Pole Star Racing Team
Pole Star Racing Team was a racing team founded by Luke Knight that competed in the F1Rejects Indy Championship Series and planned to enter the Formula 1 Rejects World Race Series. Ultimately, the team's demise within a week of lodging it's F1RWRS entry plans saw it absorbed into Knight's Plus One Group.
The formation of the F1RWRS brought new interest in motorsport to many people, and Pole Star Racing Team was set up by keen F1RWRS fan Luke Knight mid-way through 2011. Knight had worked in the I.T. industry for 10 years, and had progressed to a senior position within PlusNET broadband suppliers. Also an avid amateur astrologer, he named the team after the brightest star in the sky - The Pole Star. A rather large savings pot helped Knight to fund the team, raising enough money to enter the BTCC in 2013, running a Ford Sierra he found on ebay for £550. After the first race at Brands Hatch, the highlights of which included qualifying 3 seconds slower than the second-slowest car, and a trackside punch-up with Jason Plato, Knight realised that he had all the talent of Channoch Nissany, and promptly retired from racing. In his place he hired Itlian pay-driver Jose Braggia to bring more funds to the team. Braggia improved more and more as the season went on, with PSRT's first season culminating in a 5th place at Knockhill.
2014 - BTCC ban
PSRT stayed in the BTCC for another year, retaining Braggia but this time with an old Ford Mondeo. Results were lean, with points finishes few and far between, but in a chaotic rain-affected feature race at Oulton Park, Braggia kept the Mondeo on the road to finish a magnificent 2nd. Knight was overjoyed, but this joy soon turned to dissapointment when Braggia was banned for the rest of the season following a clash with Jason Plato at Brands Hatch. The main focus point of the ban was not the actual incident itself, but the resultant brawl in the pit-lane between Plato, Braggia, Knight, Ray Mallock and Alain Prost. Prost ended up with a broken nose after calling Braggia 'An Italian poof'. Unable to find another driver, and with a one-race ban for PSRT following his involvement in the fight, Knight had to look elsewhere for 2015. Braggia and Knight had become firm friends over the last two years, but after the Brands Hatch debacle Braggia left PSRT to form his own team with Italian entrepreneur Luigi Vittore, Scuderia Vittore, immediately gaining an entry into the 2015 Rejects of LFS season
2015 - F1RICS and the dawn of Plus One
Unable to enter any European series for 2015, Knight turned to driver management and devlopment. This new foundation, named Plus One Group, quickly signed Dutch driver Martin van der Maeyede, who was coming of the back of a successful Formula Renault campaign. Italian Andrea Bianchi was also signed to the scheme, being a cousin of Jose Braggia, along with German Martyn Rietacher and Mexican Helio Hernandez. For 2015, Braggia offered to give Rietacher and Bianchi drives in the ROLFS, with Hernandez taking a testing role.
At the same time, Knight gathered his funds and went to America where former Street Racing League boss Walther Williams had started a new series, the F1Rejects Indy Championship Series. PSRT was one of the first entries to the new series, being one of only two teams to run the Swift 026.c. chassis and one of only two teams to run Chevrolet engines. Van der Maeyede, who had already signed for Kingfisher Junior for the 2015 F3RWRS season, but was able to mix an American schedule with the F3 schedule. Bianchi was signed as well, running a joint Indy Series campaign with the ROLFS campaign. Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado, after winning the 2014 Formula One title, also signed for PSRT, hoping to establish himself in America. The fourth seat was loaned out to various young and pay drivers throughout the year, with Hernandez, fellow Plus One protege Takuma Taki and Jose Braggia driving at various times in the year.
Tests at Sebring and Homestead shown that PSRT were firmly in the midfield. Andrea was suffering from food poisining so was unable to be competitive, but Maldonado and van der Maeyede proved that PSRT could mix it in the midfield. The first race at Interlagos saw van der Maeyede come home in 3rd after qualifying 14th, while Maldonado, who qualified 6th, and Bianchi failed to finish. At Walt Disney World Speedway, Bianchi and van der Maeyede avoided bump day, but Pastor Maldonado managed to get on the grid. Pay driver Gordon Martin failed to qualify. The race proved to be far worse, with all 3 drivers failing to finish a race with only 4 classified finishers.
For Gateway, Martin was again in the fourth car, but only Pastor Maldonado could drag the car above 20th position, qualifying 6th. However, the strong qualifying resulted in retirement for Maldonado, with Bianchi joining him on the sidelines. Van der Maeyede and Martin managed to make it to the finish, albeit 3 and 5 laps down respectively. Kansas saw Martin out of the 4th car, and Pastor Maldonado take an excellent 2nd place. Helio Hernandez was in the 4th car for round 5 at Texas, but poor qualifying and retirements for all 4 cars proved it the worst weekend of the year for PSRT.
For Indy, Helio Hernandez again was in the fourth car, but failed to qualify. Van der Maeyed put in a stunning lap to line up 3rd, with Maldonado 5th, and Bianchi down in 25th position. van der Maeyede was again unable to capitalise on a good qualifying position, retiring after a collison with Mika Yagami. Maldonado and Bianchi, however, worked their way through the field, and was catching the leaders, but with 20 laps to go fuel saving forced them to back off. 2nd and 3rd was a great result for PSRT, however, and Luke Knight was overjoyed with the double podium.
The upward spiral continued at Milwaukee, with van der Maeyede taking pole, with Maldonado 4th and Bianchi 14th.Clever staretgy from Bianchi allowed him to leapfrog van der Maeyede in the stops to lead home PSRT's first one-two of the year, somewhat marred by Maldonado crashing from 2nd on lap 11. Knight was extremely happy with the result, holding a massive part in the PSRT garages. At Road America, Pastor Maldonado and Andrea Bianchi locked out the front row, with van der Maeyede 7th, but double engine failure robbed PSRT of a second one-two. van der Maeyede managed to score a consolation second, but this wasn't enough to comfort an irate Knight.
After Road America, Luke Knight flew back to Europe to announce PSRT's entry plans for the F1RWRS. Just a week after the announcement, however, Volvo threatened to file a lawsuit over the use of the trademarked name, 'Pole Star'. Representitives from Volvo promised to withdraw charges if PSRT rebranded itself. Knight absordbed his team into the Plus One Group, with the ex-PSRT now operating under the Plus One banner. The announcement also saw Scuderia Vittore become Plus One's B-team, giving drivers signed to the Plus One driver development program a chance to compete.Luke Knight also announced a major sponsorship deal with Foster's, with the Indy Series competing arm of Plus One competing under the name 'Good Call Racing' for the rest of the year. The deal will see the future F1RWRS operate under the same name too.
For complete results please refer to Good Call Racing
Indy Championship Series
|2||Martin van der Meyede||3||12†||6||Ret||Ret||19†||2||2|
*Points scored up until Plus One Group take over
†Driver did not finish the race, but was classified in a points scoring position
For complete results please refer to Good Call Racing