Preview: Team UK stand ready for 2022 FIA Motorsport Games
Team UK will make the trip to Marseille, France this week [26-31 October] looking to challenge for medals on all fronts at the 2022 FIA Motorsport Games.
The event, which marks a global celebration of motorsport, will see 80 nations, each represented by their ASN, field teams across 17 disciplines, including circuit racing, karting, drifting, rallying and more.
Motorsport UK will be represented by 17 competitors across 10 disciplines who will fly the flag for the United Kingdom, starting at Wednesday’s Opening Ceremony.
The majority of the event is concentrated on Circuit Paul Ricard, famous as the host venue for the Formula 1 ® French Grand Prix.
The 3.6-mile circuit will play host to the GT category, in which Team Captain Christopher Froggatt will be partnered with Ian Loggie in a Mercedes-AMG GT3, jointly run by RAM Racing and Tempesta Racing.
Froggatt is a regular fixture in international GT competition, most notably the SRO-run GT World Challenge Europe, in which the Surrey-based driver is a two-time Pro-Am champion.
His team-mate Loggie recently celebrated winning the coveted British GT Championship, the UK’s premier tier of sportscar racing, giving the UK a formidable line-up.
Also arriving in Marseille with momentum is Touring Car runner Chris Smiley.The Northern Irishman won the TCR UK title last weekend at Snetterton and will remain behind the wheel of his Honda Civic Type R FK8 challenger. In a category likely to go down to the wire, a familiar setting and bags of confidence could make all the difference.
In stark contrast to the wheel to wheel touring car action to Drifting, where precision, style and consistency could put Martin Richards in the frame for a gold medal.
Richards is among the UK’s household names in the discipline, and also boasts the prestigious ‘King of Riga’ title on his CV.
Paul Ricard’s circuit – and the surrounding roads of Saint Baume – will also form some of the 16-stage course for the Historic Rally and Rally2 action.
FIA European Historic Championship regulars and brothers Tim and Steve Jones will tackle the Historic Rally with their self-built and prepared Chrysler Sunbeam Ti. The pair have been regular fixtures all over the UK, Ireland and Isle of Man since the late 1970s, as well as World and European Rally Championship action.
Rally2 competitor Oliver Mellors began his foray into rallying back in 2012 and since then, alongside co-driver Ian Windress, he has garnered further experience in the likes of the British Rally Championship.
Synonymous with the family-built and prepared Proton Iriz R5 that he will use to contest the Games, Mellors has tailored his preparation for the event, competing primarily on French tarmac events to give himself the best shot at gold in Marseille.
Also, on site at Le Castellet is the Auto Slalom discipline, with the UK represented by Laura Christmas and Mark King.
Christmas, an instrumental figure in raising the profile of women at a grassroots level of competition and a member of Motorsport UK’s Women in Motorsport sub-committee, is an experienced campaigner in AutoSOLOs and road rallies.
Her previous successes include finishing third in class as the only all-female crew at the 2022 Clacton and Tendring Corbeau closed road rally, third outright in the 2021 Marsh Stage Rally Championship and class victories in local AutoSOLOs.
King’s impressive CV includes four Northern Ireland Large Saloon Championship titles in 2012, 2014, 2017 and 2021 respectively, as well as seven wins at the Ken Wharton Autotest and third in the 2012 National AutoSOLO Championship.
He is another with an equally significant role behind-the-scenes. King currently serves on the Motorsport UK Regional Committee, and was the runner-up for the organisation’s 2018 Volunteer of the Year award.
Titan Motorsport will represent Team UK in the four-hour Karting Endurance competition, with their rapid quartet of Jack O’Neill, Rhianna Purcocks, Owen Jenman and Mike Philippou, all under the guidance of Team Manager, Martin O’Neill.
Off track, the Mistral Hall at Paul Ricard will play host to a bumper 57-car entry for the Esports discipline, in which Team UK will enter one of the pre-event favourites, James Baldwin.
Baldwin, one of the team’s returning entries from the 2019 edition of the FIA Motorsport Games, was bitterly unfortunate to not win a medal in Rome, a fact the British GT Championship race winner and two-time SRO Esports Champion will be eager to redress.
Two hours north of Paul Ricard at Autocross Veynois, the remainder of Team UK will compete in the Junior and Senior categories of Crosscar.
Among the Seniors is Dan Rooke, who was crowned the youngest-ever British Rallycross Champion back in 2016 at the age of 19.
Rooke, a graduate of Motorsport UK Academy’s Team UK programme for elite international athletes, was also the British Autocross Champion in 2012, and a runner-up in the RX2 International Series in 2017.
His equivalent in the Junior ranks is Corey Padgett. Another to begin his career competing on grass, Padgett’s CV includes the Junior Autograss Championship and, more recently, race winning outings in the national Junior Rallycross Championship.
To watch the 2022 FIA Motorsport Games live, check out SRO’s GTWorld YouTube channel (click here), with the GT races additionally shown on Sky Sports F1 in the UK.