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.
Tough Weekend for Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport at Croft.
Top Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship team Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport left Croft frustrated yesterday after a weekend of dramas prevented the squad from showing what it is truly capable of.
Drivers Adam Morgan and George Gamble headed to the North Yorkshire circuit in confident mood as Croft is normally regarded as a rear-wheel drive circuit and that would play to the strengths of their BMW 330 e M Sports. After two productive free practice sessions, the pair went into qualifying ready to shoot for the front of the grid. However, there was instant drama when Adam slid off into the gravel and stopped the session, his car beached in the turn one gravel.
“It was entirely my fault,” admitted Adam who had arrived at Croft in a helicopter after two days of work at Goodwood for Kwik Fit. “I left-foot braked and was a bit keen. I was able to carry on in qualifying but the penalty for causing the stoppage was that I lost my best lap time.”
That condemned Adam to 17th on the grid, while teammate George impressed on is first race at Croft for three years by taking ninth on the grid.
In blustery conditions on race day, the Car Gods backed cars charged into battle with George running comfortably in the top 10 but Adam was in strife early on when Jason Plato tried a pass at the Esses, the fastest part of the circuit, and turned Adam sideways. In the resulting slide, Adam dropped to the rear of the field and had to start his fightback all over again.
“I’m gutted,” said Adam. “It was deemed a racing incident but that’s the second weekend in a row where the day has been ruined by contact in the first race.” Adam hauled the Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport BMW home in 19th place.
George did a great job of hanging on to ninth place, his efforts more meritorious given that his hybrid system failed during the race and needed replacing for race two.
For the second 15-lap race, George started ninth and Adam 19th but George was the one to suffer misfortune this time when a throttle body failed meaning that his engine started to misfire and then stopped. Retirement meant that he would start at the rear of the grid for race three, whilst Adam battled his way up from 19th on the grid to 15th, just inside the points. “That was really hard work,” Adam reported. “It was so hard to make progress because I got stuck behind Jason (Plato) who was defending heavily but was much slower. I made a good start and once I was clear of Jason I caught people, but the cars are so evenly matched now, it shows how important qualifying is.”
George was disappointed as well. “I’d been looking for a good result in race three, running in the top group and then trying to benefit on the reverse grid draw which we where well on course for, but it wasn’t to be. My pace was really strong before the gremlins struck so that is something positive to take away from the weekend at least.”
From 26th, George slogged his way to 19th, while Adam secured 10th from 15th on the grid to round out a tough day.
“It’s been a character building,” smiled Adam. “I hate myself for the mistake in qualifying because that affects the whole day, but we will bounce back at Knockhill.”
Ciceley Motorsport’s Commercial Director Ash Gallagher said: “You get these weekends occasionally but it doesn’t make them any less hard to take. Everyone worked so hard on George’s car, firstly on the hybrid system and then on identifying and rectifying the throttle body issue, but it just wasn’t his day and Adam has been beating himself up since qualifying. All our hospitality guests saw first hand the ups and downs of motor racing, but really got behind Adam and George and cheered them on. Two top tens isn’t what we set out to achieve but proves that we have the pace to challenge.”
The championship now takes its summer break before heading to Knockhill, Scotland, on July 30/31. Adam lies ninth in the Drivers Championship with George 14th, whilst the pair are second and fourth in the Independent Drivers standings. George is also second in the Jack Sears Trophy for drivers who hadn’t scored an overall podium prior to the season starting. Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport lies sixth in the Teams’ Championship and second in the Independent Teams’ standings at the halfway point of the season.
The next races in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will be at Knockhill on July 30/31, with qualifying shown live on itv.com on Saturday and the race action broadcast on ITV4 on Sunday.
Difficult day for Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport on home soil.
Leading Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship team Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport endured a tough time at Oulton Park at the weekend, an incident in race one firing Adam Morgan into the barriers as team-mate George Gamble made the best of his weekend, racing at Oulton for the first time since 2019.
