Ross competes in the 24 Hours of Barcelona for GT sportscars
Ross Wylie competes in the Hankook 24 Hours of Barcelona next weekend (3-4 Sep) racing a Ferrari 458 which marks the Dumfries GT driver’s maiden twice-around-the-clock car race. Wylie will race for the Kent-based MJC-Furlonger team alongside regular British GT Championship co-driver Phil Dryburgh plus fellow Scots Rory Butcher and Rob Smith plus team owner Witt Gamski.
A 65-car field has entered the race staged around the 16-corner, 2.9-mile Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain, the penultimate race in the seven-race International Endurance Series. The 24H Series is a FIA approved international endurance series of 12- and 24-hour endurance race events aimed at amateurs and “gentlemen” drivers, semi-professionals and professional drivers.
A wide variety of ‘tin top’ touring cars, GTs and 24H-Specials (e.g. silhouette cars) are eligible to race, from ‘hot hatchbacks’ up to proper GT3 machinery and purpose-built race cars. Wylie, who is supported by A.W. Jenkinson Forest Products, SDA Packaging (Kent) and Carronbridge Sawmill (Dumfries), will get his first taste of the GTE-specification Ferrari in Thursday’s opening practice session with the race starting at 12 noon on Saturday.
“I’m incredibly excited to be racing in Barcelona. The opportunity has come about thanks to Phil [Dryburgh] my co-driver in BGT. The Ferrari 458 GTE spec car looks incredible and features more aero compared to the Aston Martin plus ABS and traction control. But I’m guessing the car won’t feel too dissimilar to a GT3 spec car. My first time driving the car on-track will be the Thursday test before the event so I’ll be right in at the deep end but I can’t wait.
My only other 24 hour race experience was a karting event at Teesside Autodrome two years ago. I remember it being incredibly physical while the hardest part was the sleep element, or lack of, making it mentally tough. I’m guessing adding an expected 35C cockpit temperature will be an additional challenge!
Realistically I’m not too sure what to expect but the 458 should be very competitive in what is a big field. Rory and Rob have been very competitive this season in the European Le Mans Series so it will be great to share a car with those guys. As well as it being my first 24 hour car race, my first race in a Ferrari and my first for the MJC-Furlonger team, I’ll also be making my race debut in Barcelona. I tested there last year when I was a McLaren GT ‘Young Driver’.
It won’t be my first race in Spain, however, as I competed in a European Karting Winter Cup event at Campillos near Málaga a few years ago, winning the Pre-Final and coming home fourth in the main race.”