The thoughts of Chris Gurton on motorsport, his photography, his work and his life in general. The thoughts, views and opinion's expressed in this blog are those of Chris Gurton and not necessarily those of any publication that he contributes to.

Crash Bang Wallop

It was an action packed weekend of motorsport and high drama all round. The Chinese Grand Prix was an exciting affair with Lewis Hamilton halting Sebastian Vettel’s early dominance and Mark Webber overcame a disappointment in qualifying with a great drive to claim third spot on the podium. Also, it was great to see Mike Conway win in the Indycar at Long Beach after recovering from his huge accident last year.

As for me, I was at Rockingham on Saturday for the second round of the MSA Britcar Endurance Championship before heading to Donington for rounds 4, 5 & 6 in the British Touring Car Championship. It was a great race at a Sunny Rockingham with the Eclipse Ferrari 430 taking the win after battling it out late on with the MJC Ferrari for the honours. The race reports can be read at The Checkered Flag and although they have not been posted as I write this, they will be available very soon.

The Eclipse and MJC Ferrari's Battled hard for the win at Rockingham

So on to Sundays action at Donington which gives me the topic of conversation in this blog post. I am talking about driving standards. There were so many incidents in both the BTCC and the Ginetta Junior’s both this weekend and the season opener at Brands Hatch that have bought the issue of the standard of driving in to question. There were a number of incidents during the racing and qualifying, including Jason Plato rolling his car three times after going off and hitting a bank which left drivers and teams alike extremely upset with lost points and thoughts of what could have been.

On Monday, fan favourite Paul O’Neill expressed his feelings on Twitter saying he was embarrassed to be a touring car driver, before stating that he and the other drivers were role models and should be giving a good impression. Also, the team boss of Ginetta Junior team Hillspeed has spoken out and condemned some of the driving standards in their series as totally unacceptable.

Paul O'Neill was squeezed wide and into the gravel at the Old Hairpin

We all know that there is a certain amount of contact that takes place in touring cars and other race series but how much is too much? No matter who is involved, you all must agree that being punted off by someone charging up from behind you as you brake for a corner because they want to gain a few places is hardly fair. However, some of the incidents arent solely due to drivers being overly aggressive.

The Ginetta Junior races can often resemble a banger race

Some have been caused by lack of awareness by drivers who are turning in on cars beside them or not being quite aware of what is going on around them. This also brings up a subject that I touched on in a previous blog about certain drivers. There are a lot of them who buy their way into a race series because of the money they can bring to a team despite their obvious lack of talent. Surely all drivers in the top race series need to have a proven track record. As for the Ginetta Junior drivers, the culprits seem to be those who have rich parents that are willing to fund their desire to be the next Lewis Hamilton despite showing little or no race craft knowledge. If they want to drive around smashing into people then may I suggest a far cheaper option of visiting the local funfair and having a go on the dodgems and leaving the racing to the talented youngsters with a desire to win fairly?

I don’t want to ruin the excitement and ban all contact but the line has to be drawn somewhere. It is unacceptable for someone to barge past others to gain a place without a care about putting the others in the gravel. I hope that something can be done to make it fairer with penalties such as grid drops, points deductions, points on licences or even race bans as punishments to eradicate poor driving and help separate the wheat from the chaff. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject so feel free to leave a comment.

Dave Newsham shows battle scars whilst Nick Foster was nudged wide at Craner Curves

All the race reports and news can be read on The Checkered Flag website along with some of my photos from the weekend so feel free to head over there.

Finally, if you like my blog, please vote for it in the poll held by Longlife Exhausts to find the best car based blog. Voting can be done here and I’d be very grateful.


3 responses

  1. Liz

    Is/will there be a rule applied to the Ginetta Cup about drivers and damaged cars? If it does resemble a banger race, surely that’s a good idea?

    Or further testing maybe? After the awful reports of the Seat women not doing very much for the brand, might it be worth while making it harder to get a racing drivers licence?

    They have done for younger drivers who just want to drive around town, would that extra awareness be good for racers?

    April 19, 2011 at 8:15 pm

  2. Nat

    It must also be frustrating for teams that don’t have as much financial backing behind them to suffer sometimes quite extensive and probably expensive damage. Or at least I presume so.

    April 19, 2011 at 9:32 pm

  3. Billy Earl

    The youngsters out there today have grown up watching Plato and Neal rub and crash into each other for the last ten years. Its always been part of the BTCC but it now goes to far imo. Rubbing is racing and should not be banned but it needs to be controled some of the areas it takes place now are riduculous and the drivers need to understand the dangers involved in forcing people of at high speed in these areas.

    April 20, 2011 at 7:18 am

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