Today we are focusing on Jay Mooney, a 34 year old MG Trophy driver. During the 2014 season he was competing in the MG trophy. He was engineered by Preptech UK.
What is the MG Trophy Championship?
The MG Trophy Championship is the best, well run one make car championship. Also it is the most enjoyable single make club championships. This championships offers high quality close racing for the front wheel drive MG ZR in three classes as well as the new MG3. It was formerly known as the MG-F Cup which it has now evolved to being just for the MG ZR cars. The regulations for this championship were designed to keep costs to a minimum so that both novice and experienced drivers can all enter the championship. They use sealed engines and gearboxes in the cars, they also get set a minimum of 15 new tyres per season. This championship has produced a number of drivers who have gone on to higher levels within motorsport. Some of the drivers who have gone on to compete in higher levels in motorsport are; Jack Goff, Fiona Leggate and Paul Wallace who all went on to compete in the BTCC. The championship offers some really good opportunities to help drivers gain experience and makes everyone feel welcome because it accepts anybody. Class B is for the experienced drivers, who race a fully prepared ZR 190 car (190 bhp) running on Dunlop Control Slicks or wets. For drivers on a slightly lower budget its class C, running an MG ZR with 170 bhp on Dunlop Control Tyres. The new class for 2014 was class D, which was for a race prepared ZR 160 road cars that can be built for around £3000. This is the cheapest possible entry level in tin tops, which are able to race on all of the UK race circuits. The points structure for the 2014 season will see all the classes competing together so therefore any driver from any class can win the overall championship.
Jay has been involved within motorsport all his life. He has been trackside all his life but has only been a driver for the past two years. He was brought up visiting Silverstone from an early age, this was because his dad was a key figure in the Oxford Motor Club. His dad also would compete in rally’s. Jay also feels that because of being involved in motorsport from such a young age it was in his genes to move into motorsport. In addition, he believes as far as he can remember that he has been a petrol head all his life because of going to motorsport events with his dad, watching and supporting his dad throughout his career. Jay’s favourite championhip to compete in so far has been the MG Trophy because the standard of the championship is really good. It is also a well run championship with great spirit within the paddock, they also get to race at the best circuits in the UK. Jay feels that his dad is his favourite driver/ idol, but his favourite proffessional drivers and inspirational idols are Tom Kristensen, Darren Turner and Ayrton Senna. Jay finds it really important being part of a team as it is a really important part of the job they do as drivers. He is relatively new to racing within motorsport so he feels that to be able to give feedback about how the car performs to a race technician is really important so that they can adjust the set up on the car between each races and race meets, it is also something that him and Preptech are getting much better at with him learning more and more each time he goes out racing. To keep fit and healthy Jay likes to keep active and eat the right things, so he goes for a run a few times a week and eats healthy foods and not junk food. In Jay’s opinion Silverstone wiill always be the best track and his favourite because of going there so much as a young child, he feels that Silverstone is a magical place from his childhood but he also enjoys racing at Oulton Park too. Jay does not eat on race day because hi adrenaline is pumping through him and he tends not to feel hungry until they have finished racing for the day, then he gets serious hunger attacks, which is his body telling him he needs to eat. He makes sure whilst he isn’t eating during a race meet that he drinks plenty of fluids to keep himself hydrated. Jay has to pay to race so he still has his day job as an Energy Consultant but if he wasn’t racing he would have to find another way of getting the buzz that racing gives him. He hates losing more than he loves winning so he feels that he is motivated to get as high up the pack as he possibly can to ensure that they give the best that they possibly can every time they are out on track. The scariest thing to ever happen to Jay was in his debut year of racing, up at Donington Park at the Craner Curves he had a really big accident. During the accident he ended up rolling the car a few times before it came to a stop upside down in the gravel trap. Jay was fine after the accident, on the other hand the car was not, it was a complete mess. The marshall who was first on the scene to check on Jay later told him that it was the biggest accident he had ever seen someone walk away from. By being in that acciden it made Jay realise just how strong the car was, it also proved to him why they had to have so many safety features in the cars, to keep drivers as safe as they can whilst they are in the car. It was Jay’s dad who inspired him to become involved within motorport, he used to go and watch GTs, BTCC and Historic races at any opportunity that he could with his dad. His dad always used to encourage him to go karting and to learn to drive with him as soon as he could. Ideally Jay would love to be able to compete in the Sports cars or GTs, which is his ambition, but Jay doesn’t have the budget to so he hopes to carry on competing in the club racing championships and hopefully progress on and be competing at the front. Then hopefully one day he will be able to reach his ambition and race in a GT so that he can have the experience. When a race weekend is coming up Jay feels a mixture of excitement, apprehension and nerves, but he looks and focuses on the job in hand as much as possible.
Jay’s Motorsport History/Career.
