British Endurance Championship: Hawthorns Motorsport return to TVR with Team Holden Racing
Hawthorns Motorsport, Britcar stalwarts and overall ‘GT’ Champions in 2008, are re-entering the British Endurance GT Championship 2012, but with major changes afoot.
Having run for several years under Neil Garner’s preparation team, the Hawthorns Porsche 997 is now up for sale as part of a re-organisation. Plans are well advanced to return to the series with the stunning 6.2 litre TVR Sagaris V8 GT, built and run by Team Holden Racing.
The tie up sees the Hawthorns’ team owner/driver Rod Barrett and owner/manager Diane Barrett returning to their TVR roots, Rod having cut his teeth in the infamous TVR Tuscan Challenge back in 1995. The combined team is a ‘tale of two couples’ with Team Holden Racing run by Andy and Yvonne Holden. Andy completes the ‘ex-Tuscan’ main driver line-up.
Hawthorns Motorsport has been trying to find a way forward since long term driver Jan Persson announced his semi retirement and attempts to secure a substitute driver to take his place were unsuccessful. In hindsight replacing the irrepressible Persson was perhaps an impossible task and a different route was therefore required to get the team back out on track.
The new venture with Team Holden Racing ticks all the boxes with the car a proven and reliable example of the breed, built to an exacting specification. It has run successfully through its development period in the Dunlop TVR Challenge, AMOC Super GT and Dutch Supercar Challenge securing several podiums and wins. After running faultlessly though testing the car is now ready for the challenge of longer endurance races. Team Holden will run the car, with the new venture likely to work alongside Neil Garner Motorsport at the Britcar rounds, due to the strong and long term connections that exist between
The main drivers will be Andy Holden and Rod Barrett with Jay Shepherd , (ex TVR Tuscan championship runner up 2002) joining for longer races. The team will enter selected rounds of the British Endurance Championship this season, commencing on 2 June at Brands Hatch, with potential for a full Championship challenge in 2013.
Hawthorns Motorsport’s Rod Barrett: ‘We enjoyed the reliability of the Porsche but running costs in an endurance format were high and Jan’s retirement prompted
us to reconsider our approach to racing. Having tested the TVR we were immediately impressed at the pace and driveability of the car. We had some fabulous times in the Tuscan Challenge and it’s great to be back in a TVR again.’
Team Holden Racing’s Andy Holden: ‘We’re delighted to combine forces with Hawthorns. We’ve all been great friends for years and whilst we’ve talked about doing some racing together for some time, the circumstances have never been right. We’re now able to combine the endurance experience of Rod, Jay and Jan with an exciting and fast addition to Britcar, in a package which we expect to be very competitive.’
Press release 26th August 2011
It is with great and considerable regret that Hawthorns Motorsport today announces the retirement from racing of Jan Persson…… read more
GT class 3 Champions 2009
Rod Barrett, Jan Persson and Jay Shepherd
Porsche 996 GT3 Cup
Seven races, 2 x 1st in class, 3 x 2nd in class, 1 x 3rd in class, and 1 x 8th in class ( in the Britcar 500, which we are trying to forget about) no DNF’s for the second season in a row, 1 x fastest lap in class 3, finished 3rd in the Overall Britcar GT standings so didn’t quite retain the main title.
A big thank you to Neil Garner and his team, yet again they provided us with a faultless car, thanks to Porsche for building a car that can take everything you throw at it, and finally, hugs, kisses and heartfelt thanks to our Hawthorns Team Manager, my long suffering wife Diane, who apart from all the other things she does, made sure that we didn’t pick up lap penalties, by standing in front of the car at every pit stop – woe betide the driver that didn’t follow instructions!!!!
Hawthorns Motorsport was formed in 1997 and was originally a division of Hawthorns (Farnham) Ltd, TVR Main Dealers from 1996 until the end of 2003.
We purchased at that time, a 1996 used racecar, which was driven successfully by Jamie Campbell-Walter (pictured right), a young and extremely talented driver who was destined for bigger and better things.
The team was at that time run by Colin Blower Motorsport who had been involved with Tuscan racing since its inception back in 1989. and having the best-prepared cars in the series. We had no fewer than 17 wins and 24 other podium finishes during the last few Tuscan seasons.
