Under Lawrence TomlInson s leadershp GI-nett’ has found new purpose

Gineffa became well-known for its racers in the 1960s and ’70s but struggled to maintain a solid commercial basis thereafter. The founding Walkleff brothers finally relinquished control in 1989, after which a number of owners tried to make it a success in a difficult world, until finally current owner Lawrence Tomlinson took charge. Tomlinson (right) may describe Ginetta as “a winkle on Ferrari’s back”, but what greets us at the factory on the outskirts of Leeds is far from

that. Ginetta has grown up over the past few years, and is once again a well-respected race car manufacturer. It’s not just the track action that consumes Tomlinson’s time, though; he also has two road cars, the F400 and G40 R, in the pipeline. “We’re working on a new car every minute of the day,” says the Ginetta chairman as we sit down in a lavish boardroom overlooking the factory. “Nowadays our philosophy is different. The G20 and G20 Juniors, which existed

when I bought the company in 2005, are great to race, but the build quality was poor.

“The G50 (the company’s GT4 car, which has won the class in every British GT Championship since its 2008 launch) was the first car I designed. I came at it from the angle of, ‘if I was a race team or customer what would I want?’ We started to make a G50 road car, but that was in ’08 when the world came to a financial end. We only made a few and what was apparent was that we hadn’t designed the race car well enough to convert it to a road car. The bodywork fit and finish was unsuitable, so we concentrated on that with the G40.” This entry-level racer was launched in 2010 to replace the G20 Junior coupe. In February Ginetta launched the G55 GT3, eligible for the one-make Supercup as well as other GT3 series worldwide. “We wanted to move up a class into GT3 and the timing was right,” says

Tomlinson. “We needed a major step forward with the car, so we took what we’d done with the G40 in terms of bodywork fit and finish and the G50’s racing pedigree and came up with the G55. “We can’t produce enough cars at the moment, whether it’s a G40, G50 or G55. It’s a great position to be in, but we’re flat out.” A race-ready G55 costs £75,000 compared to £310,000 for a McLaren MP4-12C, but Tomlinson says Ginetta’s current success has little to do with

outpricing more expensive rivals. “It’s a totally different market,” he says. “We’re bringing people into the sport, and our car will become more competitive as the upgrade packages arrive. Even though the GT3 programme is only six months old the company is already looking at GT2 and GT1.” Tomlinson says the ‘different market’ philosophy also applies to Ginetta’s new F400 supercar a carbon-chassis, 400bhp, 1050kg rocket. “We’re only intending to produce 35-40 cars a year and

they’ll cost less than £100,000,” he says. “We inherited the project when I bought the company and we’ve spent a year enhancing the car. We don’t want to release it until we’re happy.”

The company is also launching a G40 road car, a track-day version of the G40 racer with an FIAapproved rollcage. Tomlinson wants people to drive to the circuit, race, and then drive home in the same car, “like everyone used to do with MGAs although with the G40 R you’ll be able to get your golf clubs in the back”. Even without the shelved LMP2 project abandoned when Ginetta surprisingly missed out on an Intercontinental Le Mans Cup or Le Mans 24 Hours entry the company has its hands full. GT4, GT3 and GT2 projects, plus possible GT1 plans, countless single-make series and two road cars… It’s great to see Ginetta back to its best and enriching the British car industry. Ed Foster