The indomitable Doug ‘Hollywood’ Gore has broken new ground in circuit racing in Jamaica, arming himself with an F1-formulated 2003 Audi TT DTM Race car, to match gears with arch rival David Summerbell ,Jr and his championship-winning Evolution 8, in what many pundits deem the epic showdown.
Gore and his Audi-manufactured racecar comes loaded with an arsenal of modern specifications, although packaged in a 2003 shell.
The paddle shifter on the steering wheel will sharpen Gore’s driving technique, with less energy being used to change gears. “I will no longer change the gears in a conventional fashion, I will actually be doing it from the steering wheel” he explained.
This Newbury Championship car will marvel at Dover, as its carbon fibre exterior will make it easier for Gore to bullet ahead of the field.
Driven by the likes of Red Bull Audi racer Peter Terting, Gore went all-out to commandeer this vehicle for battle, from the Audi racing team.
“I had several different options as to which car to buy, but I know I wanted an Audi for sure and the wow factor of buying an Audi factory race car is what attracted the ATL team. I realised that the car out of Italy, which had won many championships, was definitely the one for me. This car is for the circuit and that’s how I’ve always wanted it,” Gore beamed.
As Gore parks his former four-wheel drive turbo Evolution 5 and shifts into a rear-wheel drive naturally-aspirated vehicle, he will nonetheless have to forego some of the technologically advanced specifications on the Audi, such as the exotic carbon fibre brakes.
These are not allowed on the Dover Circuit so Gore will have to opt for the more conventional steel carbon brakes. But not to worry, Gore will drive in comfort at the Easter Monday Dover race meet, as the racing seats were carved specifically for his body.
“They made the seats specially for me by pouring a chemical concoction in a plastic on which I was seated, to form foam, from which the artist carved the seat around my body formation,” he told Auto.
“The international drivers all use this technology; the key is to be as comfortable in the car as possible so movement is limited, you become one with the car and you’re fastened better, especially when you’re cornering.”
With all the muscle and might behind the Audi that has dominated Europe, the “unknown” factor must be calculated when racing at Dover, and Gore is coming with a fully equipped German team to prepare for the unknown.
“It’s gonna be interesting to see how the car will perform on our track with the hill-and-gully sections and the chicane,” he said. “The Germans from Audi will be in the island before and at the meet to prepare the car for testing and for repairs on race day.
“It’s nervous times for the entire team, because we don’t know what this car can do at Dover. We’ve spent a lot of time and money and we can only hope that it will be what everybody says it will be, and you know I always try to give my best.”
Gore and his ATL-sponsored team will officially launch the car and unveil its beauty at the ATL Autohaus headquarters in Monetgo Bay next week Saturday.
Although the chassis and suspension on Gore’s 4 litre V8 Audi were designed from F1 specifications, “King” David Summerbell, Jr is in wait-and-see mode, as, like Gore, he too believes the unknown factor of such a remarkable car can play out either way.
“I really think Doug’s car is like bringing a gun to a knife fight, so we are putting on our bullet-proof vest. There is a lot of anticipation on everybody’s part to see how his car runs. On any normal track, there wouldn’t be any comparison, but at Dover it can go either way.”
Summerbell, Jr the defending Dover Champion and track record holder at one minute and 18 seconds, believes firmly in the old Jamaican adage ‘new broom sweep clean but old broom know the corners’.
“Dover is a special track and it’s kind of like home ground for me, but we will see what happens. We haven’t done anything new to the car, just ensuring that everything we have is in tip-top condition. We’ve done a lot of major work in terms of fine-tuning, but nothing major in terms of performance.”
While remaining confident in his proven performance, Summerbell, Jr is taking no chances and will be drawing an extra gear to fight fire with fire on race day.
“We plan to drive harder as we’ve never run it at its full potential, but first and foremost, is to keep the car reliable, which it always has been. Another comparison I would make with Doug’s car would be the David & Goliath situation, and we all know how that went,” Summerbell, Jr laughed.
Also debuting a mean machine is 2009 Dover Champion, Christopher Campbell, who was noticeably absent from the circuit in 2010, due to mechanical problems with his Evolution 4. Campbell will be back in action for the very exciting 2011 season with a BMW M3. “Can’t say much about the car right now due to certain obligations, but you can rest assured it will perform on race day,” said Campbell.
The pairing of Alan Chen with Peter “Bull” Thompson’s RX7 will be relatively new, although this car is not new to the circuit, after Chen did not complete the races entered with the Mazda RX7 in 2010.
“We had some handling issues and the power was too aggressive. I started two races at the last meet but I didn’t complete them. The car actually crashed, but this year I plan to complete the races. We did some testing at the track recently and it went pretty well so we’re gonna fine-tune it to get ready for race day,” Chen told Auto.
So, with all the hectic behind-the-scenes activities, prepare for the unexpected this Easter Monday as the first racemeet gets underway in the Dover series.