Championship win for Ramair’s Jamie Sturges!
After a few weeks off (I thought it was just F1 that had a summer break!) and a couple of sneaky test sessions, it was time to dust off both of the Ramair cars for a full-on weekend of racing.
First it was the trusty Seat Eurocup car, which had a date at Brands Hatch on the Indy circuit for the Classic Sports Car Club New Millennium race – a 40-minute battle against an eclectic mix of cars from 2000 onwards. Our class included Porsche Caymans and a brace of Lotuses.
The day started hot and just got hotter, so tyre management was going to be an issue throughout. Qualifying was interrupted and shortened by two major accidents, the second seeing a Ginetta destroyed at Paddock Hill bend. Fortunately we believe both drivers were OK. 2nd in class by just 0.015s saw Jamie take the rolling start alongside the leading Cayman, but 12th overall put us on the high side of the track which also transpired to be the dirty side, with Paddock Hill still covered in debris from the previous race. A few places lost for us and a number of other cars was like shuffling the pack and the close action that ensued was the highlight of the race for many.
As the race unfolded in the searing heat, the attrition to cars and competitors was high and 13 more cars failed to finish. 5th at the finish, a lap up on the Cayman, gave us the Class B win, just ahead of Andrew Rath in his Lotus who was pushing hard and coming back at us in the last few laps.
Then it was back in the van and off to break out the Golf TCR for the main event of the weekend – rounds 7 and 8 of the Castle Combe GT Championship, on Monday.
Starting the day with an 11-point lead and 21 on the table, Jamie only had two title rivals left who could mathematically catch him. Kevin Jones in his immense Noble and former champion, Ollie Bull in the insanely quick space-frame Tigra.
A lot of the recent testing has been to simulate qualifying, producing fast laps right from the start, and it paid off putting the Golf 7th for the first race and 6th for the second; in each case next to the new G55 Ginetta of Chris Everill, but with a Gallardo, E46 M3 and Westfield Aero sitting ominously behind.
The rolling starts of true GT racing take away the lottery on the grid and in race 1 a solid jump on some of the other cars gave us breathing room in the mirror and a chance to chase the Ginetta. Closing every lap as the heat took its toll on everyone’s tyres, the catch looked likely; the pass less so. Ultimately, fast aero cars are hard to pass at Combe and we finished 5th but Bull had expired putting him out of contention, and Jones had come 2nd to Lucky Kiera’s McLaren 650S, meaning that Jamie needed just 1 point to secure the title with a race left to go.
Just needing to finish to win should have meant a controlled drive, but our driver isn’t wired that way!! The second race saw Jamie jump the Ginetta at the start and set off after the Factory Audi R8 LMS car of Keith Fletcher. Lap after lap the times dropped, until on lap 12, he broke the Class lap record, and then on the final lap of the race he pushed to the limit and carved it down again to 1:08.869 taking the Overall Combe GT Title in doing so. You can watch the in-car video of the final lap HERE
Jamie and the engineering team from Zest are out again this weekend, once again amongst the mighty Aston Martin GT Challenge cars at Snetterton, hoping to repeat the giant-killing success of the last round at Brands. Watch this space for the full report.