Chris Knox

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2014 MINI Challenge Weekend 2 Brands Hatch in the Rivervale Leasing MINI

Opportunity Knox as Chris takes lead in the British Mini Challenge

For immediate release: May 13, 2014

Pictures by Marc Pantony Photography

Comeback king Chris Knox defied two engine changes at Brands Hatch to storm to three victories in the British Mini Festival and take the lead in the British Mini Challenge.

Chris, from Elderslie, Renfrewshire, was back behind the wheel of the Rivervale Leasing Mini at the Kent track thanks to SL Group Management.

He also had massive help from shopplay.co.uk and Mintech Spares UK.

But Chris — who was British Mini Challenge champion in 2011 — looked to be in line for a tough weekend when a gear linkage problem damaged his engine in qualifying.

Despite the problem occurring in the first two laps, he battled on in the tricky conditions with a poor-sounding engine and managed to get the Rivervale Leasing car on the front row of the grid. His Excelr8 Motorsport team did a great job to get him out for the race but a lack of power meant he was struggling on the straights at the iconic Brands Hatch circuit.

He had to settle for fourth place and another race against time to get a third engine installed. This proved to be the turning point as Chris produced some stunning laps to take victory in the next three races.

Renfrewshire Rocket Chris has already made a name for himself in selected rounds of the Continental Tires Sports Car Series in America in 2012 after a successful career in karting, then turned on the style last year in a Blackwood Plant Hire Vauxhall Insignia at a touring car test at Brands Hatch.

But he showed a devastating mix of attacking and defensive driving to keep his Rivervale Leasing Mini ahead of the pack.

Now he is hoping to rubber-stamp a deal to build on that championship lead in the next round.

CHRIS SAYS: “We had to qualify in the wet and the gear linkage came off. I obviously didn’t know so I went for fifth gear and it would only let me go into third gear. That over-revved the engine on my second lap, but it was still enough to put me on the front row.

“We changed the engine but the car was 10mph down on the straights.I was able to stay with the rest on the curvy bits, but as soon as we hit the straights I was in trouble. I made a move past Lawrence Davey on the last corner of the last lap and grabbed third but lack of power allowed Lawrence to retake the place before the line. I was happy enough with fourth place given the lack of power.

“We changed the engine again and everything changed. It was looking like a dismal weekend but ended in elation as we got three wins.

“I am now leading the championship and was named Sonoco driver of the weekend.

“But it was a real mixture of races for me. In the second one, I got a great start from fourth and was leading by Druids. I was able to build on the lead and get a comfortable gap.

“The third race was tougher because Lawrence had new tyres on while we were on used tyres. That was one of the hardest races of my life because I had to defend from lap five to the last. It was 20 minutes of pure defence and I just had to make sure I put my car in the right place so he could not get past.

“Then I pulled seven out of the bag for the reverse grid which wasn’t the best, but I got a brilliant start and got past four cars within half a lap. Then I went up another place when a car spun in front of me, but that meant a bigger gap to the leader.

“It took me a couple of laps to reel them in and get past, then I just built the gap and brought the car home.

“It turned into an amazing weekend. Massive thanks to Excelr8 – they did an amazing job. Three fast engine changes in a race weekend is testament to that.

“We are still on a race-to-race basis but hopefully these results will attract more sponsorship.”

www.rivervaleleasing.co.uk

www.shopplay.co.uk

www.mintechspares.co.uk

2014 MINI Challenge Weekend 1 Donington Park in the Shopplay.co.uk MINI

Chris Knox back with a bang…and a win in the British Mini Challenge

For immediate release: April 29, 2014

Pictures by David Young Photography

Former British Mini Challenge champion Chris Knox showed that he can still cut it with the best Mini drivers in the country with a Donington demolition at the weekend.

Chris, from Elderslie, Renfrewshire, agreed a last-minute deal with SL Group Management to drive the shopplay.co.uk Mini at the Leicestershire track.

And it looked like Chris — who was champion in 2011 — had never been away as he was soon topping the time charts.

