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Category ArchiveHistoric Racing

David announced as British Racing Drivers Club Member

British racing driver David Pittard has been announced as a full British Racing Drivers Club member having met the qualifying criteria!

The GT Endurance Racing Star, who is a former BRDC Rising Star, has graduated to a full member having achieved the qualifying results across Ginetta GT4 Supercup, British GT, VLN and Intercontinental GT Challenge.  

“Having seen a lot of my heros as members over the years, becoming a full BRDC member is an amazing achievement and I am hugely proud. I have a lot of people to thank for the opportunities I have been given that have lead to this achievement. I look forward to giving back to the club that has, no doubt, helped me in my career as a Rising Star to becoming a professional driver and full member”

In his first year as a BRDC Member, David will be contesting the Intercontinental GT Challenge, the world challenge for GT3 cars, with the BMW factory supported Walkenhorst Motorsport team and fellow BRDC member Nick Yellowly.

The BRDC is the most exclusive motor racing club, with members including the most successful drivers in the UK.

Membership of the British Racing Drivers’ Club is much coveted and very hard to achieve – it is only offered to those people who have met the high entry criteria and achieved the highest levels of motor racing or made a contribution to help others to do so in the sport.

The BRDC takes its responsibility as ‘Guardians of British motor sport extremely seriously. Not only does it maintain and operate the only circuit licensed to run a Grand Prix in Great Britain, it has also helped many young drivers to realise and develop their talent. These factors have undoubtedly contributed to Great Britain retaining its high profile and success in motor sport. This is a huge source of pride to the BRDC and its Members.

See www.brdc.co.uk for more information

Spa 3hour winners

The Spa Summer Classic is a 3hour race taking place in the middle of the summer on the Saturday evening of the event, so even though the race finishes at 21:00, the race into the sunset isn’t a night race but enjoys the full daylight hours. The race is open to Pre 66 appendix K regulations and serves as a warm up for the Spa6hours later in the year. Cobras, E-Types, Elans, Mustangs, 911s & Camero’s all come together for this endurance classic on the historic racing calendar.

The weekend would be bathed in sunshine and warm weather, making it a perfect weekend for historic racing.

The weekend would be very simple with qualifying and the 3hour race. Sharing with car owner Graham Wilson and run by Wolfe Engineering, David and team would qualify P4 overall behind the Cobra’s and fastest Elan in class. Qualifying wasn’t an easy affair though as David lost his 2:52.9 lap due to a track limit infringement, therefore he needed to go back out to re qualify the car, where he duly put in a 2:52.7 lap to retake pole position again.

David would start the mandatory 2 stop race in P4, allowing the Cobras to use their ultimate pace to get away, and battling for the lead of the class and P5 overall. The first stint would last 40mins  before a safety car allowed the first pitstop and driver change where Pittard would swap with Wilson, as would P2 swap to their owner driver. As the Cobras took the opportunity to pit for fuel, the 2 Elans, would come out P1 & P2 and an almighty duel would take place between the 2 car owners for the next 70mins, which extended all the way to the maximum driving time for each driver. Eventually Wilson would pass the #27 Elan for P1 and would box in the lead to hand back over to David to complete the race. A slightly slower pitstop meant that the #13 Wilson Elan would loose position to the #27, initially however David pounced on the outlap through Pouhon using the traffic to his advantage and take the lead. As the fuel loads dropped it was clear to see that the #27 Elan has slightly more pace than the #13 car, however David’s race craft kept the #13 car ahead, and eventually using his VLN traffic management skills, meant that David could build a sufficient gap to the 2nd place car and start to take less risks in the final 15mins and bring the car home to win by 8seconds!

Masters Historic – Paul Ricard

The 2019 season would open in the Sunny South of France for the opening round of the Master Historic Racing championship!

David would reunite with now long term co-driver Graham Wilson to kick off the 2019 season in his Lotus Elan 26R in the Masters Gentlemen Drivers race and also the Andy Wolfe prepared Lola T70 Mk1 Spyder in the FIA Historic Sportscar championship. A difficult swap for the drivers between the Elan weighing in at 600kg with 180bhp and being famed for its brilliant handling and the 800kg, 700bhp Lola which couldn’t be a more different car to drive!
While both cars would be competitive in class, the Lola would be more likely to score a good overall result as the long straights of Paul Ricard would allow it to make some time back vs the newer cars through the twisty stuff! The Elan, in the 90min race would loose out massively to the 500bhp cars such as the Cobra’s!

The weekend started mixed, with the Lola missing Free Practice due to a fuel pump issue that was quickly rectified by the Wolfe team to get the car back out for the final session of the day allowing Wilson tracktime to get hold of the beast! This meant that the first proper run wasn’t until qualifying, however in the first 3 laps of the session, the Lola was placed on pole position in class and a tidy P5 overall, with many other classed cars positioned between the #113 car and the next car in class.
The Elan practice and qualifying went a lot smoother with plenty of tracktime in the Elan, against the other strong competition in the CLP Elan class! After a super tight battle for class pole position against BTCC driver Jake Hill, David managed to put the #13 Wilson Elan on pole position for the 90min race!

