Historic Double Win for FALKEN

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FALKEN Porsche takes its first win with BMW second

Martin Ragginger and Klaus Bachler dominate the 41st RCM DMV Grenzlandrennen and win for the first time in the Porsche 911 GT3 R, ahead of their Falken team colleagues Stef Dusseldorp and Alexandre Imperatori in the BMW M6 GT3.

VLN6 Falken win

The 1st September 2018 will go down in the history books of Falken Motorsports. Already during qualifying for the sixth round of the 2018 VLN Endurance Championship, the Falken duo excelled with an outstanding performance, earning themselves second and third on the starting grid. In doing so, the Austrian driver duo of Klaus Bachler and Martin Ragginger in the Porsche 911 GT3 R enjoyed an exceptional premiere: requiring just 7:57.850 minutes to complete the Nordschleife, the Falken Porsche did so for the first-time ever in less than eight minutes. And with a 7:58.081 lap time, the BMW team comprising Stef Dusseldorp (NL) and Alexandre Imperatori (CH) secured the starting position directly behind their team colleagues.


The four-hour contest started under ideal racing conditions with a sunny 15° C. Into Turn One, the two Falken racing cars took the lead which they maintained until the first pit stops. During this initial phase, Klaus Bachler, at the wheel of the Porsche GT3 R, stunned with a breathtaking velocity, burning yet another 7:56.259 minute lap record into the asphalt.


As the race progressed, a neck-and-neck contest unfolded between Audi, BMW and Porsche for the lead position, in which shrewd tyre management ultimately emerged as the key. Thanks to its perfectly timed tyre changes, Falken kept its competitors at bay, letting it lead the race from the head of the field.


The result was the first one-two in Falken’s almost 20 years’ of participation in the VLN racing community.

Sebastian Vettel buys unique art collection celebrating 32 F1 World Champions

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Champions Collection for Champion Driver

Monday 4th July 2016 Silverstone Northants UK. World Champions in Art, the entity which was created to celebrate the achievement of all 32 of the FIA’s World Champion drivers in individual artistic depictions, is delighted to announce that the entire 32-­piece collection has been acquired by Sebastian Vettel, himself a four-­times World Champion.

Even before making his F1 début with BMW in 2007, Sebastian harboured a deep interest in the history of his chosen sport. His personal collection of sporting memorabilia already includes autographs of his 31 illustrious predecessors. Now he is the proud possessor of the collection of champions’ images created by recognised international artist Mark Dickens in collaboration with Keith Sutton of Sutton Images.

Mark Dickens’ involvement in the sport dates back to 2009.  After he had been commissioned by Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management to commemorate the opening of the new Yas Marina circuit, his work came to the attention of F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.  Mr Ecclestone then commissioned him to create a series of paintings, one for each of that year’s Grand Prix rounds. The commission brought together the high-­tension world of Formula One with the architectural and cultural dynamism of each host city.

The images of the champion drivers have been produced in Dickens’ trademark style. He uses mixed media, building layer upon layer of photographic transfers, hand­made paper, gold leaf, fabric, resin paint and text. 

As an integral part of each painting, drivers and leading motorsport personalities were asked to express in their own words what made their chosen World Champion special. The quotes have been incorporated by Mark into each painting, providing a fascinating insight into what each driver represented to those who knew him or were inspired by him. (Each person who agreed to write a quote will be given a limited edition print as agreed).

Sebastian Vettel:

“I have long held an interest in the history of Formula 1 and the champions of this sport.

When I first heard of this project from Keith Sutton three years ago I was fascinated, but it wasn’t until I saw the completed original art works in London last December that I realised how impressive they are.

The addition of the quotes collected by Keith from so many different motorsport figures gives a great insight into the champions. I know I will appreciate these works for years to come.”

Bernie Ecclestone:

“I first became aware of Mark Dickens’ work in 2009. In 2011 I commissioned Mark to create 19 paintings, showcasing each of that years’ races. The following year we presented each painting to the respective promoter.

I was delighted to see that Mark had teamed up with Keith Sutton to collaborate on this new series. World Champions in Art.

There has never been a collaboration like this before.

I’ve known Keith Sutton since he started his career in motorsport photography almost 40 years ago. He has demonstrated to me his enduring passion for the history of the sport.

Now that Sebastian has acquired the collection of 32 World Champions, how appropriate it is to know that the works now belong to a World Champion.”

Keith Sutton:

“I was delighted to be involved in such a unique project, the likes of which will never be repeated.

I would like to send my heartfelt thanks to everyone that helped to make this possible. To all the 215 motorsport personalities from drivers, team principals, team managers, journalists and photographers to current F1 drivers and past drivers who gave hand written quotes and of course the artist Mark Dickens whose unique style complimented the images from the Phipps/Sutton Images Collection.”

Mark Dickens:

“It has been a pleasure to collaborate with Keith Sutton on this project.

I first approached Keith about my idea to realise this project some 3 years ago. He was delighted to be part of this historic series of Artworks and Quotes.

It’s a proud day for me to know that the 32 paintings now belong to a great World Champion.

