Multiple race-winning and championship-winning team Hillspeed is renowned as one of the UK’s most professional, and successful, motor racing entrants having won titles in Formula Renault, Ginetta Junior and Formula 3.
Currently focusing its efforts on the hugely competitive BRDC British Formula 3 Championship with a three-car squad, Hathersage-based Hillspeed prides itself on providing aspiring professional racers with the very best preparation and driver development.
Indeed, acknowledgement of the team’s training and advancement can be clearly demonstrated with some of the incredible success stories – Hillspeed playing a key role in the careers of the likes of Seb Morris (2017 British GT Champion), Ahmad Al Harthy (2017 Blancpain Endurance Cup Pro-Am Champion) and Tom Ingram (2018 BTCC Independents Champion) to name but three.
Current Porsche factory driver Nick Tandy, who races in the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship, and BMW Motorsport works driver Alexander Sims, who will debut in the globally renowned ABB FIA Formula E Championship in the 2018/2019 season, both tested with Hillspeed at the beginning of their careers.
Importantly, Hillspeed has a glowing reputation with regard to its extensive work with drivers from overseas and the team has a full structure in place to make the transition seamless, assisting with relocation if required.
Over the years the team has brought drivers across to the UK from every continent and helped to establish and nurture their careers. Bahraini racers Menasheh Idafar and Ali Al Khalifa both benefitted from Hillspeed’s driver development, Idafar going on to become British F3 National Class Champion in 2010.
The aforementioned Ahmad Al Harthy from Oman has become the Sultanate’s number one racing driver, while fellow Omani Al Faisal Al Zubair competed in British F3 with Hillspeed before going on to win the 2017/2018 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East title.
India’s Ameya Vaidyanathan is another who started out on the Derbyshire team’s books, beginning his career in single-seaters with Hillspeed and progressing through the ranks into the blue riband FIA Formula 3 European Championship.
Hillspeed – almost 50 years strong and counting
The squad’s enviable history of success stretches back almost half a century, first established in 1970 to run Morgan Ollerenshaw in the British Saloon Car Championship. Concentrating on saloon cars for the first 15 years or so, the team moved into single-seater racing in the mid 1980s.
Following the appointment of Morgan’s son, Richard Ollerenshaw, to the position of Managing Director in 1996, Hillspeed began to focus on the build, preparation and maintenance of race cars and high performance road cars.
Unsurprisingly, the thirst for competition remained and so a return to racing wasn’t long in the making. Hillspeed soon emerged as the dominant force in the ARP Formula 3 Championship – now known as the MSV F3 Cup. Winning more races than any other team over a five year period, the squad claimed back-to-back titles in 2000 and 2001.
The team’s level of preparation and expertise was notably acknowledged in 2003 when McLaren-backed Chinese racer Cheng Cong Fu was placed with Hillspeed for his initial foray into single-seater action in Formula Renault UK. Hillspeed later went on to claim its first Formula Renault title in 2007 when winning the UK Winter Series.
In the sister Formula Renault BARC category, the squad instantly enjoyed success and after winning team championships in 2008 and 2009 – in addition to the 2009 Winter Series title – Hillspeed guided Alice Powell into the history books as the first female driver in the world to win a Formula Renault crown by claiming the 2010 championship.
That year also marked Hillspeed’s first appearance in the ranks of British Touring Car Championship support category Ginetta Junior and the team, yet again, made an instantaneous impact by winning the title at its maiden attempt with Tom Ingram. Then, in the 2010 Ginetta Junior Winter Series, Hillspeed entered the record books once more with 14-year-old Seb Morris by taking him to the title.
The young Welshman remained with Hillspeed for 2011 and duly claimed the main season championship with an incredible 11 wins – seven of those coming from the first eight races. Struan Moore and William Palmer supported Morris during the season and their combined efforts brought Hillspeed the teams championship, making it a double success.
In Formula Renault BARC, the team fielded a three car squad in 2011 which also entered the NEC Formula Renault championship invitational class at Zandvoort taking two victories with Howard Fuller. The team were on the top step of the podium again to round-out the year with Spain’s Victor Jimenez taking the Winter Series title.
In 2012, Hillspeed continued to be a regular podium visitor in Ginetta Junior and Formula Renault BARC with Pepe Massot and Kieran Vernon respectively. Massot starred in his maiden season of car racing and Hillspeed enabled the Spanish teenager to fulfil his potential by claiming the Rookie Cup title in Ginetta Junior with 11 wins, including two superb outright victories.
When the BRDC Formula 4 Championship was inaugurated in 2013, Hillspeed was one of the first entrants to commit to the category and Morris returned to the team where he took one win and nine other podiums en-route to the Vice-Champion’s position.
The championship evolved into the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship in 2016 and the Derbyshire team has remained a key part of the series since that time, the premier single-seater category on British shores.
Hillspeed’s quest for sustained excellence continues...