1999 - 2010
An introduction to New Zealander Neil Cunningham during the Winter of 2008 caused us to to re-think the decision not to race and we undertook a familiarization session. Neil was inthusiastic about the prospect of driving the C100, so we agreed to enter the car for the Silverstone Classic and the Nurburgring Old Timer.
Following a top and tail of the engine we made it to Silverstone and achieved a Class win and Second in the two races with Neil driving.
Nurburging 'Old Timer Classic'
Unfortunately, during the following week before departing for the German circuit, Neil had a call from the BBC to do some filming for them, so he had to decline the "Old Timer" event. All was not lost, as David Mercer generously volunteered to take over as Driver. With no previous experience of the car and mechanical problems encountered in the first race and a tyre deflating in the second, we were well down the field, but did manage to finish both races.
From Germany the Transporter was driven to Normandy in France from which location B.W.R. will now operate. Winter preparation of the car is proceeding, and the engine is currently being re-built ready for the Group C programme in 2010.
Following the untimely death of David Leslie, racing the C100 was suspended during this period.
Ford C100 at Silverstone 2007 for the 25th Celebration of Group C, it was also making its racing debut
Click on the photo above to read Sylvia’s comments on the Silverstone 2007 Race
With Bryan's retirement and subsequent closure of the Restoration business (DRL (Engineering) Limited) with all that involved we were unable to race during 2006.
JUNE 18th 2005 - LE MANS, THE LEGEND RACE
Both Tom and Darren McWhirter practiced the newly restored 1954 V12 Lagona. Neither had driven the circuit before, in fact neither had ever been to Le Mans before. With so few laps practice to learn the circuit we were all pleased to get 18th spot on the grid.
Tom took the start running across the track in the traditional Le Mans start but handed over immediately on completion of the first lap to Darren. He then set off at an ever improving lap time to make his way up the field, but then disaster struck exiting the first chicane on the Mulsanne with a deflated tyre - one of several in the race, so our race ended there with Darren spectating from behind the Armco.
At Le Mans for The Legend Race with Tom McWhirter at the wheel
SILVERSTONE, WSC MASTERS RACE
Our race with Martin Colvill's Gulf GT40 was combined with the faster of the Gentleman Driver's Race to give over 40 cars for the start. Jackie Oliver had put the car on the second row of the grid then midway through the race pitted for the compulsory driver change, in our case a sprint round the car by Jackie, belt up and off again. We had briefly held second place behind the Sytner Lola T70, but lost it in the heavy traffic, finishing third behind the Chevron B8 driven by Irvine Laidlaw. An excellent race for a car weighing over 1100Kg, brilliantly driven.
A jubilant Jackie Oliver receiving the cup for third position in the WSC Masters Race Photo courtesy: Linzi Smart www.smartpics.com
Another busy year preparing for the Le Mans Legend Race in June, this time we were taking the Swiftair Ecosse, perhaps for the last time, for it's small 13 inch tyres to tread the hallowed track once more since its appearance back in 1987 when it came 7th overall and 2nd in class wining the Index of Performance, travelling at speeds of over 200 mph on the Mulsanne Straight.
It was another hot Le Mans and we were delighted to have David Leslie, one of the actual drivers from those heady days back in 1987, to drive for us. He pedalled the car with all the skill of a professional driver to the very last lap when he was lying 7th overall, the same position as 1987, when disaster struck. The oil warning light came on and David, being sensitive to the car rather than seeking success, immediately withdrew on the side of the track. It was a bitter disappointment to Bryan Wingfield, whose ambition was to see the car perform well at Le Mans again, but at the end of the day, the car was in one piece and the damage to the engine, though significant, was not fatal.nay!
After an expensive engine rebuild we were back at Donington for the last race of the season with everyone's favourite - the Swiftair Ecosse. Will she nail her colours to the mast by proving her pedigree? We are again thrilled to have David Leslie at the wheel, but he was unable to make practice as he had a previous engagement at Snetterton. Starting from the back of the grid did not bode well, but we need not have worried because David's superb skill soon saw the little red car filtering its way through the back of the field. The excitement was tremendous and David eventually brought the Ecosse home in 2nd position overall and first in class in the final race - what a triumphant end to the Season!
June saw our annual pilgrimage to le Mans with Martin Colvill's Gulf GT40 to be driven by legendary Jackie Oliver, the 1969 Le Mans winner - what a combination! The race, organized by Duncan Wiltshire of Motor Racing Legends was the second in the series of 3 races over 5 years. The excitement on race day was tremendous with Jackie Oliver shaking hands with his old team mate Jackie Ickx.
Jackie Oliver and Bryan Wingfield at the Le Mans Paddock
However, despite a thrilling race when Jackie made it to 4th position on the penultimate lap he came together with David Piper in the chicane at the start of the pit straight and that was the end of the race for us. Fortunately Jackie was not hurt, it was only our pride that suffered with a DNF!
Following the Snetterton Charity Weekend in November 2001, DRL Engineering and Bryan Wingfield Racing moved to brand new facilities at Mid Suffolk Business Park in Eye, Suffolk. Hence for the first time since we were established in November 1974 all activities are housed under the same roof which will enable us to manage the restoration and preparation side of the business and integrate it with our racing activities.
