Since its creation in mid-2011, British sportscar squad VonRyanRacing has earned a reputation for being one of the most professional, trusted and capable teams competing in European GT racing, but is still to get its 2014 campaign off the ground.
After contesting last season's British GT Championship and Blancpain Endurance Series with its trusty McLaren 12C GT3, the team was all set to return in 2014, only for a seemingly secure deal to fall apart on the eve of the season.
“Well, we certainly intended to be racing, that's for sure!” team owner Dave Ryan sighed, “We paid the British GT entry fee in anticipation of contesting the championship, but unfortunately the deal we'd pinned our hopes on hasn't come to fruition. Our McLaren is fully prepared and ready to race, so it's obviously very frustrating.”
Admitting that the team would not 'race at any cost', Ryan insisted that it was ready and waiting to take the right offer and compete in any of the major GT series.
“To uphold our high standards, which have marked us out in the past, we need a realistic budget that's based on what it costs to run the car properly,” he explained, “You always need a bit of luck in endurance racing but, having said that, proper preparation is something we pride ourselves on and is one of the reasons for our 100 per cent finishing record at the 24 Hours of Spa with the McLaren. Every penny is spent on the car; there are no large overheads or flashy motorhomes to consider. With all of that in mind I think we represent very good value for money.
“We're eager to hear from anyone who wants to race a GT car across Europe, really. Like I said, we have a confirmed British GT entry and are based here, so that makes most sense, but we would be open to continental offers, too. We have a perfect finishing record at Spa, contested the Blancpain Endurance Series in 2012 and '13, and even oversaw Sebastien Loeb's French GT outing at Paul Ricard in 2012! We're certainly not afraid of a challenge.”
Despite the variety of machinery now presenting itself in GT racing, Ryan is confident that the McLaren remains a competitive prospect – and may even have taken a step forward this season.
“In the past, some people have suggested it's difficult for gentlemen drivers to set up and drive the 12C GT3, but McLaren GT have worked hard to dial this out and, now the teams understand how to set the cars up correctly, it's really no longer an issue,” he explained, “You have to remember the McLaren is a lot more race-orientated than most of the other GT3 models but, with two full years of racing and development behind them, the teams have really got to grips with how to get the best out of it.
“Of course, that's not to say it was ever particularly bad! Last season we finished second at Brands Hatch in British GT with 90kg of extra ballast on-board, which was a superb result. Also, when you look at the impressive performances by some of the other McLaren teams already this season then it's clear to see that the car is definitely a very competitive package...”