After Adam’s win at Thruxton, the team arrived at Oulton Park in optimistic mood and worked hard on the set-up of the BMW 330e M Sport and improved the cars across the two free practice sessions ready for qualifying. Adam had a very strong qualifying session, described by Chief Engineer Steve Farrell as, “One of his best sessions: consistent and full of controlled aggression.” Fourth was Adam’s reward while George was 13th, admitting to being less confident here than at other circuits and eager to make progress in race one.
The opening race of the day, in front of a huge trackside crowd and a massive television audience on ITV main channel, began with Adam fighting hard to get his tyres up to operating temperature. “It takes about three laps before they become warm enough so those first few laps were always going to be a challenge.” Adam ran fifth in the opening laps, waiting for the Goodyear rubber to switch on to and enable him to make a move, but leaving Lodge Corner on lap four, Adam was turned sideways by Gordon Shedden and as Shedden kept his foot in, he span Adam’s BMW 330e M Sport into the barriers. The hit broke a front and rear upright, putting Adam out of the race and dropping him to the rear of the grid for race two. “Shedden just turned me around,” said Adam. “He was never alongside me and once he hit me, there was nothing I could do to save it because he kept pushing.” Shedden was docked three places for the incident, but it didn’t save Adam’s day.
George, by his own admission, “Made a poor start. I bogged down a bit because the rear tyres were a bit hot and I lost places, but was fighting back as best I could. The trouble here is that it’s narrow and I got stuck in traffic and just couldn’t make progress. The car felt fast but I never had the space to pass people.” George came home a frustrated 18th.
Adam was one of the stars of race two as he drove an outstanding race coming from 29th on the grid to 16th place at the end. Adam picked off place after place with some inspired overtaking moves, including a great-late race battle with double-champion Jason Plato which culminated in Adam’s Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport BMW passing around the outside on the final lap. “The pace was really good,” said Adam, “and we should have been up at the front. I had strong pace but it was tough to overtake.” Adam’s 13-place gain underlined his commitment.
George had another tough race, getting roughed up early on after a clash with Ollie Jackson and picking up damage, resulting in another 18th place, while worse was to come after contact caused a suspension failure in race three and forced retirement.
Adam, from 16th on the grid for the final race, was on a mission and blasted up to eighth place, once more proving his creativity in overtaking and salvaging points after a disappointing day.
“There’s no doubt that we should have done better and that collision in race one really set us back,” said Adam, “but the biggest positive is how well the car went all weekend and, while this has been a knock on the championship, I’ll bounce back hunting for race wins.”
Ciceley Motorsport’s Commercial Director Ash Gallagher said: “This is one of those weekends that you want to forget, but when you look at the positives, there are quite a few. The car was good all weekend, fast and strong, and the team worked flat out to sort out the various bits of damage on both Adam and George’s cars after a difficult couple of races, and where still able to give them a competitive package. Adam’s racecraft was outstanding once again and his progress gave ITV viewers plenty of chances to see him and Car Gods and our other partners plenty of airtime! George treated this weekend as a learning one and gained experience, but I am sure will come back stronger at Croft in two weeks’ time. Our guests enjoyed a great day out at Oulton Park and rode the emotions with us, cheering Adam home eighth after being at the back for the second race.”
Adam now lies eighth in the championship and second in the Independents’ standings, while Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport is sixth in the BTCC Teams championship and second in the Independent Teams’ competition. George is second in the Jack Sears Trophy for drivers who hadn’t scored an outright podium before the opening race of the year.
The championship moves further north in two weeks time to Croft, near Darlington, Qualifying will be shown on itv.com on Saturday June 25th, with all the raceday action on ITV4 on June 26th
Mighty Morgan motors to Thruxton win
Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship ace Adam Morgan bounced into title contention yesterday with a superb win at Thruxton, the UK’s fastest circuit, after 17 laps of intense pressure. It was Adam’s 11th career BTCC win.
The Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport team arrived at the fast Hampshire circuit after two excellent weekends, but found that the set-up of the BMW 330e M Sport wasn’t ideal. Tweaks were made in readiness for the second practice session and yet more for qualifying in which Adam, held up by a slower car battled to 12th fastest time and team-mate George Gamble 16th, both drivers happy with the progress of the cars but knowing that the balance wasn’t yet perfect.
