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Dunlop Britcar

Britcar News 3 - Nikki Gillatt
Into Britcar Production Sportscars With A Strong Heritage

Nicola Gillatt had a challenging first season in circuit racing n 2012, contesting the highly competitive Britcar Production Cup Championship, partnered by dad Peter in the MGA Motorsport Mazda MX5. They started and finished every race, and third place in the points-standings in Class 3 was their reward at the end of the season. For 2013, Nicola, or Nikki as she is known, embarks upon a campaign in the new Britcar Production Sportscar series, with a new driving partner in the MX5.

A novice in car racing she may have been, but Nikki has a robust motorsport provenance; “Coming from Karting with a Rotax Max, 2012 was my first full season in car racing, and what better championship to start in, getting loads of track time!  It was a great first year of learning all the top UK tracks alongside a very competitive but very respectful grid. The car is run by MGA through Mike Gorton, and I benefitted from one of the country’s best instructors to mentor me throughout the season. Having the opportunity to race alongside my dad made this whole season even more enjoyable, being great family fun, but also so competitive between us both at times - it’s a good feeling when you beat your dad’s track times! We have a laugh but also take is seriously at times.

“To be honest I had no idea I was going to be doing Britcar until my dad asked me to join him after sending me on my ARDS test. My dad and MGA had competed in Britcar for a couple of seasons when it first started, and I had been itching to get back into the driver’s seat after finishing my kart racing. Britcar has been a steep but very enjoyable learning curve - especially in the wet, which seemed to be most races last season (more noticeable in an open top car!)

“I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start my serious race career at the age of 20, after spending many years watching my dad race since I was little, He is a good person to learn from with all his years of experience. It’s something I've always wanted to do after years of going to all my kart race meetings with him, and I feel very proud to be racing in a team with him.

“My highlight to the Britcar 2012 season was when Dad and I gained a third place in class at Snetterton and it was such a good feeling standing up on the podium together. It was a very memorable moment and wherever I go with my racing career, I’ll never forget standing up on for the podium for the first time in car racing with him. We also came third equal in class overall in the championship on points but lost out on positions. We were never the fastest, but thanks to the preparation by MGA the car finished every race all season.

“I have marshalled at Donington for many years on track and test days, so have seen a few Britcar guys out there, and still love working there at weekends when I am back from Sheffield University, where I am studying mechanical engineering in my second year.

“I started up a karting team at University after finding there was no race team already. In the first year I had 25 members join and this year doubled that to 50 members; SHU Karting is doing really well, creating a six round championship at big tracks such as Teesside and Three Sisters.  Our karting team have a lot of fun and it gives me a chance to keep up my love for racing.
“Now I've had my first season, gaining track time, learning the car and taking in advice from all the best people, I am ready to put it all into practice for the new season -  it now gets serious. The novice sticker has been removed, and I am ready to get more competitive and up the game for 2013. It will be more of a challenge this year moving into the Production Sportscar series with more similar cars to the Mazda MX5, so I am very much looking forward to it.”

“A big change for this year is a new driving partner as dad is standing back to help develop my racing behind the scenes, but may appear on track when needed. Mike Gorton is returning to competitive racing in my car- my new challenge is to beat some of his times, so the bar just got higher, but watch out Mike!”

A strong partnership indeed. Mike Gorton has concentrated on team management and instructing of late, as well as being an essential contributor to Murphy Prototypes WEC campaign, but the former TOCA Fiesta exponent and his protégé will be formidable competitors.

Steve Wood