Age: 47 From: Yorkshire
Andy – an IT Project Manager from Yorkshire – is continuing into his second season in the MINI CHALLENGE Cooper S class with the Mad4MINI Motorsport team, with continued sponsorship from WWW.THEMETALSTORE.CO.UK again this year. Last season was successful, finishing third in class with his R53 MINI.
How did you get into motorsport?
“I spent a lot of time in and around the supercar scene, and slowly spent more and more of that time on trackdays. As I got more into it and the trackdays become more frequent some friends and I decided that racing was a box that just needed to be ticked.
“We bought an old BMW E30 together and took our ARDS tests and never looked back. The MINI element came around because the E30 was just too unreliable, and I wanted my own race car, my wife had owned an R53 MINI Cooper S previously, which was great fun. I knew they were reliable and would make a competitive race car, so I bought our current car without even seeing it and it’s been a faithful companion ever since.”
How did you find your first season?
“Having raced the MINI for a couple of seasons in MSVR series, the MINI CHALLENGE was always the target, so it had a lot to live up to, but it did that in spades. We were made to feel so welcome so quickly and it was professional and friendly. The series quickly stood head and shoulders above anything we’d done before.
‘What we didn’t really think about was the amount of time you spend with the same people the amount of good friends you make, which then makes the whole thing so much more fun. A race weekend is something that becomes very much looked forward to. I think a lot of the people I’ve met through the MINI CHALLENGE will be friends for a long time.”
You’re a small team, how has that worked?
“Yeah, Mad4Mini have been maintaining and supporting my car pretty much since I started racing it. Our aim was just to see if we could complete with ‘the big boys’, I think we’ve proved that and Mad4Mini are now quite a presence in the paddock. But the team is growing so expect that presence to increase, we’ve got three cars starting this season and hopefully more to join. That needs more logistics etc and think you’re just going to see more and more of us.”
Have you got any highlights from last season?
“Yeah loads! Oulton I think was the best of the weekends, we got two podiums, which was great. I got the best view of Aaron [Reeve] pirouetting down Cascades (we can joke now we know he came out of the accident OK). But I think the highlight was getting to share Chloe [Hewitt’s] first podium finish with her. She was in tears as she got out of the car. It’s so lovely to experience that with someone, especially someone as nice as Chloe.”
And the low lights?
“Yep, plenty of those as well. Crashing in the third race at Silverstone, which was my first ever DNF through contact. Then breaking down at Donington and Snetterton. The whole of the last event at Snetterton was horrible for us for various reasons, but that’s all racing – the highs are so high, that the lows don’t matter.”
What’s the aim for this year?
“Podiums… we’ve got to try to get our car as competitive as possible over the off season. It took quite a spanking through last year, and then just to try to get as many podiums as possible. I’m not overly focused on the championship this season (I say that now!). We just want to go and enjoy the racing, enjoy the people and see how much silverware we can bring home”