Simmonds is in the fast lane to success

DUBAI - Current Cytech UAE GTB champion Jon Simmonds embodies the ethos of UAE motorsport: part-time race drivers with very professional attitudes that range from top notch car and team preparation coupled to the burning desire to win on track.

By (KT Report)

Published: Fri 17 Jun 2011, 12:36 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 7:24 PM

And those who know Simmonds have a pretty good idea that he does not mince his words. A straight shooter, the ace driver tells about his ride to the championship.

Simmonds got his racing career underway far later than most. “I was a very late starter! My first taste of competitive motorsport was as a 35-year-old when I entered the 2002 Caterham Academy Championship in the UK. After this I raced a Renault Clio in several rounds of the Britcar Championship between 2003 and 2005 securing multiple class wins and podium finishes before moving to Dubai in early 2006. Since arriving in the UAE I have competed in all five 24 Hour races at Dubai Autodrome in a variety of cars including Golf GTi, Clio, Aston Martin N24 and Seat Supercopa and have taken a class win and podium against the toughest international competition. I was one of the seven drivers who raced in the very first UAE TCC event back in 2007. I have competed in three seasons, winning Class A and overall UAE TCC crown in 2010 before moving to the UAE GT Championship last year where along with my co-drivers/coaches I secured the 2011 UAE GTB title driving my Porsche GT3 Cup car,” says the champion, who has called Dubai his home for the past five years.

The champion driver shared his number 22 Porsche GT3 Cup with Tarek Elgammal and Phil Quaife. He won three races in the Alex Renner Motors prepped Porsche, which was one less than arch-rival for the title – Mohammed Al Mutawaa in the House of Portier Corvette – but Simmonds’ consistency and tenacity, which coupled to speed and a never-say-die attitude paid off handsomely in the end.

Nevertheless it was a very tough season for the Dubai-based Briton and he recalls the highlights: “Friday 17 December 2010 at Yas Marina Circuit (NOrth configuration) where my team, MSW racing, took an unprecedented triple win on the day winning GTA, GTB (with me driving) and Touring Car race. Seeing my team’s three cars resplendent in team livery in the pit lane with all drivers and crew grinning for Darren Rycroft (official photographer) as he took our picture was amazing.”

Simmonds also cherishes his team’s performance in Dubai Autodrome’s biggest international race, as he explains: “The Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai in January 2011 where we raced our hearts out in our Seat Supercopa and finished on the same lap as Sunred7 who are the WTCC champions, Spanish Supercopa champions and winners of both 24 Hours of Barcelona and Dubai.

“We took the fastest race lap in the process. Our drivers, crew and car did not miss a beat for 24 hours and we earned a lot of respect from the best Supercopa team in the world on that day.”

But motorsport comes with highs and lows. For Simmonds there were a couple of the latter. “Race 6 at Dubai Autodrome National circuit where we tested, practiced and qualified fastest and were supremely confident of taking a win only to be mistakenly given the wrong tyres for the race. It was like a bad dream,” he says.

As is the case with any serious outfit, the list of people who have a hand in the success is often long. Simmonds has his list. “There are so many people involved in our racing program that I’m indebted to that I can’t possibly mention them all. Obviously Alex and his ARM team and my amazing co-drivers Tarek (Elgammal) and Phil (Quaife) deserve special mention but thanks also to everyone who provided financial, technical, product or moral support.”

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