Cardiff Racing – the story behind the naming of ‘Nella’
12 Gorffennaf 2016
Tasked with building upon the team's finest ever results, achieved by the CR11 at the end of the last European season, the CR12 weighs in at a record low of 180kg despite the inclusion of a new aerodynamic package. It is powered by an Aprillia SXV 550 engine; a choice described by industry magazine 'Racecar Engineering' as "very continental".
However, the soul of the CR12 does not lie in its technical evolution, but in the touching connotations of the car's less formal name: "Nella".
It is a moniker with roots in 1970s Formula One, a scene graced by none other than Tom Pryce, a Denbighshire-born racing driver who remains Wales' only entrant to the premier class of single-seater racing. Regarded as a rising star within the sport, the Shadow driver achieved nine top-six finished in his two-and-a-half year career in the top flight.
However, the Formula One of the time was an incredibly dangerous pusuit - and at the 1977 South African Grand Prix at Kyalami, he was involved in an accident which sadly claimed his life.
Almost forty years on, Cardiff Racing driver Dewi Griffiths remains inspired by Pryce, leading the team to purchase him a blank helmet which was then personalised to recreate the distinctive black-lined, Welsh flag design carried by Pryce.
However, chief technician Lee Treherne was able to go further, establishing contact with Pryce's widow, Fenella, and upon hearing of the team's admiration of her husband's racing exploits, Fenella returned unseen pictures of the Welshman during his career.
Nevertheless, the team wanted to do more.
"We had the idea of naming the car after her," said Lee. "She couldn't attend the launch because she lives in France, but she said that she felt humbled and flattered."
He added: "I wrote back to her and sent her pictures [of the CR12's launch] and she wrote a lovely message back wishing us luck and all the best."
With Nella set to make her competitive debut in the next week, the Cardiff Racing team has high hopes that their new challenger will live up to its illustrious heritage.