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BTCC Support races Donington.

The BTCC support races were at Donington Park testing ahead of this weekends round, and we were trackside to catch the action.

In the F4 British Championship the combined classification of both practice sessions found Louis Foster topping the timings ahead of Carlin’s Zane Maloney, proving to be a taste of things to come with Foster taking the win in race one on Saturday, and making it to the podium in race two in third place behind Bart Horsten in first place and Joe Turney in second. Arden Motorsports Horsten made it his second visit to the podium across the weekend, after taking third place in race one with Josh Skelton taking second.

Race three compounded Fosters dominance at Donington as he took the win in an eventful race, where some great battles took place throughout. Foster is in his maiden season with Double R Racing and the F4 Championship, indeed his first season in single seater racing after a successful year in the Ginetta Junior Championship which saw him finishing his debut season as Vice-Champion and Rookie Champion.

Foster currently leads the Championship, seventeen points ahead of second place Sebastian Alvarez. Also joining the F4 British Championship this year alongside Louis Foster is Reema Juffali, the groundbreaking, female, Saudi Arabian driver who only made her racing debut in October 2018. The 27 year old faces a huge challenge very early on in her burgeoning career, taking her first steps into such a competitive championship, but Juffali is positive about her history making debut,  keen to represent her country and pave the way for other female racers.

In the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship, combined classification found Dan Harper leading the way ahead of the weekend, going on to take the win in race one, George Gamble in second place and Josh Webster completing the podium. Race two found Josh Webster in first place with Lewis Plato in second and Dan Harper in third place. All of which means that as things stand Dan Harper leads the Championship. Harper is in his second year in the Championship after winning the PCCGB scholarship in 2017, being awarded a full time drive for two years. He completed the 2018 season in fifth place in the Pro Class.

The Ginetta races as usual, were a great watch, in the GT4 Supercup there was lots of action  including an enormous, high speed crash involving multiple cars which brought the race to an early end. Miraculously no-one was seriously hurt and the rest of the programme resumed with minimum delay.

BTCC moves on to Thruxton on 18th-19th May.

Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick Full Gallery at: http://www.finishlinephotos.net/index.php/nggallery/page/6?p=13359

British GT season 2019 gets underway at Oulton Park

Race one at Oulton Park found 2017 British GT champs Rick Parfitt Jnr and Seb Morris on the top step of the podium after an eventful race. Ian Loggie behind the wheel of the RAM Racing Mercedes AMG, made a great start from pole, further back Rick Parfitt Jnr made his way into third place, while Ryan Ratcliff in the #7 Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental was showing some very racey form. Meanwhile Mark Farmer in the #2 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage, ran out into the gravel, rejoined but had lost places.
On the approach to Hislops chicane disaster struck for Ian Loggie when Ryan Ratcliff locked up after wrongly anticipating where Loggie would brake on the downhill stretch, became airborne alongside hammering into him, taking both cars out of the race and bringing the safety car out. Ratcliff was later handed a 15 second penalty and  went onto apologise to all involved: “ A huge sorry to RAM, Ian and Callum(Macleod) I was under immense pressure, I braked where I braked previously, but I was going too fast. This is a non contact sport, Ian and Callum are going to be pretty angry, but things can happen in a split second”. Rick Parfitt Jnr inherited first place before handing the drive to Seb Morris when the pit window opened, just behind Morris was Phil Keen in the #72 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan. Keen was on fresh tyres while Morris remained on old, Keen clocked the fastest lap and began extending his lead from third place Bradley Ellis in the #96 Optimum Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage. The #4 Tolman Motorsport Mclaren of James Dorlin and Josh Smith, took the lead in GT4 after pitting, while the Ford Mustangs began falling back. Jonny Cocker in the other Barwell Motorsport car fought hard with #96 for third place, at one point Bradley Ellis hit a curb hard trying to hold third place.
By now in GT4 #57 HHC Mclaren of Callum Pointon was holding the lead while the #32 Track Focused KTM X-Bow was off track and was knocked back into last place. There was more drama still as the race drew towards its conclusion with the #15 Mustang of Seb Priaulx made contact with the #77 Fox Motorsport Mercedes AMG of Michael Broadhurst, the duo both losing places, the promising start of the Ford Mustang over in that race at least as it finished second to last. While there was an engine fire for #5 Tolman Motorsport Mclaren of Lewis Proctor after contact hitting the exhaust.
So as the chequered flag fell on a breathless opening race in British GT, it was victory for Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jnr, with Adam Balon and Phil Keen in second place and third place going to Olver Wilkinson and Bradley Ellis.
In GT4 the win went to Callum Pointon and Dean Macdonald, second place to James Dorlin and Josh Smith, with third place going to Tom Jackson and Luke Williams, a 3 for 3 for Mclaren.
Race two found Sam De Haan and Jonny Cocker taking the win, giving Barwell Motorsport their second podium place of the weekend, success penalties made little difference to race pace, Phil Keen holding pole, however the safety car was called upon making an impact on Keens lead,  when on the first lap #77 Fox Motorsport of Michael Broadhurst was buried deep in the gravel at Cascades after contact with the #97 TF Sport of Tom Canning, earning him a 30 second penalty.
There was misfortune too for Jacob Mathiassen in the #42 Century Motorsport BMW who crashed out on lap 8 and out out of the race. While there was a frightening moment for Will Moore in the #62 Academy Motorsport Aston Martin, after making contact with one of the HHC Motorsport Mclarens, Moore became a passenger as the Aston travelled sideways for a good distance before hitting a tyrewall side on, ending the wayward Aston and the race for the Academy Motorsport duo. After the pit window opened Richard Neary took the lead in the #8 Team ABBA Racing Mercedes, while Mark Farmer suffered his second incident of the day, when he span off beaching the Aston Martin on the edge of the track bringing the safety car out with just 15 mins left on the clock. Rick Parfitt Jnr went off the track losing multiple places, while Sam De Haan was fighting hard with Richard Neary for first place, eventually snatching the lead and the race win, second place going to Neary and Adam Christadoulou with third going to Beechdeans Andrew Howard and Marco Sorensen.
The #3 Century Motorsport BMW of Dominic Paul raced on with his rear bumper hanging off eventually discarding it as the race began to close.  The #66 Team Parker Racing Mercedes of Nick Jones which had been running at the front of the GT4 pack span off losing places, eventually finishing in fourth place. With the #15 Mustang of Scott Maxwell and Seb Priaulx taking the GT4 win, Balfe Motorsports Graham Johnson and Michael O Brien in second and Invictus Games Racings Steve Mcculley and Matthew George making their maiden podium visit in third place.
The paddock moves to Snetterton on May 18th/19th.

Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick 


Bennetts British Superbikes season launch

Bennetts British Superbikes gave a taster of the season ahead at the recent final test day ahead of the opening round at Silverstone this  weekend.

All eyes were on ex Moto GP rider Scott Redding as he prepared to make his BSB debut on the Be Wiser Ducati. However it was Jason O’Halloran who topped the combined timings at a cold and in the morning, wet Silverstone. Sitting just behind him in the timings was former team mate Dan Linfoot on the Santander Salt TAG Yamaha.

