About Gail

Gail HillAGE: The wrong side of 50!

OCCUPATION: NHS Care Home Manager.

TYPE OF MOTORSPORT: Club level track racing... with higher aspirations!

FIRST YEAR OF COMPETITION: 2002

WHY DID YOU START? I had watched some friends from the Jag owners club in the 2001 season. Did a track day in my own XJS and thought this is absolutely brilliant... and the rest is history!

PREVIOUS CHAMPIONSHIPS/COMPETITIONS: Now in my twelfth year of Jaguar World Monthly/Classic Spares XJS championship.

PREVIOUS ACHIEVEMENTS:

  • 2007 Jaguar XJ-S Championship 4th (1 overall win 4 x 2nds)
  • 2006 Jaguar XJ-S Championship winner and class D champion (9 class wins from 10 starts)
  • BWRDC Embassy Trophy (Club Champion)
  • Goodwood Trophy (race) winner
  • Hillwood Jewellers Trophy winner
  • 2005 Jaguar XJ-S Class D champion (5 class wins from 10 starts) 3rd in overall championship
  • BWRDC Hillwood trophy winner
  • Goodwin trophy runner up
  • 2003 BWRDC Jean Denton best newcomer

Since 2005 I have also been writing race reports for Jaguar World Monthly magazine and have my own column! In addition I conduct talks and presentations to motoring clubs around the UK about being a fast lady (in the nicest sense)

FAVOURITE CIRCUIT: Any and all!!! If it means I can race then anywhere will do.

TYPES OF CARS COMPETED/OWNED:

  • Road: Datsun 240Z, Jaguar XK8, XJ-S
  • Race: 4.0 and 5.8 litre Jaguar XJ-S (6 and 12 cylinder) ; XK140 

FAVOURITE CAR: Race car by far because it's the only one that really gets driven on the edge (and sometimes over it!)

ANY FUNNY STORIES? In my first season during practice at Oulton I heard a clunking noise from the car, began to get worried when session was red flagged. During a chat with the other drivers in the pits someone mentioned Optimax petrol and it was then that I realised what the clunking noise was! I had left my spare can of petrol behind the drivers seat..oops! to make matters worse when I got into my car to take it out and couldn't find it one of my colleagues kindly pointed that I had got into the wrong XJS in my panic and my car was further up the pit lane… didn't live that down for quite a while!

2007 SEASON:

The season was difficult with engine rebuilds required for my 4 litre and V12 race cars. I competed in both cars in two different classes which hampered my season. I also came off at Cadwell (not built for Jaguars and bent the V12 (a bit). My times were very competitive however, so things look good for next year. Both cars competed successfully in the Birkett 6 hours and have now been sold on.

2008 SEASON:

2008 what a disaster! After the promising year in 2007 where I competed in a V12 and modified 4 litre car winning one race outright at Anglesey and having four second places I expected to challenge again for the championship but it turned out to be my worse year ever! The rebuilt V12 (version 1) never ran right early in the year with fuelling and then serious piston problems, then (with a spare engine fitted) got rear ended at Anglesey causing loads of damage. I had a spare V12 which was not as heavily modified, it threw the crank at Rockingham and then developed electrical problems later in the year. I missed a third of the year and never finished a race in a competitive car the rest of the time. Even when I shared two other cars at the end of the season one sufferred alternator failure and conked out 3 minutes from the end (whilst I was in second place) and the other car, which I had started the race in got a puncture and the driver finished last! Oh well rough with the rough it can't be worse next year!

2009 SEASON:

I raced a variety of cars starting the season in a class E XJ-S where I finished 4th in two races at Anglesey. The the car got sold to a good friend of mine. I did a few races in my 'gulf' V12 with the TTRS series (now Project 8). The head gasket blew at Brands in qualifying but at Oulton Park I got a first in class. At Silverstone a failing pump relay switch of all things messed up race one forcing a retirement. Everything (but the relay switch) got changed in an effort to fix the problem for race two but to no avail. Frustrating or what?

To end the season I purchased the XJ40 and did four races in it finishing 5th,3rd,4th and 2nd which boded well for 2010 as I was going to do the full season in the saloon championship.

The year finished on a high though when a team of saloons that I had entered won the Birkett 6 hour relay on handicap. by this time the car had been tweeked on a rolling road, lightened a little and was ready for the 2010 season.

2010 SEASON:

Perfect start at Snetterton saw me on pole for the first double header. My first pole turned into first role after 5 laps! A poor start dropped me to 10th, the red mist fell and I was back up to 4th after 5 laps catching the leaders hand over fist. Having boasted that an XJ40 was almost impossible to spin I lost it at Sears and then noticed a bump where tarmac became grass...the rest is history as they say. A dnf and dns to start the season really messed things up.

However by the end of the season I had recovered to 3rd in class and 4th in the Championship registering several podium finishes including one overall win and two other class wins with three other class podiums.

It was not all plain sailing though with a big incident at the start of the Cadwell round that saw Pete Dorlins car at 90 degrees across the front of mine going into the first bend. He span out into the barrier I did a 360 and carried on but a slow puncture forced a retirement.

Some great racing though with Pete, his son Rich and Dave Bye all racing for West Riding meant it was a superb season all in all, though the imaculate XJ40 was carrying a few battle scars at the end.

2011 SEASON:

What can I say! A perfect season allmost. 14 starts, 8 class wins including 2 overall wins in the now merged saloon and XJ-S championship with 6, class second place finishes. I won class B and was the top saloon driver. I had led the overall championship from May until September but two rounds where I had to drop points due to low entries meant 17 points lost. I lost the overall championship by 8 to finish runner up.

I also raced a Jaguar XK150 at Spa finishing 2nd in class and this after testing at Goodwood (what a perfect day and place to blat round in a historic car). In the MGCC 4 hour relay the team I was in finished 12th overall but 2nd in class just a few laps down on the winners. Then in the Birkett another 2nd in class finish 15th overall on handicap again two laps down on the winners brought the season to a close.

In the process I won the BWRDC Anita Taylor saloon trophy and the Hillwood jewellers award for most wins (for the third time). I was runner up in the Goodwin trophy and to top all that off got nominated for the Goldstars award which I was awarded at Autosport in January 2012. The announcment was made by living legend John Surtees OBE.

A perfect start to 2012 where I hope to compete in the XJ40 again, maybe going one better this year.

I am also looking to raise funds to race in GT Cup having secured my sponsors for the Jaguar racing already (though there is always space on the car for more).

CURRENT SPONSORS: Jaguar Classic Parts and Cov Cats and still plenty of space elsewhere on the car for YOU !!!