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Chevron’s 2013 Racing Programme Takes Shape

Mark Howson has already written of the acquisition by David Witt of the Chevron Cars project and the plan to take the pretty little mid engined sportscar forward.

Now though we can also bring forward some details of the plans that the factory has to race both the GT3 and GT4 cars.

Mike Pickup was a regular here on DSC, and indeed with its predecessor sites through his efforts and successes with his own PK Sport team. 

Now he’s been installed as the Team Principal for the racing arm of Chevron Cars Limited, based at some impressive new premises in Crewe “just down the road from Bentley”.

“I’ve been here since 2 January and the aim at the moment is to get a full race team together by the end of February.

“The aim is to field a factory race team in support of what David is doing with the production GR8 car.  We’ve seen them racing in a one-make series, and in GT racing and part of the plan now is to put the development in to properly engineer and market the car as a road or road/ race car.”

It will perhaps be a surprise to many, familiar with Pickup’s Southern twang, that he is actually “a Northerner born and bred, from just down the road from the Chevron factory in Chester.”

And he’s happy to be working close to his roots, in particular with the facilities that the new company is offering.

“The new factory is just fantastic, really impressive.  You just need to take one quick look and you can see immediately that they are super serious about this programme.”

That level of serious intent is important to Pickup, this the man that took his small club racing team all the way up the racing ladder to race at Le Mans 4 times and to contest full seasons of racing in the ALMS too. 

Robin Liddell, Alex Caffi and Fabio Babini were amongst the pros fielded ‘back in the day’ with Piers Masarati cutting his racing teeth with PK alongside David Warnock, Mike Youles, Gregor Fisken and current WEC men Paul Daniels and Tracy Krohn who also did battle for Mike Pickup’s popular team.  Here are messrs Caffi, Krohn, Pickup, Liddell and Hugh Plumb - and a Pirelli popsie - on the grid at Sebring in 2004. 

“I was looking for the right programme to come back with, I’d folded PK Sport in 2004 and then my Porsche retail business in ’07.  For once in my life I got the timing right and sold it just before the recession hit – then I did what many of us would love to do, had some great times with the family before finding that the bug was biting again.”

That led to a low key return as team manager with roles at Motorbase Carrera Cup (2010), Scuderia Vittoria (2011) and last year with United Autosports in British GT.

At Chevron though he’s back to being the boss and he’s already formulated the team’s outline race programme for 2013:
 
“Britcar gives us the endurance format we want to prove the pace and reliability of the cars.  We should be in for the full season with David (Witt) in the GT4  and Jordan (Witt) in the GT3 car.

“There are lots of discussions underway about who will partner them for the season but no definitive decisions quite yet.

“We’re also looking to slot in as many non clashing GT Cup races as we can, a different format and another that we want to show that the cars are suited to.

“Aside from that I’m interested in the Dutch Supercar challenge – it has good grids. Seems very well run and has lots of potential customers for us to show the car to.  I’m keen to look closely as Spa and Zolder in particular.

“Then there are the other events – the GT3 car was the fastest up the hill at Goodwood last year and I hope we get invited back to defend that.  We want to be at the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power too, and at Chris Evans’ event at Oulton Park.

The aim is clear, to get the Chevrons racing and displaying in front of as many prospective customers as possible, and the ambition down’t end for this project with a domestic programme.

“We’re fully aware that if this is to ultimately prove successful you have to grow the market, that means looking at emerging potential in the Far East and/ or in South America.  How that is going to emerge for us as a company is yet to be sorted, but it’s an exciting time to be here!”

If you’re interested in contacting the team about the factory racing effort or indeed about anything to do with the Chevron GR8 drop a line to team@chevrongtcars.com