Fantastic Result for Milltek’s VW Golf in Dubai 24hr Race
The Milltek Sport motorsport team reached a new milestone in their first ever 24hr endurance race, held over the weekend of the 9th-11th January 2014, at the notoriously tough circuit of the Dubai Autodrome. A long-term supporter of various racing series, from BTCC to the Volkswagen Racing Cup, performance exhaust manufacturer Milltek Sport enlisted Buckinghamshire-based KPM Racing to purpose-build a Volkswagen Golf Mk 6 TDI (in the same mould as their Golf Racer which took part in the 2013 Time Attack series) to compete in the D1 (diesel touring cars up to 2000cc) class of the 24H Series during 2014.
However, a great car also needs great drivers and Team Milltek/KPM enlisted the talents of BTCC driver Tom Onslow-Cole, APR Volkswagen Racing Cup Champion Aaron Mason, fellow VW Cup driver Josh Caygill, endurance racer Paul White and Britcar title-winner Javier Morcillo.
The team, run by KPM’s owner Kevin Poole, made an impressive start to the event with Aaron Mason setting the fastest time in class in free practice, over two seconds clear of its nearest rival, with a 2:23.256 minute lap. Tom Onslow-Cole then qualified in P2 to put it on the ‘front row’ of the D1 class grid for the race on Friday afternoon.
The race commenced at 14:00 local time with Javier Morcillo behind the wheel of the #127 Milltek / KPM Golf. Three hours into the endurance challenge the team took over as class leaders with Aaron, Paul, Tom and Josh maintaining position in to the night on the 5.39km circuit. After receiving a ‘Code 60’ time penalty just before the halfway mark, the team was in P2 when Aaron re-took the class lead entering the 13th hour. After storming stints by Josh and Javier, Aaron had contact with a faster car and had to bring #127 back to the pits. After a quick repair and driver change back to Tom, an upright failed due to the earlier damage so the team decided to completely rebuild the front end despite what this would mean to its position in the race.
The squad re-joined the competition with Josh in P4 and in a magnificent combined effort, the rookie team was back up to P2 with an hour left of the enduro event. The racing gods were to throw one more hurdle at the fledgling British team when the car’s gearbox failed on the homeward stint, however after a complete replacement within only 25 minutes, Paul took to the track to bring #127 home and secure the second place trophy in the D1 class at the chequered flag.
Kevin Poole, KPM Racing, team owner: “We only shook the car down the weekend before it was packed in to the container to come over to Dubai for the race. We were running issue free in the opening hours on Friday until Aaron had contact from a faster car and we had to pit with quite some damage. Unfortunately, we didn’t know the extent until we sent the car back out with Tom and it was completely un-driveable, so we decided to cut our losses and replace the entire front end. This would obviously cost us time, but would hopefully give us a good run mechanically until the end. The gearbox then failed with one hour to go and the team did an extraordinary job to change it in just 25 minutes. Our aim was then to preserve our second place to the end of the race, knowing that the win was out of our grasp. I would like to thank all the guys in the team, Milltek Sport, everyone who has supported us for our first 24 hour endurance event and our drivers. It has been exhausting but fantastic, and a very encouraging start to KPM Racing’s 2014 season.”
Tom Onslow-Cole: “To finish our first 24 hours race is amazing. I have had the best time here with an awesome team. This event is so different to what I normally race in and I have been impressed with the camaraderie within the team and paddock. It is such a different feeling and emotional experience and to come second in class in our first race is amazing. Thank you to everyone at KPM Racing and Milltek Sport.”
Josh Caygill: “It feels fantastic to be a part of this event and team. Everyone mucked in and helped produce a podium finish in our first 24 hours race. The car was great to drive; it is a shame we had the gearbox problem at the end of the race, but we made up positions, showed our stamina and are really happy with second place trophy in class.”
Aaron Mason: “It has been an absolutely brilliant experience driving in Dubai. Well done to everyone in the team and all the drivers. It was truly an entire team effort and one I’ll never forget.”
Javier Morcillo: “I am extremely happy right now! This is the best team I have worked with in a long time and if we hadn’t have had the gearbox issue we would have won our class for sure. We are of course very happy with second place in the team’s first 24 hours race and the team should be very proud today.”
Paul White: “I am over the moon for Kevin and the team. All the drivers did a sterling job and the guys are a pleasure to work with. We had a dramatic last hour with the gearbox change, but I then had the privilege of driving our car for the emotional last stint. Taking us over the finish line for a class podium at the end of our first 24 hour race underlines the fantastic efforts made by the team and drivers. It has been a brilliant week, thank you everyone.”