16 August, 2010
Rob and Matt Bell joined forces for the first time and duly claimed a class victory in a two-hour, two-driver Avon Tyres British GT Championship race at Silverstone today (August 15).
The Bells, who were born and raised in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, scored a comfortable one-lap G4 category win in the 120mins race which marked not only their respective debuts in the British GT series but also the first time either had raced a G4 class Ginetta G50 entered and prepared by Leeds-based United Autosports.
Rob set his fastest time on the third lap in the 30-minute qualifying session the previous day just before rain fell in earnest which meant the Bells lined-up on the 11th row, fifth fastest in class on the 25-car grid. Significantly, the United Autosports Ginetta posted the second fastest time in class in the raceday “warm-up”, Rob exactly matching his qualifying time.
Matt began the two-hour race staged on the 3.195-mile “Bridge” Grand Prix circuit and was up to third in class after 30mins and led on the one hour mark. He handed over to Rob on lap 32 placed second in class (seventh overall) during the pit-stop phase – the United Autosports Ginetta handicapped by a 45secs time penalty due to two-time GT Le Mans Series champion Rob Bell being graded a “platinum” class driver by race organisers.
The Bell United Autosports Ginetta G50 swept in to the lead on the final lap when the similar Century Motorsports car pitted to serve a penalty following an earlier pit-stop infringement. Making it a perfectly memorable day for the Bell family, Steve, the father of Rob and Matt, finished 20th in two Ginetta Challenge races over the weekend at the same venue.
#53 Remington – Ginetta G50
Qualifying: 5th (G4 class) / 21st (overall) Rob Bell, 2m 02.898s. Weather: Damp/wet, cloudy/rain.
Race Result: 1st (G4 class) / 15th (overall). Weather: Dry/bright.
Matthew Bell (GB). Age: 20. Born: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Tyne & Wear. Lives: Barningham nr Richmond, North Yorkshire:
“I made a good start, probably the best one I’ve made all year, and overtook two cars at the first corner. I was quicker through the corners than the Century Motorsport Ginetta, which was ultimately disqualified, but it had got the legs on me on the straights, I guess because he was running a low fuel load as he pitted long before me. I was getting hot in the car and so pitted for Rob to take over a little sooner than we’d planned after around 70mins. It was a great experience racing alongside Rob – I feel I learned a lot this weekend. It’s been a month since my last FIA GT3 European Championship race and it’s another month before my next one so it was important to get behind the wheel of a racecar again to keep my hand in.”
Rob Bell (GB). Age: 31. Born: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Tyne & Wear. Lives: St Helens, Lancashire:
“We knew it would be tough with Matt’s relative lack of experience in a Ginetta – a car which was completely new to me. But we didn’t panic, Matt & I just got our heads down and focussed on having a clean race with no incidents. Matt drove a very good opening stint and everything went to plan in terms of staying out of trouble and making a good, clean pit-stop thanks to the United Autosports team. It was great to share a car with him [Matt] and I’d love to do so again in the future.”
Richard Dean (GB), Managing Director & Co-Owner of United Autosports:
“It’s very pleasing for United Autosports to achieve its first class win in the British GT Championship on only our second outing in the series and our first with the Ginetta. With us getting a 45secs pit-stop time penalty, the only way that we could have won today, against very stiff opposition, was if the race had featured a Safety Car period or if one of our rivals made a mistake and the latter is what happened. We had a good clean race and made no mistakes. Matt and Rob faced some very experienced Ginetta drivers today and we came out on top.”