This would unfortunately prove to be the highlight of the weekend, as post qualifying checks caused a fault to the Lotus Elan’s ignition system causing a misfire on the outlap, meaning the car would have to start from the back of the grid, however the fault couldn’t be solved in the race meaning that the car would retire barely 1/3 into the race.

The 60min FIA Sportscar championship race also started with drama, a spin would drop the car to last, however a spirited drive from Wilson saw him regain a lot of time lost and positions to put the car back in contention before handing back over to Pittard. David took over the reigns of the 700bhp missile and proceded to close down the leader to less than a second, before a gearbox issue saw the car with no drive and have to coast into retirement with 15min remaining.

Overall a very disappointing start to the year, however brilliant pace was shown by Wilson on his return to racing after almost 12months which showed promise for the year ahead!

 

My 2018 top 6…… #2

#2 – Creating history winning the FIA Historic Sportscars in a Chevron B8!

The opening round of the FIA Historic Sportscars at the legendary Imola circuit in San Marino! After what seemed like a very long winter, it was awesome to get to Sunny south Europe for some historic racing again! With my partner in crime Graham Wilson, I would share his Chevron B8 in the FIA Sportscar championship race, a 60min pitstop race in the Bonnier class, a mid grid class for 2.0 litre cars of which we would share the circuit with the larger engined Lola T70s and Lola T290s if different classes.

Imola is a super old school circuit, even with the chicanes added in. Very fast and flowing that follows the Italian landscape and has a fantastic flow of long straights, big braking zones into some medium speed corners as well as some faster flowing corners which really ask you to commit on entry! In the Chevron it was a pleasure to drive! Especially along the long start finish straight which flows from left to right and allows you to pick up some big speed before it narrows into Turn1. It made for some big slip streaming!

I hadn’t seen Graham drive this well since I have been driving with him. It was also his first time to the track, but showed his pre season preparation had paid off and he was one of the fastest in his class in both the Chevron and the Cortina he was driving that weekend. This made my job easier as Graham held his own off pole position, at the beginning of the race against some stiff competition before handing over to me at the ½ way point. We had qualified highly already, but with quite a scrappy race, there were a few incidents, mechanical problems, where we benefitted to gain track positions while still maintaining the class lead. The race continued its theme with a few safety cars thrown in as well, meaning that my team had stopped showing place in class on the pitboard but now overall positions! P5, P4, P3 and now chasing down P2 and pressuring them into a mistake gave us P2 overall as we finished the race which we were already over the moon with! Then after the race the leader was excluded for contact leaving us with the win! The first time a Bonnier 2.0 litre, class car had done this!

An amazing track, a beautiful car, beautiful weather and record breaking result! The perfect start to the year!

Watch my VLOG “Winning Imola FIA Masters Historic Sportscars” on my YouTube channel below:

My 2018 top 6…… #4

Reviewing my 2018 season, I have written up my top 6 highlights of the season for all the cool things I’ve got upto! Make sure you visit back in the final days of December to read up on these highlights! Enjoy!

#4 – Winning the Spa6hrs again!

With the race winning Elan being rebuilt since the last time it was raced at Portimao at the end of the 2017 season, and only having done 2 historic races all year, I was interested to see how we would fair this time in the 6hrs with it being so close last time out.

Shaking the car down on the Thursday the car was quite different to how it had been, quite a bit more understeer than previously, so with Andy Wolfe and I sharing the set up duties, we managed to get a bit more speed out of the car which was comparible to the previous year, but without the set up balance we had last year.

Going into Friday’s qualifying, the tracktime had been moved to later in the evening to allow the Masters Le Mans Legends to have the sunset slot. However this meant our qualifying took place in complete darkness which was pretty crazy! There were obviously a lot of people either not use to or couldn’t drive in the dark meaning there was a huge amount of traffic and some questionable driving standards. After a few more attempts than I would have liked at beating my time from last year, I came up .01 of a second short but with SO much more in the tank. Either way, it was pole position and time to hand back over to my co-drivers Shaun Balfe and Oli Stirling who were doing a great job at jumping into the car and turning consistent and competitive times! A strong line up!

Shaun would start the race and did a fantastic job gapping the rest of the field by running away with the GT40’s that surrounded us on the grid and put us in a fantastic position for the remainder of the race, not having to take huge risks in traffic to maintain the large buffer we had.

I would take the middle dusk to dark stint which I really enjoyed, almost driving 2 different circuits as the light drops away, as mentioned consistent laps and low risk overtakes were the order of the day and that’s exactly what we achieved, with a clean fuel stop in the middle, before handing back over to Oli to finish up in the dark.

