The Ultima comeback in Belcar
Two steps back, four steps forward
Qvick Motors Racing and Belgium Racing ran two near identical Ultima GTRs in the 2004 Belcar season. The cars proved to be fast and definitely capable of upsetting the Porsche order but various mechanical gremlins and an unhealthy dose of bad luck prevented the Ultimas from achieving any success.
For the 2005 season both teams chose to radically upgrade their respective cars. Belgium Racing went ahead and replaced the entire body with a carbon one. On the aerodynamics department not much was changed apart from adding a Flat floor, bigger wing and splitter. The engine was completely rebuilt as well for a slight horsepower increase.
Qvick Motors Racing also changed the aerodynamics on their Ultima but in a much more extravagant way. The car also had it's entire suspension setup upgraded at KW's German headquarters.
2004 on the left and 2005 on the right. source: racingworld.be
The first outing in Zolder was an immediate proof of concept as both cars were over 2 seconds faster compared to the previous season. A hard fought battle for the third spot on the podium saw the Qvick Motors Racing Ultima come out on top. Belgium racing had to retire after the car got stuck in third gear because the gear lever had broken off.
The second round of the season was at an almost flooded Spa Francorchamps. The thousand kilometer race was split into two heats. Patrick Derdaele aquaplaned three times in the Belgium Racing Ultima at over 200 km/h on just the opening lap. The rain was so bad that two cars were forced to retire due to faulty headlights preventing them to be seen by other drivers.
Luckily the Ultimas saw no headlight failure whatsoever. The Qvick Ultima had recieved a brand new Hewland sequential gearbox. The investment payed off as the team finished P2 in GTB class in both heats while the Belgium racing Ultima was further down the order. The torrential downpour didn't slow the racing down one bit as the podium finishers were within two seconds of each other.
The third round of the season, again at Spa, saw Erick Qvick come into the pits with faulty headlights and smoke pouring out the dashboard. A short circuit in the wiring harness was found to be the cause of the smoke and after a lengthy pit stop Qvick ventured out again hoping to regain some places in the closing stages of the race.
Belgium Racing was faced with more gearbox problems as fifth gear wasn't availabe, significantly limiting the top speed on the high speed Ardennes circuit. Meanwhile Qvick managed to catch up to the rest of the GTB field and finished P3 in class retaining the second place in the overall championship.
The long 6h race gave Qvick plenty of time to catch up. Source: racingworld.be
Three consecutive podium finishes finally proved the fighting chance of the Ultimas as sights were set on the overall GTB championship win. Brands Hatch was next as Belcar has one race per season on a "foreign" track. Despite not being familiar with the classic British racetrack both Ultimas qualified an impressive P2 and P3 on the GTB grid.
GTB looked like an all out war as 5 cars battled for the lead. Erick Qvick lost three places after spinning in the high speed Graham Hill Bend but managed to fight his way back and finish a meager 0.02 seconds behind the winning Porsche. The Ultima of Belgium Racing was set for a third place finish untill the rear left wheel hub broke resulting in another DNF.
After the race Patrick Derdaele of Belgium Racing was disappointed for not being able to join the Qvick Racing Ultima on the podium. Erick Qvick on the other hand had mixed feelings. He was happy to finally have a very competitive car but slightly annoyed as a win was certainly within reach.
The Zolder 24H was once again the main event of the season. The grid was packed with a total of 50 cars, 22 of those in GTB class. The roles were seemingly switched as the Qvick Ultima was the one to retire with a broken gearbox after running P2 for 6 hours straight, Belgium Racing took over the second position and would hold on to that spot all the way to the finish line. The surprise win finally granted a much deserved spot on the podium and a leap from fifteenth to fifth place in the GTB championship.
at the final race at spa of the season Qvick Motors Racing finished P2, yet again, while the other Ultima lost some considerable time and a podium finish due to a lose battery clamp.
The Battery clamp debacle meant that Belgium Racing had no chance of reaching the third place in the GTB championship, they went into the last race at Zolder with nothing to lose. This no nonsense fighting spirit granted them a P2 finish. Erick Qvick and Christophe Geoffrey finished P4 despite Geoffrey completing a shift at the hospital the night before as his wife gave birth to twin babies.
The troublesome 2004 season came with a hefty learning curve but it eventually payed off as both Ultimas had a fantastic 2005 season with Qvick Motors Racing coming out on top as runner up for the GTB championship.