In 2011 the British GT Championship caught the eye of motorsport fans with the variety of cars competing, the close racing and different winners. There can be no doubt the impressive impact made by debutants Scuderia Vittoria. The team ran a Ferrari 458 GT3 and Ginetta G50. Ahead of their second full season of racing, we spoke to co-founder Danny Buxton.
Q. Scuderia Vittoria was founded by yourself, Piers Masarati and Tom Ferrier back in late 2010. Could you tell us how it came about and whether running a team was something that you always wanted to do in your career?
A. Tom and I have always talked about running our own team, ever since we set up our driving coaching company a few years back. We have both known Piers for a long time, and he has an extensive contact list and good team manager experience from his A1GP days.
Q. Did you start Scuderia Vittoria with the sole aim of competing in the British GT Championship or was it a case that once the team was setup, you evaluated which race series you wanted to compete in?
A. We had been promised an all-new Ferrari 458 by our driving partners RS Academy, so this was always the plan. With my experience in Clios and the TOCA package, it was also always the intention to compete in the Clio Cup. I have good links with drivers in TOCA and was always confident that we would have at least 2 seats filled in year one.
Q. Let’s set the scene. It’s the first race meeting of the 2011 British GT Championship. The team grabs pole position on its first outing, and achieves a win in race two – after starting from the back of the grid. Even as an outsider that appears to be an amazing emotional weekend. How was it from your point of view given the hard work that went into getting ready for the season?
A. Considering the financial input and all the other sacrifices that each of us have had to make, in order to make this happen – the first GT weekend was just incredible, and meant so much. We should’ve won the first race, but unfortunately Charlie made a small mistake in the pit stop that cost us victory. I could never dream that we would win from last position in race two! That for me, is when having ex-drivers as team bosses can really help – making the right calls on strategy, reading the race from a drivers position, can really help – and was most certainly the key factor in that first win. The ethos running through or team is the passion to win.
Q. In 2011 the team finished 3rd in the GT3 class and 2nd in GT4. What are your hopes and expectations for this year?
A. The main aim in GTs, is to win the British GT3 Championship. We are nearly there with our driver pairings and should have some exciting news soon. With regards to GT4, there is a chance of another super pairing, meaning we can again challenge for class honours. The Blancpain Endurance Series is where we also intend to make a big impact in 2012, top three in GT3 would be a great success. If all our GT plans come to fruition – bring on the start of the year – I can’t wait!
Q. Last year the team ran cars in endurance series as well as the Clio Cup. Has participation in single seater formulae been considered?
A. Yes, certainly. It’s important we grind out a reputation first, then it would be appealing. There are initial talks being held about 2013, but I can’t reveal any more than that at the moment!
Q. 2011 saw the debut of the Blancpain Endurance Series and the FIA GT3 European Championship grow in stature and reputation. This year your team plans to run 458s in both, how are preparations going and what challenges do entering these series bring?
A. At the moment, unless something changes, it will be just one 458 in the British and one in Blancpain. However, there are plans to run another GT3 manufacturer in British alongside the 458 – watch this space! With regards to challenges, the main thing is logistics. With the Blancpain, the trucks are away for 10 -12 days, so we have to be totally organised and prepared. The calendar is challenging for all teams running cars in different series, we just have to be on top of our game!
Q. The structure of the team appears to lend itself to a ‘young driver’ programme. A young driver perhaps joining and involved in the Clio Cup and then being promoted within the team to high level endurance championship racing. Is this a notion that you wish to promote or do you wish to focus on other elements of racing?
A. I have always enjoyed working with young drivers, they have so much drive, determination and bravery – it reminds me of a junior Buxton! Saying that we have already signed two drivers in our Clio squad that are over 40 years old! It’s definitely part of the plan to ‘bring’ drivers through from Clio Cup to GTs – there is so much potential to make a good living in GTs, much more than any other form of motorsport in my opinion. However, it’s equally important for young ex-single seater drivers to gain initial experience with a roof over your head – and Clios are ideal for this. I also love the coaching side of the game, helping drivers to improve technically and to understand what it takes to win at this level.
We would like to wish the team all the best for 2012 and beyond, this year promises to be another exciting and successful one for Scuderia Vittoria.
- Scuderia Vittoria (website | twitter)
- British GT Championship (website | twitter)
- GridStars (website | twitter)