Scott Redding stayed in the top ten just ahead of Glenn Irwin.

With the weather set to be warm and dry across the Bank Holiday weekend, Silverstone should be in for a treat in the first major event of the season.

Combined test times:

  1. 22 Jason O’HALLORAN – McAMS Yamaha
  2. 4 Dan LINFOOT – Santander Salt TAG Yamaha
  3. 25 Josh BROOKES – Be Wiser Ducati
  4. 12 Luke MOSSEY – OMG Racing Suzuki
  5. 81 Luke STAPLEFORD – Buildbase Suzuki
  6. 18 Andrew IRWIN – Honda Racing
  7. 10 Josh ELLIOTT – OMG Racing Suzuki
  8. 95 Tarran MACKENZIE – McAMS Yamaha
  9. 6 Xavi FORÉS – Honda Racing
  10. 45 Scott REDDING – Be Wiser Ducati
  11. 83 Danny BUCHAN – FS-3 Racing Kawasaki
  12. 2 Glenn IRWIN – Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki
  13. 28 Bradley RAY – Buildbase Suzuki
  14. 46 Tommy BRIDEWELL – Oxford Racing
  15. 61 Ben CURRIE – Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki
  16. 71 Claudio CORTI – Team WD-40
  17. 59 Matt TRUELOVE – Raceways Yamaha
  18. 8 Shaun WINFIELD – Santander Salt TAG Yamaha
  19. 20 Sylvain BARRIER  – Brixx Ducati
  20. 40 Martin JESSOPP – Ridersmotorcycles.com
  21. 7 Ryan VICKERS – RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki
  22. 89 Fraser ROGERS – Gearlink Kawasaki
  23. 23 David ALLINGHAM – EHA Yamaha
  24. 37 James HILLIER – Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki
  25. 5 Dean HARRISON – Silicone Engineering Racing
  26. 40 Joe FRANCIS – Lloyd & Jones Bowker Motorrad
  27. 90 Sam COVENTRY – Team 64
  28. 17 Gary JOHNSON – RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki
  29. 74 Dean HIPWELL – CDH Racing
  30. 11 Conor CUMMINS  – Milenco by Padgetts Motorcycles 

Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick ©Allison Remzi full image gallery available at: http://www.finishlinephotos.net/?p=13157

 

Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup Monza, win for Dinamic Motorsport

The Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup kicked off the season this weekend at a very wet Monza and a win for Dinamic Motorsport, in their debut race in the Championship. Andrea Rizzoli, Zaid Ashkanani and Klaus Bachler at the helm of their #54 Porsche 911, gave the marque their first endurance win since 2012.

The weather caused havoc for many and the safety car was deployed multiple times across the three hour race, however the Dinamic Motorsport trio suffered no such problems scoring a faultless win. Second place on the podium was the Orange 1 FFF Racing Team Lamborghini of Andrea Caldarelli, Dennis Lind and Marco Mapelli, who were also making their Blancpain Europe debut after previously competing in the Blancpain Asia series.

Third place went to 2018 champions, #4 Black Falcon Mercedes AMG of Yelmer Buurman, Luca Stolz and Maro Engel. The team fought back despite contact early on looking like it might have hampered their chances of a podium place.

The AM Cup win went to #77 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini of Adrian Amstutz, Leo Machitski and Miguel Ramos, while the Pro-Am class victors was the  #93 Tempesta Racing Ferrari 488 of Chris Buncombe, Jonathan Hui and Chris Froggatt.

It was a fantastic start to the new season, with new teams dominating the race. The series continues in the UK with the Blancpain GT Sprint Cup round at Brands Hatch on May 4th/5th and Endurance at Silverstone on May 11th/12th.

Image ©Andy Fitzpatrick

On the countdown to British GT Season Opener…..

The British GT season kicks off next weekend at Oulton Park with a huge 38 car entry list. The SRO Motorsport Group championship continues to go from strength to strength, consistently attracting some of the best drivers in the UK and an ever growing crowd of followers. This year the record breaking grid sees the return of 2017 Champions Rick Parfitt Jnr and Seb Morris. Parfitt Jnr announced his retirement from racing at the end of last season, however it seems the lure of being aboard the JRM Racing Bentley Continental and once again paired with Morris was too good an opportunity to miss.

Other returnees include  Beechdeans Andrew Howard who this year joins forces with Marco Sorensen as Darren Turner continues his role with Aston Martin competing in various worldwide events.

Last years champ Jonny Adam will be behind the wheel of the TF sport Aston Martin Vantage alongside Graham Davidson, after Flick Haigh decided not to contest the championship but potentially return to racing in Europe.

Team ABBA Racing make a full time return to the Championship with Richard Neary sharing driving duties with Adam Christadoulou. A fan favourite, the unmissable metallic green Mercedes AMG competed last year in a few rounds due to also competing in Britcar Endurance. However Neary will be dovetailing commitments in both series this year, news that was widely well received. As was the return of Nicki Thiim alongside Mark Farmer aboard TF Sports #2 Aston Martin Vantage.

GT4 sees Seb Priaulx teaming up with Scott Maxwell in the #15 Ford Mustang of Multimatic Motorsport while the sister car #19 has Billy Johnson on board with co-driver to be confirmed.

Another exciting addition is the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 of GT Marques driven by Chris Car and former Porsche Carrera Cup GB entrant Dino Zamparelli.

Many of this seasons British GT cars  broke cover at last months media day, a chance for teams to clock some track time and keen fans to take advantage of the free entry to Donington Park, a venue that will see 2 British GT rounds this year.

British GT returns to Oulton Park Easter weekend with qualifying on Saturday and race day on Bank Holiday Monday the 22nd April.

Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick full gallery available here:  http://www.finishlinephotos.net/?p=12418

Britcar Endurance Championship launches 2019 season at Silverstone

Britcar Endurance Championship kicked off the season at Silverstone last weekend with wins for Tim Gray in the VR Motorsport Praga R1T and John Seale and Marcus Clutton in the JMH Automotive Lamborghini Huracan.

Race one got under way, with Gray taking an immediate lead, but in the opening lap the safety car was brought out after Team ABBAs BMW M3 had ended up in the gravel, finishing the race for father and son duo Richard and Sam Neary and bringing the safety car out. After the safety car period was lifted, Gray in the VR Motorsport Praga immediately began to extend the lead ahead of Ross Wylie in the FF Corse Ferrari 488.

There was misfortune later on when MIke Moss suffered an engine failure which took him into the gravel at Club Corner and out of the race. It was also unlucky for #13 Mclaren of Stuart Willson and Will Alterman who retired from the race 27 laps in after contact with Paul Calladine in his Ginetta G40 an incident that also ended his race.

At the front Gray continued to do battle this time with second place Marcus Clutton, who had made headway into Gray’s lead, but as the chequered flag fell it was Gray who was triumphant, Clutton and Seale in second place with Jonny MacGregor and Ben Sharich in third place in the Taranis.

