Team Abba Racing’s Richard and Sam Neary were the ones to watch at Donington Park this weekend (10th-11th April) as they clocked up four two pole positions, three race wins, and two fastest laps in the opening round of the GT Cup Championship.
Richard and Sam Neary from Merseyside, in the Team Abba Racing AMG GT3 Mercedes, demonstrated top class racing as the pair were, at times, matching pace despite a 35-year age difference.
One Saturday 18-year-old Sam Neary was the star of qualifying, setting the benchmark in the weekend’s first 15-minute session and beating the nearest rival by 1.5 seconds. He headed the GT3 table for the first pole position of the season.
The first sprint race of the weekend, in a record 38-car-grid, was the chance for Richard Neary to take centre stage. Surviving a safety car interruption which wiped out his lead briefly, he took the car from `grid to flag’ in a faultless drive for the team’s opening victory of the season.
Commenting on the first race Richard Neary said: “It was a great race. I just put my head down at the start as I wanted to build up a gap before hitting back marker traffic later. After the safety car it was a good restart and I began battling with Michael Igoe, in the WPI Motorsport Lamborghini for the lead. I know him from racing in British GT so I can trust him battling closely.”
Sunday's 15-minute qualifying session was a much tighter affair. Richard Neary this time took control of the Team Abba Racing Mercedes and instantly put down the marker to beat. He finished 0.6 seconds clear for a second pole position of the weekend for the Team.
The Sprint and Pit Stop races on Sunday were intense and briefly interrupted by a smattering of snow falling. The day delivered an overall double triumph with Sam Neary dominating the Sprint from pole. He later beat off the challenge of factory- driver and three times British GT Championship runner-up Phil Keen, to make it three wins from four at the Leicestershire circuit.
Sam Neary said: “The races went really well, and the tyre pressures were mega this time. The team prepared a really good car and I’m very happy with how Richard and I performed this weekend. It was all about managing the gap after the safety car in the sprint race and saving the tyres for the final race.”
Team Abba Racing will take part in the next GT Cup Championship round at Brands Hatch on 1st May.
It will be a busy season this year for the family-run Team Abba Racing. Earlier this year, Sam and Richard Neary announced they will be back competing with Team Abba Racing in the Intelligent Money British GT Championship which starts 22nd/23rd May.
Last year Sam proved a revelation during his maiden British GT campaign and his ability in wet and changeable conditions was comparable with far more experienced factory drivers, while his pace in the dry also took a notable step forward as the season progressed.
This year Sam was selected to join the Motorsport UK Academy’s Team UK Futures programme, the governing body’s talent development pathway that equips the UK’s most promising young drivers with the knowledge, skills and attitude needed to maximise their performance https://www.motorsportuk.org/news/motorsport-uk-academy-selections-2021/
More information about Sam Neary is available at www.samnearyracing.com .