The Richardson Racing team endured a weekend of mixed emotions at Silverstone during the penultimate rounds of both the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain and the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup.
Louise Richardson celebrated her return to action with a double success in the Ginetta series while brother Andrew showed record-breaking pace in Formula Ford, although without reward on race day.
For Louise, the Silverstone weekend marked her first on-track appearance for more than twelve months, with budget issues having forced her onto the sidelines since Snetterton last year.
Despite her time away, Louise was soon up to speed as she topped the times in the G50 class during Friday testing, despite an engine issue that forced the team to work late into the night to change the powerplant in time for Saturday.
Qualifying on class pole, Louise then recovered from a lap one spin that dropped her to the back of the field to storm through to victory and repeated her success in race two with a fine drive that saw her harrying a number of the quicker G55 runners.
“It’s been a great weekend,” the 20-year-old said. “I was up to speed quickly in the car in testing but then the team was left with work to do when we had to change the engine overnight before qualifying. Although the car didn’t feel quite as quick in qualifying, I took pole and then got a good start in race one when the lights went out.
"On the first lap, one of the G55s spun in front of me and I had my own spin in sympathy, but I came back through to win. Race two was good as I was able to keep on the back of the train of G55s in the early stages and they didn’t manage to break away, which showed the pace I had.
“This weekend has been pretty much perfect, and I’d love the opportunity to step up to a G55 for Brands Hatch to see what I can do against the front-runners in the same car. We’ll have to see if that is possible but if not, then I’ll aim to pick up more wins in the G50 to show potential sponsors what I could do next year.”
For older brother Andrew, it turned out to be a weekend that again showed the huge progress being made by the team in its maiden season of single-seater competition, albeit without the end results on race day.
Again suffering with an engine down on power, Andrew went into the weekend aware of the challenges that lay ahead but was left on the back foot after qualifying when a trackrod bolt sheared, leaving him tenth on the grid for each of the three races.
Andrew was able to make up a place when the first race got underway, but rising engine temperatures saw him retire to the pits mid-way through the 20 minute encounter.
A loose turbo boost pipe then saw Andrew forced to return to the pits after just a single lap of race two, which he then rejoined three laps down after the team was able to carry out repairs.
Showing the massive strides taken by the Richardson Racing team in its first season running single-seater machinery, Andrew was able to overcome the fact he was still down on power to post a series of stunningly quick laps – breaking the lap record as he took the flag in ninth.
Sadly for Andrew, further engine issues forced him in to retire from the final race of the weekend, bringing a weekend that had promised much to a disappointing finish.
“The car itself is now phenomenally quick thanks to the work we have done, and the only thing holding us back is the cooling issue with the engine, which is something we can’t do anything about,” he said. “We have actually got the cooling on our car better than anyone else on the grid, so if the engine was running as it should, we’d be in a really strong position – but it is what it is for the final rounds this year.
“Even with our problems, I was able to break the lap record in race two so it is clear that we are making progress and have got the car sorted. That is a huge boost for us looking forwards and once we have remaining parts of the jigsaw in place, we’ll be able to fully show our potential.”