Promise and pace unrewarded for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK at Brands Hatch

Promise and pace unrewarded for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK at Brands Hatch

25.05.2021: Strong showing from Speedworks Motorsport-run squad in British GT opener Scott McKenna and John Ferguson prove potential of Toyota GR Supra GT4 Cheshire-based outfit confident of fighting for glory over remainder of campaign

•    Strong showing from Speedworks Motorsport-run squad in British GT opener

•    Scott McKenna and John Ferguson prove potential of Toyota GR Supra GT4

•    Cheshire-based outfit confident of fighting for glory over remainder of campaign

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK was one of the leading contenders for honours in last weekend’s British GT Championship curtain-raiser at Brands Hatch (22/23 May), and whilst ill-fortune denied the team the result its performance deserved, hopes are high for a successful season ahead with the Toyota GR Supra GT4.

The Speedworks Motorsport-run outfit is embarking upon its second campaign with the Supra in British GT’s fiercely-disputed GT4 category in 2021, and following a series of productive test days behind the wheel of the striking 430bhp sportscar, drivers Scott McKenna and John Ferguson headed to Brands Hatch’s legendary ‘GP’ circuit in bullish mood.

McKenna – the first member of the new TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK Young Driver Programme – duly laid down a marker by topping the GT4 standings in the second free practice session. The 19-year-old Yorkshireman then teamed up with Ferguson to qualify second amongst the class’ Pro-Am entries – a position the latter maintained in the opening stages of the race in tricky damp conditions the next day.

The 47-year-old Irishman was pacing himself and remaining within a second of the GT4 Pro-Am leader when he was suddenly tagged from behind at Hawthorns on lap eight and sent spinning into the gravel. With the damage to the Supra’s suspension too great to repair, it was game over less than a quarter-of-an-hour into the two-hour contest, leaving the Northwich, Cheshire-based outfit to regroup and prepare to fight back in round two at Silverstone on 26/27 June.

Christian Dick, Team Principal, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK, said:


“I think it’s fair to say that up until lap eight of the race, the weekend was going extremely well and we can take a lot of positives away with us. We arrived at Brands Hatch feeling really up for it after a constructive pre-season testing programme, and that optimism was immediately backed up by the timesheets. The Supra was mega and looked really sharp in its new livery, and we were bang on the pace throughout.

“Both drivers clearly feel comfortable and confident in the car, and as a pairing they are working together very well. Scott was quickest amongst the Pro-Am competitors in his qualifying session, which allied to John’s similarly strong turn-of-speed put us firmly in the mix.

John was then doing everything we had asked of him in the slippery conditions at the beginning of the race, holding position and sticking right with the Pro-Am leader, so to be blamelessly taken out in an accident that really shouldn’t have happened – especially so early on – was hugely disappointing.

“After his practice and qualifying form, it was such a shame for Scott that he never got the chance to show what he could do in the race as he was really fired-up for it. He has made a big impression both within the team and in the championship in general, and is more than justifying his selection for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK Young Driver Programme. There is a lot to come from him this season.

“Despite the end result, we still feel very buoyant moving on to Silverstone next month. We had a two-day pre-season test at the circuit that went very well, and we secured pole position and fastest lap there last year, so we’ll return fully focussed on finishing the job that we started at Brands Hatch.”

Scott McKenna, Driver, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK, said:

“Clearly it was a frustrating way to end the weekend, but that didn’t detract from the overwhelmingly positive feeling inside the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK camp leaving Brands Hatch.

“Overall, it was a really promising first event of the season. We proved that the Supra is quick and that we are capable of challenging up at the sharp end in GT4. We were strong from the outset and fastest outright in the class in FP2, and at the end of the day, the incident on Sunday was just one of those things that unfortunately happens sometimes in racing.

“We came away from Brands Hatch having learned a lot, and John and I have already established an excellent working relationship with each other and with the whole Speedworks crew, figuring out how to get the best out of everyone to really drive the whole team forward. The most important thing is that the Supra felt great, and we will use this disappointment to spur us on. Going to Silverstone, I think we will be in very good shape to fight for the podium.”

John Ferguson, Driver, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK, said:


“It’s a very competitive GT4 field in British GT this year, and I think we have shown we will be a force to be reckoned with. Going into the weekend, the longest race I had previously driven was 35 minutes and I’d only competed around Brands GP once before, so I was driving well within myself initially to ensure I safely completed my stint before handing the Supra over to Scott. That was the plan, at least...

“I was staying within touching distance of the Pro-Am leader just ahead and beginning to settle into my stride when the driver behind tried a move that could very easily have taken both of us out – Hawthorns really isn’t the kind of place where you expect somebody to dive up the inside like that. It was a shame for Scott more than anyone, as he never got to show what he can do in a race situation.

“Saying that, it’s important to focus on the positives, and the whole team did a great job to give us such a fantastic car. It’s obviously all ifs, buts and maybes, but given how things panned out, we would probably have been on for a top two finish overall in GT4, which is really encouraging. It was unfortunate that we couldn’t demonstrate our true potential in the race, but we are very much looking forward to doing so next time.”

Russell Atkins- photos Ebrey


25.05.2021 / MaP

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