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Meccaniche Veloci – Ginetta GT Supercup

By on 31 October 2011 in Cars

Meccaniche Veloci – Ginetta GT Supercup
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This month saw the thrilling conclusion to the Ginetta GT Supercup at Silverstone, and The Prodigal Guide had full access, thanks to the hospitality of Meccaniche Veloci, sponsors of the Century Motorsport team.

Even the early(ish) start could not detract from our sense of excitement as Richard Saffer of DJJ Distribution, suppliers of Meccaniche Veloci in the UK, whisked us up the motorway to the famous racecourse, accompanied by his charming fiancée.

Arriving at Silverstone, we were spared the long walk through the brisk autumn chill; a golf buggy was there to greet us and ease us through the gathering crowds and tight security, all the way to the Paddock area and the Century Motorsport hospitality tent.

Hospitality is the right word to use here, too. Century Motorsport is a family-run business, and it shows. Rather than the stuffy formality that is so often the hallmark of corporate events, we were greeted with the warmth of an old friend. This is all down to Georgina Lugger, Century Motorsport’s head of marketing and hospitality, who also happens to be the partner of Nathan Freke, Century Motorsport’s principal driver.

After a much-needed cup of coffee, it was time to examine some of the beautiful timepieces from the Meccaniche Veloci range that Richard had brought along with him and Samia Bishay, who handles the UK public relations for the brand, talked us through some of the finer details of the range with a remarkable blend of passion and product knowledge.

After getting to know these timepieces, it is easy to see why Meccaniche Veloci sponsors Century Motorsport. Their watches were born out of a love of motorsport and reflect not only the technical precision involved in racing, but also their sturdy, rugged construction is peppered with nods to the sport, from the bold, racing colourways, to the use of materials. Indeed, their signature timepiece, the Quattro Valvole, was inspired by the four-valve engine piston.

In fact, the Quattro Valvole range has undergone somewhat of an transformation recently. Almost five years after its launch, the Quattro Valvole has been overhauled and re-designed and now four new variants have been released: Quattro Valvole 48 Classic, the Quattro Valvole 44 Chronograph, the Quattro Valvole 42 Solo Tempo and the Quattro Valvole 42 Riserva di Carica. The case is now constructed from titanium and a single, convex, anti-reflective, sapphire crystal glass covers the entire face. Whilst this is a departure from the original Quattro, it has potentially made the line much more accessible to a wider market.

That is not to say that the sense of exclusivity has been lost, however. For those of us who desire a truly unique timepiece, we need look no further than the Quattro Valvole Only One collection. Inspired by Motorbike GP Championship racing and military aeronautics, the Only One line includes the Quattro Valvole Race, which features a dial cut from the fairing’s of GP Motorbike racer Casey Stoner’s Aprilla 250, and the Quattro Valvole Air, with a dial cut from the magnesium aileron of a Lockheed F-104 Starfighter jet. If that weren’t enough, MV also have partnered up with Italian manufacturer Brembo S.p.A, a leader in high-performance automotive breaking systems. The result is the Quattro Valvole CCM, the case of which is fashioned from a single carbon ceramic break disc to achieve what has to be one of the toughest and lightest watch cases in the world.

However, we are not here merely to indulge in our horological fixations; we are here to see some racing. But before we do that, we head to the pits to see the final tune-ups on the stunning Ginetta G55’s before they take to the track.

The first thing that hits you is the noise. There is a cacophony of highly revving engines, the scream of the pneumatic tyre changers and clanking tools. We can barely hear Nathan Freke as we’re introduced to him.

Graciously, we get given complete access to the cars, despite a qualifying race only being moments away. Never ones to squander such opportunities, we delighted in peering in the cockpits and staring at the highly-tuned engines, before the noses were lowered and clipped into place.

However, if we were to see the qualifier, we needed to get to our seats pronto. Luckily, we had another golf buggy on stand-by, revved (if you can rev a golf buggy) and raring to take us to our seats.

One thing that never truly translates when watching motosports on television, apart from the noise, is the emotional connection you get to have with the driver. Having met the team, we felt invested and every time Nathan’s jet black Ginetta screamed by, we positively willed it to go faster, for the other drivers to make way, for him to find the gaps and win.

It’s difficult sometimes to gauge the skill of a driver just from a small section of track. However, Nathan’s ability was evident, even seen from here. Richard told us how he had once seen Nathan move up from forth place on the grid to first position, even before the first corner. Given his race history, that is not remotely surprising.

Despite this, Nathan remains relaxed, personable and easy-going. There is no ego here, just the stoic, philosophical approach of a man doing what he loves best.

This passion without pretention really underscores the connection between Century Motorsport and Meccaniche Veloci. To pay tribute to this, the utterly charming Monica Banon of Meccaniche Veloci, who had flown over from Italy for the occasion, presented Nathan with a specially constructed Quattro Valvole Chronometer, just prior to the last race of the day.

Sadly, this race saw one of the few red flags Nathan has witnessed in his career. A bad collision between three cars stopped the race and left one driver with a fractured pelvis that required her being airlifted to hospital. Despite this tragedy, the race was finally restarted, although the air of anticipation and excitement was somehow changed by the accident.

Unfortunately, Nathan did not win this time. However, he ended the season taking the highest number of meeting wins of any driver in 2011, having won 6 races and taken 16 podiums, consolidating 4th place in the series overall.

As for Meccaniche Veloci, we’re certain that their partnership with Century Motorsport will continue and that, with their new range of distinctive timepieces, they will only go from strength to strength.

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Meccaniche Veloci – Ginetta GT Supercup

This month saw the thrilling conclusion to the Ginetta GT Supercup at Silverstone, and The Prodigal Guide had full access, thanks to the hospitality of Meccaniche Veloci, sponsors of the Century Motorsport team.

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Ben is our resident screenwriter, that’s right, a real-life movie screenwriter. If we hadn’t captured him, drugged him and locked him in the basement here at Prodigal Towers, right now he’d be living the Hollywood dream that should rightfully be his, ensconced in a John Lautner house in Malibu. But don’t feel sorry for him. More fool him for drinking that spiked Martini in the first place.

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