Michael Epps has polished off his maiden season in the Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup in fantastic style by pulling off another double victory at Donington Park in Derbyshire.
Epps was fighting against a handicap of the maximum 60kg success ballast all weekend, qualifying a lowly 8th place due to the extra weight combined with a red flag interrupting the session. The Hertfordshire racer then did a textbook job of climbing through the order to take two wins out of two, echoing his double victory at Spa-Francorchamps earlier in the season.
The first of two exciting VW encounters was not as simple as is written on the results sheet. Epps actually crossed the finish line in third, but his two team mates ahead were both penalised and excluded from the race for exceeding track limits and contact. He commented after, “Track limits has always been a controversial subject in Motorsport. It’s not the best way to win for sure, but I guess the rules were set for us beforehand. If you go over the edge of the track too many times you’ll have a time penalty applied. As for the exclusion of the winner, I think it was a bit unfair for everyone involved. I guess I was just lucky really, but dead happy to take that top spot.”
The second of the races proved to be a long and mentally challenging fight for Epps, with his team-mate Simon Rudd leading while he started from P6 after a reverse grid. Slowly picking his way through, Epps was finally able to pass Rudd mid-race for the lead and make a small gap. But with Rudd a full 60kg lighter than him on success ballast rules, it was not to get any easier for him during the long 40-minute finale.
“The last ten minutes was absolutely terrible! All four tyres felt like they were almost shot, I had nothing left to give and Simon was on me every time coming off the faster corners. I just had to place my car well to allow third-placed man Rob Barrable to come into the fight. That actually took the pressure off me and onto Simon a little bit.”
Epps defended the lead for the last five laps from Rudd, with Barrable also sniffing at a move for second, to take the win by a narrow margin, sealing a fantastic breakthrough 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 result for Team Hard Racing.
Speaking of his result and Team Hard’s achievement too, Epps said: “I can’t believe how well we have done this weekend. I was already so elated after the win that I hadn’t realised we had the entire top 5 to ourselves. Once I realised I just started jumping and high fiving the team. Especially after all the work I’ve seen and done in the background, this means more to me than anything so far in my career. I feel like these guys are the most determined and personable team in the paddock and after some tough times, they are really coming through like shining stars now. I have to dedicate these results to them, my mechanic Ray and Tony Gilham especially.”
“We only decided to race in this championship a week before the first round, so we were so in over our heads at the beginning. The only front wheel drive cars I had driven before this were on public rounds, so to take all these wins and results by the end of the year is just fantastic.”
Epps has recorded the most wins on track out of anyone in the Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup in 2015, with some very unfortunate luck early in the season putting him 6th in the final championship results, the best of his Team Hard rivals. His potential to win the championship in the future however is huge, with six podiums, five of them wins, in his last eight races.
“I have to say a huge thanks to everyone who was involved and showed their support. I now need to focus more on getting things together for 2016 which is going to be really tough.”
Michael would like to thank Team Hard Racing and it’s associated sponsors, the Milltek Sport VWR Cup, iRacing Motorsport Simulations, Bell Racing Helmets, Grand Prix Racewear and P1 Sports for their continued support and is looking on the horizon for more interested parties to get involved. If you have any type of enquiry please click on the contact page above. Michael replies personally to all enquiries as soon as he can.