RML Drivers take on Britcar 24 Hours. Issued September 6th
Trio in Britcar 24 Falcon
regulars from RML's sportscar team take on the challenge
of the Britcar 24 Hours at Silverstone this weekend. Mike
Newton and Thomas Erdos - more familiar as the driving duo
aboard RML's MG Lola EX264 - will be joined by Adam Wiseberg,
Motorsport Director at AD Holdings, as well as one other
as-yet-unconfirmed fourth driver, in Mike Newton's Ford
car last saw active service, albeit briefly, in the 2003
Nürburgring 24 Hours (above), when the Falcon was an
early retirement after only one session of free practice.
On that occasion the fourth driver was the unfortunate Chris
Maries, whose untimely relationship with the Armco rendered
the Australian Ford unfit for purpose - at least as far
as a 24 hour race was concerned. With a V8 ripped out of
its mountings by the impact and the engine block cracked
in two places, there was no going on. "That was our
second engine," said a disconsolate Mike Newton, overseeing
the repair attempts, and with no spare and no time to source
one, the Falcon was quietly put to sleep.
2003 the Falcon has been fully reshelled around an all-new
monocoque and the massive V8 engine rebuilt to generate
over 600 bhp once again. Soon after Newton and Erdos took
victory in the Donington Park round of the Le Mans Series
in the MG EX264, they were back on track in the Falcon -
a very different kind of car, as Erdos soon rediscovered.
"It's great to see Mike's Falcon resurrected once again!"
he said, apparently with genuine enthusiasm. "Last
time I saw the OZ Tourer, it was looking a bit the worse
for wear. It doesn't do to argue with the Nordschleife barriers
. . . and the Falcon certainly came off worse! I was supposed
to drive it that weekend but never even got a chance, so
I had only done three laps around Spa in the Falcon until
last Thursday, when we tested at Croft."
This particular Ford Falcon is a little over ten years old,
having been built in 1995 by (and for) Dick Johnson, the
Australian Touring Car legend. "The engine has a lovely
tune to it," purrs Erdos. "It's spectacular too,
and it's great watching the car under braking, when flames
shoot out of the exhaust pipe after the downshifts. There
are no fancy electronics, no sequential gearbox, no downforce
. . . and frankly none of that matters. It's great fun to
drive !" Over 60 cars are entered for the Britcar 24,
and the Falcon will be up against some serious opposition,
including the likes of the Rollcentre Mosler and Adam Sharpe's
much newer Falcon, but that's of little consequence to the
RML trio. "We know the car won't be a competitive machine
amongst the current Britcar entry," conceded Erdos,
"but that's not what this is all about. This is an
exercise in going back to why we all got involved in motorsports
. . . to have bags of fun!"
and Tommy have been racing together for almost five years
now, and expectations of what the two-times Le Mans winning
partnership can achieve shouldn't be coloured by their exploits
in the MG EX264. The Falcon is a very different beast, although
it could yet pull a few surprises. It will, however, be
another opportunity for the two to co-drive. "Sharing
with Mike is something that comes second nature to me now,"
said the Brazilian, "but for this race I am delighted
that I'll also be sharing with Adam Wiseberg. He has been
a key player in all our racing activities since 2002 and
he's also a very competent driver." Wiseberg has raced
occasionally in the British GT Championship, as a co-driver
in the Emotional Engineering Vauxhall Monaro (recently withdrawn
from the Britcar 24 line-up), but perhaps enjoyed his most
successful contemporary GT race aboard an RML Saleen S7R
in the 2004 Spa 24 Hours, co-driving with father-and-son
Ray and Michael Mallock.
yet the team, known for the weekend as Vision View,
is being tight-lipped about the name of their fourth driver,
but the squad will be complete in time for practice and
qualifying on Friday. We leave the last word to Erdos. "
This is going to be lots of fun but, make no mistake, we
will do our best to bring the Old Falcon across the finish
line on Sunday . . . and who knows, we may upset a few people
in more modern machinery!"
information on the Britcar 24 is available at www.eerc.co.uk,
and if you fancy attending the event, print out a copy of
the voucher below and then hand it across at the gate. You
should then receive £5 off the normal admission price
of £25. Better still, book tickets in advance by telephoning
Silverstone Circuit on 08704 588260 and quoting
Brit 06 in order to gain admission for just
£15, courtesy of www.dailysportscar.com.