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Notes From The Launch
AF Corse, Blendini, UA

Amongst the throng at the British GT launch in Kensington on Thursday night were AF Corse driver Aaron Scott and Team Manager Ugo Maceratini, and DSC enquired how preparations for the season were going. “They’re going well,” began the Italian. “The car came over last week to our new base in Bedford, and we’ve just finished a very productive test at Oulton Park.”

“John [Dhillon] had a mega day at Oulton,” added Scott. “He improved his time over last year by four and a half seconds and is feeling confident in the car.

"There’s still work to do but it’s all positive at the moment.” How did the GT Open Winter Series race go? “We only did the opening round, and that was mainly to allow John to blow the cobwebs off after the winter break. It went okay.”

The choice of Bedford as a base for the team seems entirely appropriate, given the town’s ‘Little Italy’ district (although Maceratini seemed unaware of this), but how many of the team have come across from Italy and how many have been recruited over here? “50% are existing AF Corse and 50% are new guys,” he said. “I’ve been with the team for some time, but this is my first time as Team Manager so I’m a bit nervous; but I’m sure we can do a good job. If we can build up a good team then we have a good chance.

“We’ll start the season with one car and then see what happens – we’ll possibly have a second car at Silverstone as the British GT race takes place before the GT Open race there.”

A surprise entrant on the entry list unveiled on the night was an Audi R8 for Dom Evans and Tom Roche entered under the name PE Group Blendini Moto. Both drivers were at the launch, which presented the perfect opportunity to find out more about the team.

“Tom owns Blendini Motorsport and is the most successful club racer in the UK – I think he’s had something like 80 wins in the last three years – and we’ve got together to form this new team,” said Evans, who partnered Zoe Wenham in a GT4 Century Ginetta in 2012. “We’re both Welsh, the team’s Welsh, and we’ll be flying the flag for Wales – in fact, if we beat England in the Rugby next week, we might put the score on the roof!”

Evans and Roche

So how did his partner achieve his astonishing racing record? “I’ve been racing in the Ma5da MX5 Championship – which I won last year – and in Lotus Cup for a few seasons. I can’t remember exactly how many races I’ve won, but I was awarded the Autosport Golden Helmet for most race wins.” Blendini Motorsport fielded 12 cars in all competitions in 2012.

“We’ve been looking to enter British GT together for some time,” continued Evans, “so we’ve just bought an Audi and are looking forward to getting stuck in. It’s a 2011-spec R8 LMS, which we’ll be looking to upgrade as we go along. The Audi [theirs being the ex-Nigel Mustill car] is a very good car and probably the most reliable. 

“I didn’t show what I could do last year and made a few mistakes, but I’m sure that will change having Tom alongside me in 2013. We want to surprise a few people!”

So recent was the purchase that the team haven’t yet taken delivery of their new car; “We pick the car up on Wednesday and then will be testing at Silverstone on the 15th,” said Roche. “It’s going to be a challenge, but a very exciting one!”

Finally, a couple of snippets of news from United Autosports: With the opening British GT round clashing with the FIA GT Series meeting at Nogaro, Rob Bell will be deputising for Alvaro Parente in the team’s #23 McLaren alongside Zak Brown in Cheshire; meaning we will get to see the Bell brothers racing against each other for the first time.

The second bit of news isn’t so positive, unfortunately, with Richard Meins incurring four broken ribs after a testing crash at Oulton Park in the #24 MP4-12C. How this will affect the start of his season remains to be seen, but we wish him a swift recovery from his painful injury.