Late afternoon saw the second of the 2 hour races get underway with Tim Gray initially taking the lead, however at 20 minutes in, the Praga pitted suffering an electric failure that sadly took Gray out of the race.

The lead passed to Ross Wylie until during pit stops Sam Neary inherited the lead before handing over the BMW to Richard Neary, Neary had to serve a penalty for a regulation infringement incurred on Sam’s stint, but that didn’t alter the pace held by Neary at the front of the race, until giving way to the Lamborghini Huracan of John Seale and Marcus Clutton who went on to take the race win a lap ahead of the McLaren of Lucky Khera and Lee Frost with the ING Sport BMW of Kevin Clarke and Ryan Lindsay taking third place.

 

The grid boasted more than 30 entries ranging from the Praga R1T to Seat Cupras to three Ferrari 488’s. This season Bitcar has adopted a single championship format run over two one hour races, dispensing with the previous sprint and endurance arrangement. This new format is popular with drivers and continues to attract entries to the championship.

The next round is on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit on April 27th.

Images ©Allison Remzi

Full gallery available at www.finishlinephotos.net

Motorsport UK British Rallycross Championship returns to Silverstone for 2019 opener

Julian Godfrey had a storming round at Silverstone for the opening of the 2019 Motorsport UK British Rallycross season, taking the fastest time in qualifying and leading from the front in the final. Taking second place was three time Irish Rallycross Champion and two times European Rallycross Champion Derek Tohill aboard his Ford Fiesta. Completing the podium was Patrick Doran who fought hard with Steve Hill throughout the event.

There was some misfortune for Mike Manning who took a retirement in Q1 and missed Q2, but was back out in Q3. While Liam Manning also retired early on in the final, Ollie O’Donovan and Oliver Bennett both retiring after the mornings practice.

The Junior Rallycross Championship found Luke Constantine taking the win after losing his pole position early on,

but fought back crossing the line just ahead of Patrick O’Donovan with Robert Vitols in third place.

In the Supernational class current Champ Tristan Ovenden took a dominant win with Jack Thorne in the Renault Twingo taking second place and Peter McGarry taking the third step of the podium after some close racing with Thorne.

In the support races Steve Harris in his Ford RS200 took the win in the Retro Rallycross Championship just ahead of Derrick Jobb in his Ford Escort Cosworth. In the Swift Sport Rallycross Championship Dominic Flitney was victorious after doing battle with current Junior Rallycross Champion Tom Constantine who eventually finished in second place ahead of Max Weatherley.

The BMW Mini Rallycross Championship was dominated by reigning champ David Bell, with Drew Bellerby in second place. Third place went to Martin Hawkes just ahead of brother Andrew Hawkes.

In the RX150 Championship Marc Scott took the win when Brett Harris, who had crossed the line first, was penalised for not taking his joker lap. Second place went to Stephen Jones with Chrissy Palmer in third place.

The Championship continues at Lydden Hill on April 22nd( Easter Bank Holiday Monday)

Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick 

Full gallery available at www.finishlinephotos.net

Toyota win 1000 Miles of Sebring

Pole sitters Fernando Alonso, Kazuki Nakajima and Sébastien Buemi took the win in the #8 Toyota after an untroubled race at the Florida circuit, a first win for the trio since 2018’s 24 of Le Mans. Sister car #7 helmed by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez failed to give the #8 crew close competition, when the car with Lopez at the wheel lost almost two laps after contact with the #90 TF Sport Aston Martin of Jonny Adam, put them in the pits with floor damage to the TS050.

Podium, 1000 Miles of Sebring, Sebring International Raceway, Sebring, Florida

In the closing half hour of the race, heavy rain fell causing a scramble to the pits to change to wet tyres. There was misfortune for Loic Duval, crashing the TDS Racing LMP2 as the minutes ticked down, bringing out the safety car, not releasing the cars until just before the chequered flag dropped. Second across the line was the #7 Toyota with the #11 SMP Racing car of Brendon Hartley, Mikhail Aleshin and Vitaly Petrov, taking the third step on the podium.

In LMP2 it was Will Stevens, David Heinemeier-Hansson and Jordan King who took the win in the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing car. Completing the LMP2 podium was #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut’s Nicolas Lapierre, Pierre Thiriet and André Negrão, with Anthony Davidson, Pastor Maldonado and Roberto Gonzalez taking third place in the #31 DragonSpeed Oreca.

With two rounds left of the 2018/19 Super Season, the #37 Jackie Chan DC racing squad lead the points in LMP2.

#37 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07: David Heinemeier Hansson, Jordan King, Will Stevens , 1000 Miles of Sebring, Sebring International Raceway, Sebring, Florida

GTE Pro found the Porsche GT Team #91 of Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz take the win with BMW Team MTEK of Alexander Sims, Nicky Catsburg and Martin Tomczyk in second place. Third step of the podium went to #67 Ford Chip Ganassi’s Jonathan Bomarito, Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell.

While in GTE Am, the pole sitter #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche of Christian Ried, Julien Andlauer and Matt Campbell had a faultless race taking their second consecutive win. The #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari of Francesco Castellacci, Thomas Flohr and Giancarlo Fisichella taking second place and Team Project 1’s Porsche 911 of Patrick Lindsey, Jorg Bergmeister and Egidio Perfetti.

WEC returns to Spa-Francorchamps for the penultimate round of the 2018/19 season, on May 2nd.

Images ©Fozzy Images

Porsche Carrera Cup GB set as support for Silverstone WEC Weekend

The one make series announced today that its blue-riband rounds would be held on FIA WEC weekend, 30th August-1st September, that being the launch of the 2019/20 WEC Super Season.

Originally pencilled in for Barcelona alongside the European Le Mans series, the change to WEC Silverstone is the first time Porsche Carrera Cup GB has supported WEC since 2016, with format and timings yet to be confirmed. The rest of the fourteen rounds held over seven weekends will continue to be as support to BTCC on the TOCA package, the calendar is as follows:

Brands Hatch-Indy circuit             Rounds 1&2   5-7 April

Donington Park                                     Rounds 3&4   25-28 April

Croft                                                             Rounds 5&6   14-16 June

Oulton Park                                             Rounds 7&8    28-30 June

Thruxton                                                    Rounds 9&10  16-18 August

Silverstone-Grand Prix circuit       Rounds 11&12 30 August–1 September

Silverstone-National circuit              Rounds 13&14 27-29 September

Brands Hatch-Grand Prix circuit    Rounds 15&16 11-13 October

 

Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick

Spotlight on off season fun at Mallory Park

The off season can seem a long drag when you spend most of your weekends trackside from March to October, but there are one or two events that are welcome little gems in the cold winter months, one such being the VSCC’s Pomeroy Trophy that takes place this weekend at Silverstone, their first event of the year, and another is the Plum Pudding Races at Leicestershire’s Mallory Park, which took place on Boxing Day, giving a great day of on track action and a chance to blow off the Christmas cobwebs during the festive period. The event draws large crowds, enjoying some fantastic motorbike, sports car and saloon car racing.


