4TH PLACE FOR BRADLEY AFTER QUALIFYING DISQUALIFICATION AT SPA WEC

11 May

KC Motorgroup Ltd. (KCMG) and Richard Bradley defied all odds at the majestic Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and rounded off the second event of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) with a top four-class finish. Despite a debilitating penalty, which they served at the start of the race, Richard Bradley, Matt Howson and Nicolas Lapierre displayed unwavering tenacity – delivering laudable stints throughout the taxing six-hour round on the undulating 7.004km track in the Belgian Ardennes.

Thursday’s free practice sessions were held in very wet conditions. Given the poor visibility around the track, the team opted to limit their running during the first two 90-minute runs. The Hong Kong-based squad only had the opportunity to log a proper number of laps during Friday’s final practice and wrapped up the session in second place after posting their best time of 2:08.854.

Matthew Howson / Richard Bradley / Nicolas Lapierre KCMG Oreca 05 Nissan

Matthew Howson / Richard Bradley / Nicolas Lapierre KCMG Oreca 05 Nissan

Qualifying saw the team emerge second fastest in the LMP2 class, setting an average time of 2:07.970 in the 25-minute session. This result, unfortunately, was forfeited after failing post-session scrutineering. More so, a penalty called for a pit lane start and a further thirty-second disadvantage had set a more challenging start for the team in the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.

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Within the first hour of the race, French driver Lapierre weaved through the field of LMP2 and GT cars and finished his first 42 laps in fourteenth place overall and sixth in class. Howson took over driving duties as the race entered its second hour and delivered a good stint before handing the #47 LMP2 to his British compatriot Bradley.

Gaining ground in the LMP2 field, the 23-year-old driver completed 41 laps managing to catch and pass the Alpine for 5th place and overtaking the G-Drive racing Ligier for 4th before Lapierre took charge and did the final stint in the #47 ORECA 05 coupe. The final half hour of the world championship’s Belgian round saw the Frenchman take the blue and silver prototype from fifth after losing the place in the pits to fourth place, ultimately sealing another top four finish for the Hong Kong-based squad.

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Richard Bradley: “We delivered a fantastic result considering that we started from the pit lane with the 30 second penalty, and to finish 13 seconds off the podium is credit to the team. The car has got good speed and there has been a significant progress since Silverstone. We head to Le Mans next month feeling very confident.”

Erich Kolb, KCMG WEC Team Manager: “This outing has been a true test of how strong the team is and has underlined the real potential of the ORECA 05. Despite the limited running time that we had during the practice sessions and the penalty that was handed to us after post qualifying scrutineering, the team rose above these challenges and concluded the weekend in the LMP2 class’ top four. I would like to commend Nicolas, Matt and Richard for their determination and the outstanding performance that they each delivered throughout the weekend and to the all the members of the team for the excellent job at Spa. We now head to Le Mans with confidence after the progress that we’ve made in this event.”

KCMG currently sits third in the LMP2 standings with 27 points. To know more about the FIA World Endurance Championship, please visit: www.fiawec.com

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KCMG SHINES IN WEC PRE-SEASON TEST AT PAUL RICARD

30 Mar

KC Motorgroup Ltd. (KCMG) and Richard Bradley concluded FIA World Endurance Championship’s pre-season test with promising results after setting the fastest time in the LMP2 class during The Prologue at Circuit Paul Ricard. Donning their new electric blue livery, KCMG’s NISSAN-powered ORECA 05 displayed competitive pace throughout Friday’s series of test sessions. The car was also recognised to have one of the most stunning liveries on the WEC grid this season, after the team unveiled the coupe’s new colour scheme for 2015 last Thursday.

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The Le Castellet pre-season outing witnessed the team test the #47 LMP2 with all four DRIVERS who will represent the team this season. Nick Tandy, who is slated to pilot the LMP2 alongside Richard Bradley and Matt Howson at the world championship’s six hour rounds in the UK, Germany, US, Japan, China and Bahrain, was in attendance as well as Nicolas Lapierre, who will race for the Chinese team in Belgium and WEC’s premier round in France, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

KCMG and topped Friday’s morning and evening sessions, with Richard Bradley setting the fastest time in the morning as his Dunlop-shod ORECA 05 Nissan package displayed impressive form on Paul Ricard’s 5.809km configuration. Cumulatively, the team logged 98 laps over the course of two days and posted their fastest time of 1:47.456 – emerging as the quickest LMP2 at the pre season test.

