International racing team RAM Racing is leading the 2015 24H Series after a second place finish in the second round of the championship, the 12 Hours of Mugello, with its #30 Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 and drivers Tom Onslow-Cole (GB), Adam Christodoulou (GB) and Paul White (GB).
The all-British line-up started from third on the grid thanks to a qualifying time by Onslow-Cole. After four hours of racing yesterday afternoon (Friday 13 March), the team had worked its way up to first place. When the race resumed this morning, the trio became embroiled in an ongoing fight for the lead that lasted for several hours and climaxed with a wheel-to-wheel battle between Christodoulou and the #7 Porsche.
However, a queue at the fuelling station combined with unfortunate code 60 periods brought the battle to an end and caused the team to lose more than a lap. It was a gap RAM Racing reduced but ultimately was unable to close, leaving the #30 Mercedes – one of seven SLS AMG GT3s in the race – to cross the line in second place and with it take the championship lead.
“We came here for the race win but we’ll take second, as we have achieved our ultimate goal of leading the championship,” commented Team Principal Dan Shufflebottom. “It wasn’t that we had bad luck, it’s just that the winners had some good luck and that’s just how it goes, we can’t complain.”
“The strategy was good, the pit crew were flawless and the drivers did exactly what was asked of them, so I can’t ask for more than that.”
Onslow-Cole and Christodoulou returned to the team this weekend, following a second place finish in Dubai 24 Hours, the opening round of the championship, two months ago. However, it was White’s first time with RAM Racing and his debut race in an SLS, but he didn’t fail to impress by regularly lapping faster than some of the professional drivers on-track alongside him.
“Paul did a mega job,” added Shufflebottom. “To have an amateur driver as strong as him is a huge asset to our team – that’s where we can make the most time up compared to our competitors.”
The consistently impressive driving and strong strategy of the RAM Racing Mercedes meant it finished nine laps ahead of the third placed car, an identical SLS, something Shufflebottom says is testament to the team.
“In honesty, our car isn’t suited to this track, but we worked hard and got the most out of it – to finish so far ahead of all of the other six Mercedes SLS AMG GT3s show how well the team did.
“Going into round three of the six-race championship in the lead is perfect – we’d love to take the inaugural 24H Series overall honours and add to our ELMS championship win from 2013.”
The team, which is also contesting the British GT Championship with a second Mercedes SLS AMG GT3, will return for the third round of the 24H Series, the 12 Hours of Zandvoort, on 30 May.
International racing team RAM Racing is leading the 24H Series 12 Hours of Mugello after four hours of competition with its Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 and drivers Tom Onslow-Cole (GB), Adam Christodoulou (GB) and Paul White (GB).
The race, which is the second round of the championship, is split into two sessions - four hours on Friday afternoon and eight hours on Saturday. At the close of the first session, RAM Racing is in first place thanks to a strong strategy and solid performance from all three drivers.
“Well, that all went to plan!” commented Team Principal Dan Shufflebottom. “We had a good strategy and all three drivers did exactly as was required. The plan was to finish today in first place, with a near-full tank of fuel and with a good set of tyres, and we have achieved just that.”
Race regulations state that cars must stop on the grid under parc ferme conditions until morning and that changes to fuel and tyres cannot be made before the restart. However, a driver change is permitted so Tom Onslow-Cole, who qualified in third place earlier today, will be first out in the car.
“The restart will be tricky, there are more than 70 cars, all on cold tyres, on a potentially frosty track,” explained Onslow-Cole, who has a contract to drive for RAM Racing for the 2015 season. "There's still a long way to go in race, but we're leaving the track tonight in the best position possible."
RAM Racing first ran the 6.3-litre Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 in the Dubai 24 Hours two months ago, taking second place overall. This weekend, it has its sights set on the race win with a view to taking the championship-lead.
“It’s important that we don’t get over excited,” commented Shufflebottom. “There is a long way to go but we got off to a textbook start and that’s all we can ask for at this point. It’s time for a pizza and an early night so we can come back and start tomorrow where we left off. The race win is our goal.”
The second session of the 12 Hours of Mugello starts at 0930hrs CET tomorrow (14 March). Fans can watch at www.24hseries.com.
International racing team RAM Racing will continue its 24H Series championship campaign this weekend (13/14 March) as it takes on the 12 Hours of Mugello with its Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 and is looking to repeat its podium success from the season-opener in Dubai two months ago.
The Silverstone Park-based team will once again have its professional driver Tom Onslow-Cole (GB) behind the wheel of the 6.3-litre machine and the 27-year old will be joined by Dubai 24 Hours team-mate Adam Christodoulou (GB) and experienced GT driver Paul White (GB).