Mallory Park is a great little circuit for spectators due to the compactness, low fencing and a feel of being close to the action. The 2018 event, was the 44th year of the fun event, putting 2 wheeled and 4 wheeled racing together. In the past sidecar racing was also included, but with low entries in the last few years, it’s sadly dropped off of the timetable.

Some of the cars on track included an eclectic array of cars from Ariel Atoms and Caterhams to an MG Midget and MGB.

While in the motorcycle races entries ranged from a Honda 125 to 1000cc Yamaha’s and Kawasaki’s. But fun is the order of the day with many riders competing while wearing Christmas themed fancy dress and a great atmosphere in the paddock adding to Mallory Parks deserved reputation as the “friendly circuit”.

Mallory Park at not even a mile and a half long is one of the shortest circuits in the UK, but is also beloved by spectators, drivers and riders alike. Originally what is now the circuit was part of the estate of Kirkby Hall, after the last occupant died the estate was sold on and as with many circuits in Britain it began life as a military base, being RAF Kirkby Mallory, a Standby Landing Ground until it’s closure in 1947. Thereafter the Hall was demolished in the early fifties with only the stable block and coach house remaining, which now partly form the circuits offices. In the late 1940’s a pony trotting track was formed in the 300 acres, and after the sale of the estate in 1953 the new owner planned to use the trotting track for horse racing. However the collapse of the Kirkby Mallory Racing Association, who were responsible for the running of the track, led to it being hired out to a number of different motorcycle and sidecar racing clubs. The first tarmaced track was constructed in 1956, after the estate changed hands again. The first test of the circuit being driven by Grand Prix driver Bob Gerard in a Cooper-Bristol Formula Two car and Maurice Cann on a Moto Guzzi. The track continued to flourish and maintain its popularity throughout the sixties but by the early seventies Mallory Parks future was under threat when the estate was again put up for sale. The circuit eventually came into the hands of Chris Meek in 1982 and reopened in 1983. Mallory Park continues to be used for racing, testing and track day events and is one of the favourite small circuits in the UK.

Full Image gallery available at: http://www.finishlinephotos.net/?p=11250

Images @Andy Fitzpatrick

The VSCC’s Pomeroy Trophy returns to Silverstone this weekend

The VSCC’s Pomeroy Trophy takes place at Silverstone this weekend, bringing one of the most unique motorsport tests back to the Northamptonshire circuit.

Tests include braking, handling and acceleration as well as the infamous suitcase test, where entrants are required to carry two standard sized suitcases. Cars range from some fantastic pre war models, just a few of this years entrants include a Vauxhall 30-98 OE Velox 1924, a 1934 Aston Martin Mark IIL, a 1956 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider and a 2017 Citroen C1.

New this year is the side by side event of the Toyota GB’s Parallel Pomeroy Trophy, the trophy or ParaPom as it has been dubbed is open to any model or age Toyota. Using similar tests as those in the Pomeroy Trophy and the same judges, the ParaPom looks set to be quite a draw for Toyota clubs and entrants keen to get on track in a one of a kind event.

The Pomeroy really is a must see event for any vintage car enthusiast and great way to shake off the pre season blues at Silverstone. The Pomeroy Trophy takes place this Saturday 16th February and is free for spectators, gates open at 8am.

Images @Andy Fitzpatrick 

Look ahead to 2019 season in some of our British Championships.

We return from our winter break, with a look at what the 2019 season has in store across a number of British Championships.

In British GT it looks to be another thriller of a season with a number of exciting announcements ahead of next months media day season launch at Donington. Phil Keen will be joined by Adam Balon aboard one of Barwell Motorsports two new Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo’s. Balon has for the last two seasons raced in GT4 on board the Track-club McLaren, while Keen has just been confirmed as a factory driver for Lamborghini.

Keen has been partnered for the last few years in British GT by Jon Minshaw who now says goodbye to British GT and continues racing on an international level. Barwells second Huracan will be driven again by the pairing of Sam De Haan and Jonny Cocker.

Also returning to British GT is Nicki Thiim who will continue his partnership alongside Mark Farmer at TF Sport aboard the new Aston Martin V8 Vantage,

the teams other Vantage will be driven by Graham Davidson and current British GT champ Jonny Adam. The team will also enter two GT4 cars with upcoming drivers Tom Canning, Rory Collingbourne, Patrick Kibble and Josh Price.

Balfe Motorsport bring the new McLaren 720S GT3 to the Championship, with Shaun Balfe and McLaren factory driver Rob Bell returning for a second season together, fielding the first ever GT model designed and built in-house by McLaren Customer Racing at their Surrey base.

Making a much anticipated return to British GT is Team ABBA Racing, with team owner Richard Neary partnering with Adam Christodoulou at every round other than the June Donington round, when the date clashes with Christodoulou’s appearance at the Nurburgring 24 Hours.

A new addition to the British GT roster is Multimatic Motorsports GT4 Ford Mustangs. Seb Priaulx, Scott Maxwell, Billy Johnson and a yet to be announced driver will be helming the cars, developed by Multimatic which earned Ford the manufacturer’s title in 2018’s IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.

Century Motorsport expands its stable of BMW’s with the addition of the M6 GT3 to be driven by reigning GT4 Champion Jack Mitchell who returns to the team alongside Adrian Willmott. The team also return with two BMW’s in GT4, with the pairing of Angus Fender and Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke. The second pairing is yet to be announced,

While Team Parker Racing will return with the new Bentley Continental GT3 but are yet to confirm driver pairings after the departure of Rick Parfitt Jnr at the end of last season.

There will be a treat in store for Porsche fans when WPI Motorsport bring the new 911 GT3 Cup to the Championship with Michael Igoe and Adam Wilcox taking driving duties.

 

BTCC has a new title sponsor for 2019 with Kwik Fit on board, Goodyear Dunlop continue to supply the competition tyres, meanwhile Trade Price Cars Racing joins the championship with two Audi S3’s, one to be driven by Jake Hill, that had previously been entered by AmD. AmD bought Eurotech’s Honda Civics after the outfit made the announcement after last season that they would be withdrawing from the championship, leaving Jack Goff so far without a drive for 2019. Sam Tordoff and Rory Butcher take the Honda Civic Type R’s into the series with Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance. Tom Oliphant makes the switch to West Surrey Racing in his second BTCC season, while Daniel Rowbottom in his maiden BTCC campaign, takes the vacant seat at Cicely Motorsport alongside Adam Morgan.

BRDC British F3 competitor Billy Monger was honoured at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards, receiving the Helen Rollason award, recognising outstanding achievement in the face of adversity. The teenager who returned to racing in F3 a year after his life changing accident at Donington Park, has drawn support from around the world and his inspirational journey continues to gain him fans who look forward to seeing where this coming season will take the Carlin driver who has yet to confirm his plans for 2019.

Current champion Linus Lundqvist started the new year competing in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona after winning the Sunoco Whelen Challenge in 2018. The Swede took the wheel of Precision Performance Motorsports Lamborghini Huracan, a challenging, wet race that was eventually red flagged with less than two hours on the clock due to the poor conditions. However Lundqvist put in a sterling performance alongside Milos Pavlovic, Don Yount and
Steve Dunn, eventually finishing 20th in class.