Chris has already made a name for himself in selected rounds of the Continental Tires Sports Car Series in America in 2012 after a successful career in karting, then turned on the style last year in a Blackwood Plant Hire Vauxhall Insignia at a touring car test at Brands Hatch.

But he wanted some tough competition, so signed up for the Mini Challenge round.

Despite only seeing the car on Friday, when most of his test day was spent getting a seat fitting making himself comfortable in the car, he felt he was in with a great chance of glory over the weekend.

And he proved it by taking pole position with his first flying lap, then parking the car to see whether anyone could match his time.

The first two dry races gave Chris the opportunity to show he had lost none of his racecraft, but a mechanical glitch with the car, and a collision that sent him into the gravel, meant he had to battle to tenth and fifth-place finishes.

But the Renfrewshire Rocket stormed back in the final race of the day with a series of clinical moves in the wet, before heading off into the distance to take a stunning win.

Now he is hoping for more glory after agreeing a deal with SL Group Management to be back out in the shopplay.co.uk car in two weeks’ time.

CHRIS SAYS: “I only found out about it on Tuesday so it was very last-minute, but I have to thank SL Group Management and shopplay.co.uk for putting everything in place.

“I only saw the car on Friday. We spent a bit of time moving the seat around and getting comfortable but we still got a decent amount of running and I was happy with where we were.

“There have been a number of changes in the series since I won it. The tyres have changed, the brakes are different and the cars have more power so I had a few things to get my head around ahead of qualifying.

“Then my first flying lap was my pole lap. I did the time then just waited to see whether anyone could beat it.

“I got a good start in the first race and led into the first corner but I hadn’t even finished the first lap before I knew I had a power issue. I defended for about four laps before I finally got passed.

“I was struggling but got hit in the rear and ended up in the gravel. I finally got pushed out and went back to the pits to check everything. I was able to get back on track to finish tenth, but it was a disappointing end to the race.

“In race two, I was quickly up from tenth to fourth and was just making the most of my experience on cold tyres. But it was obvious the car was still not right and I had to work hard to stay where I was. In the end, I was happy to finish fifth.

“Race three was wet. I got a good start and was third into Redgate, then second into the old Hairpin. By Coppice, Lawrence Davey got down the outside of me on the wet line and we hit the same patch of water.

“We slid into each other and off the circuit, putting me down to third. But I knew I could take the lead at Redgate and made the move stick. Then I just drove into the distance.

“It was good to be back. It is like putting on an old pair of trainers, it all felt comfortable.

“The cars have had a freshen up, so they were better to drive than before.

“Thanks to SL Group Management and shopplay.co.uk, we have put together a deal for the Mini Festival. It is going to be good to be there in front of an excellent crowd.”

For further information and interview opportunities, call Chris Knox on +44 (0)7787131510, emailchris@chrisknox.co.uk or visit www.chrisknox.co.uk.

2014 Chris is into the final 8 drivers of Millteks “find a driver” campaign

Milltek_Sport_Logo

 

British exhaust manufacturer Milltek Sport has narrowed its search to find a fully supported driver for the 2014 Milltek Volkswagen Racing Cup. This amazing offer to one talented individual was launched at this year’s Autosport show, leaving whoever wins in the enviable position of a fully supported drive in this prestigious series, behind the wheel of Milltek’s own ultra-competitive Golf Mk6 race car.

Interest in the competition exceeded even the firm’s wildest expectations, resulting in hundreds of proven and able drivers applying to line up on the grid in the distinctive wide-arched machine. With a proven track record, championship wins, and more than a little silverware behind them, Milltek’s race crew knows how to prepare a front running machine, and the calibre of entrants clearly reflected this.

Milltek’s panel of judges, which includes BTCC ace Tom Onslow-Cole, had the unenviable task of whittling the hopefuls down to a mere 8 entrants, ready for a secret test day to be held in February. These 8 weren’t just picked for their speed… that always had to be a given, but points were also awarded for attitude, aptitude and even their awareness of sponsor-friendly opportunities like social media and promotion. After all, today’s great drivers need to be far more three dimensional in their skill set than their illustrious forebears.