In addition to the 32 paintings, we produced a painting about Bernie Ecclestone with the sale proceeds going to Great Ormond Street Hospital. There will be a cheque presented to the charity at Silverstone during the British GP this week.’’

Featured Quotes

A selection of some of the quotes featured in the World Champions in Art Collection:

Sir Stirling Moss OBE:

“For me, Juan Manuel Fangio will always be the greatest Formula One driver. A man of enormous talent, humility, honesty, honour and integrity. A man I admired. It was an honour to compete against him and an even greater honour to become his teammate. He was a wonderful friend and teacher. It has been my pleasure to follow him on the track and in life.”  

Martin Brundle – Former Formula One Driver – Sky F1 Commentator:

“As a child in the 1960’s my uncle took me to Brands Hatch and Silverstone to see the Grand Prix. His words were always ‘we’re going to see Jim Clark win’. Jim Clark was one of the all time great drivers and a true sportsman. His driving style and skill behind the wheel was supreme and silky smooth.  I never had the chance to meet him but it’s clear to me that he was a gentleman and a good human being. I was out at a rally with my father when we heard that Jim Clark had died. I remember the moment and location to this day. The truly great so often die young.” 

Kimi Raikkonen – 2007 F1 World Champion:

James Hunt “Genius, Legend, Party Animal, Playboy……World Champion….Perfect!”

John Surtees OBE - Four-time 500cc Motorcycle World Champion - Former Formula One World Champion in 1964:

“I have known a number of great drivers during my time in motorsport. Some I raced against or drove for my team. Others I have watched from the sidelines. Ferrari played a special part in my life, and I have always considered it as unfinished business. Fernando Alonso must be feeling the same way after performing some great drives for the team. Michael Schumacher achieved in being part of an international team at Maranello much of what I had dreamt was possible. I therefore nominate Michael Schumacher as being a special World Champion.” 

Alan Jones - F1 World Champion 1980:

“I never really got on with Nelson (Piquet) that much. Nelson was reasonably arrogant and ill-mannered. Apart from that he was a lovely bloke.” 

Ross Brawn - Team Principal Mercedes 2013:

“Michael Schumacher – Steel on the outside but a soft heart to those who were part of the team. The ultimate professional who raised the bar in so many areas. Never finished a race fatigued, had a razor sharp mind and a huge driving talent. Not hard to see why he won seven World Championships. Nobody who worked with Michael has a bad word to say about him – The Ultimate Accolade?” 

Sebastian Vettel - Formula One Four-Time World Champion:

Jochen Rindt was a pure racer. He became a true inspiration when I was becoming a man. He was a lunatic in a very positive way, seeking out for any possible challenge on 4 wheels. His loss was tragic as he had so much more to give to Formula 1. He was a great champion. Shame I never met him!” 

Click on link to view completed pieces

Ansible Motion Opens its Doors to Cranfield University Engineering Students

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Driver-in-the-loop simulator specialist Ansible Motion welcomes students to its facility at Hethel Engineering Centre, giving them unprecedented insight into the technology of a Formula 1-grade engineering class simulator.

Hethel – 3rd March 2016 – Simulator manufacturer Ansible Motion recently opened its doors to students from Cranfield University’s Automotive Engineering and Advanced Motorsport Engineering MSc courses. The event gave the students a rare opportunity to familiarise themselves with the technology that’s used by top OEMs and Formula 1 teams.

The day began with a presentation from Ansible Motion technical director and founder Kia Cammaerts, outlining the key challenges involved in developing an effective driver-in-the-loop simulator. Dan Walmsley, team principal of Strakka Racing, then explained the relevance of virtual testing from a race team’s perspective and the benefits it provides.

Following a technical tour of Ansible Motion’s facility, which includes a state of the art development simulator, the students were given the opportunity to experience driving in the virtual world first-hand.

“It was a fantastic day and unique opportunity to gain first-hand experience of one of the most advanced simulators,” comments Marco Bertulies-Esposito, Advanced Motorsport Engineering MSc student. “We were able to gain an understanding of the role of simulators in motorsport and automotive development. It was fascinating to see the depth of engineering involved in creating a realistic simulation.”

For Ansible Motion, it provided an opportunity to engage with the next generation of motorsport engineers – something which Cammaerts clearly enjoyed.

“I was delighted to see the enthusiasm of these students,” he adds. “We’ve always prided ourselves on asking questions at Ansible Motion and it’s great to see the same curiosity in the engineers of tomorrow. Hopefully we provided some answers that will stand them in good stead in their future careers.”

Third podium of WSR season for Ellinas at Le Mans

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Strakka Racing’s double race-winner makes third visit in as many race meetings to Formula Renault 3.5 Series rostrum

Tio Ellinas secured yet more Formula Renault 3.5 Series silverware during round 15 of the season at the Le Mans Bugatti Circuit in France on Sunday, 27th September, with a fighting third place finish in the second race of the weekend.

Having qualified on pole position for Strakka Racing, the Cypriot led away at the start and maintained his place at the front into the mandatory pit-stops after a brief Safety Car period. Although missing out on the chance to challenge for victory after all of the pit visits played out, third place still marked a very strong result and consolidated a top six championship placing.

