- Simon Paice
Breakell Racing Impress On Ginetta Debut
Breakell Racing enjoyed a fantastic debut weekend of Ginetta competition at Thruxton (08/09 May), with a standout performance seeing Max Coates qualify on the front row and challenge for a podium finish in the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge.
The Lancashire based team enjoyed a brilliant first outing in their dual programme in Ginetta’s around the fastest circuit in the UK, with Coates’ stellar display being backed up by a great car-racing debut for Aqil Alibhai in the Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship.
Despite having not have raced a Ginetta G40 for almost ten years, Coates was immediately in the battle at the top of the timesheets in qualifying on Saturday. Using all his years of experience to tame some tricky conditions, he sensationally finished second fastest overall.
The former British Touring Car Championship racer initially slipped to fifth in the opening race, but he fought back superbly and was up to second within two laps. Posting the fastest lap of the race, he was right in the middle of a thrilling four-car battle for the lead.
Unfortunately a moment at Church corner cost him a deserved podium result, but the Yorshireman still came home a brilliant fourth overall. He would start in the same position for race two and put in another strong showing as he competed live on ITV4.
Slipping back to sixth on the opening lap, Coates was right in the thick of some close battles once again in the P11D Organiser backed car. Getting his fair share of TV coverage as he fought wheel-to-wheel with his rivals, he was on course for a top five finish before slipping to 11th on the last lap.
Alongside his racing, Coates was also serving as driver coach for Alibhai, who was embarking on his first ever weekend in car-racing. After a positive pre-season testing programme, the talented young racer went on to enjoy a promising debut weekend in car-racing.
The South African racer got reacquainted with the ‘Hampshire speedbowl’ during a 15 minute free practice session on Saturday morning, before going on to enjoy a positive run in qualifying that afternoon to secure 21st and 19th on the grid for Sunday’s two races.
Thruxton is renowned for serving up incredibly close racing in the Ginetta Juniors and this year was no exception, with Alibhai finding himself in the thick of the action in race one. Impressing with his racecraft in some fierce battles, he moved up three places to 18th at the finish.
Unfortunately the 14 year old’s chance of improving on that result in race two was immediately hampered by contact from behind on the opening lap. Spun to last place, he got his head down and posted some competitive lap times as he worked his way back to 24th.
James Breakell - Team Principal: “It’s been a fantastic weekend! We’ve loved being part of the Ginetta paddock for the first time, the racing was brilliant, while we enjoyed the spectacle of racing on the British Touring Car Championship support package.
“We knew heading in to the weekend how talented Max is, and he showed that throughout. To have one of our cars up there battling for the podium in our first race was great and he deserved to come away with some silverware, but we’ll certainly take a fourth place.
“We’re really happy with Aqil’s performances. For his debut weekend in car-racing around a tough track with constantly changing weather conditions, he applied himself very well and took everything in his stride. It’s a great platform to build on for future events.”
Breakell Racing’s 2021 season continues in two weeks’ time (22/23 May) when the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge joins the British GT Championship at Brands Hatch, with Sean Peters making his series debut, before the Sports Prototype Cup season opener at Silverstone a week later (29/30 May).
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.