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A public day was also held as part of the two day event, where more than 10,000 fans flocked to Le Castellet to meet WEC teams and drivers. With KCMG’s formidable line up and their eye catchingly quick car, the team was surely one of the favourites of endurance racing enthusiasts from this part of France. The team will continue their preparations ahead of the 6 Hours of Silverstone, where the Chinese LMP2 squad is set to kick start the season by delivering race winning results.

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Richard Bradley: “I’m very happy with how the test went as we’ve had great runs, especially during Day 1. We definitely have the pace, but there are still areas that need to be improved. Stringent preparations are underway as we inch closer to WEC’s first event at Silverstone and I cannot wait for the real racing action to start!”

FIA WEC’s season opener will be held on April 11-12 at Silverstone Circuit. To know more about the FIA World Endurance Championship, please visit: www.fiawec.com

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RICHARD BRADLEY TRIUMPHS IN DRAMATIC WEC FINALE AT INTERLAGOS

18 Dec

Richard Bradley and KCMG brought down the curtain on FIA World Endurance Championship’s 2014 season with another commanding LMP2 victory in Sao Paulo on Sunday. The Hong Kong-based squad, represented by Richard Bradley, Matt Howson and Alexandre Imperatori, scored their third world championship win with a significant lead after a sensational six-hour round at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace.

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KCMG had a momentous maiden outing on Brazil’s legendary circuit despite several hurdles, which the team conquered with confidence throughout the weekend. The two 90-minute free practice runs on Friday saw the #47 Oreca 03R – Nissan shod with Dunlop tyres complete both sessions in third place. Unfortunately, the team missed valuable running time during Saturday’s final practice due to a technical glitch. But true to form, the crew resolved the issue in time for the qualifying session that afternoon. Imperatori and Bradley posted a four-lap average of 1’24.843, securing the blue and white #47 LMP2 a front row start for WEC’s final race of the season.

The 6 Hours of Sao Paulo’s thrilling start witnessed Alexandre Imperatori take the lead from G-Drive Racing’s Olivier Pla. He then went on to establish a comfortable gap over the rest of the field as he completed his first stint. As the race entered its second hour, an accident involving the #26 Ligier prompted a full course yellow flag for several laps but Imperatori held on to the lead and completed 70 laps before handing the car over to his British teammate Matt Howson.

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The race was halfway through the second hour when the #47 Oreca went off track. Fortunately, Howson immediately recovered and rejoined the field in the lead. After several laps, the British driver slipped to second position after hitting the Armco barrier at the same turn, resulting to an unplanned pit stop. With 56 laps completed, Howson passed the car to his British compatriot in second place with two hours and forty minutes remaining on the clock.

Richard Bradley’s hunt for Anton Ladygin’s #37 Oreca ensued and ultimately grabbed the lead when the latter’s race came to a premature end due to a technical failure. The British driver then completed an outstanding double stint and handed back the #47 Oreca to Imperatori, with an overwhelming advantage ahead SMP Racing’s #27 LMP2. As WEC’s concluding laps got underway behind the safety car, Richard Bradley claimed his third victory after an impressive first full season competing in the world championship.

Richard Bradley: “Its fantastic to come to Interlagos and claim victory. What makes it more special is that we’ve scored two wins in a row. With a total of three wins, six podiums and one pole position, it’s been an excellent year so thank you to everyone in KCMG and I can’t wait for next year!”

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RICHARD BRADLEY AN LMP2 THRILLER IN BAHRAIN

16 Dec

KCMG and Richard Bradley returned to winning ways as they claimed a sensational victory in FIA World Endurance Championship’s (WEC) seventh event at Bahrain International Circuit on Saturday. In dominant fashion, the #47 Oreca 03R – Nissan shod with Dunlop tyres crossed the finish line three laps ahead its nearest rival to clinch its second World Championship win under Sakhir’s night sky.

The Hong Kong-based outfit emerged victorious after a dramatic six-hour affair, which witnessed Richard Bradley, Matt Howson and Alexandre Imperatori deliver race-winning stints in the blue and white #47 LMP2.  Following a tough outing in China, the team was back in strong form and consistently logged competitive lap times during the free practice sessions early this week.

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On Bahrain’s brightly-lit 5.412 km F1 track, Imperatori and Bradley posted a four-lap average of 1’51.375 during Friday evening’s qualifying run. The #47 Oreca qualified in fourth position on the LMP2 starting grid after employing a different strategy, which saved the team a fresh set of tyres for Saturday’s six-hour challenge.

The action-packed start of the 6 Hours of Bahrain saw Imperatori move up from fourth to second position, after an incident between two other LMP2s occurred during the first lap.  The Swiss ace went on to challenge SMP Racing’s Nicolas Minassian in a close battle for the lead and completed a double stint before handing the car over to Richard Bradley.

