Greystone GT’s brand of high-end track days at the very best UK tracks have already forged something of a reputation in a very tough-to-please marketplace.
High-quality catering (including on-site coffee baristas!), tech support, seamless organisation and hosting plus some of the very best high-performance race instructors available have added significant numbers to their very exclusive customer base.
So when the call came to pop along for a chat with the men behind it moving into organising bespoke testing for race teams and drivers, it was a meeting worth taking!
It’s very clear that founder Mark McLoughlin and his operations chief Tim Mullen are very proud indeed of their record in growing one of the most high-end track day businesses in the UK (and indeed Europe).
It’s that growth and in particular, some of their customer feedback, that has persuaded them that a new market opportunity is out there; one that could have significant benefits for both GT race drivers and their teams (or indeed their prospective teams as last-minute preparation, development, and commercial deals are nailed together and tied down!)
“For our new calendar of High-Performance Test Days, we have applied many of the principles that have made our Supercar Trackdays so popular with our drivers,” says McLoughlin – himself a former single-seater racer who can list a Formula Renault UK win at Thruxton in 2002 (one Mr Lewis Hamilton was second that day) among his on-track achievements.
“The track day market in the UK is quite mature but, for high-level race teams and their drivers, we felt that the test day options are far more limited. We’ve listened to teams and have created a series of first-class testing opportunities with certain criteria to ensure that drivers benefit from the highest quality of uninterrupted track time at circuits, and on dates that are relevant to major UK race series like British GT and other GT categories.
“Team Managers who look after high-performance cars have regularly told us that their drivers can often become frustrated with traffic, stoppages, and short sessions that are typical of ‘general tests’, but don’t want to take on the expense, risk, and admin of booking circuits exclusively. From time to time there are other ‘semi-exclusive’ [limited-numbers] testing opportunities, but they never seem to fall on the right dates to make them useful for meaningful testing.
“Until now many of these teams have had little choice, and all too often an expensive test in a GT4 or GT3 car has been spoilt by some of these problems.
“With this in mind, and having successfully trialled the concept last October with a test three weeks before the GT Cup finale at Snetterton, we decided to create a calendar of five High-Performance Test Days at four of the UK’s top circuits.
“Starting at Oulton Park in March, and including Snetterton, Silverstone and Donington, we’re positioning each Test Day two or three weeks ahead of a relevant race event at the same track. For Oulton, for example, we’re less than three weeks out from the British GT season-opener, and that pattern continues throughout the year.
“It’s ideal for national or international GT teams with high-performance racing cars; British GT, Porsche Carrera Cup and Sprint Challenge, Ferrari Challenge, Lamborghini Supertrofeo, Pure McLaren and similar cars.”
Greystone has placed strict limits on the number of cars on-track per event, with a maximum of 25 allowed on any one of the days, and guarantee an open pitlane and a strict speed criterion of GT4 performance or higher, reducing potential disruption through baulking and red-flag incidents.
Added to a guaranteed garage space, dedicated drivers’ lounge, tyre support and professional timing, everything appears to have been thought of.
“Its not just the carefully-chosen dates that make these test days better than what’s out there at the moment”, adds Mullen; a British GT champion and Le Mans podium finisher, who – as Team Manager – guided FF Corse to victory at the Ferrari World Finals last year, and oversaw successful programmes for Garage 59.
“We do things to make life easy for the teams and their drivers that other test days can’t or won’t offer.
“It’s open pitlane, Protyre will support each event to supply and fit Pirelli and Michelin tyres, full TSL timing is provided and we don’t charge extra for pit garages or an additional driver in each car.
“Plus, as with all Greystone GT events, we’ll convert one of the double garages into a fully-furnished hospitality lounge with our own coffee barista serving drinks and refreshments to drivers, teams and engineers, who can all use this area to relax. It adds a bit more of a VIP feel and hopefully benefits the team, who know their drivers and personnel will be well-looked after.”
“Mark and I are both racers. We’ve been behind the wheel and we’ve worked team management, so we know what we need from a test day from both sides. We like to think these days cover off all the bases.”
Greystone GT’s ideas have the potential to revolutionise the way professional GT teams go testing. Whether it sets the new standard or not really depends on whether the circuits follow suit with their own product over the next couple of years.
With initial interest reported to be high for the early-season events, it looks like Mark and Tim may just be onto something…
For more information on dates, locations and pricing, please visit www.greystonegt.com