In our latest column, Graham explains how amateur driver Ian Loggie left nothing to chance in winning the UK’s premier sportscar crown.
Motorsport News column by Graham Keilloh.
In British GT – which at the front is for Pro-Am driver pairings – it’s easy to have your attention taken by the Pro drivers. They set the pace and provide the star quality. The recent Donington Park season finale ended with victor Alexander Sims chased by Jules Gounon, a level of driver excellence that bears comparison with almost any series.
But, in British GT there’s an equivalent adage to golf’s ‘drive for show, putt for dough’. That is, while the Pro driver captivates, it’s the Amateur driver who’ll win you races and championships. And this season it’s proved as much, as the main championship was won – nay dominated – by Am driver Ian Loggie in his RAM Racing Mercedes. He won it alone, as his Pro driving partner rotated between Gounon and Callum Macleod when Gounon had clashing dates.
And even before this season started, Loggie was clear favourite. He’d finished close runner-up in 2021, and for this year the 59-year-old left nothing to chance.
When asked by Motorsport News what made the difference for 2022, his answer was immediate: “Practice makes perfect. I did 85 races this year”
Indeed, in 2022 Loggie’s been full-time in GT Cup, and has raced in GT World Challenge, Asian Le Mans Series, the Dubai 24 Hours, Portimao 24 Hours and Gulf 12 Hours. He’s even popped up in Porsche Carrera Cup GB, and represented the UK in the FIA Motorsport Games.
“So many race starts: peripheral vision, you anticipate things going wrong. Little things that Pros teach you every time you’re in the car.”
Added to this, he had the aforementioned superstar Gounon alongside him. The pair set the points pace immediately with a win and second place in Oulton Park’s season-opening double header (albeit after an argument in the courts).
And from there, Loggie enacted the second part of his title-winning master plan. Devastating consistency.
The results tell the tale. Silverstone aside, where he was caught in someone else’s accident, he never finished lower than sixth. All in, he got six podium finishes from the season’s nine races. Quite the achievement in a highly competitive championship that applies success penalties. Quite the achievement too in a contest where plenty can and does go wrong: watch any British GT race and penalties for contact and pit infringements are frequent, and usually ruin your race.
Loggie by contrast proceeded this year, and consciously, with a clean bill of health. “It’s much more than just being able to do the lap time,” he explains, “it’s about getting the pitstops right, don’t get penalties, and we’ve not had one penalty this year.”
It all added up to no-one else getting near. His title winning margin was 33.5 points, the largest seen in this contest’s modern history.
He’s promised to be back in 2023. His rivals know who they have to beat.