Meanwhile confirmed to join the championship this year is Hampus Ericsson, brother of Marcus Ericsson. Hampus has previously competed in F4 before moving into British F3 for the final two rounds last year, achieving a podium place in only his second race at Donington Park. The Double R Racing driver looks set to impress in 2019. Hillspeed’s Sasakorn Chaimongkol will return for a second season after a very successful maiden season, while making his debut in BRDC British F3 is reigning British F4 champion Kiern Jewiss who joins Douglas Motorsport, with whom he has previously competed in the Ginetta Junior Championship, being crowned the Rookie Champion in 2017. As ever with BRDC British F3, 2019 looks to be an exciting season.

 

TCR UK enters its second season with a calendar that takes in a round at Spa-Francorchamps, the competitive series aims to continue to grow, having got off to a solid start in 2018. Some changes for 2019 include a revision of race and qualifying formats to bring it in line with the other worldwide TCR UK series, there will also be a drop in the entry fee as well as the introduction of a new class, the TCR UK Cup, in the hope of including drivers participating on an amateur footing. The series opens at Snetterton on April 21st.

 

The Britcar Endurance Championship sees many returning drivers including Marcus Fothergill and Dave Benett, Ash Woodman and Martin Byford, while Sam Neary joins his father Richard Neary, competing in most rounds, behind the wheel of fan favourite, the Team ABBA BMW M3.

Last years championship winner Sarah Moore will partner newcomer Moh Ritson behind the wheel of Tockwith Motorsport’s Ginetta G50. The pairing of David Mason OBE and Ross Wylie will be running one of FF Corse’s Ferrari 488 Challenge’s, a force to be reckoned with when the series return on 30th March at Silverstone.

 

The GT Cup Championship returns on 13th-14th April at Donington Park with the addition of a pair of new cars in the shape of a Mclaren 570GT4 to be driven by Steve Ruston and John Whitehouse and the Ferrari 488 of Ross Wylie and David Mason who will also be competing in the series.

 

With just a small taste of what is in store for some of our home championships, the 2019 season looks set to be a thriller.

Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick ©Allison Remzi

Rockingham Super Send Off, chequered flag falls at the Northamptonshire circuit for the final race meeting.

It was the end of an era last weekend, as Rockingham Motor Speedway held its last race meeting, the Super Send Off.

The Northamptonshire circuit opened its doors in January 2001, and was formally opened in May 2001 by the Queen, Rockingham being the first purpose built oval in Britain since Brooklands was established in 1907. Built on the site of a former steel works, Rockingham was ten years in the planning and promised alongside other championships to introduce American style oval racing to the UK.

Rockingham fostered it’s own series, ASCAR, which was later rebranded Days Of Thunder, however the series demised in 2007, the same year that BTCC began its annual Rockingham Round, although the Championship had fielded a one off event there in 2003. 2004 saw the Special Stages Rally first appearance at the venue. The Rockingham Rally Stages will be closing track action at the venue for the final time on December 1st and 2nd.

From 2001 to 2003 British Superbikes held a Rockingham round, it lost the 2004 round to Croft as there were calls to hold some of the Championship further north. The Rockingham round was due to be reinstated in 2005, however BSB pulled further participation at Rockingham due to safety concerns. In later years there were proposals by Rockingham to bring BSB back but financial restraints meant it could not be achieved.  

In August of this year BTCC announced they would not be returning to Rockingham in 2019 stating uncertainty over the circuits future as the primary reason, with other championships following suit, Rockingham then made the announcement that all events for the rest of 2018 would go ahead but there would be a change of business operations in the future. Soon after Peter Hardman, Rockinghams CEO confirmed the closure speculation and revealed the plans for the venue being a huge automotive logistics hub.

There have been mixed feelings amongst motosport fans over the closure of the independent circuit. While the venue has been described as soulless, with the vast empty grandstands adding to a sense of isolation, Rockingham is often stated as a great track for testing, it was fast and always provided good racing. For spectators, it being a new purpose built track, the facilities were excellent and central location an advantage to race goers from far afield.

The Super Send Off attracted a large amount of spectators and marshals wishing to say a final goodbye to Rockingham, many of whom have been volunteering at the venue for numerous years. There were three categories racing: Saloons, Sports & GT and Single Seaters, as well as individual races there was also an hour race.

In Single Seaters the win in both races went to Dave Wheal, joining him on the podium in the first race was Ewen Sergison in second place and Will Cox in third place while the second race found Robert Bailey in second and Marcus Sheard in third. Bailey had an eventful race, spinning a few times in his Jedi MK6 but not stopping him from finishing the race just a few seconds behind Wheal, while Sheard took his podium place at the last corner overtaking Will Cox with just seconds left on the clock. There were DNF’s for Sergison and Nigel Lackford but the small grid still provided some excellent racing.

In the Saloon category Andy Baylie in his Volkswagen Golf took the win in both races with Daniel Kell taking second place and Gary Miller in third place in race one, while Martin Poole and Jason Evans completed the podium in the second race.

Pip Hammond shared racing duties with Esther Quaintmere, Hammond taking their Vauxhall Nova out in the first race bringing it home in fifth place, while Quaintmere completed her race in twentieth place.

But it was the One Hour race and Sports & GT races that saw a significant Rockingham win with the venue’s CEO Peter Hardman taking a fantastic victory in all three races in his Radical SR3.

The day finished with a firework display as Hardman crossed the line in the final race, a poignant farewell to a circuit that has divided opinion, seen some of the biggest names in motorsport race there and given 17 years of entertainment to spectators and drivers alike.

Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick full gallery will be added to www.finishlinephotos.net

British Rallycross Silverstone

The MSA British Rallycross Championship was wrapped up at Silverstone with three-time Champion Mark Higgins taking the title in a tightly fought round, Higgins eventually took the Championship with just a two point lead over Ollie O’Donovan.

There was disappointment for Xite Racing’s Oliver Bennett who set fastest times in Q2 and Q3 but disaster struck in semi-final one when a fire hit his Ford Fiesta, ruling him out of the final. Lining up alongside Higgins in the final was Dan Rooke, Julian Godfrey, Pat Doran, Ollie O’Donovan, Mike Manning, Steve Hill and Liam Manning.

Higgins took a decisive lead from the start, which he held throughout the race, despite best attempts by Godfrey and O’Donovan to cut into Higgins lead by taking early joker, the Albatec Racing driver remained unassailable, taking the race and Championship title.

In the Junior Rallycross Championship it was a battle to the last for brothers Tom and Luke Constantine with just a point separating them in the standings as they moved into the final round. The duo finished first and second,

Tom taking the race win and title, with Patrick O’Donovan in third place.

The Supernational Championship saw Paige Bellerby absent but her dad and multiple rallycross champion Dave Bellerby stepping into drive the Lotus Exige home to victory, seeing off newly crowned 2018 second time Championship winner Tristan Ovendon.

