Yet another podium finish for Team BRIT (British Injured Racing Troops) in Round 3 of the 2015 Endurance Racing Series (ERS) at Donington Park (2 August) bolstered what has transpired to be a highly positive year for Newbridge Motorsport, although an opening lap incident involving Frenchman Guillaume Gruchet tainted the weekend somewhat.
Gruchet was quick to optimise the setup of his Newbridge Motorsport-prepared Porsche 997 GT3 Cup and dial himself in to the East Midlands-based circuit during free practice, in which he set the fourth fastest time before earning a spot on the third row of the grid for the three-hour endurance race later that afternoon.
With more entries than ever before, Gruchet would have his work cut out to maintain his and Newbridge Motorsport’s 100 per cent podium record in 2015, but all hopes of finishing the race were dashed in an instant when a spinning Radical RXC sent the field into disarray and resulted in a catastrophic collision with a concrete wall for Gruchet.
The French racer was able to walk away from the scene of the incident completely unharmed, a testament to the strength of his Porsche, which sustained severe damage, including a cracked chassis.
However, there was cause for celebration on the other side of the Newbridge garage, as Team BRIT – a team of injured ex-military service personnel – went on to bring their Volkswagen Golf home in fifth position overall and at the top of their class to record a third podium finish in as many races.
There was doubt that their engine would hold up after reliability issues during a recent outing in the MSA British Dunlop Endurance Championship at Donington Park, but the team went into the unknown, avoided the first-lap calamities and ran a steady and comfortable race to win their class.
Two members of Team BRIT now boast National A race licenses and are well on their way to upgrading to a full International racing license that will enable them to compete in the highest echelons of motorsport, including the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) and achieve their ultimate ambition of contesting the world’s greatest race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“Despite losing Guillaume (Gruchet) on the first lap through no fault of his own, everyone was still really positive, as Team BRIT continued flying high on their road to Le Mans,” said Newbridge Motorsport Team Principal, Richard Tovey. “Guillaume was unfortunately caught up in somebody else’s accident, sending him into the wall. We essentially lost a chassis in that collision, but we’re thankful that he was able to walk away. The car will need to be re-shelled, which we can do fairly quickly once we receive the parts.
“Fortunately, Team BRIT came through to win their class and finish fifth overall and we managed to keep the engine going, but I don’t think we can perform anymore miracles on it and will need to find a replacement. It’s great to see them do so well and upgrade their licenses, because it means they’re on course to reach the ELMS next year and then the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2017.”
Newbridge Motorsport is excited about the prospect of welcoming new drivers to the fold as the team takes its next step on the road to Le Mans, with LMP3 seats still available and the possibility of fielding a two-car assault on the 2016 European Le Mans Series (ELMS).
Parties interested in Newbridge Motorsport’s European Le Mans Series (ELMS) campaign should contact Richard Tovey:
Phone – +44 (0) 1296 682652
Mobile – +44 (0) 7795 421611
Email – email@example.com