Hawthorns Motorsport is run by Rod Barrett who was Managing Director of Hawthorns but he has now retired from that role in order to run the group property company, Farnham Estates. The Hawthorns dealership continues however albeit in smaller premises, and under new management, It was in fact sold to Ex Sales Director Jonathan Sproule and to Rod’s son in law Jason Smith who between them run the business from new showroom and workshop premises at Station Hill Farnham.
Our original star driver JCW moved to FIA GT in 1999 and became world champion FIA GT in 2000, having been awarded a top drive with the Lister works team. We are of course delighted to have played a significant roll in JCW’s progression to the top echelons of motorsport.
In 2002 we ran 4 cars, Rod Barrett in 29, Jan Persson in 28, Jay Shepherd in 27 together with newcomer Steve Moore in car 26. Jay Shepherd was appointed as our number one driver and he proved beyond any doubt that he was worthy of his place. Jay took seven outright wins, four second places and four third positions and despite three dnf’s finished the season as runner up in the Carlube 2003 TVR Tuscan Challenge, which is the highest position the team ever achieved.
Jay Shepherd receives the 2002 second place trophy
2003 saw Hawthorns Motorsport reverting to a two car team with Rod Barrett driving car 29 and Jan Persson in car 27. The occasional guest driver joined us for a race or two, Lawrence Tomlinson drove car 27 at Croft finishing in 5th and now runs his own team in British GT’s, but in real terms, the team was run for the pure fun of it as we saw 2003 as the last proper season for the TVR Tuscan Challenge. TVR engineering Ltd , who owned and ran the Challenge seemed to be loosing interest in continuing the highly successful, but ageing series and Hawthorns Motorsport officially withdrew from racing TVR’s at the end of the 2003 season.
2004 became a sabbatical year as both original drivers had pressing business commitments and decided to take the time to consider new ventures for 2005. However, TVR decided to keep the series running albeit on a much smaller basis but having sold all the cars during the first few months of the year, there seemed little point in becoming involved again, As luck would have it, the opportunity arose to buy back the 27 car, complete with a “paid for” engine lease at a very reasonable price, and this allowed the team to join in for the last 3 rounds of the series. The Tuscan Challenge was “officially” retired by TVR at the end of the 2004 season, much to the horror and dismay of it’s many fans and dedicated followers.
In 2005 Hawthorns Motorsport ran in British GT with a newly acquired car, a BMW Z3M Coupe run via the original preparation team, Colin Blower Motorsport but in June 05 the team transferred to the EERC Britcar series as the BMW was just not competitive in BGT. We also changed preparation teams to Moore Racing, already an established team in the TVRCC Challenge and Britcar. See www.moore-racing.com for full details. We made as many alterations that we reasonably could to the Z3M, but were still unable to find the pace needed to have any real chance of being competitive, we did however achieve several podium finishes but despite this, we knew that we needed to look for a more powerful
The 2006 season revolved around the British GT series The BMW Z3M Coupe GT was sold and the team concluded terms for the purchase of a 2004 Porsche 996 GT3 Cup car from the highly successful Motorbase Performance team based at Brands Hatch and run by team owner, Dave Bartrum. See: www.motorbaseperformance.co.uk Motorbase Performance therefore became the preparation and support team for Hawthorns Motorsport for the 2006 British GT season. The Porsche proved very competitive but so was the BGT series, we were up against some of the very best teams and drivers in the country and although we did gain a few very respectable finishes, as a small team, we were well below the budgets needed to make any real progress in such a high profile series. We could also see that as far as the “Cup” class was concerned, there would not be a place for us in the 2007 season as BGT was moving away from this class in order to concentrate on GT3
The 2007 season saw a return to the EERC Britcar series for the full championship, and a new preparation team, Neil Garner Performance Engineering, see; www.neilgarner.co.uk however, problems arose at the very beginning of the season and our start date was seriously delayed. Of the 8 rounds available, we could only compete in 5 starting in mid June at Spa. We finished the remaining races in the 07 season and managed to collect some silverware, 1st place in class at Castle Combe!! Plus a few podium finishes, remarkably, we finished 4th overall in class, and only a few points short of a
championship podium finish.
2008 saw Hawthorns Motorsport again competing in the EERC Britcar series supported by it’s preparation team, Neil garner Performance Engineering. It became a very special year for the team as not only were we able to claim the class 2 Britcar championship, we also won the overall Britcar GT title and now have the right and honour to run in the 2009 season as car no: 1. So, 2009 now becomes the defence of the title season and if our luck holds, perhaps we can look forward to back to back wins and another title to add to the