The remainder of the race was handed to us further with multiple lengthy safety cars which neutralised any chance our competitors had of catching us, and until the final 20mins the mighty little Elan was running P5 overall, but with the green flag conditions allowing GT40s to save fuel and close the gap on us we would end up P7 overall, matching the best result for the car in the event.

A great event with some amazing cars and people. Defiantly a recommend a trip if you’re into anything like the Goodwood Revivial!

Wilson Elan wins 5th Spa 6hr in epic fashion!

The Graham Wilson Lotus Elan 26R took its 5th Class win of the Spa 6hours in 6years at the hands of veteran Oli Stirling, race debutant Shaun Balfe and now double winner David Pittard! 

The 3 drivers were run faultlessly by the Wolfe Manufacturing team throughout the weekend executing the perfect weekend with class win, pole position, fastest lap and 7th overall only beaten by 6 GT40s. 

The weekend started well with David qualifying the car in P20 overall and P1 in class by a demanding margin which set up the teams intent for the race. With Oli and Car debutant Shaun also setting competitive times throughout the session the team were confident for the race. 

“This is the first time the car has run this year after an extensive rebuild over the winter due to a heavy & successful season in 2017. So a big thanks goes to Simon and the boys at Wolfe Manufacturing for prepping such a reliable and fast car! This was apparent from the very first session of the weekend even in the pitch black we were able to match our qualifying time from last year!” 

Shaun Balfe, 2017 International GT Open champion, would start the race with a fantastic first stint to pull away from the other class competitors enough that when the first safety cars were deployed he was able to pull a half lap lead due to 2 safety cars being used on track. He would hold this lead consistently for the rest of his stint before handing over to David. 

“Shaun took a lot of pressure off me as he’d built such a gap! That way I didn’t have to take big risks in traffic and could push comfortably without taking too much out of the car! The fuel stop worked without a hitch and after that I just concentrated on building as bigger margin for Oli as possible!” 

Another faultless pitstop to hand over to Oli saw the #13 Car with over a laps lead on the competition in P5 overall, as darkness set in over the Belgium circuit. 2 GT40s overtook the Car in the final 20mins as Oli bought the car back to victory! 

“A huge thanks to Graham for the invite to one of the biggest and best historic races on the calendar once again! It was a pleasure sharing Shaun & Oli and a huge thank you to the team as well!” 

Pittard and Wolfe Engineering Elan 26R reunite to defend Spa6hr Title

David Pittard and the Wolfe Engineering Lotus Elan 26R owned by Graham Wilson, will return to one of the historic racing highlights of the year, the Spa 6hrs on September 15th. He will partner again long term driver Olly Stirling and British GT driver and International GT Open champion Shaun Balfe.

On his debut in the race in 2017, David qualified the Elan on class pole position, 17th overall and with the help of co-drivers Graham Wilson and Olly Stirling bought the car home 1st in class and 7th overall in a top class field of the best drivers and car preparers in Europe.

The race that starts at 16:00 Saturday afternoon starts in the daylight and finishes at 22:00 in the darkness, is for pre66 GT cars that attract cars like Ford GT’s, Jaguar E-Types, and AC Cobras and is one of the highlights of the Historic racing calendar 1 week after the Goodwood Revival.

“It’s awesome to have been asked back to the Spa6hr, a huge thank you to Graham for the invite. It was one of the highlights last year, starting the race in the day and going into the evening. Especially in the mighty giant killing Lotus Elan 26R owned by Graham and prepared by Andy Wolfe which has a fantastic pedigree at this event. It is a great shame that Graham has to miss the event this year, but to have such a successful driver like Shaun added to the line-up is very confidence inspiring for the race!”

The Wilson Elan has won the Spa 6hrs 4times in the past 5 years, and the team hope to make it 5wins in 2018.

Podium for Pittard at Chevron 50th Anniversary at the Oulton Park Gold Cup

David returned to the Oulton Park Gold Cup to take a memorable podium in the Chevron B8 50th anniversary race.

Pittard was asked to drive the B8 by owner and regular racer Bristol based David Smithies in the iconic event celebrating the largest model built by the British manufacture in 1968.

The Chevron B8 remains one of the most enduringly popular sports-racing car designs and was one of the most successful projects from talented designer and engineer Derek Bennett, the founder of Chevron.

The cars were built in a former mill in Bolton and were regularly tested and raced at Oulton Park. Over the ensuing half century, the B8 has claimed many victories at the Cheshire track, which is the perfect setting to celebrate this classic design.

A small teething issue limited running in the mixed condition qualifying session on August Bank Holiday Monday at the picturesque Cheshire track, however in the drying conditions, David’s best lap from only 3laps in qualifying placed him P4 on the grid for the 40min pitstop race.