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As the race entered its third hour, the British driver was just within two seconds behind SMP Racing’s car having close the gap down. On Lap 92, Bradley pulled a classic overtaking move into Turn 1, which ultimately grabbed the LMP2 lead from opposition. Dusk had descended upon Bahrain when Bradley wrapped up his first stint in the lead.

Howson took over driving duties as the race entered its four-hour mark. The British driver maintained the LMP2 top spot and managed to widen the gap over the rest of the field. After completing 49 laps, Howson passed the #47 Oreca 03R back to Bradley with less than an hour remaining on the clock. With an overwhelming advantage over their rivals, Bradley crossed the finish line triumphantly, securing KCMG’s second LMP2 victory in the World Championship.

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Richard Bradley: “Firstly, the best thing is that we were able to come to Bahrain after the accident in Shanghai and so, a big thank you to the mechanics for the hard work they put in. After a fantastic race, we were able to take the win in Bahrain! This bodes very well for the next round in Sao Paulo, so I can’t wait!”

KCMG heads to FIA WEC’s season finale in Sao Paulo, Brazil in third place with 105 points in the LMP2 Team Classification. To know more about the FIA World Endurance Championship, please visit: www.fiawec.com

RICHARD BRADLEY FINISHES 2ND WITH HIS FOURTH PODIUM IN WEC FUJI

23 Oct

The thrilling fifth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) witnessed Richard Bradley and KC Motorgroup Ltd. (KCMG) engage in an epic class battle and secure its fourth WEC podium at Fuji Speedway on Sunday. Represented by Richard Bradley, Matt Howson and Alexandre Imperatori, the Hong Kong-based squad finished in second place after a gripping assault for the LMP2 lead transpired throughout the closely contested six-hour affair in Japan.

Friday’s two 90-minute free practice runs kicked off the weekend’s racing action. The Dunlop-shod #47 Oreca 03R – Nissan completed both sessions in the top three, covering a total of 88 laps on the first day of running on Fuji’s 4.563km circuit. The final 60-minute practice session the following morning saw the #47 LMP2 finish in third place – logging 30 laps in the process. Imperatori and Bradley’s four-lap average secured third position for the #47 Oreca on the LMP2 starting grid. However, post-qualifying penalties promoted the British driver to pole position.

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Imperatori commenced the race and was off to a strong start to lead during the initial hour of the race. Fans were on the edge of their seats as a frantic battle for the LMP2 lead took place between the Swiss driver and G-Drive Racing’s Olivier Pla.  As Imperatori made his way through traffic, the #88 Porsche collided with his car, causing him to spin and lose the lead to the #26 Ligier. After 62 laps, the Swiss driver handed over the #47 Oreca to Matt Howson.

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The British driver joined the field and maintained the gap between him and G-Drive Racing’s Julien Canal before handing over the #47 LMP2 to Richard Bradley. Within a few minutes in the car, Bradley’s determination resulted in impressive lap times and he was closing the gap to Roman Rusinov’s #26 Ligier. Bradley completed 64 laps before handing over the #47 Oreca to his Swiss teammate for the final stint.

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Rejoining the race in second position, Imperatori was behind the #26 Ligier for several laps when G-Drive Racing called for an unplanned pit stop to change front tyres. This allowed Imperatori to recover the LMP2 lead. Another battle for first place ensued between the Swiss driver and Pla during the final minutes of the race. However, a move by the French man to overtake Imperatori on Fuji’s 100R corner paid off. After 218 laps and six hours of sensational racing, KCMG crossed the finish line in second place, with only 5.4 seconds between the top two LMP2′s.

Richard Bradley: “While second is a very good result, we are still gutted to lose the race by such a small gap. We didn’t have an easy weekend, but to get that close to winning despite some of the issues we had is a credit to the team. We have shown previously that we can win and we nearly did again in Japan, so I am looking forward to challenge for victory in China!”

KCMG heads to FIA WEC’s sixth round in China in third place with 80 points in the LMP2 Team Classification. To know more about the FIA World Endurance Championship, please visit: www.fiawec.com

RICHARD BRADLEY TAKES FIRST WEC WIN IN AUSTIN

30 Sep

Richard Bradley helped KC Motorgroup Ltd. (KCMG) place Asia on the top step of the podium at the Circuit of The Americas after clinching their first LMP2 victory in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). The Hong Kong-based squad’s maiden outing in Austin witnessed Richard Bradley, Matt Howson and Tsugio Matsuda deliver outstanding stints in the Dunlop-shod #47 Oreca 03R – Nissan. In tricky circuit conditions, the team fought a gripping battle for the LMP2 win throughout the dramatic six-hour round on Saturday evening.

