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Warren Hughes - Now available for 2013

The experienced pro racer is open to offers
 
With the recent announcement that Team WFR’s British GT programme has been suspended, and with Murphy Prototypes yet to reveal any plans for 2013, Warren Hughes currently stands in the ranks of professional racing drivers looking for a seat.
 
“I've been talking to a number of teams in a number of different categories,” Warren admitted recently. “I’m obviously keen to do Le Mans again, but I’ve also been focusing my efforts on British GT and European Le Mans Series. However the new format of the ELMS, with races reduced to just three hours, makes them only really suitable as two-driver events, and has reduced the opportunities for professional drivers like myself. Ideally, I would hope to compete in both GT and prototypes, as I did this season, and realistically British GT, GT Open or the Blancpain series are probably my best GT options at present. I’d certainly like to hear from anyone who can see the benefit of having me on board."

Warren Hughes would surely be a major asset to any team/driver partner. Aside from his vast experience and undeniable speed, he’s respected for his strong technical ability and proven coaching methods. If there are teams out there looking for a professional driver; one who can find a set-up direction or help develop their car, and also someone who can tutor a gentleman driver and enhance a team’s ultimate chances of success, then they’d be hard pressed to do better than Hughes.
 
Warren can be contacted through us here at DSC by mailing
editor@dailysportscar.com. We wish him every success in 2013.

Profiling . . . . Warren Hughes

The average career expectancy of a professional racing driver is probably limited to just a handful of years, and very few seem able to span the decades from one “generation” to the next. There are exceptions, of course, and we think of James Weaver and Andy Wallace, or the Capellos, Bielas and Brabhams of this world, but perhaps one that’s heading towards that exclusive club is Warren Hughes.

Warren made his debut as a works driver in sportscars in 2001, when he was a member of the fairly stellar line-up that thrust MG back into the limelight with the fast but ultimately fragile MG Lola EX265. That came at a time when the Geordie-born racer was making a name for himself through his exploits in the British Touring Car Championship, again with MG. However, those early highlights followed a decade of success in single-seaters.
 
Hughes had sharpened his teeth in Formula Ford, taking the double British Junior titles in 1990, with 19 wins from 24 starts - a record that has still to be bettered. He followed that with several years as a front runner in Formula 3, both in the UK and in Japan. Maybe a future in Formula 1 should have been his destiny, but like so many other eminently capable drivers, money spoke louder than talent. Hughes had to be content with some F1 testing opportunities with Lotus and Williams and a runner-up season in F3000. It was all a taster of what might have been.


In 1999 Hughes took his first closed-wheel title by dominating the MGF Cup and easily claiming the championship. It was the start of what would ultimately become a ten year relationship with the famous octagonal badge, and one that netted Hughes a class win at Le Mans in 2005 with RML as well as several BTCC victories in the West Surrey Racing MG ZS. During that period he firmly established his name in sportscars and GT racing.

Stints with Team LNT saw Hughes partnered with Rob Bell, creating one of the strongest GT line-ups in the LMS and claiming victory in the final two races of 2006 aboard the GT2 Panoz, and against very strong opposition. There were also outings in British GT, LMES and ALMS, but his speed and racecraft through traffic has always been most apparent when he’s been in the cockpit of a prototype, especially at La Sarthe. Nine appearances in the Le Mans 24 Hours and seasons with RML, Quifel ASM, Chamberlain, Embassy and, in 2012, Murphy Prototypes, have ensured that the list of poles and podiums have continued to mount up alongside his CV. He topped off 2012 with a return to grass roots GT racing, taking the British GT4 title with Ginetta and Team WFR.


Warren Hughes relationship with Team WFR is another lengthy one. It is also at the root of his long-time racing partnership with pacey gentleman driver Jody Firth – a pairing that has been hugely rewarding for both parties. They took the Speed EuroSeries title together in 2011 and Firth has freely acknowledged the debt of knowledge he owes to his experienced team-mate.

“Mega job this week as always from Warren,” said Jody at Le Mans this June. “I'm very proud to have him as a team mate. What I have become as a driver is mostly down to him. He's so honest and open. Technically, he’s just a fantastic driver to learn from." That's a strong endorsement. For his part, Hughes has relished the satisfaction of seeing his protégé succeed. Joined by Brendon Hartley in the Murphy Prototypes Oreca this last season, it’s hard to credit that the trio never took a class win, but they came unbelievably close time after time, particularly at Le Mans where they dominated the night time stages in LMP2 before retiring with suspension failure.

Warren’s contribution to Murphy Prototypes’ competitive pace and class-leading runs can easily be seen in the race reports and features that appeared here on DSC during the course of the 2012 season. We wish him all the best for the coming year.