Engineer for the weekend Chris Bailey and Smithies quickly diagnosed the small wiring issue meaning the car was ready again for the race. A rare opportunity of a standing start saw David hold his position going into turn 1, before moving upto 3rd by the end of lap1.

David then quickly chased down and passed 2nd place after 3laps again into the final corner before going after the leader! However David & his BMW powered Chevron didn’t have the pace to catch the FVA engined Chevron of Ex GT racer Andrew Kirkaldy, and even after a super slick pitstop, gaining 4secs on the leader it wasn’t enough to challenge for the lead. A late race safety car bunched the pack up again negating the 15+second lead David had over P3, at the restart, a 2 lap dash for the cash, David hasselled Kirkaldy without finding a way through and on the last lap missed a shift and dropped to P3.

“With the car being rebuilt over the winter, our aim coming into the event was to finish and anything else was a bonus. We were reminded of this with the small issue in qualifying, however it was clear that the car had great pace! So to come away dissapointed with a P3 result shows how competitive the car was and I’m kicking myself for my error on that last lap! It was a great honour to have been asked to race for David and can’t thank him enough for the opportunity! It was great to race such an classic car around such a classic circuit with so much history around the event!”

Pittard returns to the Oulton Park Gold Cup for Chevron 50th Anniversary race

David Pittard will take a break from his BMW M6 GT3 VLN campaign to contest the Chevron B8/B6 50th Anniversary race on August bank holiday weekend at the annual Oulton Park Gold Cup.

David, who raced to considerable success with a Chevron B8 in the Master FIA Historic Sportscar championship in 2017, has been asked by fellow B8 competitor and owner David Smithies to contest his car at the one off event!

The event will bring together a large amount of the iconic 1970’s sportscar’s around the picturesque and undulating International Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire, in a celebration of one of the most successful models Chevron produced. The event will take place on the August Bank Holiday Monday, with a 30min Qualifying & 50min pitstop race.

“It is a real honour to have been asked by David to drive his car in such a prestigious race! So firstly, a huge thank you to him. Having raced against him in the Master series in 2017, he said he was impressed with my pace as well as ability to bring the car back with minimumal wear and tear to it, which is great feedback for me to hear. I want to repay his faith in me with a win and crown his car as the winner of the 50th anniversary race! I love Oulton’s old school nature so to race the circuit in a 1970’s Chevron will be like stepping back in time! Tally ho!”

Pittard ready to tackle the Green Hell with Walkenhorst M6 GT3

26 year old David Pittard has signed with Walkenhorst Motorsport to pilot the Total Lubricants BMW M6 GT3 for the remaining 5 VLN races for 2018 as part of a 3year plan to compete in the VLN.

The Autoglym, XPEL, VBOX brand ambassador follows his success in Ginetta GT4 Supercup and British GT championships with a career changing opportunity to race at the 14 mile long world famous Nurburgring Nordschlife in Germany.

After discussions with, among others Andy Wolfe and Graham Wilson, with whom David had raced very successfully in Historics during 2017, David decided to go for the big step of both GT3 and The Green Hell of the Nurburgring Nordschleife! David acknowledged: “With the help of Graham’s law firm in Luxembourg I was able to make the contacts necessary to get me on track.”

Having completed the Nordschlife A Permit at VLN3, with Walkenhorst with a P4 in class in the highly competitive Cup5 BMW M235i Racing Cup, David now looks to this huge opportunity in his career to compete against factory supported teams and drivers.

“This is my big opportunity in my career. I’m ready to sink or swim. I’ve always won in anything I’ve driven straight away, never needing time to learn. I’m not under the impression I will do that here as quick as previous championship, but I believe I have the ability to mix with respected factory drivers and work with factory engineers. I can’t thank the people behind this opportunity that are helping make it happen, and am determined to repay their faith”

VLN4 kicks off 07/07 with a 4 hour race, David will be sharing with Walkenhorst regular young guns Alex Lambertz & Immanuel Vinke who combined have great knowledge of the M6 GT3 in The Blancpain Endurance Series and racing VLN on the Nordschlife.

“The whole team is excited with this combination. The team has many year experience competing at the Ring, the car is a proven winner around the Nordschlife, and we have 3 hungry young drivers all wanting a shot at the big boys.
I’m only here for professional & factory contracts which is at the end of our 3 year plan. If that happens sooner, then great!”

For more information on:
Veranstaltergemeinschaft Langstreckenpokal Nürburgring (VLN) Championship- vln.de
Walkenhorst Motorsport – walkenhorst-motorsport.de
Walkenhorst Group – walkenhorst-gruppe.de
Total Racing – totalspecialties.com
BMW Motorsport M6 GT3 – bmw-motorsport.com/en/topics/season-2018/fahrzeuge/bmw-m6-gt3.html