Not long after the final flag dropped on Motorbase’s 2018 racing season, Team Principal David Bartrum received a call from Porsche Centre Leeds asking for his team’s assistance with a very special project.
Paul Mulliss, Porsche Centre Leeds Service Manager explains; “We had decided to enter the prestigious Porsche Restoracing championship in 2018 for our maiden season. It was certainly a steep learning curve for us and a very enjoyable and challenging project. Unfortunately, during the final race meeting, our Porsche Boxster S ended up in the barriers with significant damage, and ended our season early.”
“We were sure that we wanted to come back again in 2019. To be honest, the damage was so extensive and the amount of work required so time-consuming that we knew we had to bring in some specialist expertise to help us to get the car rebuilt and to a race-winning standard in time for the start of the new season.”
“That’s where Motorbase Performance came in. Our operations manager, Sam Tordoff had just completed his first season with the Kent-based squad, racing in the BTCC, so he initially put David [Bartrum] and I in touch.”
The Porsche Restoracing Championship was borne from a celebration of the iconic Porsche Boxster S. Launched in 2018; the unique championship is open exclusively to Porsche’s network of service centres, with all teams running restored versions of the 3.2litre, six-cylinder 986 model.
“The guys at Motorbase have been instrumental in us getting the car rebuilt and back out on track;” continued Mulliss. “Our original 986 was so badly damaged that we had to source a new shell and build the car back up from there. Our body shop has worked alongside the team at Motorbase throughout the project, and it’s been a very successful collaborative effort.”
“The entire project has taken somewhere between 2-3 months I’d say. There have been many conference calls between us all, covering all of the minor details, right down to sticker placement on the livery.
“We took inspiration from Porsche’s ‘Project Gold’ 911 campaign and chose to run the Warsteiner retro livery for this season. We wrote to the guys in Germany, and they were very supportive. They even sent over some caps and t-shirts for the team to wear on race weekends!”
“The guys at Motorbase have done a fantastic job, and our technician and driver, Simon Ruffell-Ward has even been offered some days working with the Carrera Cup team at a race weekend to gain some more experience.”
With 15 cars competing in the five meeting series, competition between the service centres has been fierce this year. The majority of the entrants have extensive experience in preparing and running race cars, so JCT600’s entry as a main dealer is quite a step away from the norm, although the Tordoff family [which owns JCT600] has a great history with the German marque – both on, and off the race track.
JCT600 founder Jack Tordoff famously won the prestigious Circuit of Ireland Rally in 1973 in a 2.7 litre Porsche 911 Carrera, with his grandson, Sam Tordoff picking up the mantel again to race in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB championship in 2011 and 2012. Fast forward to today, and JCT600 Chief Executive, John Tordoff [Sam’s Dad] has recently completed his ARDS test and is piloting the #600 Boxster S for half of this season’s races – sharing driver duties with technician Simon Ruffell-Ward.
“This has been an excellent project for us all to be involved with;” added Mulliss. “Our people don’t really ever get this close to driving the Porsche’s in their everyday work, so it’s a great opportunity for them.
“The entire race team is made up of staff from our centre. We’re all novices. There’s myself, a service advisor Ben Pedley. We’ve also got a classic technician Paul Fawcett on-board, our quality controller Simon – who also races the car, and Jess Suffield who is one of our apprentices and has become heavily involved in the team.”
“We’ve had great results so far this season. Simon came 5th and 6th in his races and John 9th and 10th. Sam [Tordoff] has been helping them both with some driver training as well.
“I’m particularly proud of how hard everyone has worked on this project. We’re all having a great time, and learning more each weekend. Hopefully, a podium is not too far away.”
Source. Motorbase Performance/Photo. Porsche