After much deliberation, the final shortlist was honed down to:

  • Paul Rees: FIA GT and GT Open
  • Nick Ponting: Current electric land speed record holder
  • James Walker: VW Cup
  • Louise Richardson: Ginetta G50
  • Jake Honour: Clio Cup Series
  • Anna Walewska: Britcar
  • Chris Knox: Mini Challenge
  • Jamie Martin: VAG Trophy

Commenting on the search, Milltek Sport’s Managing Director, Steve Pound, said “I have been both delighted and surprised by the sheer number of superb drivers that applied for this competition. It’s a great reflection on the state of British motorsport in general, and on the number of truly talented top-level club racers in particular. Getting down from over 200 possibles to just 8 has been no easy task, and for those lucky few, life’s about to get a lot harder before we can hand over the hot seat. We are expecting fireworks from these drivers during the test day, and we know that no-one is going down without a fight. I’m sure many of them will relish the chance to prove their worth in an identical car against other drivers and I really can’t wait to announce our 2014 driver and ambassador at the end of the test.”

2013 BTCC Test with Team Hard in the Blackwood Plant Hire Vauxhall Insignia at Brands Hatch

CHRIS KNOX FEELS BRAND NEW AFTER BTCC TEST

Blackwood Plant Hire

For immediate release: August 8, 2013


Former British Mini Challenge champ Chris Knox is determined to do “everything I can” to get into a  British Touring Car Championship car after stunning Team HARD bosses during testing at Brands Hatch yesterday.

The Renfrewshire rocket steadily built up his times in the NGTC Vauxhall Insignia and, during the afternoon, Chris’s lap times were matching those clocked by Jason Plato, Matt Neal and the rest during the last meeting at the Indy track.

Chris, who has already made a name for himself in selected rounds of the Continental Tires Sports Car Series in America last year after a successful career in karting, is now desperate to sort a deal with Team HARD boss Tony Gilham and fight it out in the BTCC.

Impressed Tony reckons the team have to get Chris in the car at some point, even if the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship round at Knockhill on August 24/25 is too soon.

 

CHRIS SAYS: “It was pretty much a perfect day. We have gone through all the data and it all looked really good. I built my times up. I was aiming for a low 50-second lap, that would have been good mid-pack race pace on fresh rubber.

“I didn’t have any new tyres on the car all day, and in the last session I got a 49.5 and a string of 49.6s. That was when the eyebrows were raised. They said ‘We have to get you in the car’.

“Now the hard work starts. We are still some way from getting the deal that would put me in the car for Knockhill.

“But I will be doing everything I can to get in this car. I am so determined to make this happen. I would do anything to make it work. It has been a dream of mine since watching Colin McRae in the wet in 1992. Now, it is within touching distance.

“I have to say a massive thanks to Blackwood Plant Hire and WESL for helping me to make this day happen. And the car was superbly set up by the Team HARD guys. Now I have shown what potential I have. I know I can do a good job…if we can get the money sorted.

“The times I was doing were top 10 times.”

TONY SAYS: “He was unbelievable. On scrubbed rubber, his times would have been inside the top 10 in qualifying. So, in terms of race pace, he is matching Jason Plato, Matt Neal and all the front-running boys.

“He was very professional about the whole test. He was very cool, calm and collected. We had a small issue with the car, but that didn’t faze him. We rectified it and he just got on with the job. As the day went on, he got progressively quicker. He grew into the car and looked like he really enjoyed it.

“We are just keen to keep working with Chris. The target is Knockhill, but any time we can make it happen, then we would be delighted to get Chris in one of our cars.

“We’ve known Chris for a while now and been in contact since the start of the year. We’re definitely looking to get him in the car before the end of the year – at the moment Rockingham looks like a real possibility. He’s looking for people to support him, and this test should help him along the way. We know he’s a very capable driver, and with enough support he’ll do a great job in our car.”

 

For further information and interview opportunities, call Chris Knox on +44 (0)7787131510, email chris@chrisknox.co.uk or visit www.chrisknox.co.uk.

