After clinching the Lotus Exige Cup for a third consecutive season in 2013, Winchester-based team GWS Motorsport is embarking on a new challenge in 2014, piloting a Lotus Exige V6CupR in the Lotus Cup UK and Lotus Cup Europe, with Team Principal Glenn Sherwood taking solo driving honours.
The team went down to the wire with pre-season preparation, only taking delivery of the car a handful of days before their first race of the season at Silverstone on 26th April. With the expert support of Track Group and faith of key sponsors GT Radial, Lucketts Travel and Tructyre, however, the V6CupR rolled off the trailer just in time for a pre-weekend test at the home of the British Grand Prix.
Unfortunately, extreme wet weather conditions affected Sherwood's ability to get some solid mileage under his belt, but this played into the team's hands at their first race weekend, when rain fell before the official free practice session. Sherwood finished in the top 10, securing third in class, but could not replicate this in a dry qualifying session later that day - although he still notched up a respectable 13th place.
The fairer weather continued at the start of the race, which resulted in a steep learning curve for the GWS Motorsport squad given their limited running on a dry track. Clearly, unfamiliarity could not stop Sherwood, who carved his way through to 9th place on the opening laps and was chasing down the eighth place Lotus 211 of Chatterway and Train when a major crash between other vehicles brought out the safety car.
With a large amount of debris littering the track, the race remained under safety car conditions until the pit stop window commenced. Many cars took this as an opportunity to dive straight into pit lane, but frustratingly a loss of radio communication meant Sherwood missed his first pit stop opportunity and lost 19 places on the extra lap he had to complete before coming in.
After completing his mandatory stop, Sherwood was keen to repeat the progress he made in the early part of the race, but this plan was sidelined when another accident brought out the safety car again.
By the time the circuit was cleared, less than three laps remained and GWS Motorsport put their foot down to make the most of this. Sherwood stormed 10 places through the field, taking 18th overall - fifth in class - at the chequered flag and score 21 points.
"It's fantastic to be back on track with GWS Motorsport, behind the wheel of our brand new V6CupR," said Driver and Team Principal Glenn Sherwood. "Despite limited time to set the car up, it's clear we've got some fantastic pace - it's just a shame there weren't more laps at racing speed to see what it's capable of!"
GWS Motorsport will contest selected rounds of the Lotus Cup UK and Lotus Cup Europe during the 2014 season. The team's next appearance will be at Oulton Park on 14th June.