 

 

In the support races, the Swift Sport Rallycross Championship found Tom Llewellin taking the win. The title had already been handed to Morgan Bailey ahead of the Silverstone round and Bailey opted to sit the event out.

The BMW Mini Rallycross Championship saw outgoing 2017 Champ Martin Hawkes claim the race win, with the Championship title going to David Bell.

In Retro Rallycross, former Champ Ray Morgan was the winner. Rob Gibson took the flag but due to Morgan being within the five second handicap handed to 4 wheel drive competitors, he took the win, with James Harrold crowned the 2018 Champion.

Taking the win in the RX150 Championship and his fourth consecutive Championship title was Chrissy Palmer with former Champ Leo Forster in second place.

The 2019 British Rallycross Championship has been unveiled with the series continuing at Silverstone on the 24th Of March.

2019 MSA British Rallycross Championship Calendar:

24.03.19 Silverstone
22.04.19 Lydden (Easter Monday)
22.06.19 Pembrey
23.06.19 Pembrey
26.08.19 Lydden (Au
08.09.19 Croft
22.09.19 Pembrey
27.10.19 Croft

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Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick and  ©Allison Remzi

 

750 Motor Club Birkett Relay 2018

Drawing the 750 Motor Clubs season to a close last weekend at Silverstone, was the popular Birkett Relay. A busy grid of varied cars fielded by sixty six teams, duked it out over the six hour race, from Mini’s to Radicals, BMW’s to Ferrari’s.

The morning started dry but as the race got underway, the skies darkened and conditions worsened as the race drew on into the late October afternoon.

Taking the overall win was Area Motorsports Cupra Racing team, with Stewart Lines taking the final stint in the Maximum Motorsport TCR UK Cupra, beating Breakell Racing Heroes by just fractions of a second. Breakell Racing took third place in the overall “scratch” results.

On the handicap relay it was the six strong Red Rascal team who took first place, fielding a fleet of BMW M3’s. Second place in the handicap race was Mostly Rusty Two Seaters, who ran four Toyota MR2’s, while third place went to Area Motorsport.

The Armed Forces Race Challenge team finished seventh overall on handicap while the inter-service race found RAF Motorsport successfully defending their title with the RAF Engineering Motor Racing Team finishing 15th overall. Team Brit meanwhile took the Class C handicap win.

There was a welcome return to Birkett Relay, now in its 68th year, of the stunning GEM TVR. The car was last raced in the Birkett by Tommy Entwhistle 50 years ago.

Now in the hands of John Livesey, the car finished 52nd overall.

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Images @Andy Fitzpatrick

Signatech Alpine Matmut confirmed as Le Mans LMP2 winners as G-Drive lose appeal

The FIA International Court of Appeal has upheld the decision to disqualify the #26 G-Drive Racing Oreca and the #28 TDS Racing Oreca, from the 24 Hrs of Le Mans on the grounds of their running the cars with modified fuelling rigs.

The French team were able to refuel their cars 25 % faster than other LMP2 entries due to an additional component in the fuel system assembly.  TDS Racing had argued that the regulations does not specifically rule out the use of additional parts, but this defence was rejected when the court ruled that the part protruded into the fuel flow restrictor, stating: “it is not allowable to have a compliant part which is rendered redundant by another part.”

The decision confirms the #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut of  Andre Negrao, Nicholas Lapierre and  Pierre Thiriet as class winners, with the #39 Graff-SO24 in second place and #32 United Autosports in third place.

Image ©Andy Fitzpatrick

 

Historic Championship win for Haigh & Adam in British GT Donington Decider

History was made in the final round of British GT at Donington when Flick Haigh became the first woman to take the outright title, alongside Optimum Motorsport team mate Jonny Adam who took his third British GT Championship title. The pair finished fourth in the race but that was enough for them to end the season as champions.

Race winners were Barwell Motorsports Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen, despite taking the chequered flag behind the #11 car of Nicki Thiim and Mark Farmer, they took top step of the podium when the TF Sport duo were given a 30 second penalty for track limits. Finishing in third place was ERC Sports Lee Mowle and Yelmer Buurman

As the race got underway there were problems for Balfe Motorsports Mclaren which suffered suspension failure, and withdrew on the first lap. Contact between the #47 Aston Martin of Graham Davidson and Sam De Haan brought Davidson into the pits not long before a lengthy safety car period caused by oil on the track. Minshaw’s lead was wiped out under the safety car but it wasn’t long before he started to build it up again. Further back a squabble for fourth place between Rick Parfitt Jnr and Derek Johnston resulted in damage for both and a retirement for Johnston in his final race.

The pit window opened, and Jonny Adam began his push for the title rapidly making his way up from eighth, doing battle with a relentless Ryan Ratcliffe along the way before eventually making his way into fourth place. Meanwhile Keen and Thiim fought for first place, Keen holding him off, but Thiim’s incredible pace couldn’t be matched by Keen and the #11 car passed into first place. The 30 second time penalty handed to the TF Sport duo only lost them one place but TF Sport took the Team’s Championship title, nine points ahead of Barwell Motorsport.

 

In GT4 it was a nail biting race as there was much to play for. Century Motorsports Jack Mitchell took the title just one point ahead of team mates Ben Green and Ben tuck, Mitchell had started the race with a ten point lead and finished the race eighth in GT4. Title contenders Matt Nicoll-Jones and Will Moore were out of the race early on leaving the top four to fight it out. The safety car period and place changes resulted in Finlay Hutchison taking the lead and Charlie Fagg in second place. A pit lane infringement saw Mitchell and co driver Dean Macdonald incur a 10 second penalty which then dropped them down the order and left the #43 BMW fighting to capture places to hold the title place. Callum Pointon and Patrik Matthiesen briefly held the championship lead but lost it when relinquishing fifth place to Ben Tuck.

McKay and Hutchison took the GT4 win flanked by Tolman Motorsports Michael O’Brien and Charlie Fagg in second place with Joe Osborne and David Pattison in the #56 Tolman Motorsport McLaren in third place. In Pro/Am Scott Malvern and Nick Jones took the class win, while Century Motorsport took the GT4 Teams title.

Equipe Verschuur PMW Expo Team of the Weekend Award

Daniel McKay Sunoco Fastest Lap of the Race Award GT3

Marco Sorensen Sunoco Fastest Driver of the Season Award

Nicki Thiim Sunoco Fastest Lap of the Race Award GT4

British GT returns to Oulton Park on April 20th and 22nd 2019

Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick

Minshaw & Keen take pole in British GT Donington Decider

It will be Barwell Motorsport in first and second place on the grid for the final British GT race of the season tomorrow as Minshaw and Keen took the fastest time in qualifying with the #69 of Sam De Haan and Jonny Cocker just behind them.

Championship leaders Flick Haigh and Jonny Adam will start the race from fourth place, while outgoing champion Rick Parfitt Jnr will commence his final race from 13th place.

In GT4 The #42 Century Motorsport of Ben Tuck and Ben Green will be at the front of the GT4 pack just ahead of the Equipe Verschuur McLaren of Finlay Hutchison and Daniel McKay. GT4 Championship leader Jack Mitchell will be in 7th place.