"We had a great result in Dubai and Adam and I gelled really well, so we were keen to carry that on into the championship," commented Onslow-Cole. "Paul is a great addition to the team and, as he has driven here before, he will hit the ground running, I’m sure.”
"It was great to be asked back," added Christodoulou. "The race in Dubai was awesome, to get a podium in such a tough race when you have never run that car before shows how quickly the team adapted, how well the drivers performed and how good the car is! We need to go out and do the same again this week in Mugello."
To round out the all-British line-up, seasoned GT racer and endurance racing expert Paul White will join the team and together they have their sights set on the overall win.
"Although I'd never driven the RAM Racing SLS Tom and Adam assured me it's a great bit of kit," commented White. "I know the team well but I've never driven with them so there are a few new aspects to the weekend. However, I've raced the track before and taken class honours here so I'm confident together we form a package that has a good chance of winning."
The team, which has just announced it will also run a full season in the British GT Championship, is looking to take the outright win this weekend. On a grid of 73 cars, including 12 GT3s, team principal Dan Shufflebottom knows that staying out of trouble on the narrow Mugello track will be key to securing maximum points and taking the championship lead.
“I’m confident that we have the best team and driver line-up and our car is very well prepared but, with 73 cars on track, we need to make sure we stay out of trouble,” he commented. “We have entered this championship to win it and we want to put ourselves in a strong position early on by securing maximum points and taking the lead.
“We’ve contested Dubai 24 Hours several times, but never any other races in the championship. So far, we’ve been very impressed with the series organisers and we’re looking forward to a great year of racing.”
The 12 Hours of Mugello takes place over two days with a four-hour session on the afternoon of Friday 13 and continuing with the remaining eight hours the following day.
Fans at home can watch the race live at www.24h-series.com from 1330hrs on Friday and 0930hrs on Saturday.
Internationally renowned race team RAM Racing has entered the 2015 Avon Tyres British GT Championship with its Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 and drivers Lewis Plato (GB) and Alistair MacKinnon (GB).
The team, also running in this season's 24 Hour Series, is best known for its 2013 European Le Mans GTE class championship-win and will contest the full SRO-run British GT Championship starting with the opening round at Oulton Park in Cheshire next month.
"It's great for us to be entering a new series," commented Team Principal Dan Shufflebottom. "The British GT Championship is very strong right now so we were keen to be a part of it. We had great success running the SLS in Dubai 24 Hours, our debut race with the car, putting it on the overall podium against some teams very experienced in running it. To me, this is testament to our team and it gives me confidence that they will embrace this new challenge in a similar way."
Also new to the championship, Plato and MacKinnon are feeling confident that they are with the right team to do the job. 22-year old Plato, who secured outright victory in the 2013 Radical SR3 Challenge before going on to take before going on to win the Sunoco IMSA 200 Challenge commented: “British GT is going to be a brilliant experience and I can't wait to get started on what will be an exciting new development in my career.
“I’ve got a fantastic team-mate in Alistair, he has a strong understanding of GT racing that will help me massively in my learning year. I want to develop as much as I can and I am really excited about getting out in the new car.”
MacKinnon is returning to the British GT Championship and, having driven the Mercedes SLS AMG GT3, believes it is will enable them to have a strong first season together.
“I am absolutely thrilled,” he commented. “To be given the opportunity to return to GT racing was one that I grabbed with both hands. Ever since I first drove the Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 I knew it had potential to be a great car. I am looking to build on my experience from the British GT Championship and, together with Lewis and Ram Racing, I am confident we can have a great season.”
Together, the duo will be battling it out for the highly-respected overall championship honours, aiming to rack up points in each of the five rounds.
"The key to this championship seems to be consistency," continued Shufflebottom. "Drivers have taken the overall championship win having only won one race all season. This doesn't mean that we aren't going to race to win, it means we are going to be smart and play a clever game to ensure we take points from each race - there is no room for error in such a competitive field and we need to hit the ground running."
The team will be at the official British GT Championship media day at Brands Hatch on Wednesday 25 March where they will run the Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 on the Indy Circuit configuration.
The first round of the championship takes place at Oulton Park on Monday 4 April. Tickets for race day are £18 when bought at www.outlonpark.co (http://www.oultonpark.co.uk/calendar/2015/april/british-gtf4) .uk (http://www.oultonpark.co.uk/calendar/2015/april/british-gtf4) or £25 when bought on the gate. Under-13s can enter for free and senior citizen concessions apply.