Breezemount Motorsport: You have to love Motorsport to put up with Motorsport!
January 18, 2013 by Stuart Parker
What better way to open my new blog with a racing paddock quote ‘you have to love motorsport to put up with motorsport’. It is fair to say that no matter what level you compete or work to, that quote holds true. After all, if you didn’t do it for love there would be no motivation spending late nights preparing cars or reasons for drivers spending tormenting hours going through the motions in various machinery seeking the chalice of the perfect lap. As I too confess my love for the sport then what better way to blog about the racing going-ons within the bubble of Breezemount Motorsport.
We are a small circuit racing team with impressive machinery competing at club level on our Irish shores. The team principal Philip Shields heads up the company as a means to quench his passion for speed on 4 wheels, sourcing niche race cars to compete or to sell on. My job is to look after the operation day to day, from rebuilds, to engineering competitive lap times on the circuit. 2012 was a busy year for the team and a personal goal for driver Philip Shields was finally cracked. If we go back 5 years when Breezemount Motorsport was in its infancy, Phil took on the franchise for Juno sports prototypes as we were already competing 2 Junos in the Irish Formula Libre championship. It was at this stage that the seed was sown for Phil to attempt breaking the outright lap record at our home circuit Kirkistown. You see, our Juno TR400 was a quick beast, spec-ed by us to include paddleshift and adjustable traction control to keep some control over the bragging 400 horsepower engine that wears a Mountune badge on its cam covers. When talented Irish racer Wayne Douglas clocked 6th tenths off the outright record during shakedown testing in our Juno, it became Phil’s goal as a club racer to chase the outright record whilst competing in rounds of Irish Formula Libre. We also took on some new directions with our racing as Phil sought other interesting projects, a
Ferrari 360 Challenge opened up the GT class at Kirkistown to our current Seat Leon SuperCopa for saloons. However the outright record always remained as a tantalising record breaking question mark.
The spaceframe Junos were soon moved off to fine homes as a carbon sculptured beauty took their place. The Tatuus Formula Master, not bought to take the outright, but to train for the outright, a bang-up-to-date mid tier sector single seater with all the aero bits honed in a wind tunnel. Learn to drive the wheels off this and surely a step up
to massive horsepower machinery will be a less daunting task. During that season when we were getting to grips with the master, Phil managed to source cars easily capable of breaking the Kirkistown lap record (certainly in the hands of a pro-driver), a deal was done and a week later two first generation Dallara GP2s where sitting pride of place in the workshops of Breezemount. GP2 is the feeder series to F1, so the cars naturally have some parallels that run alongside F1 car architecture. Nothing is simple running or driving these cars, clearly demonstrated with an engine that requires protocols 2 hours long before a morning fire-up. You have to remember that Dallara purposely designed these cars to be hard to drive, a true test for young pilots seeking F1 stardom. So this was a goal not to be rushed, neither Phil nor I wanted a crashed GP2 car in our hands as replacing pre-preg carbon is a super costly affair. We knew fine well that a gradual programme of finding speed and confidence must be gained first in the 250 horsepower Master before stepping into a 600 horsepower F1 pretender whilst maintaining a forgiving car set-up to instil faith in mashing that throttle pedal.
March 2011 saw Phil’s first outing in the GP2 at Kirkistown and the whole process of finding speed and confidence was again put into motion. We took the wise move of drafting in much appreciated wisdom from Team Ireland A1GP champ and former GP2 racer Adam Carroll and most recently Formula Nippon Champ Richard Lyons. So the laps continued as we all gained confidence with the GP2, the whole team getting slick running the car. Of course now and again, the dallara reminds us all its an F1 pretender by throwing the odd erogenous electrical sensor glitch that shuts all systems down. When the car is in that mood then its best put her back in the truck and go home. Eventually with more man hours massaging the cars ego, we are back on the track taking a crack at the outright title on the last race of 2012. All I can say is that I duff my hat to Phil, a true club racer with a belief he could tame a GP2
and set a new outright record, job done….51.105 seconds with an average speed 106mph. A very proud moment for the team as a lot of hard work from all corners was
Now as we move to 2013, we intend to continue on with our Irish Formula Libre and Saloons campaign, and with great news that Phil has plans to dip a toe into the racing scene outside these shores with a new race car, a Ferrari 458 Italia Challenge; jaw dropping gorgeous, best describes this Maranello edition. I also intend to keep you up to pace with my experiences within the dizzy club racing world of Breezemount Motorsport here on motorsport.ie and give anyone willing to read my blog an insight into the sport that requires loving to put up with it.
In the meantime, stay warm