Following Bowker BMW’s partnership with Ciceley Motorsport’s British Touring Car Championship Team – Car Gods Racing, we want to keep you up-to-date with their progression throughout the season. Below you can find the race reports from each race weekend throughout the season. Race reports will be added the week following the race.
Three top-10s for Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport in Brands Hatch thriller
In front of a huge television audience of ITV1 for the first time, Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport scored three top-10 results in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at the weekend, despite having to cope with tricky weather conditions and a technical drama on the way.
With all cars in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship running a new hybrid system for 2022, qualifying became of extra importance as drivers Adam Morgan and George Gamble would have to balance their usage of the extra power generated for their ideal qualifying lap on the 1.2-mile track. Adam would have 4.5 seconds usage per lap while George would have 12, but both cars struggled with the system malfunctioning. In spite of the lack of extra power, Adam still qualified an outstanding fourth fastest with George a hugely impressive seventh in his second-ever BTCC qualifying session.
Raceday dawned overcast and rain was falling as the cars came to the grid. Both Adam and George played it safe and elected to run on wet tyres, with Adam having 15 laps of hybrid use and George 22 laps from the total race distance of 24. On a wet track, the two Car Gods-backed cars experienced early hybrid system activation issues and hence the engineering team elected, mid-race, to switch the cars to a different engine map and the hybrid system then came alive allowing Adam (who admitted to making a bad start) to battle to sixth place and George to take 14th after he dropped down the order as others with hybrid power passed him early in the race.
“It was really slippy,” remarked Adam after the opening race. “The track was changing constantly and that was our first time in the wet with this set up so I’m quite happy overall.”
Said George: “It was my first time in the wet and I made a good start but then got caught up in traffic and I couldn’t get through and got roughed up a bit! That was a bit of a welcome to touring car racing I think, but the car felt good.”
Drama befell Adam leaving the garage for race 2 as the car refused to pull away when first gear was engaged. A bearing had come out of the back of the flywheel causing the input shaft to the transmission to become off-centre, thus jamming the clutch. It meant that Adam couldn’t take the start as the team toiled to trace and rectify the problem. George upheld the team’s honour and blasted from 14th to ninth in greasy conditions once again.
“I made a good start again and then the pace tailed off a bit, but some more rain came and that helped us find pace. In the end, though, the rear tyres seemed to drop away and that made it difficult towards the end, but I gained places and it was all good experience,” he said.
For the final race, broadcast to a live ITV1 audience, George started fourth on the reversed grid with Adam 28th and last. Both charged into battle, with Adam picking off the traffic ahead and caught the similar BMW 330e M Sport of Stephen Jelley on the line, missing 13th place by just six-hundredths of a second. In doing so, Adam incredibly overtook 14 cars! George ran fourth early on with a gaggle of front-wheel drive cars around him and eventually the traction that they boasted allowed them to move ahead of him, seventh place being his reward, along with the Jack Sears Trophy win for the weekend.
“That was an enjoyable race,” said Adam, “because it showed what we are capable of and how good the car is. Missing race two was obviously disappointing and as it affected the race three grid it was always going to be tough, but the car was mega in the last race. I’m feeling really positive about things.”
Ash Gallagher, Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport’s Commercial Manager, said: “Yet again we have proved that we have front-running pace. The weather this weekend made the racing a bit of a lottery, but in every session, wet or dry, we were competitive. Adam’s problem was something that our guys had never seen before, but once we had traced it we were able to get him back on track for race three, which considering the very tight turn around between the races this weekend was a monumental effort from the guys in the garage, so we go to Thruxton felling really confident.”
Adam lies eighth in the championship standings, with George ninth and Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport is fourth in the BTCC Teams Championship. The Independents Championship has George second and Adam fourth, with Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport second in the Independent Teams title race. The Jack Sears Trophy, for drivers who hadn’t scored an overall podium result before this season, is led by George after three JST wins thus far.
The next three races in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship are at Thruxton, Hampshire, on May 28/29, with qualifying on Saturday shown on itv.com and the raceday action live on ITV4.
Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport sizzle in Donington BTCC hybrid debut
Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport is celebrating a superb start to the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Donington with a podium finish, two Independent category wins and a massive step forward for the Accrington-based team.
The new era of the BTCC requires all cars to run a hybrid unit that regenerates power and allows drivers 15 seconds per lap of hybrid deployment. It has been a learning curve for all the teams in pre-season testing and remained a challenge over the race weekend, but Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport was on top of the new technology, and Drivers Adam Morgan and newcomer George Gamble were relishing the opportunity to go racing and fight for wins and podiums in 2022.
The weekend started with two free practice sessions that allowed the teams to work on car set-up for the all-important qualifying session, Adam and George were in a confident mood. After an early stoppage, caused by Dan Cammish splitting a fuel rail and igniting, the teams had just under 22 minutes to set their grid-deciding lap times. George wowed everyone with a time fifth fastest, just 0.219s off pole position, while Adam would line up a relieved eighth after he had a fuel pump fail which prevented a second run. Fortunately, his first effort was good enough to keep him up near the front of the grid in P8.
An optimistic team went to the grid ready for the first ever BTCC race with hybrid technology and it began with a frantic lead battle and a safety car period. As the leaders tripped over themselves and delayed each other, Adam cleared a frantic battle and caught the leading group to finish fifth while George’s BTCC debut resulted in sixth place after a highly impressive drive. The Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport BMW 330e M Sports also took a one-two finish in the Independents’ class which was another boost to the squad.
The cars lined up fifth and sixth for race two, but Adam was in strife even before the race started, as a tooth had worked loose in the transmission in race one which prevented the engagement with the hybrid system and with no spares available, he had to complete the remaining two races without the extra power available to everyone else. Adam battled to a remarkable fourth place, “helped by me having a big gap to the pack behind,” but George was a star of the race as he bolted to second place on the run to the first corner and finished in third place overall as well as winning the Independents’ category.
“I didn’t think it could get better than race one,” said George, “but I made a good start and had Adam behind me to protect me from the pack. It feels amazing!”
George was penalised in race three with a drive-through penalty for jumping the start and finished 20th, while Adam, again forced to run without hybrid, finished in sixth place after a tremendously consistent day which showed the pace of the cars and the giant step forward the team has made on the engineering side.
Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport’s new Commercial Manager Ash Gallagher was delighted with the results: “We have had an absolutely fantastic weekend. Two Independent wins are a great boost and so is the fact that the cars were so solid on pace in all three races. We are all thrilled for George getting his first podium in only his second BTCC race, while Adam’s results without hybrid show how good his racecraft is and how well engineered our BMW 330e M Sports are. Steve Farrell and the team have worked really hard over the winter and the whole team, as well as our commercial partners, are buzzing about the weekend. We can’t wait for Brands Hatch!”
The Donington results put Adam fifth and George ninth in the championship standings, with Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport second in the Teams’ Championship. Adam leads the Independents’ Trophy with George third with Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport the leading Independent team. The BTCC’s Jack Sears Trophy runs for drivers who haven’t scored an overall podium before the start of the season, and although George now has an overall podium to his name, he is second in that competition as well.
The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship bursts back on track at Brands Hatch, Kent, on May 14/15. Qualifying will be shown live on Saturday on itv.com with the raceday action starting on ITV4 but including two BTCC races on ITV1.