second at night, under the floodlights. Ollie enjoyed a blistering rolling start in race one, running second in class and 14th overall, and the car appeared to perform well as he settled into his planned 75 minute first stint. Starting to reel in the competition, at one point he also set the overall fastest lap.
Just 45 minutes into the race though, on lap 24, the Honda engine disintegrated in a spectacular plume of smoke and oil. Ollie quickly moved off the racing line and managed to nurse the car back to the pits, but the damage was extensive.
The team embarked on an engine swap but several ancillary components proved hard to source, delaying the car’s planned return to action until early in race two. Then ‘mapping’ problems further frustrated the team and the car couldn’t re-enter the racing until late in proceedings, finishing a disappointing but undaunted 23rd overall. Despite the day’s difficulties, Ollie remained upbeat.
“Of course, we are all disappointed that we couldn’t have been out there competing for the top places and a ‘class’ win”, he reflected, “Practice and qualifying were dogged with a few issues but the moment the racing began, all felt good and I really sensed we could challenge the top teams. Then, without warning, the motor just let go and I knew instantly it wasn’t going to be our day.
“Everyone pulled together to try and get us back into the race quickly, but a succession of setbacks thwarted our best efforts. Late on we did get into the closing stages, but were not up to pace. However, it was a great experience, I received lots of complimentary comments and I feel I’ve ticked another box on my racing ambitions.”