2021 began with getting the keys for our brand new Bicester HQ and the builders coming on site to put the clubhouse and workshop together.
December 31, 2021
While that was happening, race prep kicked off with testing at Donington for our debut event: April's Masters Historic Race Weekend. We had a great test in the Cobra and also ran our Riley and Scott Mk3C for the first time. This incredible car had not turned a wheel since retirement in 2002, so we gave it a full re-prep including a fresh engine and that had a shakedown before the weekend.
Although Masters' Easter event was run in front of empty grandstands, this did not dampen the racing enthusiasm: we were thrilled to be back on track. Masters livestreamed the racing online and feedback was excellent. The absent crowd enjoyed some of the most closely fought Masters races for a long time.
In Gentlemen Drivers Pre-'66 GT, the top two were split by less than seven seconds after 90 minutes of racing and Pursuit finished with two Cobras in the top five: James Cottingham and Joe Twyman coming home on the podium, with Richard Cook and Harvey Stanley finishing fifth overall.
Sixteen cars qualified in Masters Endurance Legends. Richard paired with Ollie Hancock in the Riley and Scott and put the car sixth on the grid. We were delighted to take a class win - fifth overall - on the car's debut, with a fastest lap to boot. The Mk3C's speed is magnificent and we learn more about the car every time we race.
April continued to entertain, first with a day's testing in the GT40 ahead of the Motor Racing Legends weekend and then on to rallying, supporting the ex-Juha Kankkunen Prodrive WRC Subaru Impreza on a test day at Walters Arena.
In May, we raced the GT40 in the first Amon Cup race at Donington Motor Racing Legends: Harvey and David Cuff finishing third overall. Brands Hatch Masters came at the end of the month, and we took our first win in Gentlemen Drivers: James coming home to win the race, with Richard and Harvey fighting their way through the field to finish an impressive 12th overall. We also enjoyed some close battles in Endurance Racing Legends and claimed our second class win of the season: two out of two!
June was another busy month, with team member Frédéric Laurent passing his ARDS test and obtaining his race licence before completing his first test day at Silverstone in the Jaguar E-Type. Preparations continued at the Pursuit clubhouse, with graffiti artist Julian Johnson completing our iconic race wall art.
In July, we headed to Le Mans with Peter Auto. Despite tricky weather conditions all weekend, we clocked up a pole position and our first European win in Endurance Racing Legends with the Riley and Scott, P3 in quali for Sixties Endurance and quali P2 with a class win in 2.0L Cup. A fortnight later, we raced in the Masters Historic GT Challenge as part of the British GP support programme, with James picking up another win and a podium in the Carreras Colombia Cobra.
In August, we were back at Silverstone for the Silverstone Classic. James again raced the Colombia Cobra, claiming P5 in qualifying for the International Trophy for pre-'66 GT cars and securing that position in the race, against stiff competition.
James and Max Girardo debuted the awesome Dallara SP1 in full Pursuit mode, securing P8 in qualifying behind an incredible array of modern Le Mans cars but finishing the first race down the order, due to an electrical fault. Starting P22 for race 2, the duo finished P7 overall: a fantastic result and a great shakedown for a subsequent run at Le Mans in the support programme for the 24 Hours.
James put the Dallara on pole for both races around the Circuit de la Sarthe, but race 1 ended prematurely with a cracked water fitting. Again the car came good in race 2, taking the overall win.
Richard was out in the Riley and Scott at Le Mans. Starting 12th on the grid in race 1 behind the likes of Dario Franchitti and former Le Mans winners, Emmanuel Collard and Darren Turner, he finished P6 overall with a super committed performance before losing out in race 2 with a technical issue.
September saw us racing at Vallelunga with Peter Auto. In truly atrocious weather conditions, Richard and Harvey put in a stellar performance to climb from P7 on the grid to P2 overall and were fighting for the lead, before the race was red-flagged due to weather; unfinished business for our next Vallelunga event.
Then it was on to the Goodwood Revival, where the team was joined by the 2009 F1 world champion, Jenson Button, alongside Alex Buncombe in the Carreras Colombia Cobra. Qualifying P3 for the TT, the duo was forced to retire in the race, but it was a great weekend for the team.
After Goodwood, we headed to the Spa 6 Hours, where Richard, Harvey and David raced the GT40 in the six-hour endurance event. Despite a race-long struggle with reduced visibility due to a split oil cooler, we finished fifth overall in one of our favourite races of the season.
The final race weekend of the year - the Estoril Classics - was the highlight of an excellent year. James took the Dallara to pole and the win in both Endurance Legends races. Driving the familiar Cobras in Sixties Endurance, Richard and Harvey fought their way up from seventh on the grid to the overall win, bringing a thrilling race-long battle to James and Max in the Carreras Colombia Cobra and earning a 1-2 finish for Pursuit at this exceptional event.
Our first year in motorsport exceeded everyone's wildest expectations and we're looking forward to more great racing in 2022.
A big thanks to all our supporters for their virtual cheering through our debut season! Follow the Pursuit Instagram channel to keep in touch with all the latest news!