- Simon Paice
Breakell Racing Kick Off 2023 Season With Great Podium Haul
Breakell Racing have enjoyed a fantastic start to their 2023 race season, securing podium finishes on the opening weekends of the Ginetta GT Championship and British Endurance Championship in recent weeks. Kicking off their diverse and exciting 2023 campaign with a run of six consecutive race weekends, the opening four of those featured the Ginetta curtain-raiser at Oulton Park, the BEC opener at Silverstone and the first two rounds of the 2023 Nürburgring Endurance Series (NLS).
The short trip south to Oulton Park in Cheshire saw Breakell Racing play a starring role in the inaugural round of Ginetta’s latest one-make series, the GT Championship, over the Easter bank holiday weekend (08-10 April). A new look driver line-up saw Ruben Hage, Carl Garnett and Karim Sekkat racing for the team for the first time. Hage and Garnett were behind the wheel of new Ginetta G56 GTP cars, while Sekkat was racing a familiar car in the G40 GT5. After showing promising pace straight out of the blocks in pre-season testing, Hage and Garnett carried that speed into the opening event as they superbly qualified third and fourth fastest overall. It was Garnett who got the jump at the start of race one, with a superb launch propelling him up to second place. The former Ginetta GT4 SuperCup racer produced a faultless drive from there to keep his pursuers behind and record his first overall Ginetta podium finish. He went on to repeat the trick in race two on Monday morning, another rocket launch taking from fourth to a podium finish in second. Luck proved to be against Hage in the opening two races. After being unfairly shoved onto the grass when challenging for the final podium spot on the last lap of race one, he then finished third on the road in the next outing before receiving a false start time penalty. Following those two fourth place results, the GT5 Challenge graduate got his moment in the spotlight with a stunning charge to second place in the closer, with just a red flag stoppage denying him a shot at the win. Garnett meanwhile finished fourth to sign off his best ever Ginetta weekend. Sekkat meanwhile has taken on the challenge of stepping up from the GT5 Am class, in which he’s enjoyed great success in recent years, to compete in the Pro ranks this season. Showing good progress with his pace across the opening event, his determined to succeed was rewarded with a podium finish in the final race. James Breakell - Team Principal: “I don’t think we could have asked for anything more from this weekend. To have all three drivers finish on the podium, and have a genuine chance at overall race wins with Carl and Ruben, is truly a fantastic way to start the year. “Carl will tell you himself he never expected to be picking up podiums after a year away from racing, but he was brilliant across the races. Ruben had some misfortune but showed his class to everyone in race three, while Karim just kept on improving every race and deserved his silverware too.”
After contesting a couple of events in the series in 2022, Breakell Racing are tackling a full season campaign in the British Endurance Championship this year with an exciting driver pairing of reigning overall champion Tom Jackson and Ameerh Naran.
With an eye-catching new livery on the team’s Mercedes-AMG GT4 courtesy of headline sponsor Vimana Private Jets, the new driver pairing got their season underway around the full Silverstone Grand Prix circuit last month (25 March).
Some pre-season testing ensured Jackson and Naran were ready to go for the first round, with free practice in the morning giving them some final preparation before qualifying. A good showing saw them finish up third in Class D, putting them in contention for silverware for the three-hour race.
Both drivers and the team went on to produce a great performance in the race, with minimal mistakes and a faultless run for the car allowing them to rise to ninth overall in the competitive field, which netted them a season-opening podium finish with third in class.
James Breakell:“We’re all very pleased with how the day went, it was a cracking first effort for the team and drivers. The pace is certainly there for lots of positive results in the Mercedes this season and we know where to make some improvements, so we’ll be ready to push on at the next round.”
Around the race events in the UK, Breakell Racing made a couple of trips to Germany for the opening two rounds of the Nürburgring Endurance Series (NLS) with their new recruit for this season, exciting young talent Harley Haughton.
Haughton, a title-contender in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge last year, has linked up with the team to make his racing debut on the Nürburgring Nordschleife. That journey began with the first two NLS rounds, in which the teenage talent piloted a new VW Scirocco with WS Racing, a long-time partner of the team’s.
The season opener (18 March) was Haughton’s first ever endurance race and his first time racing on the Nordschleife. The Stockport racer rose to the challenge superbly though, with a stunning performance in the race seeing him charge through from P14 in class to a high of fourth place, before his team-mates eventually brought the car home in seventh.
Haughton returned to the hallowed Nürburgring tarmac two weeks’ later (01 April) for round two, with constantly changing weather conditions providing a tricky challenge. He adapted superbly though, showing consistently fast pace across the sessions as he contributed to another top ten class finish alongside his team-mates.
The two clean runs and strong finishes mean that Haughton has crucially already done enough to upgrade his Nürburgring Permit to class A, which means he will be able to be part of Breakell Racing’s entry into the 24 Hours of Nürburgring this year in their newly-acquired Porsche Cayman.
James Breakell:“Harley [Haughton] truly is a fantastic young driver. Racing on the Nordschleife is a challenge unlike no other and he’s just taken it head on with no fear and done an incredible job so far. He’s getting faster and more confident with every lap and we’re excited to see what he can do in the upcoming rounds.”
Breakell Racing will be back at the Nürburgring tomorrow (15 April) for NLS 3, before a busy triple-header weekend (22/23 April) sees them stay in Germany for the qualifier races for the 24 Hours of Nürburgring, whilst the BEC season continues at Brands Hatch and the Porsche Sprint Challenge GB campaign begins at Donington Park.