TUESDAY 6 APRIL 2010
DOUBLE PODIUM AT BGT OPENER DESPITE ZERO TESTING TIME
These days you can never really be sure what season it really is.

Sometimes it rains. Sometimes it's sunny. But you don't expect to have your new British GT race car, a Ferrari 430 GT3 Scuderia, no less, stuck in the workshop because snow is piled up at the door! Next thing you'll be getting is a volcano erupting somewhere nearby, ruining everyone's travel plans ;)

Lets rewind a touch.

At the end of 2009, Allan Simonsen was once
again voted best BGT driver, by Autosport Magazine – three years in a row. Certainly some people took the view that Allan should perhaps go off to greener pastures and that his talent was wasted in BGT.

The answer, is both yes and no. All drivers must keep driving as regularly as possible and despite BGT being a Pro-Am championship, it still provides drivers with an excellent way of keeping their skills razor sharp.

Whilst Allan competes in the Le Mans Series and Australian V8 Supercars, along with selected events such as Nurburgring, Dubai, Daytona and Le Mans 24, he does so as a professional.

To make it as easy to understand as possible: Allan gets paid to drive race cars. That is his professional life. He does not pay to race, as almost all others do. Finding a paid drive in a higher category like FIA GT1 or LMP within LMS or ALMS is neigh impossible without access to either your own massive budget, negating the title of professional, or having the chance of becoming a 'works' driver for a manufacturer. That's the plain facts. Very very difficult.

In effect, Allan is a 'works' driver, for Hankook, the Korean tyre manufacturer, which field his 430 GT2 in LMS and Asian-LMS, along with several VLN races. Take his co-driver, Dominik Farnbacher - he's in the same position. Also massively talented, he keeps his hand in with German domestic events, outside his professional schedule.

I think, as the writer of these race reports, on behalf of Allan, its valuable for readers to understand just how difficult it is to move championships and perhaps why it could be construed that Allan doesn't like BGT. Nonsense. That's just how true professionals are. Hard on themselves and always striving for perfection.


A week before the opening round of the 2010 BGT Championship, Hector Lester was sitting in the glorious sunshine, with his trusty engineer, John Buchan. In Melbourne, Australia, for the Formula One GT race.

Hector has shipped his 2008 BGT car to Australia for the 2009 Australian GP GT support race and left it there, to be sold. It didn't sell, so the thing to do was get it out of mothballs and race it. He almost may well have stayed at home for every race suffered safety cars and red flags, to the point that the 2nd of 3 races only got 300 metres before everyone had brain fade and crashed into each other, tearing up a couple of million Aussie dollars in the process.

Consequently, the new 2010 BGT missile, had no testing time. And then it snowed!

When Allan received a call from JB on Thursday night, saying don't bother coming at all, to Oulton, Allan was disappointed. His younger brother Benny, had managed to raise backing to race the new Abarth Trofeo 500 Championship and the inaugural event was a support to Allan's BGT race the same weekend.

"JB, the ticket is booked, so I'm coming anyway to cheer Benny on, said Allan dismissively. (And glad he was, with Benny taking pole, setting fastest lap and lap record, a 3rd and a 2nd, to finish 2nd outright for the weekend! - follow what Benny is up to here.)

BGT had now attracted two Audi R8 LMS GT3's and four 430 Scuds. The champiosnhip looked in great shape.

Thankfully, the weather abated, the transporter and Scud were freed of their cold surroundings and the first practice session, went smoothly, even if they were running in a brand new unit!

The focus was obviously on setup and the wet weather made it just that bit harder.

An opportunity to try the new Avons, in dry conditions, presented itself at the end of the session, with Allan topping the time sheets.

Allan went on to qualify on pole, whilst Hector put in a time that was good enough for 8th.

Race 1 was Hector's start and he did a good job of moving up to 6th, handing the car to Allan at the 23rd minute.

He soon moved to 4th, after disposing one R8 and an Aston. The 2nd Audi pitted, handing 2nd place, and put the brand new Porsche GT3R in the sights of the equally new Scuderia. But the Porsche was running low on fuel and soon he was 2nd. However, a 40 second gap to Matt Griffin's 430 Scud was an impossible task, with the Dane crossing the line 10 seconds in arrears.

Race 2 saw Allan leap off pole and focus on staying there. He's set a new lap record, but took Matt Griffin along for the ride. Hector climbed in with 23 minutes to go, but was slightly delayed in the pits, with sticking seat belts. Returning in 2nd, he held station for a double podium finish.

What a day! Double podium for Allan and Hector, with Benny Simonsen doing the same!

Next round is Knockhill but it clashes with the Spa round of LMS, effectively crushing his title chances, early. But like I said before, it all about keeping your hand in.