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When your dream BTCC contract gets sour

With a team and car that has won the title in two of the last three years, it was very convenient for Phil Grue, who has returned to the series championship, to make his debut at the British Touring Car Championship in 2010. However, the experience of the 2009 Renault Clio Cup champion’s British Tintop premier series, which graduated, turns out to be short-lived, thanks to the withdrawal of sponsors following the promising first round at Thruxton.

The Triple Eightran Factory Box Hall team was a dominant force in the early part of the new century, winning four titles in the Astra Coupe that conquered everything, and for the next two years the Astra Sports Hatch returned to victory. I did. Thanks to Fabrizio Giovanardi in 2007. The Italians doubled the following year and lost the title in the final race of 2009, but Vauxhall withdrew support at the end of the season and Triple Eight faced an uncertain winter.

The plan floated in the air on the eve of the 2010 campaign, but Ian Harrison’s team brought in sponsorship from the WD40 on both cars on the eve of the Thruxton season opener with Jobanardi. We have signed a one-race contract to participate in.

Grew had to bring half of his budget, the rest was covered by the team’s sponsorship deal, and the American lifestyle brand Uniq also covered the sides of the car quite a bit. So far, it’s pretty simple, but because Glew thinks in hindsight, there’s a lot of despair on behalf of both parties, making it a “very dangerous combination.”

“I was desperate to do my best and succeed. I didn’t have enough money, but I was trying to scrabble to make it happen,” said Gru, who won second place in the 2004 Formula BMW UK Championship. say. “And [Harrison] Money stopped coming in from Vauxhall, so I was desperate to make it happen. ”

Still, Gru wouldn’t want a better teammate given that he was “thrown into the deepest part”, as he only tested half a day in Rockingham’s wet to adapt to Bektra.

“He was great,” says Gru of Giovanaldi. “He was great with me. He knew what he was doing because it was clearly the same car he had driven before. And he was good around Thruxton. rice field…”

Jason Plato stops Glühwein and Jobanardi in Race 3 before the rookie engine gives up

Photo courtesy of: Motorsport image

Sure enough, the weekend was a dream start for the Italians who scored 2-5 at the finale. Meanwhile, Grew promised to finish 6th in his debut, followed by 7th in Race 2, and then let go of his engine at the finale. The “very effective debut” was how autosport characterized his weekend before Gru predicted that he would “win this year’s race.”

“I went there trying to build it and did nothing stupid,” he says. “I wanted to be a good boy. They said, so I did what I was told.” I don’t have a spare so it won’t crash. It just has an engine. ” It was very difficult to prove the point.

“I think they burned their fingers a bit. The WD40 is based on the BTCC throughout its European marketing campaign and has earned money from all divisions of Europe.” Phil Gru

“If I knew it was my only race, I would have pushed harder, stuck, tried to prove myself a little more and had a little more fun, but the worst was Uniq …”

Indeed, the company decided not to continue its relationship with the team, “to significantly underestimate the impact of our brand exposure on the demand for certain products and services in the UK market and to maintain sponsorship. In a special statement. Triple Eight actually poses a series of business problems. ”

As a result, championship leader Jobanardi remained high and dry. “It’s surreal. I’ve never led the championship and I’ve never lost a drive,” he told Autosport, but Grew had to go back to sponsoring and look for a solution.

“It was all just smoke and mirrors,” says Glew. “It upset me, and I never saw motorsport again. I loved it.”

The WD40 agreed, according to the original agreement, that Glew could continue if the company logo was displayed on both cars, but James Nash hijacked the Giovanardi car and filled the space with James Cameron’s science fiction promotion. , That was impossible. -fi epic avatar.

Nash's support meant that the contract with Glühwein was not feasible

Nash’s support meant that the contract with Glühwein was not feasible

Photo courtesy of: Motorsport image

“In the end, we had to say,’I can’t do that because I didn’t agree with it in the first place,'” says Glew. “I and the WD40 never dropped out, but I think they burned their fingers a bit. The WD40 is based on the BTCC marketing campaign across Europe and received money from all divisions of Europe …”

Grew will have another one-time BTCC on Silverston’s Special Tuning Seat in 2010 and will be ready to rejoin the 2011 BTCC at Arena Motorsport-run Aonford until the sponsor withdraws the eve of the season. It’s ready. In the unwelcome case of déjàvu.

“I kept trying to close the deal, but I wondered what I was doing and what I was trying to achieve here,” he says. “I was paid some drives to race GT cars and thought,’You should do this.’

“I’ve always been teaching young drivers, so I’m focused on helping them. Thanks to my experience, I’ve found that I know a lot of people who know a lot. So I started managing drivers. ”

Today, his edge management company has a few up-and-coming British drivers in his book. Among them are Tom Gamble (regular of the World Endurance Championship), who won the 2018 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, and Katie Milner (below), a British GT racer. As several drivers from abroad, including her McLaren driver development program teammates Harry Hayek and Alan Valente.

“What I’m always crazy about is talent,” he says. “We usually start by watching drivers come out of the cart and grow into champions, and paid drivers are the rewards we get.

“We’ve been looking for money with me for years, so we don’t look for money for people. What we do is that people waste money. And hopefully get back the money to become a professional driver. ”

McLaren DDP driver Katie Milner is one of Grew's list of edge clients.

McLaren DDP driver Katie Milner is one of Grew’s list of edge clients.

Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography When your dream BTCC contract gets sour

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