Jay started his motorsport career when he saw an MG ZR on a stand at the Autosport show back in 2011 and found that it was just like a mini touring car in their opinion, so they knew it would accomodate Jay’s long legs,with him being 6 foot 6 isn’t easy for him in small cars as his legs get cramped up and it isn’t comfortable for him to race in the cramped space. This made them want to find out more about it, so they got in contact with with the owner of the car who raced it in the MG Owners Club. They spoke to the owner of the car about the car and championships it was eligible to compete in and well the rest is all history, since then he has been racing. Afer watching all different kinds of racing within motorsport from a early age, whether it was trackside or in Cornbury Park marshalling on the Rally of GB, Jay has always wanted to see if he had any skills like his dad did when he was competing. Whenever Jay went karting with some of his friends he was always quickest in the karts despite him being twice the size of his friends. That was when Jay realised that he must have some race craft in him and he was interested in seeing how he would do on a bigger stage. He started his motorsport car racing career in the MG Owners Club in an MG ZR.
After buying their first race car, an MG ZR in 2011, Jay started getting to grips with the car and becoming more comfortable with the car. He then started learning more race craft and the circuits themselves. Then once he felt more comfortable and happy with the cars performance and his driving skills in the car, they decided to move up to the MG Trophy. Since they made the move into the MG Trohy they have become happier with Jay’s skills and the performance of the car, they really enjoy the racing and atmosphere within the championship race weekend events. Jay has not had much involvement in anyone else’s motorsport career but both him and the team try to help and support anyone that they can, especially anyone who wants to gain some experience in the motorsport win. They always want to help anyone they can so that they can try and help them progress as drivers and help them move into the motorsport world or help them move into a higher championship. Jay is just a driver, he doesn’t have much mechanical knowledge, however he is learning more and more about the mechanical side of the car in each race he does. This is helping him and the team to make changes to the car and set up. His dad was the one person who got him really interested in motorsport, they always used to sit and watch the F1 on the Sundays it was on. His dad also used to take him to Silverstone at any given opportunity and they both used to be marshalls at the Cornbury Park Stage of the Rally of GB. This was his dads way of surrounding him in motorsport and racing , although Jay thinks his dad may be regretting it now as it is not a cheap sport to be involved in. In the past Jay has raced in the MG Owners Club Championship in 2012 with the support of Alastair Rushforth Motorsport but they raced under the team name of ‘Jayem Racing’. They then moved Jay into the MG Trophy Championship with the MG Car Club in 2013, they ran their own car towards the end of the season. Then they joined up with Preptech UK last season and came awat with some great results so Jay plans to continue with Preptech UK in 2015.
During 2014 Jay was competing in the MG Trophy, him and his team chose this championship because it was seen as a progression from the championship they had started their motorsport career in. Also the MG Trophy is known to be a well run championship with a friendly and fun paddock. He finished in 14th place in the driver championship standings, this was due to only being able to compete at three of the events.
The first of the three rounds were at Silverstone on the GP circuit, his rough lap times were between 2:40s and 2:50s. The two races at Silverstone for this weekend were competed in glorius sunshine, which was the ideal weather for Jay to be competing in. Unfortunately it meant that the car was getting extremely hot inside the car on the very physical and fast GP circuit. During the qualifying session Jay was running a new engine so he spent most of the qualifying session watching the temperature gauge more than trying to set quicker lap times. Once they were happy with the engine not overheating they encountered a fuel surge so he was unable to set many good laps.The track was dry for both days. He started race one in 21st place due to encountering mechanical problems. He had some fairly good battles during race one. After qualifying they tried to sort out the fuel surge problem and then it wouldn’t give him the full range of revs so he found himself having to short shift a little during race one. Unfortunately this meant that he lost quite a lot of his pace and found himself struggling along the straights quite a bit. He finished in 17th place as he took the chequered flag at the end of race one. For race two Jay started in 22nd place after not setting very good lap times. Jay managed to set a lap time of 2:43 during race two which was his fastest of the whole weekend, this showed Jay and his team that they were building confidence in the car and that there was a lot more improvement to come. During this weekend Jay stayed on track all the time and didn’t have any off track excursions, also Jay was involved in no accidents throughout this weekend. Jay felt that this round was tricky because the car threw up some gremlins that they were expecting to happen because the car had not been raced with the new engine before that weekend. They managed to sort all the problems but they suffered with their pace being affected by the problems they were facing, mainly in qualifying and race one. Jay went to Silverstone knowing that the round was for running the new engine and curing any issues that the car threw at them. By them spending one round specifically for resolving issues and breaking in the new engine, they hoped that they would have more success in their other rounds they were entering. Overall the team were extremely happy that the car left the circuit in on piece and firing on all cylinders. Jay did not feel that he had any problems or issues with the circuit, but he was still learning more about the car as well as learning about the circuit. When reflecting on the weekend of racing this is what Jay had to say “We had a new engine to run in during qualifying so I spent my qualifying laps watching the temperature gauge a lot unfortunately, then once we were happy with that, we encountered a fuel surge so our qualifying session wasn’t ideal unfortunately, hence the grid positions. The car also threw up some gremlins which we expected as it hadn’t been raced since the new engine was put into the car, so we had rev limit issues, fuel surge and had to ensure the temperature was steady throughout the weekend. All sorted in the end but affected our pace in qualifying/race 1 especially.”