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year from Chris Knox

What a season this has been for me,

Racing in 3 different championships in 2 different continents.

Got a taste of endurance racing both here in the UK and in the USA.

Topped the season off with a fantastic BTCC test.

Working hard on my 2013 plans.

New toy for 2013 is a Go Pro 3 Black edition thanks to Thomsons Cycles, So look out for some cool videos in 2013.

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year

 

Chris Knox

2012 BTCC Test with ES Racing – S2000 Vectra at Silverstone ©Stuart Wallace

CHRIS KNOX FINDS SILVER LINING IN BTCC TEST

CHRIS KNOX ES RACING BTCC

Former British Mini Challenge champ Chris Knox paved the way for a move into the British Touring Car Championship with a stunning test at Silverstone.

Chris, from Elderslie in Renfrewshire, joined up with race-winning ES Racing along with Chris James on Thursday and produced a string of hot laps in tricky conditions as the wet track dried out.

The 2011 British Mini Challenge winner even defied the conditions to put on a set of slick tyres and still posted hugely competitive times despite never having seen the Vauxhall Vectra before.

Chris said: “It was an awesome experience – better than I had ever believed it would be. It is staggering to see how much grip the car has.

“The conditions were very tricky, but I was delighted to set a really competitive time in the damp. When we checked the data from the touring car round at Silverstone, we found it would have put me in the top 10 practice times.

“Obviously, I had to find a balance between showing what I could do and looking after the car, but I had the confidence to try slick tyres on the front and matched Chris’s times despite never having driven that tyre combo before.

“I got one flying lap right at the end on slicks on a damp track at the end and I was just two seconds off qualifying pace. I have to be happy with that and I have to thank Chris and ES Racing for giving me a wonderful opportunity.

“It was just unbelievable how much grip you got and the braking and amount of cornering speed you can carry is just incredible.

“It was great to work with the team. I gained a lot of confidence because I made some suggestions on car set-up and the guys were impressed with the feedback. Some of them had never heard of me, but I think I convinced them that I knew what I was doing.”

CHRIS KNOX ES RACING BTCC

ES Racing chief Chris James was left stunned by the show and admitted he would be happy to have the Scot in the seat in the future.

He said: “God, he was very impressive, for his first time in a touring car. Mixed conditions, but he didn’t look under pressure or that he was going to lose the car at any point. He was driving well within himself.

“Then, at the end of the day, I thought it was too wet, but he just went for it and set a very, very fast time in those conditions.”

He added: “It was a test to get him in the car, and he’s happy with that. Then it is about his drive and determination to be in British touring cars. If he is, sure it might not be with us, but it’s all down to money – he needs to keep in touch with his sponsors ad try to get the support he needs out of them.”

CHRIS KNOX ES RACING BTCC VECTRA

Chris admitted: “I think there is another test at Oulton Park and it would be great to do a deal to be there. I know that I can go quicker.”

The Renfrewshire rocket has enjoyed a dream season, with a series of headline-making drives in the Continental Tires Sports Car Series in the United States. Despite never having seen the likes of Daytona, Laguna Seca or Lime Rock Park before, he was the fastest driver for RSR Motorsports in their R53 MINI Cooper S.

Those performances have already attracted the attention of team owners in the States, and Chris is certain his drive at Silverstone will have raised awareness even more.

He added: “I am still keen to go to the States, but this has always been a childhood dream for me. It has been an eye-opener and I loved every minute.”

 

 

If you are interested on getting involved with Chris Knox in 2013 in the BTCC please don’t hesitate to get in touch at chris@chrisknox.co.uk

2012 Round 10 of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge at Lime Rock Park in the RSR Motorsports ST MINI – MINI Swansong 2012

BRIT CHAMP CHRIS KNOX IS SPLASH HIT AT LIME ROCK PARK

 Chris Knox RSR Motorsports MINI Lime Rock Park 

Budding endurance star Chris Knox took another massive step towards a full-time racing career in the United States with a stellar show in the rain at Lime Rock Park.