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The team consistently finished in the top three during the free practice sessions with Bradley topping the night session, which was held in varying track conditions due to the changeable weather at CoTA. The World Championship’s 25-minute qualifying run on Friday evening saw Bradley and Matsuda place the #47 LMP2 in second position, after setting a four-lap average of 1:56.371.

The opening lap of the 6 Hours of CoTA saw Bradley get off to a superb start and grab the LMP2 lead from G-Drive Racing’s Olivier Pla by the first corner. A tight battle then ensued between the British driver and Extreme Speed Motorsport’s Ryan Dalziel for several laps, with Pla trailing close behind.

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Dark clouds loomed over the circuit as the race entered its second hour mark. Bradley made it back to the pit and completed a 46-lap stint before handing the car over to Howson. Meanwhile, multiple cars began to aquaplane due to the torrential conditions, triggering a 55-minute red flag period. The race resumed behind the safety car after an hour delay.

Howson did a good job regaining the LMP2 lead in the race’s third hour despite difficult circuit conditions. The #47 continued to set impressive lap times and established a comfortable advantage before Matsuda took over driving duties in the final hours of the race.

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The #47 Oreca 03R -Nissan rejoined the race in second position with Matsuda set on challenging SMP Racing’s Maurizio Mediani for the lead. The Japanese driver was just inches from Mediani’s tail when he lost control of the car and spun off track. With less than two hours remaining on the clock, Matsuda recovered and went on to take the lead from opposition, which he maintained until the chequered flag dropped.

Richard Bradley: “I’m very happy and proud to have won the American round of the World Endurance Championship. It was a great team effort and a result of a lot of hard work that has finally paid off. To win a race in our first full season of competition is very special and now puts us in a position where we can look to winning the championship. I can’t wait for the next round at Fuji!”

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KCMG heads to FIA WEC’s fifth round in Japan in third place with 62 points in the LMP2 Team Classification. To know more information about the FIA World Endurance Championship, please visit: www.fiawec.com

RICHARD BRADLEY AND KCMG’S RACE-WINNING PACE COMES TO NOUGHT AT LE MANS

30 Jun

Richard Bradley and KC Motorgroup Ltd’s (KCMG) bid for class victory at the 82nd running of the Le Mans 24 Hours came to a premature end on Saturday evening when the Chinese squad’s #47 Oreca 03R Nissan sustained irreparable accident damage after suffering driveshaft failure.

Richards team mate Alex Imperatori was uninjured in the hefty crash that occurred on the exit of Karting Corner at the six-and-a-half hour mark, but was unable to recover to the pits and forced to retire from the season’s only double points-paying FIA World Endurance Championship round.

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That brought to a close what had been a hugely encouraging but also unfortunate start to the world’s greatest endurance race for KCMG, who led early on before being caught out by freak weather conditions.

Having qualified only a second from pole, Imperatori made a good start on Saturday afternoon to climb from seventh to first during his opening 45-minute stint. After his 1 and a half hour double stint he then pitted to hand over to Richard Bradley who was able to inherit, and keep the lead in his first ever Le Mans 24 Hours.

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But the Briton unfortunately encountered from nowhere, a short sharp rain shower soaked the 8.4-mile-long Circuit de la Sarthe. On slick rubber Bradley was powerless to prevent the Oreca from aquaplaning into the tyre barrier at the first of the Mulsanne Straight’s two chicanes. Fortunately the damage wasn’t too severe and, having limped back to the pits for cosmetic repairs, he returned to the track under Safety Car conditions in third.

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A second pit visit in quick succession to check the rear wing would subsequently drop Bradley down to 11th, before he set about being the fastest LMP2 on track in both wet and dry conditions managing to climb back up to seventh in a marathon 3 hours 51 minute stint in his first ever time in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Matt Howson and Alex Imperatori then continued to close the gap to the other competitors until disaster struck for Alex when the driveshaft failed and the car had a big accident, putting the team out of the race.

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Richard Bradley: “We’re all really frustrated to be out so early but these are the circumstances and there’s nothing we can do about it. We just have to take the positives; we were leading the race quite comfortably before the rain shower and were very fast after that in all conditions. It was just a case of bad luck. It’s been a great team performance and, personally, I’m happy with my Le Mans debut. It’s just such a shame the race ended so early for us.”

While clearly disappointed not to finish at Le Mans, Richard and KCMG will now regroup ahead of round four of this year’s FIA WEC campaign at Circuit of the Americas on September 18-20.

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