|William Hewland and Paul Evans discuss tactics
Brands Hatch GP Circuit
Race report by William
There is an excellent industrial product called
`Threadeze`, which disperses rust. Both my team mate Paul Evans and I should
have been sprayed with it before we turned up at Brands Hatch last weekend. I
had not driven a Lister for 8 months and Paul 18 months. He had a run in a
Formula 3 car the day before this event, whilst I had done a sportscar race a
couple of months prior. All in all, re-acclimatising to a GT car at Brands
Hatch GP circuit was a rough experience. After very limited practise on the
Friday we were way off the pace. We knew it was `driver rust` and I predicted
that my fastest lap of the weekend would be the last lap of the race!
Qualifying (Saturday): With four new tyres
on the car, I went out in the first session and went 1.6 seconds quicker than I
had managed the day before, but this was only good enough for seventh place. It
is a measure of how tough this series has become that John Cleland in a Viper
was in eighth! Paul then went a tenth of a second faster than me, but we did
not improve our placing.
In the cooler second session, Paul had two new
tyres and found a gain of 9/10ths, improving to 1`.27.6". Unfortunately,
all of the top eight cars improved and we still ended up 7th, albeit much
closer to the lead pack.
Race. 1 hour. (Sunday): This was a
two-driver race obviously and Paul Evans was in to start. At the green lights,
he made a forceful and committed push, quickly dispensing with the other Lister
(starting 4th, with David Warnock in) and the NCK Marcos (drifting backwards
from second, with Andy Purvis on board). He was then able to win a battle with
Calum Lockie in the Marcos and wrest third place.
The two leaders, David Clark (Viper) and Ian
Mckellar (TVR) were being caught by Paul, who was matching his qualifying pace!
Once the TVR pulled in for its pit stop Paul inherited second. Halfway through
the race, both David Clark and Paul pitted together. Our pit stop was better
and I got out of the pit lane ahead, having almost collided with Martin Shorts
TVR GTO en route.
Whilst we were in the pits, the TVR and the
Lister (now driven by Bobby Verdon-Roe and Jamie Campbell-Walter respectively)
zapped past to take first and second places, so I rejoined in third. The
Marcos, driven by Cor Euser was on my tail and squeezed past me at Clearways
after two laps. Soon after, an accident at Surtees brought out the safety car
so we all had a five-minute `rest`. I was glad of the time to compose my
At the re-start, I nearly regained third place
from Cor in traffic, but not quite. He was very fast after the safety car had
gone in, setting fastest lap of the race and going on to finish second behind
the Lister. I pushed as hard as possible from there to the end of the race,
especially as I was closing in on the TVR.
There were five flying laps between the end of the
safety car period and the chequered flag. I beat my qualifying time on each of
them, by as much as 7/10ths of a second, which just shows how the `driver rust`
was a factor over this weekend. At least we finished in a solid fourth place,
in good company and if we can race again soon then we will `hit the ground
running`. Watch this space!
SPORTS-RACING WORLD CUP - SR2.
25th - 26th March 2000
Race Report by William Hewland
Having had a long winter off racing, I agreed to
race Mark Bailey Racing`s MBR 972 Rover, in the SR2 `Lights` class of the
Sports Racing World Cup. My team mate would be the Swede, Nicke Blom. Clearly,
the MBR chassis is now a little outdated in comparison to the latest high
budget offerings from Lucchini, Tampolli and Pilbeam, but we were optimistic
about our chances due to the Rover-Metro 6R4 engine, which was expected to
perform very well.
Testing and qualifying: Once testing began
in Barcelona, we were shocked to find that, whilst the chassis seemed fairly
good, the power at the rear wheels was extremely lacking. Sometimes, two SR2
cars at a time would pass us on the long straight! Around 15 mph was lacking
from our top speed. Even now, after the event, it is still not clear whether or
not the latest engines (in the other cars) have advanced greatly, or if it is
that we had some sort of installation issue that caused our low power at the
wheels. We tried two engines, the second being dogged by fuel pump and
electrical woes, causing our particularly disastrous last place in qualifying.
All this was very frustrating, when we were clearly quick through the tighter
sections and braking zones at Barcelona. With the first engine back in the car,
we had a promising performance in the wet morning warm up. Nicke Blom drove and
we were second fastest! Wet conditions are always more representative to assess
drivers and chassis than the dry is.
