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Another sim racer, to real life racer!
(51 posts, started )
Another sim racer, to real life racer!
Hi,
over the last year, I had an amazing experience in real life racing, which I would like to share with you. Many people on LFS may have experienced similar, though alot of you wouldn't have enough backing to make the step from a sim-racer to a real life racer for one reason or another.



It started off as Ginetta UK decided to back the idea of establishing a Ginetta Junior Ireland Championship for 14-17 year olds and to run the Ginetta G20 race cars from the previous years UK Championship as they had moved on to G40's.

I was never lucky enough to race karts or anything like that from a young age because it was to expensive. So when I turned 15, I decided I would never make it into motorsport unless I foot enough of the bill, so I began saving.

The Ginetta season would have cost alot more than I could afford, so I went hunting for sponsorship which I did received plenty of to allow me to compete the season, along with my money and my Dad.

I only had 1 test day in the car before my first ever race weekend, and I was behind everybody substantially in the mileage though I knew I had plenty of experience through simulators to put to my benefit.

Round 1 of the series was wet, which should really been a Baptism of Fire for me in the rear wheel drive G20 weighing less than 700kg's, though I defended a steady race to take 3rd place. Race two I also finished 3rd, pushing right up to 2nd place bumper throughout the race.

I then switched car as both my dad and I felt it wasn't 100% on the pace as it had cracks in the chassis. This proved a great move as in Round 3 I took victory with Niall Murray taking 2nd behind me after winning round 1&2. I was leading round 4 until I was a victim of some argy bargy but recovered to 3rd.

With Niall Murray having a epic start to the year it was going to be a long shot for anybody to overcome his speed and experience through karting and rallycross, and with Joel Richardson second in the championship had a wealth of experience through karting and testing his Ginetta. It was going be be tough to beat these guys on track but I wasnt one to give up.

Round 5&6 I had another solid weekend in the car and gaining experience in the car finishing 3rd in round 5 and 2nd in round 6.


Each of the rounds up until round 7 were held at Mondello National and International Circuits, though for round 7 it was held in Kirkistown, in Co.Down Northern Ireland. It was Joel Richardsons home track and Niall Murray and I both admitted he would be hard to beat up there, however I took pole position, race win, fastest lap and set a new lap record at the track, which was absolutely incredible. For the first time, I had moved from third position in the championship upto second leap frogging Joel Richardson in the points as he only finished in 5th position.

With two races remaining, rounds 8&9 to be held back at Mondello National I had never been in a championship battling situation where it was down to the wire for second place. Niall Murray wrapped up the championship, though I was still hungry to retain second place in the standings. Race one, I had a long battle throughout with Richardson which I got the better of in the end taking 2nd place above him as Niall got away to win as we battled.
The final round, race 9 of the series got underway and I was starting from third, Niall, Joel and I were all within passing distance of each other and Joel Richardson collided with Richardson which let me down the inside of the two and build a gap. I was leading the race by over two seconds, with the fastest lap under my belt and with two corners remaining until I took the chequered flag my throttle cable snapped. There was one mechanical failure in the season all year and it was the damn throttle cable with two corners to go preventing me taking another win!

Regardless, I held that fastest lap which duly awarded me second place in the championship, just 2 points clear of Joel Richardson which really was an achievement to remember in my first years racing.

Motorsport Ireland, Dunlop and The Irish Sports Council collaborate every year to award the "Young Racing Driver of the Year" €50,000 to put towards racing in the upcoming year. Both Niall Murray and I were 2 of the 6 contenders for the award. It went to Patrick McKenna who is part of the "Road to Indy" competing in the USF2000 last year and racing Star Mazda this upcoming year.

Speaking to one of the judges on the interview panel recently he congratulated Niall and I saying we were definitely in the hunt for the prize, just our age played against us and told us in the next couple of years we will most definitely be strong contenders for the prize.

I aim to return to Ginetta Junior Ireland Next year and go on better, by winning the championship with Niall Murray going to race in the Ginetta Juniors in the UK supporting the BTCC next year means I will have one less title challenger!!

I am grateful to all my sponsors from this year and hope to progress further in the upcoming years!



Thank you for reading
Andy O'Brien
Cool story, I'm jealous of you guys who make the jump to real life and I want to do the same some day.
Congrats mate, sounds like you've got a fair bit of talent there.
Any relation to Conan?

Nice job, Andy. Welcome to the club.
Nice job, considering your lack of expirence this season you still managed very impressive results, now that you have a season under your belt next year should be a walkthough i hope to hear more of your impressive results in the future!
Nice stuff! Good luck in the coming years!
#7 - 5haz
Impressive first season there, the black wheels really suit the G20 too I think.
Quote from 5haz :Impressive first season there, the black wheels really suit the G20 too I think.

That was a lazy option!! Brake dust is a pain in the u know what! An it doesn't show up as much!! And thanks guys
Hehe Congratz Andy ! good luck for 2011 !

That's sounds to be a cool championship for young driver, such a shame there isn't more championship like that out of the UK.
#10 - 5haz
Quote from aobrien :That was a lazy option!! Brake dust is a pain in the u know what! An it doesn't show up as much!! And thanks guys

Oh god yeah, endless hours of fun removing brake dust from silver or yellow wheels with a bucket and mangey sponge.
Quote from 5haz :Oh god yeah, endless hours of fun removing brake dust from silver or yellow wheels with a bucket and mangey sponge.

Yep as you can see in one of the pics up there Niall is the baby blue coloured car with orange wheels. Absolute nightmare for the brakedust!!
Bah, brake dust on ginetta's aint a problem.. try doing it with 20 sets of Formula Ford rims...
Good stuff Andy
#14 - Zay
Wow, very impressive! I want to do something similar to this when I am done karting.
Well done Andy, I kinda followed you and Niall on Facebook and saw ye were pretty much dominating! I was very surprised at your pace and it seems you have a fair whack of natural ability

Best of luck in the future bud
Quote from niall09 :Well done Andy, I kinda followed you and Niall on Facebook and saw ye were pretty much dominating! I was very surprised at your pace and it seems you have a fair whack of natural ability

Best of luck in the future bud

Cheers Niall, Yeah Niall and I did pretty well alright. The only race one of us didn't win we were both leading, he was hit off and my throttle cable snapped with 2 corners to go while leading!!
Only four weeks till opening rounds, so far I have done two pre season tests.. 1st one was pissing rain and I was over 2 seconds quicker in the wet and second one was yesterday where I was quickest and took the unofficial lap record, happy out

Looks like a nice ride! Keep us posted and good luck!
Phenomenal job, keep it up
There's no Niall Murray thread in the forum, so I'll post it here - Niall is doing the UK Ginetta Junior championship this year, currently testing at Brands Hatch ahead of this weekend's opening BTCC round - you can see how he's doing via live timing, testing results, and twitter
Yeah he's had two good test days in the car and is really comfortable with it. I'll update you as I hear from him over the wkend.
Quote from boothy : testing results

how did you get to these through the site? I can't seem to pull any results at all up

only get it through links other people post
Was on the phone to him earlier, not happy at all. Has intermittent power issues, Ginetta had the car on the dyno for awhile today, replaced many parts with no results, car seems to be getting worse he says, managed P10 on the grid. Hopefully they get it sorted this evening so he can go like fxck tomorrow!

Another sim racer, to real life racer!
(51 posts, started )
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