The British GT Donington Decider takes place tomorrow at 1.35.

 

Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick

British GT Donington Decider lookahead

The final round of the British GT Championship takes place this weekend, with Flick Haigh and Jonny Adam topping the points table on 149.5 points, 27.5 points ahead of Barwell Motorsports Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw, who themselves sit only a point ahead of Mark Farmer and Nicki Thiim.

With a huge advantage, history could be in the making for the Optimum Motorsport duo of Haigh and Adam, Flick would be the first woman to win the title outright and Adam would be the first competitor to win the title three times,

however the pair still have a 20 second success penalty to serve which along with expected wet weather conditions could add to the unpredictability of the race.
It has been announced that Sunday’s winner will be awarded the DPRAC Tom Wheatcroft Memorial Trophy. The cup is awarded by the Donington Park Racing Association Club to two and four wheeled Championships on alternate years, with previous recipients including Jason Plato, James Ellison, Matt Jackson and Marco Melandri.

There have been a few other GT3 announcements including the news that Rick Parfitt Jnr will be stepping down from racing. The Team Parker Racing driver has stated that he is not ruling out a return and if the right team and co-driver came along he would consider it but for now Donington would be his farewell race.

Another driver who we will be saying goodbye to is TF Sports Derek Johnston who retires after the Donington Decider. Johnston who was the 2016 British GT champion alongside Jonny Adam, started racing in 2007 in Radicals before eventually moving into British GT in 2013.

In GT4 Century Motorsports Jack Mitchell leads on 118 points, 10 points ahead of Century Motorsport duo of Ben Tuck and Ben Green.

The decider takes place at Donington Park on Sunday at 1.35.

Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick ©Allison Remzi

International GT Open Silverstone

Now in its the thirteenth year, the International GT Open returned to Silverstone bringing high level Pro and Am GT racing to the Northamptonshire circuit.

Taking a dominant win in race one was Marco Cioci and Daniel Serra, who led from the front throughout. The Luzich Racing duos #52 Ferrari 488 was helmed by Serra in the first stint who was untroubled by Imperiale Racings Rik Breukers remaining hot on his heels up to the pit window opening. There was an early retirement for Ian Loggie and Callum Macleod after their Team Parker Racing Bentley suffered with a damaged gearbox.


The #19 Lamboghini Huracan of Raffaele Giammaria took the race lead during pit stops while the #52 now in the hands of Marco Cioci rejoined in fifth place. When Giammaria pitted, the #33 Ferrari of Rinaldi Racings Daniel Keilwitz took the lead before handing the 488 over to teammate Steve Parrow.

Cioci in the #52 moved into third place then up into first as the pit window closed. As the race moved into its final laps, Jeroen Mul closed the gap between him and Cioci but it wasn’t enough, as the chequered flag dropped Serra and Cioci took the second win of the season.

 

Race two saw a fantastic win for Tom Onslowe-Cole and Valentin Pierburg. It was a
lights to flag win for the SPS Automotive Performance duo who also raced the fastest lap in their Mercedes AMG, second and third place going to Lamborghinis, second place to Imperiale Racings Giovanni Venturini and Jeroen Mul with third going to Ombra Racings Alex Frassineti and Damiano Fioravanti.

With two rounds left to go, Mikkel Mac tops the championship table on 86 points, eleven points ahead of Andrés Saravia and Fran Rueda. The International GT Open is the sister series to the Spanish GT Championship and visits some of the best circuits in Europe. The next round takes place at Monza on 22nd-23rd September.

Full Image gallery available at   http://www.finishlinephotos.net/?p=8128     

Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick 

WEC 6 Hrs Silverstone: Toyota lose 1-2 finish, win handed to Rebellion

There was a shock twist at the end of the WEC Silverstone round when it was announced on Sunday night that the winning #8 Toyota of Fernando Alonso, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima and the second place #7 of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez had been disqualified after post race scrutineering.

The stewards decision on the #8 TS05 declared that; “the front part of the skid block deflected 9mm under the specified 2500 N load on both sides of the skid block.” This breached a technical regulation, the stewards report goes on to say “Although there are no reports of the car being involved in any specific incident, the competitor stated that his only explanation for the non-conformity must have been as a result of the car running off-track and sustaining some sort of damage to the internal stays that fix that portion of the car. The stewards considered this possibility but determined that the design of the car must be able to withstand the normal rigors of a 6 hours endurance race.”

In the case of the #7 car “the skid block deflected 6mm on the right hand side and 8mm on the left hand side under the specified 2500 N load at the front of the skid block”. The report goes on to give the same reasons stated in the decision on the #8 car.

Toyota Gazoo Racing responded earlier with the following statement;

“TOYOTA GAZOO Racing has lost its one-two victory in the 6 Hours of Silverstone following a post-race technical inspection.

The #8 TS050 HYBRID of Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso crossed the line to win the third round of the FIA World Endurance Championship from Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López in the second-placed #7 TS050 HYBRID.

Both cars suffered damage to their respective front floor areas during the race due to impacts against the new kerbs at Silverstone. Regrettably, this also caused both cars to fail deflection tests in post-race scrutineering. As a result, race stewards disqualified both cars.

The design and construction of the part concerned has not changed since its introduction at the beginning of the 2017 season. Since then it has successfully passed similar tests, most recently at Spa this season.

The team is now evaluating its next course of action.”

It was announced this morning that Toyota have withdrawn their appeal against the disqualifications and released the following statement by Akio Toyoda, the president of the Toyota Motor Corporation:

“All our drivers drove our cars with their full power and the fight for victory was truly exciting for the fans so I truly feel disappointed to lose the result.

I would like to apologize to the six drivers that we could not make a car with which they can win even though they drove all out.

On the other hand, I would also like to thank our drivers for their trust in our cars and for pushing to the limit, as this meant we could learn about improvements which can be made.

We will make our cars even stronger for the next race so that the drivers can drive all out again at Fuji Speedway and fight for another one-two victory to strengthen our challenge for the World Championship.

For the fans, thank you very much for your continued support. I hope you are looking forward to see an exciting race in October.”

The disqualification meant that third place #3 Rebellion Racing Gibson of Matthias Beche, Thomas Laurent and Gustavo Menezes was promoted to first place, with #1 sister car driven by Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer in second place. The #1 car with a driver short after Bruno Senna’s accident in Free Practice 1 in which he sustained a fractured foot.

As the race got underway it was a tricky start as their was contact between many cars in the first few turns including the #17 SMP Racing and #66 Ford Chip Ganassi, the result of contact with the #31 DragonSpeed LMP2 which suffered power problems, the #66 dropped back from LMGTE Pro pole, to back of the class but soon recovered putting in a fastest lap and finishing the first hour, fourth in class.

As the pit window opened just over halfway through the first hour, both Toyotas pitted but it was the #7 that got away quickest. Meanwhile the #11 SMP Racing of Mikhail Aleshin, Jenson Button and Vitaly Petrov pulled over at Copse with Aleshin at the wheel, engine problems took the BR Engineering BR1-AER car out of the race after 23 laps.

