|Pole Position First Time Out|
|Wheals On Fire|
|Cadman/Frost Take 4th Place in Grand Prix GT Support|
|Autumn Gold Cup Silverstone|
|The Coming Year|
|The 2001 Season|
|Bikes and Beetles for 2002|
March 28 1999 - Wheals On Fire
Financial restrictions may have left Norfolk based Jay Wheals in an 'arrive 'n' drive' situation for the first round of the 1999 Marcos Mantis Challenge, but this didn't stop him putting in a superb performance to secure a podium position in his first ever GT drive.
Team Manager John Cadman was duly apprehensive about the team's first race, as new aerodynamic modifications, compulsory for all cars in this exciting one-make series, were bound to alter the handling characteristics of the car and make all of last years data logging redundant. His fears were confirmed as Wheals pulled into the pits after only two laps of Friday's practice session, reporting a very unstable back-end and considerable understeer.
Team Engineers worked frantically during the course of the morning to adjust the set up of the car ready for Saturday's qualification and despite giving away 5 solid days of testing to many of the drivers in the field, Wheals settled into a steady momentum during qualification and pushed the car to its limit to qualify for Sunday's race in 4th position.
Conditions for the race were fine and knowing his lack of any real previous track time would put him at a disadvantage only served to strengthen his resolve. As the cars turned into the main pit straight and approached the line for a rolling start, pole man Ed Horner hit the breaks causing mayhem. 17 cars regained momentum and hurtled down the straight into Copse Corner at 130 mph but Wheals had dropped 2 places to 6th. What unfolded was a true test of nerve, as Wheals took Charlie Butler Henderson (brother of Top Gear presenter Vicki) on lap 2 and then duelled to get past last years front runner Russel Morgan and ex-Ginetta driver Dave Garner. Lap 5 proved decisive as Morgan, distressed at being continuously tapped by Wheals, exceeded his cars limit in an attempt to gain breathing space, spun out and took Garner with him.
At this point, the front runners had gained too much of an advantage so Wheals consolidated his position to take a well earnt 3rd place and podium spot.
Team manager John Cadman claimed; "We were very impressed with Jay. He'd come straight from testing a Vauxhall Vectra with virtually half the horsepower and settled straight into the groove with the Mantis. There is obviously time left in Jay and there is certainly more time to come out of the car. There's no question we can win races with Jay in this series."