Race; 2 hours, 30
minutes:Nicke Blom started the race and battled round at a good pace (for
us), at least hanging on to the pack. We had a simple race strategy of using
harder compound tyres and therefore our three pit stops would involve just
brief refuelling. Nicke drove faultlessly and at maximum pace for our
under-powered car. With various problems (and slow team mates) beginning to
befall some of our 10 competitors, we edged in to fourth place by the time that
Nicke stopped to hand over to me. The team had brought him in early to avoid
losing time behind the Henderson Pilbeam, which just drove past us down the
straight if we overtook it in the corners.
I rejoined the race
in fifth place. With other teams making fuel stops etc. I was soon making my
way up the order. I caught and passed a Debora and that moved me in to second!
After 40 minutes I stopped for fuel and would now have another 40 minutes to
run to the end of the race. With 30 minutes to go, I was amazed to see on my
pit board that we had the lead of the race! Comfortably! The next placed car-
the Pilbeam of Martin Henderson- still had a stop to make and was a minute
The car was running fine until about 20 minutes
remained. The brake pedal was getting a bit long and there was a slight judder
from the left side of the car, but nothing too bad. I was already rehearsing
the phone call of good news to my Dad. Then it happened. As I completed the
turn on to the start / finish straight, I felt a movement on the rear left
wheel. I eased off the throttle and took it gently down the straight. I
suspected that a rear toe link had snapped, which could be repaired if I nursed
the car back to the pits. However, as I turned in to the first corner, the rear
wheel parted company from the car and I slewed in to the gravel trap, ending
our race. I was stunned from not knowing whether to be more amazed at our race
leading good fortune, or our race ending bad fortune!
Oh well, I have shaken off the winters cobwebs and
will race again soon; in a Lister???
PRIVILEGE INSURANCE GT - SILVERSTONE INTERNATIONAL
This was the last round of the British
Championship. My team mate was the Danish driver Thorkild Thyrring. Practice on
Friday proved that the car felt perfectly good, although the series organisers
had awarded our car smaller air restrictors since we last drove it to hinder
our speed. This looked a bit worrying as we were nearly a second off the pace
in practise and were only fourth fastest in GT2.
Thorkild won the toss and would have a full set of
new tyres for the first session. His lap of 1`21.6" was good, but we were
only fifth fastest, nearly two seconds behind the lead Marcos of Thomas Erdos.
Next up was the Lotus of Ian Astley. These two had used qualifying tyres on the
left side of their cars; we had not. Third and fourth were the Marcos of Cor
Euser and the other Lister of Peter Hardman who was just 0.05" quicker
than we were. I was not over the moon at being fifth fastest, but I was
consoled by the knowledge that our tyres, although not super fast in
qualifying, would endure the race very well.
The plan was that I would start the race and stay
out for a long time. I would only pit earlier if a safety car incident
occurred, which did not prove to be the case.
At the start I immediately got in to GT2 fourth
position. At the Becketts esses, the two GT1's of Morrison and O'Rourke touched
and spun, (exactly as they had done in front of me at the British Grand Prix
event). I picked my way through this better than Mike Purvis in the Marcos and
was in to third position behind the Dutch Marcos of Calum Lockie and the Lotus
of Mike Youles. The three of us battled hard and it would have been very easy
to cause an incident.
I harried the Lotus for a few laps until he went
wide at Copse, allowing me to slip past. Lockie and I pulled away from him and
it was a two-way battle for the lead now. Obviously my tyres were good enough
to sustain racing pace!
Calum Lockie was driving firmly but fairly to
defend his lead, blocking the inside line under braking. His car was very good
at accelerating out of the corners so I was trying to out brake him at the end
of the straights. After several laps we lapped a slower car; Lockie going in
late to out-brake him at the Farm hairpin. I managed to squeeze myself
alongside both of them in to the apex, perhaps just touching Lockie and taking
the lead away.
I was ahead, with about 11 minutes of the 50
minute race elapsed. I got my head down over the next 20 minutes, to try and
pull away as much as possible. I missed setting the fastest GT2 lap of the race
|After about 31 minutes, I was the last GT2 car
to pit and I had about a 70 second lead. Our driver change was not wonderful
(22 seconds) but Thorkild still had a 16 second lead over Thomas Erdos when he
had completed his `out` lap. Erdos was catching Thorkild though and the track
now had a good deposit of engine oil on it. Thorkild was more reserved than
most on the oil, losing a lot of our lead over the Marcos. However, once the
end of the race drew closer he was able to fix our lead to about four seconds
which ensured our first win of the year! I had endured a tense time staring at
the timing monitor during the last part of the race, but all was well. The
Lotus of Astley came in third. It had been a very thrilling race.
Second in FIA GT.