“We had a great start to today after an amazing qualifying”, said Ellinas, “The balance in the race wasn’t quite the same and the Safety Car spoiled our advantage a bit. Still, third was very good points and I’m pleased to be on the podium for the third meeting running. I’m looking forward to Jerez now.”

Arriving at Le Mans off the back of the team’s first ever one-two result last time out at the Nurburgring in Germany, hopes were high of continued success during the penultimate event of 2015. Ellinas produced an exceptional performance in round 15 qualifying to take pole position by almost half a second, his best lap a time of 1m20.648 seconds (186.8 km/h), while team-mate Gustav Malja ended the session 13th quickest.

Making an excellent start to the race, Ellinas led away through the first sequence of turns and although only a few tenths of a second ahead of Tom Dillmann over the course of the first five laps, the Strakka driver remained unflustered. Due to an incident further back in the order, the Safety Car was deployed at the beginning of lap six which corresponded with the scheduled opening of the mandatory pit-stop window. After the re-start on the eighth tour, Ellinas led away again and then pitted for his stop at the end of the lap. Malja meanwhile, who held 14th position prior to the Safety Car, made his stop a lap later than his team-mate from eighth place.

When the order settled around mid-distance, albeit with the lead three cars still to pit, Ellinas held fourth position with Malja in the top 10. Hopes of a bid for victory didn’t work out, though, with Ellinas having to settle for a nonetheless strong third after Egor Orudzhev and Matthieu Vaxiviere emerged ahead following their pit visits.

Under huge pressure from Dean Stoneman throughout the second half of the race, Ellinas kept his rival at bay to claim the third podium of his maiden Formula Renault 3.5 campaign. Malja, meanwhile, moved up into ninth position on lap 16 and remained there to the finish sandwiched between newly crowned Formula Renault 3.5 Series Champion Oliver Rowland and Nyck De Vries.

“The second race was pretty good”, said Malja, “Before that we struggled a bit for pace but we learned a lot from the first race and the set-up for race two was really good. Now, we’re already looking for the Jerez preparation and to bounce back there.”

In round 14 on Saturday, 26th September, Ellinas started fifth on the grid while Malja lined-up in 10th position, just 0.4 seconds separating the team-mates in race one qualifying. Unfortunately, at the start of Saturday’s contest, Ellinas didn’t get away from the line cleanly and slipped back to the tail of the top 10 with Malja also edged back to 12th position. Quickly moving back into 11th place on the first lap, Malja closed up behind Ellinas initially before the gap opened back up and with 10 laps complete the pair were split by roughly 2.5 seconds. As the race progressed, positions remained unchanged although Malja did begin to come under some pressure from Nicholas Latifi as the race approached mid-distance.

Following a pit visit and retirement for Latifi, Andre Negrao became the new threat but Malja comfortably saw off his rival to hold 11th position to the chequered flag. Ellinas finished the encounter in a clear 10th place but due to a time penalty for Matthieu Vaxiviere, the Cypriot was elevated into ninth spot. While Ellinas maintains sixth in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series standings with 113 points, Malja ended the Le Mans weekend ninth in the title race on 69 points. In the team championship, Strakka Racing is fourth with 182 points.

The final two races of the 2015 Formula Renault 3.5 Series will take place at Jerez in Spain over the weekend 17th/18th October.

Lone Star Le Mans beckons for Strakka Racing

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After debuting its Gibson 015S chassis at the Nürburgring, Strakka Racing heads to the USA for the start of the fly-away stretch of the WEC season, where it will tackle Circuit of the Americas for the first time.

Strakka Racing travels to Austin, Texas next week, hoping to convert the Gibson’s head-turning pace into a win against its LMP2 rivals. Drivers Jonny Kane, Danny Watts and Nick Leventis will have to get acclimatised to the circuit quickly though, as the trio have no prior experience at the 3.4-mile circuit.

“The simulator work we have done back at base is key for all three of us really,” says Kane. “We knew going into this season that the three of us hadn’t driven at Circuit Of The Americas (COTA) before, so being able to spend extensive time working on learning the track before the event has helped us get ready.

“Our sim enables us to go out at a new circuit, or a circuit we don’t know well and immediately have braking points and lines through corners to build off.”


Strakka Racing founder Nick Leventis has spent time testing at the circuit before the weekend as extra preparation for the event this weekend, hoping to gain an advantage over the five other COTA rookies in the LMP2 class.

Since opening back in 2012, Circuit of the Americas has held rounds of Moto GP, Formula One, the Tudor United Sports Car Championship and X Games. Popular with drivers for its tricky undulations, COTA makes for some spectacular racing on its mixture of medium and low-speed corners.


“I can’t wait to get on track,” says driver Danny Watts. “I’ve seen races at the track on TV and have always wanted to tackle that iconic hill leading to Turn 1; it looks steep on screen, so I can’t imagine what it’s like when you’re actually there driving!”

On-track action for the WEC teams runs from the 17th to 19th of September with the race starting 17:00 local time on the Saturday in Austin, Texas.