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13 March 2011

Danny Returns from the Dark Side

TVR to Porsche to TVR. TVRs young gun returns to the fold

Many will remember Danny Winstanley as the big news of 2009. He and his father (Craig Winstanley - CW) bought the FIA Tuscan GT from Sweden and after returning it to its former glory (and painting it Kwacker green!) campaigned it very successfully throughout the DTEC (Dunlop TVR European Challenge) season taking a maiden win and narrowly missing out on the Championship and A Titles after being robbed on the start line at the final race when his new diff let go.

In 2010 he moved to the GT Cup series (joining Mike Saunders and John Wilson in their Cerbera GTs) up against £100k Porsches and Ferraris. Again Danny was right up at the front. On the podium many times and consistently fighting for the lead, he found his Tuscan GT was handicapped, having to run at 100% all the time (to match the Porker power for the 40min races) and as he was unable to run a sequential box (which all the others have) the occasional missed gear and no flat shift were losing him precious time. Half way through the year the cars (The Tuscan GT and a new “bitsa” Tuscan in build for DTEC) were put up on the market.

They weren’t there as long as they expected and when a very good offer came in on a package deal from Oz, the decision was taken to sell both the cars and run a Porker that Craig had in his track car stable. Danny moved to the dark side in the latter part of the 2010 season but it was soon evident that the car wasn’t up to it and so they keenly looked around.

Deciding that a competitive Porsche was CW “…stupid money”, and with Danny missing his Tuscan, they looked at TVR again. Not wanting to repeat the disadvantages of the Tussie GT they spoke to the GT Cup Team and got a verbal OK for a sequential in a late production TVR of equivalent age to the 996s, 997s, and 430s racing at the time. The only cars possible (in age) would be a Sagaris or T350 so they set about finding a car.

With no light accident damaged cars around and knowing the amount of time required they bought a serviceable (in fact mint) 2006 car and took it to Dom at TVR Power. Discussions had been had on a suitable power plant for the race car and Dom has been keen to get his 4.5L super sport SP6 in a car too, so it was a natural partnership.

The car has now been for its first shakedown at Oulton Park and my spies tell me it went well. It ran all day without issue and was quicker than expected whilst being held under 4000 rpm and only on an old set of Dunlop semi slicks. Craig did much of the driving with Danny following (they had their Porker there too) and both Craig and Danny were “noticeably excited” by the days run.

“Balance and feel is fantastic” Craig told me. With the new Elite box in there and only a basic set up put on after some of the modifications – Cage/Fire/Fuel cell – the set up was an educated guess. The car also benefits from air jacks and the brakes from a Porker Le Mans racer.
“At 360mm, the rear discs are bigger than the fronts were in the Tuscan” Craig told me. “It stops in a heartbeat, much faster than the Tuscan and feel is great,” he said. “We were lucky with a 50/50 weight split it seems and Danny can’t wait to test properly when the engine is OK’d. The low down torque we asked for has been delivered beautifully,” The car has now returned to Dom at Power for a fettle and tweak. “We had no issues all day” reported Craig “It just an oil change and re-torque and it’ll be back out”.

The engine -Dom’s 4.5SS - has actually had to lose power to stay in the power to weight regulations. CW “…with so much power on offer, we’ve been able to pull back the revs to gain reliability and keep fuel consumption down. It also means we don’t have to skin the car down to the bone. We think it’s going to win us races…it’s a win/win.”

Well that we’d love to see.
Danny’s also been testing with the Glynnsport GTF. With Sam moving to the Topcats Marcos GT for 2011, Steve is looking for suitable co-pilots for the Britcar season. Ofcourse the now very experienced Danny fits the bill nicely. He loved the car with its epic grunt. and will, I’m sure, make more than one appearance in the purple GTF in the coming year.

It’s looking good for Team Winstanley in 2011.

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