This event was to be the
biggest of my racing career, certainly in terms of my team mates, Julian Bailey
and Andy Wallace. Ex Grand Prix driver Julian has the benefit of being Listers
full time driver and has done all the racing, testing and development with
their cars in the last two years. Andy Wallace has a CV that is beyond
description, including victory at Le Mans with Jaguar.
The car was newly rebuilt for this meeting, so
Julian had the lions share of the Friday practise and Saturday qualifying to
ensure that all was well. In fact, Andy and I had no more than 15 or 20 laps
each prior to the race itself.
The first session was obviously going to be the
one that would count, as it was a scorching hot weekend, making the later
afternoon session too hot for quick lap times. Andy did a three lap shake down
of the car and Julian took over for the rest of the session. Traffic spoiled
his first proper run, but on the last lap of the session Julian netted a superb
1.31.72; taking pole position by 0.49 seconds. I drove for ten laps in the
second session, on old tyres and old brakes, just to get more acclimatised to
Race, 3 hours:
We would run three one hour stints, in the order
of Julian, myself and Andy. Julian made a good start and lead the field, ahead
of the Amorim / Seiler Chrysler Viper and the Beretta / Wendlinger Chrysler
Viper in second and third. A five second lead was reduced later in the stint,
as lapping of back-markers started. Otherwise Julian's stint was
straightforward- until the pitstop
Julian pitted, closely shadowed in to the pit lane
by the No. 1 Viper of Beretta / Wendlinger, also in for it's first stop. A
Porsche was in the pit right next to the Lister pit, making it a fiddly job to
get the Lister stopped in position. Julian ran over a wheel gun from the
Porsche team, pulling their overhead gantry round. This then knocked over their
fuel rig, setting off panic all round. I was stood waiting to get in to the
car, with Lister boss Lawrence Pearce telling me to get in and a marshal
telling me to keep back because of the fuel rig danger. Finally I got in, the
fuel rig was righted but the car was jammed- a wheel gun stuck under a wheel.
Lawrence was screaming at me to dip the clutch because he thought it was in
gear etc, etc, etc
This chaos seemed to last forever- my pulse rate
was right up and my debut in the FIA championship was certainly starting
Eventually I was leaving the pit lane, with a full
tank of fuel, and new tyres. Even my drink bottle was connected properly. (It
would not be possible to drive for an hour without it!) To create even more
excitement, I got out on to the circuit with the effective leader, Karl
Wendlinger, immediately behind me. I fought on the cold tyres not to go a lap
down, and managed to fend him off. Once the tyres had `come in` I was able to
pull away and be the fastest car in the second stint of the race. To my
surprise I was only half a second slower than Julian Bailey, who had done his
best time with no traffic to pass. I was in ninth place when I joined the track
and clawed my way past Vipers and Porsches to get up to third position.
When I caught up to Franz Konrad in the
Porsche I accidentally nudged him under braking and went across the grass, but
we both re-joined.
|By the end of my stint I was exhausted with
the heat, but handed over to Andy Wallace with a clean pit stop. He went out
and put in a lap two tenths quicker than Julian had, but was forced to slow at
the end of his excellent stint to save the front brakes. We finished in second
position, just 25 seconds behind Beretta and Wendlinger, after three hours of
hard hot racing. If only we had not lost 90 seconds in the pit-stop
||This was still a great result and a very proud
moment for me; not forgetting the Hewland sequential TGT gearbox which was
superb throughout the race! Andy Wallace volunteered that it had a superb shift
`much better than the Audi (Le Mans car) or the Panoz`. Praise indeed!
RACE REPORT. PRIVILEGE INSURANCE GT. SILVERSTONE GP.
(Report by William Hewland)
event was a support race at the British Grand Prix, so the atmosphere was at a
high, as was the grid size, with 38 cars taking the start.
QUALIFYING: We used the first session to
just acclimatise to the car at this circuit. We found a few changes that we
wanted to instigate for the next session, which would begin with ten minutes of
clear track for GT2 cars only. Rob Schirle in the other GT2 Lister set a superb
time of 1. 51.14, which would stay as GT2 pole for the weekend. In the second
session, Thorkild Thyrring went out for the `clear` ten minutes on 2 new tyres
but was only able to set a 1.53.9. He was troubled by the braking set up which
was still locking up at the rear on him. I got in to the car and my softer
braking style seemed not to trouble the locking up situation. I set a 1.53.0. I
then pitted and put on two harder tyres on the left side so as to just get some
further running experience on the circuit, which actually produced a last lap
time of 1.52.4. We had qualified in second place (GT2) and eighth overall.