The Goodwood Revival Race was next on the calendar, and we were running Sir Anthony Bamford's GT40 driven by old campaigner Willie Green. It was clear that it was not our day when Willie hit the floor with the accelerator pedal from the start line, having achieved pole position, and broke both gearbox output shafts and when the smoke cleared the car was still on the line.
Nonetheless, one can't help soaking up the atmosphere and our apprentice certainly enjoyed the day, dressed in period white overalls and hat. (that's the photo on the left!) JACK FOREMAN, our apprentice mechanic, wearing the cap, sadly passed away following a motorcycle accident on the 19th March 2005.
Donington saw the start of our Season in April, a month earlier than expected. Following frantic pareparation we only just made it with the Swiftair Ecosse and Zakspeed Probe. Tommy Erdos and Gary Pearson finishing side by side on row two of the grid following practice.
Tommy drove a great race to finish 2nd overall and 1st in class, not bad for a flat bottomed C2 car! However, the Probe was seen to be leaking fuel so it was the end of our racing with the Zakspeed for the weekend.
Following the earlier meeting in April, we decided to give Spa a miss and concentrate on the second Donington meeting in June with the same cars and drivers. However, Tommy was soon in with a misfire. A new recruit to the team, Sam Freeman from Tickford, diagnosed a failed electronic throttle position indicator (TPI). Careful work with a soldering iron repaired the broken wires but the delay meant we had not qualified and it was a back row start again for Tommy. Gary Pearson, unwell with a 'flu virus, made the 8th row of the grid and also had a mis-fire thought to be due to fuel-starvation. He retired after 3 laps and returned home to recover for his big event the following weekend at the Le Mans Legend Race.
So it was up to Tommy to uphold Team Honours and he did so in his inimitable professional style. From the back of the grid in Race 1 he stormed through the field to take 3rd place overall. Race 2 was a tactical affair as he only had to finish 5th to retain his overall 3rd aggregate and again won the C2 classification.
We headed for Nurburgring in August for the Old Timer GP and ran Martin Colvill's very original Team Gulf GT40 which ran faultlessly in both races finishing 11th and 12th. Martin achieved his personal best lap of Nurburgring in the race on Sunday.
We were also due to run the Zakspeed Probe but experienced problems with the ECU and clutch in the first race. By the following day both items were repaired and Gary Pearson, starting from the back of the grid finished an amazing 4th overall and first IMSA car home.
On the Monday we entered the Zakspeed Probe driven by Gary in the half hour Group C race. However, the rate of attrition was high in the previous 2 hour race so we helped swell the field by enterting the Ecosse, by which time the previous brake failure had been rectified. As it happened several of the cars which had failed to finish the Saturday race were back in service so the field was good. Tommy Erdos was driving the Ecosse for us and started from the back of the grid (he had not practiced having been driving at Oulton Park the previous day) moved impressively through the field to finish 7th. The Probe suffered water pump failure so Gary had to retire after 4 laps in 6th place.
The BRDC Silverstone meeting on the August Bank holiday weekend saw the final race of the season and involved both driver change and refuelling. The 2-hour Biritish Empire Trophy race ran into dusk and was the highlight of the meeting. We entered the Swiftair Ecosse driven by former Ecurie Ecose driver Mike Wilds partnered by Gary Pearson. At the end of the first 40 minutes, Mike came in to hand over to Gary and reported total loss of the front brakes. A brake bleed plus tyre change saw the mandatory 4 minute pit stop extend to 6 minutes, and we still had only half the brake system. This lost us 4 seconds per lap for the remainder of the race so we finished 7th overall and 3rd in C2.
The highlight of the weekend had to be the BRDC's '60s Sports Car Race which had the 1969 winner Jackie Oliver at the wheel of Martin Colvill's GT40. He showed he has lost none of his skills to win both races on Saturday and Sunday.
The Group C season started at Spa-Francochamps in Belgium when, during a wet practice session, we finished third on the grid in our Jaguar XJR-15 driven by Paul Chudecki. In the race, Gary Pearson driving the Swiftair Ecosse finished a fine 4th overall, 1st in C2. Paul Chudecki did the team proud by finishing 7th overall out of 28 starters in the XJR-15, and was first in class.
Flaming June at Donington saw Win Percy take pole position leading the field to the finish. This time Robbie Farmer in a Spice SE98C won C2, turning the tables on Gary Pearson in the Swiftair Ecosse.
At Silverstone with Gary Pearson particpating at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, we were privileged to have Tommy Erdos driving the Swiftair Ecosse to 1st place in C2 and a magnificent 5th position overall.
The AMOC ran a pilot race for Historic Group C at Donington which established the Series. The Team entered the ex Ecurie Ecosse 1986 C2 Swiftair Ecosse and Jaguar XJR15, finishing 3rd and 4th respectively, driven by Tommy Erdos and Gary Pearson. The Team's success encouraged renewed participation in the series which is now run by Group C-GTP Racing(www.groupcracing.com).