MONSTERS Zytek monster
MN sifts through some of the nation’s best club creations. By Jack Benyon, Matt James, Rob Ladbrook, Paul Lawrence, Marcus Pye and Kevin Turner.
The Ginetta G50Z was the product of smashing the best bits from two top British companies together and seeing what resulted.
Ginetta’s G50 was already firmly established on the national racing scene as a cost-effective and quick GT4 option, but the Leeds firm had loftier ambitions for the car. Company chairman Lawrence Tomlinson acquired a stake in Zytek Engineering, which provided an opportunity to bring both factions together to work on racing projects.
With access to Zytek’s engine stock, Ginetta opted to experiment with its G50 and assess its potential as a GT3 racer. In doing so it fitted a mule chassis with one of Zytek’s four-litre V8 engines capable of churning out up to 600bhp, the first iteration of Ginetta GT3 challenger was born.
The car made its UK debut in the British GT round at Rockingham in 2009 where, run by Barwell Motorsport, it won both races comfortably with Joe Osborne and Oliver Bryant at the wheel.
With no mass-production version, the G50Z ran as an invitation class entry for a handful of other British GT races, winning three of the seven races it contested.
The car was then shipped abroad to race in Asia and Australia, and refitted with the Zytek 3.4-litre engine that powered the first generation of A1 GP cars.
With Ginetta launching its new G55 model for 2011, work began on creating a true GT3 variant of that. The Zytek engine was switched in favour of a 4.35-litre V8, but much of the DNA of the G55 GT3 can be traced back to the G50Z. RL most bonkers GT cars Britain was ever to see: the Cerbera Speed 12.
Planning had begun as GT1 was the flavour of the month, but so long was the gestation process that the world had changed by the time it was ready. The car had originally been ambitiously targeted at Le Mans, but made a rather more subdued debut in the British GT Championship.
There was no reliable power reading for the 7.7-litre car, but there was talk of it pushing out in excess of 800bhp.
TVR Tuscan Challenge graduates Ian Mckellar and Bobby Verdon-roe teamed up and were entrusted with handling the barely-finished car in 2001, and managed to win a race on the power-friendly straights of Silverstone.
Verdon-roe was joined by Michael Caine in 2001 and two more wins followed, but the project had a short shelf life.
TVR boss Peter Wheeler had decided that the road car project was too dangerous for the public to drive and had returned all of the deposits that had been taken for cars. He used all the stock of parts that had been already made to supply the race team, but when they ran out, it was game over. MJ