Oliver Bryant Racing

07946 524 941 info@oliverbryant.com
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8th January 2018

2017, leading from the front in Historic Motorsport

2017, leading from the front in Historic Motorsport A close 4th in class at the famous Le Mans 24 hours driving an Aston Martin Vantage GTE was not the only highlight of a busy season on track for Olly.

Olly joined fellow racer Andrew Smith to pilot historic Porsche specialist Historika’s lovely 1964 Porsche 901 for the Peter Auto Sixties Endurance championship. The season yielded fantastic results with 2 class poles, 3 class wins, 2 x 2nd places and 1 fastest lap. The car successfully completed all six 2 hour races, resulting in the under 2.5L championship win, 2ndin the index of performance class and 7th overall.

In addition to this fantastic result with Historika, Olly also competed in several other high profile historic events commencing with the Goodwood 75th Members’ Meeting in March. Olly qualified the ex-Think Auto Chevrolet Camaro 2nd on the grid in damp conditions. This was followed up by a sterling effort to bring the car back into contention, after Grahame Bryant stalled on the start line and dropped to dead last. Sadly, a repeat of the 2016 win could not be achieved, but the #21 Camaro crossed the line in P2 just 12 seconds behind the winning JD Classics Rover of Ward/Shedden.

The Donington Historic Festival at the end of April again proved a successful outing for Olly & Grahame. They secured class pole position, fastest lap and race victory in the #21 Camaro in the Tony Dron Trophy Race. In addition to this, class pole position and 3rd overall was achieved in the Lotus XV for the Stirling Moss Trophy race, but sadly an electrical issue caused retirement in the race. The 2016 victory in the GTSCC race was repeated with a stellar victory in the famous ex- Roy Salvadori AC Cobra ͞GPG 4C͟, also netting fastest lap. Olly also drove a BMW 1800ti in the U2TC touring car race, achieving a class win as first BMW home in both races.

The Silverstone Classic in July is always a busy event, and this year was no exception for Olly, who achieved overall pole position in the Lotus XV for the Stirling Moss Trophy Race. A tyre failure early in the race, forced retirement, but better results came with a fantastic win in torrential conditions driving the AC Cobra to win the Gallet International Trophy Race and a stunning recovery after a qualifying issue to bring the Lola T70 Mk3b up from 22nd to 4thoverall and P2 in class.

Early August saw the annual Bentley Drivers’ Club meeting at Silverstone. Olly brought out the famous Morgan +8 ͞1 MOG͟ and planted it firmly on pole position. Olly was hoping to repeat his 2016 domination of this event, but after winning the first encounter, Olly was bested by a ͞fired up͟ Keith Ahlers in race 2, who took advantage of traffic to make a move stick and hang on for the win. Olly & Keith both broke the lap record as they battled.

The biggest historic race meeting of the season, Goodwood Revival, got September off to a good start. Driving a 1962 E- Type FHC with Martin O’Connell for owner Sandy Watson, a 3rdplace finish was achieved in a very wet night race on Friday evening.

Again, sharing the AC Cobra with Andrew Smith, the pair hoped for TT success. Pole in the first damp session was followed with P5 in the dry session on Saturday, with just 0.7s separating the top 6. After a good start, Andrew was running P2 when he was fired off the circuit through the ultra-fast right hander at Fordwater by the pursuing JD Classics E-Type. Lucky not to hit anything, Andrew recovered to P8 before pitting to hand over to Olly. With the bit between his teeth, Olly wrestled the car back up to P2 on the road after a fantastic battle with the well driven Cobra of Andy Wolfe. The leading E-Type had been handed a time penalty for the earlier contact, which effectively elevated Olly & Andrew into the lead. It was finally looking good for the pair, who together have finished 2nd and 3rd in the TT but never claimed that elusive win. Cruelty then struck, with coil failure with just over 10 minutes to go, causing the engine to die and the car to coast to a halt on the infield at St Mary’s. Olly, Andrew and the team could hardly believe this, the same spot where the car had broken down whilst leading the race in 2014!

Some of this upset was overcome as Olly planted the Lotus XV on pole position in damp conditions for the Sussex Trophy, following this up with a 2nd place in the wet race on Sunday evening to close the meeting.

Straight from Goodwood, the historic racing fraternity load up and head to Spa-Francorchamps for the legendary 6-hour meeting. This year, Olly was sharing the Ford GT40 with good friend and quick racer James Cottingham. The car was running down on power, but even so, the pair were lapping well and keeping the car in contention for a top 4 finish. Sadly, shortly after the 4 hour mark, the throttle cabled snapped costing 27 minutes to fix. The GT40 eventually crossed the finish line in 40th place, exactly 27 minutes behind P3.

There was yet more drama, when class pole position in the Lotus XV was followed by damper failure on lap 2 of the race. Whilst leading the FIA World Sportscar Masters race in the Lola T70, the team miss-judged the pit-stop and released Olly 3 seconds too early, which resulted in a stop-go penalty, dropping him to 3rd in class and 5th overall. After a fantastic 8th win in the Cobra in the 90-minute GT race, Olly was called to the Stewards and cruelly handed a 1 minute penalty for overtaking a slower car in a yellow flag zone. (There was no green or yellow flag displayed at the next marshalls’ post, so Olly made the decision to pass the back-marker after passing the incident, a parked car). This harsh decision dropped Olly to 3rd overall. Some cheer was had as sharing with father Grahame in the trusty 1 MOG, the pair won the Barry Sidery Smith Tribute 1 hour race, in the gloom and fog on Sunday morning.

The season finished with 2 successful trips to the USA to compete in the Daytona Classic 24 Hours in late November, followed by the Sebring Classic 12 hour in early December. At Daytona, sharing a 67 Chevy Camaro Z28 with Grahame, Olly started from class pole position at Daytona, but the car suffered a series of spark plug failures causing them to retire. Olly capitalised on pole position driving a 65 Mustang GT350, winning the International American Challenge race and the HSR sprint race. At the wheel of a mighty 2006 Dodge Charger Nascar, Olly had further success with pole position and 2 class wins.

For the Sebring Classic 12 hour event, James Cottingham joined the Camaro line up, the car ran perfectly and from class pole position, they went on to finish 4th overall and win the class. Class wins also followed in the Mustang and Nascar to conclude a stellar season.

2018 will start with testing in late February and in anger at Goodwood 76MM on March 17/18th.