Former British MINI Challenge champ Chris, from Elderslie, Renfrewshire in Scotland, carved his way through the Continental Tire Sports Car Series field twice as he gave the RSR Motorsports R53 MINI Cooper S a swansong to remember.

The car won’t be out next year due to Grand-Am regulations and Chris, RSR Motorsports boss Randy Smalley and team-mate Sarah Cattaneo were determined to make sure the Connecticut crowd had something to cheer. But Chris also wanted to make a name for himself in the paddock – and that has also been a huge success.

He was the fastest RSR Motorsports driver on the track for the third time in a row – after his appearance at Daytona International Speedway in January and at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca last time out.

His heroics in California even earned him a check for $500 because he had made the biggest improvement from his starting position – when he began the race in last place and battled through to finish ninth.

He said: “It was a tough race, but I was able to showcase what I can do in the wet at a track I had never seen before. Again, I was the highest placed RSR driver which was a good feeling.

“Hopefully, people have noticed what I can do because that is what we set out to do. I have already been told to keep in touch because there could well be opportunities.” 

But, while the impact of the result and the drive has been positive, Chris knows he had to do it the hard way. In practice on a circuit he had only ever driven before on the iRacing.com simulator, Chris was straight on the pace and paddled his way through the puddles to clock the second fastest time before pitting to save tires. As the session dried, his wet lap was still good enough for 14th place.

He added: “Lime Rock Park is very similar to some British circuits. It is a combination of Knockhill and Brands Hatch Indy because it is short and sweet with lots of elevation changes.

“It was a really cool circuit. It was easy to learn but you knew it could bite you pretty hard whenever it wanted.”

Sarah did the second practice session, but RSR Motorsports’ chances of getting to the front of the ST field for the race were hampered when qualifying was cancelled because of the wet track. That also meant Chris missed out on valuable track time.

The #198 MINI started with Sarah, from Scottsdale in Arizona, in 22nd place, but she was caught in a collision that dropped the car to 30th and she also struggled with the windscreen misting up, which cost the team a lap.

After the change Chris was also having problems with the windscreen but persevered until the team could clear it.

He said: “I was almost driving blind, all I had for reference was the brake lights of the cars in front. I just had to hope he was taking the correct racing line. I went on the radio and told my crew chief that I was going to pit to get my windscreen cleared as it was too dangerous. I didn’t want to damage the car.”

Then he produced a string of blistering laps, overtaking at least one rival a lap. He tried to unlap himself but an accidental collision with Eric Curran resulted in a stop-go penalty and he had to do all the hard work over again.

He stormed through the field again, but the excitement wasn’t over.

Chris takes up the story: “There were about ten minutes to go and I got a radio message to say the car ahead was on the same lap and we were racing for position. I got a great drift from him down the straight. He tried to defend going into turn one, but I feinted one way then went inside. We touched and tried to force him to give up the corner but he stayed with me.  As we went into turn two, he got on the power too early and pushed me flying off track. I hit the biggest puddle I have ever seen.

“The car disappeared in a wave of water. I must have hit it at about 60mph. I came out the other side but the water had short-circuited the power steering. So I had to go to the end with no power steering. I was shattered but we still got back into 19th place.”

The MINI R53 swansong at Laguna Seca and Lime Rock Park proved a massive hit with hundreds of fans turning out to see the iconic motor. MINI USA once again brought their pre-production MINI GP II for the MINI corral at Lime Rock Park. MINI USA also presented RSR Motorsports owner Randy Smalley with a trophy to thank the team for their success with the R53 Cooper S.

Thanks to CruiseAmerica, RSR Motorsports, Motorwerks Magazine and Norman Nelson of Shasta MINIS, Chris helped give the car the perfect send-off.

2012 Round 9 of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge at Laguna Seca in the RSR Motorsports ST MINI – MINI Swansong 2012

BRIT CHAMP CHRIS KNOX DELIVERS A LITTLE MONTEREY MAGIC

 Chris Knox RSR Motorsports MINI Laguna Seca

Budding endurance star Chris Knox lived the American racing dream at the legendary Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca track in California.

