06 August, 2010
“Geordie brothers” Rob and Matt Bell join forces for the first time to contest a two-hour, two-driver Avon Tyres British GT Championship race at Silverstone on Sunday (August 15) bidding for class honours.
The Bells, who were born and raised in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, will not only be making their respective débuts in the British GT series but it will also be the first time either brother has raced a G4 class Ginetta G50 that will be entered and prepared by Leeds-based United Autosports.
Matt, aged 20, is in the middle of his first full season in motor racing, driving for the newly-formed and American-owned United Autosports team in the FIA GT3 European Championship. Meanwhile 31-year-old Rob is a “veteran” of car racing for over 12 years and is contesting the Le Mans Series for a fifth consecutive year having been a two-time GT LMS champion.
They start the two-hour race for GT sportscars staged on the 3.185-mile “Bridge” Grand Prix circuit at Silverstone aiming for G4 category victory.
“Rob and I will be going for the class win,” confirmed Matt who lives in Barningham near Richmond, North Yorkshire, and is currently studying for a history degree at Northumbria University in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. “We will be a little down on power compared to some of the other Ginettas which have an engine upgrade so it will be a difficult task but we are too competitive to aim for anything other than the top step of the winner’s podium on our British GT Championship débuts!
“We’ve never raced together before but it’s always been a dream of mine to drive with Rob – hopefully this will be the first of many. My ultimate ambition is to drive and hopefully win, the Le Mans 24 Hours with him. This is my first full year so there will be a lot I can learn from Rob.
“I’ve raced a Ginetta G50 on two previous occasions and never one in G4 specification. I have only competed at Silverstone once before and that was in the opening rounds of the FIA GT3 European Championship in May. It was very much a learning weekend having only found out two weeks earlier I had the Audi drive.”
For Rob Bell, it’s a return to the famous venue that has been good in terms of results and is naturally eagerly looking forward to driving with brother Matt.
Rob, who currently lives in St Helens, Lancashire, said: “I last raced at Silverstone in the Le Mans Series 1,000km last September where I achieved a class victory. The Northamptonshire venue has been kind to me in my GT career, winning my category in three LMS races plus podium finishes in two FIA GT Championship races I did there.
“The main aim of this race is to get Matt some more track time and build up his experience. His career is in its infancy and the more races he can contest the better. It will be a weekend of racing with much less pressure than normal for me and I'm really looking forward to that but as in any race, I will go there to win.
“I was Matt’s mechanic in some kart races so I know we will work well together. In terms of sharing the car we will have no issues at all. He is the same height, build and we have the same mentality. So as long as he does everything I want and say we will be fine!
“I have seen Ginetta grow in to an excellent British race car manufacturer. I saw the first drawings of the G50 and know the design team well. I know what a great, well thought out car it is. I've also seen the time and effort that went into making it work and am looking forward to racing one.”
United Autosports was formed last winter and actually made its race début by contesting the opening rounds of the 2010 British GT series at Oulton Park (April 5) with a brace of Audi R8 LMS sports cars. It is co-owned by Richard Dean who Rob Bell worked with earlier in his career.
Rob added: “I first drove for Richard [Dean] in 1999 and made my Le Mans 24 Hour race début for him in 2007 – he is someone I've always looked up to.”
Dean reflected: “Rob scored some great results and I had a fantastic time with him. He is one of the best, if not the best British driver currently competing in GT racing while Matt has bags of potential. I'm interested to see how they work together in their first race as team-mates.”
Steve, the father of Rob and Matt, makes it a truly “family affair” by also racing a Ginetta in a support race at Silverstone over the same weekend.