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Racing with Schatz Competition

If I’ve been quiet on the blog since the end of the season, it’s for good reason. You might think that when the season finishes it’s time to down tools and relax for a while, and I did, for about a week.

Having read the title you’re clearly in no illusion about what’s coming, and right now I couldn’t be more excited about the year to come. Ever since I drove a Norma M20 FC at St-Ursanne les Rangiers in August, I knew my days racing in the FR were numbered. I’ve always wanted to get behind the wheel of a prototype and the reality was every bit as good as I’d hoped, parked on the left hand side I felt instantly at home in the carbon chassis, and I’ve spent pretty much every waking moment since working out ways to drive one next year.

This is more complicated than simply trading up, for one there is no way I can run one of these cars on my own. I already knew at the start of 2016 that I wanted to join a team next season, Vuillafans confirmed this for me, and driving a Norma made it a necessity. Besides, there’s no way the prototype will fit in my van (which is for sale here), so the hunt was on to find the best solution…

I’m over the moon to announce that I will be joining Schatz Competition in their 2016 Norma M20 FC for a full season of racing in the CFM!  

Lead by multiple French Hillclimb Champion Nicolas Schatz, it still feels slightly surreal to be driving this car with such a prestigious team – I remember seeing one of their trucks parked at St. Gouëno in 2014 (my first visit to France) with a row of prototypes positioned in front. I’d never seen anything like this kind of setup at a hillclimb, and it made a big impression on me. Coaching with Nicolas Schatz will be a huge benefit too, having been pretty much self taught throughout my whole time on track. This is something that I’ve always wanted to experience and it should really help my progression, especially in a new car. We’ll be starting with some testing on circuit early next Spring before my first race of the season which is currently looking like Col. St Pierre in the south of France, a long and beautiful looking hillclimb that I’ve always wanted to try. Until now it’s been impossible due to logistics but one of the many benefits to running in a team is that I can now fly to any number of airports rather than being stuck to the same flight itinerary at Lyon all year. It should make it possible to fly out on Fridays and come back on Sunday evenings at times, which will certainly make my work life easier.

The car itself is almost new, running the very latest aero package and powered by a 2 litre Honda Type R engine mated to a SADEV 6 speed sequential running a XAP paddle shift.

With a just under 300Bhp and not much more than 500kg you’re looking at well over 500Bhp/ton – it’s no surprise the M20 is one of the fastest and most successful chassis in modern closed road hillclimbing.

13315673_1059827704097257_4835259747889965041_nI’ll be competing in class CN2, most of my friends from the Formula Renault class will be going on to drive Dallara F3 cars so I’ll be up against new competition. One thing I’m really looking forward to is racing in the same team as my friend Sarah Louvet, one the quickest and most skilful drivers I’ve competed against, I just know it will be huge fun. I have her to thank for the introduction, I’ve come to know most of the team at Schatz Competition over the last year or so, but I was a little nervous to ask until she kindly suggested joining them and helped get the ball rolling! 

With 2017 just round the corner I can’t believe how quickly this year has flown by, even selling the Tatuus feels like some time ago already. I was quite teary to see it go, but the chap I sold it to in Holland was an absolute star and even said he would be keeping it’s colour scheme.

I’m working on some exciting media projects for next season (hoping to have news on a new TV project soon), and much as I’ve loved writing the blogs for my website but these will be moving to another website, I’ll continue to post galleries and updates but next years coverage will be focusing much more heavily on video content as well as Facebook Live. I recently joined DRIVETRIBE where I’ve set up a tribe called Mountain Rush focussing on the world of closed road hillclimbing, anyone with a FB account is welcome to post on there (articles, photos & video) and since making a launch video I’ve been struggling for time so please take a look and post away over Xmas! 

Don’t forget to catch me on series 3 of ITV’s Ninja Warrior in January :D

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