The former British MINI Challenge champion turned up the heat in Monterey by producing a string of hot laps in the RSR Motorsports MINI R53 – despite having only ever “driven” the track on a computer simulator.

Chris – from Elderslie in Renfrewshire, Scotland – had walked the track as a kid and seen some YouTube footage but his test laps were so good that team boss Randy Smalley decided to give the young Scot the lion’s share of the driving duties in the Continental Tire Sports Car Festival Powered by Mazda event in Monterey at the weekend.

After a string of mechanical and handling issues the RSR Motorsports MINI qualified in last place, 62nd on the grid. But Randy produced a battling stint then handed the car to the team’s new young gun.

And Chris responded with a performance that attracted the attention of the whole paddock as he steered the MINI from the back of the grid into a top ten position in the ST class. Chris even pulled off a stunning overtaking move on the approach to the iconic Corkscrew to take ninth place on the final lap.

Chris – who also starred at Daytona International Speedway in January when he was the only member of the team to clock an average lap speed over 100mph despite never having seen the track before – is determined to make the most of the opportunity to forge a full-time racing career in the States.

He said: “We faced a lot of challenges, which wasn’t ideal but the RSR team did a terrific job. They had to replace the clutch during one practice session and the car was a real handful during qualification. We made the decision just to park it up and go for it in the race.

“We were chasing the perfect set-up and we were struggling for pace but Randy and I were determined to put on a show for the MINI fans.

“We started last, but the team gambled with the strategy and it paid off for us. The first yellow flag caution came about 15 minutes into the race. The team took the decision to put me in the car then so I had two and a quarter hours behind the wheel.

“I caught the pack up, then we jumped a load of guys as they had to pit. It was a great call by the team. We started picking off the cars in front of us and I managed to into ninth on the approach to the Corkscrew.

“I was absolutely delighted to have got into the top ten, given the problems we had and the amount of time I had on track. I think I have shown what I can do. Daytona was special, but this was tough. I did the whole stint on one set of tires. The longest I have done before this was 45 minutes, but this was two and a quarter hours. It was the only way to make the strategy work, so I was glad I pulled it off because I had really bad understeer for the last hour.”

Chris was also delighted to tame the famous Laguna Seca track and realize a childhood dream to race in California.

He said: “It was unbelievable. You can drive it as often as you want on a simulator or you can watch hundreds of laps on YouTube but it will not do the place justice. You won’t get a true idea of the elevation changes. Even the front straight is so uphill. Everything about the circuit was a real challenge.

“The focus is on the Corkscrew and that is amazing. The first time I took it on, I was amazed at how little you can see. You basically aim for a tree – that is the only reference point.

“But it is not the toughest on the track. The left-hander before the Corkscrew as you come over the crest was a challenge because the car was a handful. You got a wheel off there and you knew you were in trouble.

“But the left-hander after the Corkscrew, Rainey Curve, is so hard. You expect to get a lot of grip but you had to fight the car to get it round and it was the same every lap. But what a buzz!”  

The Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca event was the first of a stunning double-header to give the MINI R53 a sparkling send-off from the Continental Tires Sports Car Challenge.

The final race will be at Lime Rock, with Chris hoping to make another big impact. He joined forces with CruiseAmerica, RSR Motorsports, Motorwerks Magazine and Norman Nelson of Shasta MINIS to create the MINI Swansong. That fund-raising campaign attracted the attention of MINI owners, dealers and fans across the world.

There were more than 50 MINIS at the track as part of the Swansong and MINI USA brought the only pre-production new MINI JCW GPII to the track.

Many of those who supported the cause were at Laguna Seca to meet Chris and see the car. He added: “They were brilliant. I spent a lot of time with them and I am so glad they could be part of giving the car a decent send-off. They were all together watching the car come through the Corkscrew and I am sure I could hear them cheering every time I went past them.”

 But funds are still needed ahead of that final race in Connecticut on September 28-30.

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