Ciceley Motorsport’s engineering squad, led by the experienced Steve Farrell, worked long into Saturday night studying data and analysing the options available. An early start beckoned for the mechanics on Sunday morning as they had to adjust both cars to the new chosen settings, but it was worth it because the cars enjoyed a renaissance throughout the day.
Adam made a good start in the opening race and grabbed places in the opening lap scrum through the right-left-right sequence at the Complex and continued to push, grabbing ninth place from Stephen Jelley’s similar BMW 330e M Sport at Cobb on lap 11 and then grabbing another spot from Dan Lloyd’s. When Gordon Shedden hit tyre dramas late-race, Adam gained another place to finish in seventh position.
“We made really good progress in that race,” said The Morganator. “It’s a very different car from yesterday and much more driveable. I looked after the tyres in that race but we are really back in the game now.”
George also had a busy race, battling his way to 14th in what he described as a, “Banker race. I found more pace but I just couldn’t get through the traffic. The cars are so even and the hybrid isn’t enough of a benefit to make passing possible. I was strong in some places and the cars ahead stronger in others so it was a bit cat and mouse.”
The two Mac Tools-supported BMWs lined up seventh and 14th on the grid for the second race, but George was in strife on the opening lap when he was clipped by Aidan Moffat which pitched him into a high-speed spin. “I don’t know how I missed the wall…” he mused afterwards. “I wasn’t on my best tyres and there was no damage thankfully.” Ultimately, 20th was his reward with an “All-out assault plan” for race three.
In contrast, Adam, in his 300th BTCC race, made a good start with his rear-wheel drive technology but then lost a couple of places to front-wheel drive cars at the end of the lap. The BMW had the advantage off the line, but the front-wheel drive cars were able to make their tyres work sooner and hence fought back at the end of the lap. Adam pushed on, his tyres coming alive and fought up to sixth place. “That felt like a faster pace,” he reckoned, “and I had slightly higher tyre degradation as a result. I’m really pleased, though, with how the car has been transformed.”
Race three was set to be a thriller with the reverse grid draw putting Adam in second on the outside of the front row. And the Car Gods-supported BMW 330e M Sport launched clear of pole-sitter Jason Plato to lead to turn one. And there Adam stayed under race-long pressure from four-times champion Colin Turkington with Ash Sutton on their tail as well. Adam had to cope with a safety car situation, triggered by Stephen Jelley’s BMW spinning, and late-race rain. “My wipers weren’t working so as the visibility decreased, I was loosing reference points. That’s not ideal when you have Colin behind you.”
Like many drivers who are now learning about the hybrid system, Adam saved his for later in the race. “I didn’t use it for the first five laps and then started using it as the race wore on to try to get away from Colin.”
Adam’s 11th career win was a special one. “I won’t forget this. The way that the whole Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport team has turned the car around is awesome. That late night yesterday was well worth it.”
George fought his way to 14th, again battling hard to get through the traffic and gaining more valuable experience and points in his maiden season in the championship.
Said Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport’s Commercial Director Ash Gallagher: “What a result! That was a proper win for the whole team, from Steve Farrell and the engineers to team manager Martin Kenyon and all the mechanics plus Adam in the car: it was everyone coming together and turning the weekend around. We were left scratching our heads on Saturday but the way that we regrouped and took a win in such an impressive way is a great reflection on the quality of the people we have in the team. Adam drove brilliantly under pressure and George had a difficult weekend but gained more seat-time which is crucial. Our Car Gods and Mac Tools guests are a big part of the team on racedays and I am delighted that they could share in our success after race three. We have our sights firmly on more wins next time out now!”
The results from Thruxton move Adam into sixth place in the Drivers’ Championship and puts George 11th, with Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport now fourth in the Teams’ Championship. Adam lies second in the Independent Drivers’ standings with George third and Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport second in the Independent Teams’ Championship just four points off the leading squad.
The next stop for the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship is at the team’s home circuit of Oulton Park on June 11/12, with qualifying shown on ITV.com on Saturday and the raceday action starting on ITV1 before switching to ITV4 for the third 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.