The next round Jay competed at was at Oulton Park,his rough lap times were around 2:08, that lap time was set during race two. That lap time showed Jay and his team that they were making huge progress as that was a massive improvement from the year before. It proved that Jay was becoming quicker and quicker and mixing in with their class. Both races were dry and overcast during the race weekend at Oulton Park. Jay really enjoys racing at Oulton Park as he feels that it just flows so well for them and they do really well there. He loves the fact that at Oulton Park there is a good mixture of fast sections and the slower, more technical sections and it he says that it is just an all round great track. Jay didn’t find that he had any problems or issues with the circuit itself, he was just having some issues with trying out different set ups to find the right one with Preptech, so they kept having to adjust the set up in certain ways in which they took on sections and corners. He was luckily enough to be racing in the dry all weekend. For race one Jay started in 12th place, he was fending off other competitors throughout the race to keep 12th place. Luckily he managed to finish the race and keep 12th place when he took the chequered flag. For race two he started in 13th place, this time throughout the entire race he was battling against lots of competitors and battling his way up through the pack, he ended the second race in 9th place overall. Both Jay and his team were happy with the pace they had in race two after they had sorted out the exhaust. But then the brakes were going off really badly, this meant they had to break earlier than they wanted and liked to for some of the faster corners. Jay felt that the car felt great and a lot better than it had at Silverstone, the set up that Preptech had adopted had really helped him. They had issues throughout qualifying and the races with the exhaust and brakes but once again Preptech were superb and sorted out the problems for him really quickly. Again this weekend Jay did not go off track at all, he only explored track limits more than he should have been. Jay was lucky enough narrowly avoid a spinning competitor at turn one. During this weekend of racing Jay occured one major bit of damage, which was that his exhaust broke and was dragging on the circuit. Therefore Jay had to pit, which was very unfortunate. At the same time as Jay pitting a red flag was brought out, this gave his team the chance to temporarily fix the exhaust in the pitlane. Then he was able to rejoin the race for the restart but he had to start from the back of the grid which is why he was only able to manage a 9th place finish. Jay found the weekend enjoyable and he learned a lot during the weekend about how to set up the car as best as possible to suit him and his driving style. They also had a couple of minor issues to deal with but they were strong and consistent with the lap times. This is what Jay had to say when reflecting on the weekend ” It was very enjoyable, we learned a lot again about how to set up the car as best as possible to suit me and my driving style. We had a couple of minor issues to deal with but we were still strong in our running and consistent with our lap times, which was great to see.”
His final outing of the year was at Snetterton, his rough lap times were around the 1:30s in the dry race, which was a great improvement from last year and it shows their progress. They also had a wet race for race two. For race one Jay started in 13th on the grid, he done some amazing battling throughout the race and managed to fight his way through the pack and took the chequered flag to take 6th place. For race two he started from 13th place on the grid. During the race it was pouring with rain, he was constantly battling with the other competitors. He eventually crossed the line to take 7th place. The best lap time they set was 1:32 during race two. Astonishingly Jay managed to keep the car on tarmac all weekend even through the conditions in race two. During this weekend he was involved in no accidents on track but was involved in some very close racing with the competitors around him, but none had contact it was all safe, fun and clean racing, which is what makes the MG Trophy such a good series. Jay found that race one was superb as he managed to achieve the best finish of 6th place and it showed him and the team that there was still more to come from him and the car. Jay was astounded with his performance and successful battle to take 6th. He found that race two was a complete whole new experience for him in the wet conditions. After a few big saves on the wet track, Jay had learnt a lot about racing on wet tyres and the grip levels on track in wet conditions. This is what Jay had to say ” It was a real mixture of weather but Preptech set the car up perfectly for us! Qualifying was ok but could have been quicker, on reflection. Race 1 saw some brilliant close racing and our best finish in the MG, so we were over the moon. Race 2 was surreal in the conditions we had to contend with but was a really important learning experience”. He also added ” I have never really enjoyed Snetterton too much but this weekend we definitely seemed to ‘click’. The car felt so stable and forgiving which meant we had so much more confidence in some of the more technical areas such as Corum and made a real difference.”
Jay has already announced that he will be staying in the MG Trophy under the name ‘Jayem Racing’ banner but with Preptech UK running the car during the 2015 season.
Give Jay a follow on Twitter @JayMooneyRacing and watch him go further within motorsport. Also follow me on twitter @tilleyphotos and go like my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/tilley.photos
© Fay Tilley 5th December 2014.