Gary Simms Write-Up

Just over three weeks ago I had my first taste of the UKV8S machinery at Silverstone in the Britcar Trophy Championship. I’d been in regular contact with Rob Hedley who has been piloting one throughout the year, receiving regular animated phone calls telling how much fun they were! So when James Tucker was looking to field a second car I jumped at the opportunity! I have now competed at the Silverstone Int and Thruxton Rounds (last weekend) of the series and I’ve not had as much fun in a race car for quite a while. There’s a great comradery in the paddock, and I’ve been made to feel very welcome by everyone in the series. I’ve also enjoyed some of the best racing I’ve had for quite a while, enjoying a good battle with Rob Hedley at Silverstone until some unfortunate contact with another car forced him into retirement and a monumental race long battle with Martin Byford at the exhilarating Thruxton Circuit!
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Image by Paul Cherry
As for the V8 itself…. I’m sold! Ok, so they don’t have Traction Control, ABS, a seamless paddle shift or carbon fibre scoops & splitters bolted to every available part of its sizeable body, and consequently the lap-times produced will not be breaking circuit records anytime soon either! The V8 comes into its own as soon as you fire it up though, the 6.2litre V8 roars into life and I’ve not raced a car that actually attracts that amount of attention from fans in the paddock before you’ve even turned a wheel in anger! Out on track, you really have to drive it. It’s a big & heavy car with a lot of torque. Throttle control, weight transfer, patience, smoothness & big balls are all required to achieve a good lap time! Over both weekends I’ve enjoyed some great battles too, especially last weekend at Thruxton, where a third UKV8 was raced by ex Brit F3, GT, & BTCC racer Martin Byford. In identical machinery we enjoyed one of the best battles I’ve ever had in a race car, 30 mins of non-stop bumper to bumper, door to door racing, not a moments rest as we passed each other constantly, be it in the tight and technical chicanes or side by side through the huge commitment Church corner at 120 mph, the battle only put to an end when Martin pitted for his mandatory stop (never have I been so pleased to see a car enter pit-lane in my mirror!)
Image by Paul Cherry
Image by Paul Cherry
The package available to get involved with the UKV8’s is an attractive one, you have a brilliant seasons racing & a car to show for it at the end of the year, in a time when some Championships are becoming financially out of reach for the majority. The titanic battle I enjoyed with Martin has reminded me why we go racing, to Race! We were not the fastest cars on the grid, far from it, but I’d relish the opportunity to compete across a whole season in these fire-breathing beasts with 10-15 equal drivers, because as long as you all have the same equipment that’s all that matters, coupled with the fact that they lend themselves to close racing so very well, lots of power & very little grip, the right combination for a one make series. I’m already wanting to get back behind the wheel of a UKV8. As a fan of the sport, I really hope that this series takes off next year, as I think it will really capture the imagination of the fans at every circuit it visits, and in turn the interest of business looking to promote their products & services alike. Get involved everyone, & can I have another go please? Gary Simms