Winning start for Invictus Games Racing F Type

Winning start for Invictus Games Racing F Type in British GT Championship season opener at Oulton Park

Oulton Race1 Gt4 Pa Podium 3

Matt George and Steve McCulley drove a simply awesome opening round of the British GT championship race at Oulton Park. The pair came away with a win in GT4 Pro-Am (6th overall) for race one. Then the team managed a double podium with 2nd in GT4 Pro/Am (3rd in GT4 overall) in the stunningly presented Invictus Games Racing Jaguar F-Type sponsored by the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club.

Following the superb results, the Invictus Games Racing team were able to enjoy the fruits of their labour following the engineers and mechanics digging deep over the winter months to strip and rebuild the cars to rid them of the issues the team had encountered during their first season.

Given the excitement up and down the field, it is testament to the maturity and focus of Steve McCulley and Matt George that they managed to keep out of trouble and bring the Jaguar home unscathed.

Steve McCulley and Matt George now lead the GT4 Pro/Am class and are placed joint second in the GT4 overall championship.

Friday spotlight ticket winner viewpoint

Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club ticket giveaway winner, Jerome Norris gives his account of his day at Oulton Park.

“As a lifelong Jaguar fan, I bought my first Jaguar, a 2.4 Mk 2, in 1968 and have owned Jaguars ever since. I could not have been more delighted to be the lucky winner of the Paddock Passes for the Easter Bank Holiday British GT Championship racing at Oulton Park.

I have a huge admiration for the Invictus Games and all the good work that goes on throughout the year supporting the boys and girls of our armed forces who have suffered life changing injuries serving our country.

Add these two passions together and I could not have been a happier bunny on Easter Monday heading off in my suitably shiny S-Type to Oulton Park in Cheshire. I am fortunate in living only 12 miles from the circuit, said to be the most picturesque of all the circuits, hidden away down twisting country lanes.

The passes for my wife and I were provided by the Invictus Jaguar Racing Team and handed to us as we arrived, by a team member. On a gloriously hot day, the event was very well attended with thousands of racing fans looking forward to a full schedule of racing throughout the day. We were not to be disappointed.

With two British GT Championship races scheduled for the day with a further ten supporting races there was plenty to see, hear and do. The paddock area, although busy and bustling, offered an extraordinary insight into what goes on behind the scenes of racing at this level.

A walk along the pit lane presented us with the opportunity to meet the Invictus Team and the car 44 drivers, Steve McCulley and Matthew George. Amazingly calm and friendly they showed complete confidence in their mission. Meanwhile the team of technicians laboured heroically in the hot conditions to prepare the car for the second race.

The Invictus Jaguar Racing Team have shown themselves to be capable of significant achievements in the future. They provided us with a memorable day at Oulton Park and we thank the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club for the opportunity.”

Race 1

Starting in 16th (3rd in GT4 Pro/Am class), Steve made up a number of places as soon as the lights went out on the rolling start, however, an early safety car on lap two of Race 1 kept the field tight for ten minutes.

Firstly, there was a spin for Mark Farmer in the number 2 TF Sport Aston Martin on lap two. Then, a major incident occurred when the man who started the race on pole, Ian Loggie in the number 6 Ram Racing Mercedes was hit by pursuing Ryan Ratcliffe in the Team Parker Bentley at Hislop’s Chicane. Ratcliffe hit the brakes late, locked up and collided with the side of Loggie’s Mercedes ending the race for both of them.

Loggie’s Mercedes stranded in the middle of the track and had already been bumped by the Aston Martin of Mark Farmer who was still recovering from his earlier spin.

As soon as the safety car pitted, it was immediately full on again for Invictus Games Racing. A solid stint saw Steve bring the car in for the team’s driver change with them 2nd in the Pro/Am class and only a few seconds off the lead group of GT4 cars.

After a very slick driver change, Matt George was out and instantly on the hunt, less than a second off the class leader. After a few laps tussling, George managed an extraordinary overtake round the outside of Martin Plowman’s Aston Martin. With his tyres incinerated by the heat of the track and brake pads wearing fast, George managed to bring home the team’s Jaguar 1st in the GT4 Pro/Am class and 6th overall.

Race 2

With George starting Race 2 as the first driver, like McCulley had done in Race 1, he immediately gained a number of places from the start. Another early safety car kept the grid closed up, but this time George was right at the front, 2nd in GT4 Pro/Am and 3rd overall. As the race approached the half way point and the mandatory pit stop period, one of the Aston Martin GT3 cars went off the track and got beached, so the safety car was called out again.

With some quick thinking by IGR Team Principle James Appleby, he called George into the pits under the safety car, so the team was able to change drivers within the safety car window. McCulley was now 2nd in class and second overall. For 15 minutes he was only a second down on first place, but there was a lapped car in between himself and the leader, which he could not get past. With one of the Ford Mustangs driven by American Pro Scott Maxwell in third and aiming to get past, McCulley put a foot wrong on the exit of turn one, which put him into a spin at 130kmh. Incredibly, even after completing two 360º revolutions, he managed to avoid the barriers and re-joined the race seamlessly, although he’d lost the lead group and was overtaken by a McLaren who was in forth. In the final couple of laps, he managed to catch up the lead group and ended up 2nd in class and 3rd overall.

For more information visit https://invictusgamesfoundation.org – you can donate to the charity by buying one of our raffle tickets to win an F-Type – Click here for more details

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Oulton Race1 Gt4 Pa Podium 1

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