RACE: Our policy was for me to start the
race and stay out as long as possible, effectively waiting for a safety car
incident, (when pit stops are best timed) which we all felt was a likely
occurrence, given the large grid size. At the start, I got away well,
immediately passing David Warnock in the pole position Lister for the lead in
GT2. The GT1 field was bunched up and frantic ahead of me. I overtook John
Greasley in to Stowe corner and was in to sixth position overall. This lasted
for half a lap, before Greasley drove past me on the start finish straight. He
then collided with Steve O`Rourkes McLaren at Becketts, an incident which I
narrowly avoided being part of! At the start of Lap 3, I was in fifth place
overall and pulling out a good lead in GT2. In fact a safety car incident did
not occur, so I remained out for over 30 minutes. All we had to do was make a
good pit stop and press on for a comfortable win. At the pit stop, Thorkild
dived in to the cockpit, trapping the seat belt underneath him. We had
practised this driver change many times to perfection but the heat of the
moment always produces some difficult element or other. By the time we had
sorted the belts out, our pit stop had taken 26 seconds- disastrous, as we had
practised it in under 15 seconds. Thorkild hit the track with our lead still
intact but much reduced. A combination of Rob Schirles speed and the braking
issues that Thorkild suffered meant that we were overtaken with just a few laps
to go. The two Listers finished just a second apart at the end but we were
second, not first. A good result but not what we had hoped and expected.
Stop Press: It is now looking likely that
William Hewland will partner Julian Bailey in the GT2 Lister at theFIA GT
Championship at Donington Park, UK over the weekend 4th-5th September 1999.
The deal came together late
and fast, but myself and prolific Dane, Thorkild Thyrring are now team mates at
Lister for the rest of the season in one of their two excellent GT2 cars.
Things have come full circle, because it was I (at Donington in August 98) that
suggested Lister take their 1996 Storm model and make it into a GT2- Voila!
PRIVILEGE INSURANCE GT. BRANDS HATCH. 19/20.6.99 (Report by William
Friday practice was our only chance to gain experience of the car, which felt
fantastic, until an engine problem meant that the car had to miss the afternoon
sessions. Lister did a sterling job to have the car perfect again for Saturdays
qualifying session. Our main opposition for the weekend would be the other
Lister of Rob Schirle and David Warnock; already winners in a Lister at
Snetterton. The Marcos of Thomas Erdos and Andy Purvis was the other potential
worry. A dodge Viper has also appeared but is very new.
Qualifying: I spent two laps gently bedding in our new Michelins and was
a few hundred yards behind Rob Schirle in the other Lister. He set a fantastic
time of 1.25.8. Unfortunately, I caught him on my flying lap and had to lift
off; stuffing the lap. I went for another lap, but the session was red flagged,
so I had to back off through Clearways, but netted a 1.27.8. When the session
re-started, I improved to a 1.27.3, but the best had gone from the tyres due to
their first heat cycle. In the second session, Thorkild drove and we fitted two
new tyres on the rear for him. This enabled him to set an excellent 1.26.2 on
an un-troubled run. We were second in GT2.
Race: I would start the race. The AM racing McLaren was two cars ahead
of me, with its very slow second driver starting the race. I knew that this
would be a worry. At the start, there was chaos around the slow McLaren and I
came off fairly badly. At the end of lap one, I had gained places, including
passing the other GT2 Lister, but was several seconds behind the leading Marcos
of Thomas Erdos. I caught him up very quickly, but was then confronted with the
most zealous blocking tactics I have ever known. Erdos weaved down the
straights, lifted off halfway through corners and did all he could to hold me
up. Twice I was in a good position to overtake at Paddock bend, but yellow
flags meant that I had to back off. He was costing me up to two second a lap.
After 19 minutes the team called me in as it was a fruitless battle. Thorkild
took over and was soon battling with Rob Schirle. The Marcos made a late pit
stop, losing its lead to the Listers.
Rob passed Thorkild, who did a good job of staying with him thereafter.
Thorkild had had so few laps in the car at this point. As the tyres wore, the
brake balance began to need moving forward, because the rear tyres started to
lock up on our car. On lap 26, this caught out the very experienced Dane and he
made a rare mistake, locking up and spinning at Druids bend. The car was stuck
in the gravel and our race was over. Lister had a win in GT1 and GT2, but we
were not included. The car was great, but other things seemed not to go our way
this weekend- that's racing! Next round: Silverstone
GP 11.7.99, the race after the British Grand Prix.