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David Witt Acquires Chevron Cars
Big Plans For The Future

The Chevron GR8 has become a familiar sight in GT Racing in the UK over the past couple of years, thanks largely to the investment made by businessman David Witt. He and his son Jordan, along with Anthony Reid and Ray Grimes, have raced the cars in GT Cup and British GT, with 2013 seeing the introduction of a GT3 model.

David Witt (right) with Ray Grimes

As 2013 dawns, Witt senior has made another significant investment, to the extent that he now owns Chevron Cars Ltd in its entirety; “It’s part and parcel of moving the racing side forward,” he told DSC over the phone from a snowy Cheshire. “The link up with Roger [Andreason] has been perfect for us and this deal means we now own the intellectual property rights for the cars.”

The new arrangement sees Chevron Cars Limited – the ‘modern’ side of the business – wholly owned by David Witt, while Andreason and Tim Coleman continue as majority shareholders in the ‘historic’ division, henceforth to be known as Chevron Heritage Limited. Witt also becomes a director and minor shareholder in Chevron Heritage.

“This is one of those very rare “win-win-win” situations," said Andreason. "Tim Colman and I will continue to develop the historic side of the Chevron business to the clear benefit of the owners of historic Chevron cars. David Witt will have total control of the manufacture and support of current specification cars. So we win, David wins and more importantly the owners of Chevrons, new and old, win.”

So what’s the plan?

“We’ll be focussing on developing the range of racing cars with the aim of creating a ‘ladder of progression’ for our customers,” said Witt. "This means that we’ll be offering a basic GT model, which is the current GR8, a GT4 version with a 2.3 litre engine and upgraded gearbox, and the GT3 with its V6. We’ll be dropping the ‘GR8’ from the title in order to simplify things. So this means that our customers can begin racing at Club level and easily progress up the GT ladder with us at a cost considerably less - probably a third of the price - than having to buy a McLaren or the like.”

Would it be fair to say that racing the GT3 model last year led to a challenging year?

“Last year was all about testing. We had decided that we weren’t going to offer the car for sale until we had ironed out the kinks, and I insisted that we did our testing in public – you can do all the miles you want on a sunny circuit in the South of France, but you have to put the cars under pressure to find out how they really perform, and that means racing. We’ve ironed out the faults and now know what works and what doesn’t and can now focus on adding other features that our customers like, such as traction control and ABS; although Jordan said ‘Don’t you dare put those on my car!’ – he much prefers to drive with direct feedback from the track.

“The whole idea is that I can sell a car to a customer and not have to pick the phone up on the Monday morning to explain why the car’s broken down! I’m a businessman who goes racing, and a lot of our future customers will be in the same position. They will want to go racing with a strong and competitive car with the expectation that it won’t let them down; that’s why we ‘overengineer’ each of the models – the gearbox, brakes, etc. are deliberately rated beyond spec for that level of racing with the intention that they never fail.”

The details of the racing programme will be revealed in the next few days, including a new team principal who is very well known to DSC readers, but Witt did reveal that; “It’s going to be an exciting and very busy year for us – I’m just trying to work out how many times my wife and I are going to see each other at weekends this year, and it isn’t going to be very often!” he laughed.

“Aside from our own racing programme, we are expecting to see several of our cars running in both GT Cup and Britcar in 2013, now that we’ve built up enough stock to sell cars ‘off the shelf’. We’ll also be testing the roadcar and should have first visibility of that by Easter. This will be a trackcar that you can drive on the roads, rather than a roadcar that you can take to the track; in other words, you can drive it to the track and thrash it around all day before driving home, whereas it may not be the best car for a four-hour trip across country.

“We’ve recently moved into our new workshop in Crewe, which have a ‘Red Bull’ level of quality, and we’re looking forward to working there.”

It is clear that David Witt shares a passion for racing akin to that of Ginetta owner Lawrence Tomlinson, and both have translated that into a business model that works both for them and for the customer. We’ll be following the Chevron story with interest over the coming months.