There was a first sniff of trouble for the #4 Bykolles Racing Team, with Oliver Webb at the wheel the car dropped down to 30th overall and spent several minutes in the pits. By just over the first hour Sebastien Buemi had reduced the gap between the #8 and the #7 Toyota by 

just over a second, and then slipping past the sister car and into the lead.

Meanwhile in GTE Pro the #67 

Ford continued to power on, moving up into second in class behind the #92 Porsche.

The #8 Toyota pitted and a driver change saw Fernando Alonso taking his first stint.

With fifteen minutes before moving into the second hour of the race, the Ford Chip Ganassi cars now dominated GTE Pro with the #67 well at the head of the class in front of the #66 with Stefan Mucke at the wheel.

Just ahead of the two hour mark, Alonso pulls off an audacious move at Stowe overtaking three GTE’s ahead of pitting a few laps later.

A full course yellow at just over the second hour due to debris on the track at Brooklands caused a degree of chaos, the Bykolles was already spun out on the Wellington Straight but there were a few more offs at the beginning of the period. The Bykolles #4 was duly rescued and their race was over at just over two hours in.

In GTE Pro Harry Tincknell now held the #67 in the lead but the #51 AF Corse with James Calado at the wheel was now second in class.

Halfway into the third hour Alonso took the lead. In LMP2 the #37 Jackie Chan Racing driven by Jazeman Jaafar suffered a puncture, giving the LMP2 lead to the #38 sister car.

Soon after the safety car was out due to debris on the track after the #71 AF Corse Ferrari also suffered a puncture and lost a lot of rear bodywork. The safety car damaged Alonso’s 5 second lead on the #7 Toyota in the hands of Mike Conway.

Eventually with just a second between the two Toyota’s, Jose Maria Lopez managed to pull ahead of Kazuki Nakajima in the #8.

The #90 TF Sport Aston Martin driven by Charlie Eastwood had contact with the #29 Racing Team Nederland, doing some damage to the Dallara P217.

Into the fourth hour there was misfortune for Antonio Felix Da Costa in the #82 BMW Team MTEK when he came off the track, eventually rejoining but suffering with a suspension problem that then brings him to a halt and causes another full course yellow.

As the final hour of the race ticked down there was problems in GTE Am for #56 Project 1 and #90 TF Sport’s cars when they were both handed 1 minute 15 seconds stop-go penalties for pit stop violations, effectively handing victory to the #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche.

Meanwhile in LMP1 Buemi took the #8 Toyota back into the lead, by 30 minutes of race time left having a 9.7 second lead on the #7 with Kobayashi at the wheel. And so as the final moments of the race drew to a close it was the #8 car across the line first followed by the #7 swiftly followed by the #51 AF Corse taking the GTE Pro win.

The LMP2 win went to the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing with the #37 sister car in second place, while as expected the GTE Am win went to the #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Team Porsche.

In post race scrutineering the #91 Porsche of Richard Lietz and Gianmaria Bruni, which had finished second in GTE Pro was found to have breached technical regulations due to having 48mm ground clearance instead of the regulation required minimum of 50mm, the team explained that this was due to extreme tyre wear, but the stewards decision was that competitors must meet minimum ground clearance at all times and the car was disqualified. This promoted the third place #67 Ford Chip Ganassi of Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell to second place and the #92 Porsche GT Team of Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen to third place.

The next round of the Championship takes place at Fuji on October 12th.

 

Final 6 hours of Silverstone top three in class results:

LMP1

#3 Rebellion Racing- M.Beche/T.Laurent/G.Menezes

#1 Rebellion Racing- N.Jani/A.Lotterer

#17 SMP Racing- S.Sarrazin/E.Orudzhev

LMP2

#38 Jackie Chan DC Racing- H.Tung/G.Aubry/S.Richelmi

#37 Jackie Chan DC Racing- J.Jaafar/W.Tan/N.Jeffri

#36 Signatech Alpine Matmut- N.Lapierre/A.Negrao/P.Thiriet

GTE Pro

#51 AF Corse- A.Pier Guidi/J.Calado

#67 Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK-A.Priaulx/H.Tincknell

#92 Porsche GT Team-M.Christensen/K.Estre

GTE Am

#77 Dempsey-Proton Racing-C.Ried/J.Andlauer/M.Campbell

#90 TF Sport-S.Yoluc/J.Adam/C.Eastwood

#56 Team Project 1-J.Bergmeister/P.Lindsey/E.Perfetti

 

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Images  ©Andy Fitzpatrick  ©Allison Remzi

ELMS Silverstone: G-Drive Racing take 3rd Consecutive Win

The European Le Mans Series 4hrs of Silverstone saw G-Drive Racing take their third win in a row. The Oreca 07 driven by Roman Rusinov, Andrea Pizzitola and Jean-Eric Vergne, a fan favourite, took a comfortable lead over the #24 Racing Engineering Oreca by the second hour and never looked back.

LMP3 saw the #3 United Autosports Ligier of Anthony Wells, Garret Grist and Matthew Bell take the class win fractions of a second ahead of the #7 Ecurie Ecosse/Nielsen of Colin Noble, Alex Kapadia and Christian Stubbe Olsen.

There was a twist to the end to the race in LMGTE when the first over the line #66 JMW Motorsport driven by Miguel Molina was handed a 10 second penalty for exceeding track limits, however with a 10.126 lead over second in class #88 Proton Competition meant that the #66 Ferrari kept the win by just 0.126 of a second.

G-Drive Racing continue to lead the championship with two rounds left to go.

Full gallery available at: http://www.finishlinephotos.net/?p=6123

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WEC Qualifying Silverstone; Toyota #7 on pole

Tomorrow’s 6hrs of Silverstone see’s the #7 Toyota of Mike Conway, Kamul Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez take pole position in LMP1, speaking after the qualifying session Conway said; “It wasnt the best start I tried to be greedy on the start of the lap, and had a big moment so had to save the tyres and go again. Jose jumped in and did a mega lap. Good start, the car has been pretty solid from the start so good for tomorrow”

Lopez stated; “I am very happy with my lap, it’s good to start in front, we have a clear line but we have a long race”

In LMP2 the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing car of Jazeman Jaafar, Weiron Tan and Nabil Jeffri  takes pole.  A delighted Jaafar commented; “Step by step we chipped away from FP1, 2 and 3, FP3 was something in which we made a huge step forward and confident for going into quali, obviously the thing to think about is the race and that’s where it all pans out to we really want to achieve, but pole position, we’re really happy with this achievement.“

Team mate Nabil Jeffri said; “I’m very happy with my lap, its good to start in front, we have a clear line but we have a long race”

Sitting on pole in LMGTE Pro is the #66 Ford Chip Ganassi Team of Stefan Mucke and Olivier Pla. Mucke was pleased with their result saying;  “We went out very early in the session at the green light, we put the car in the right window, Oli did a great lap, I get everything out of it, no mistakes. Its a home race for the team so it gives us a push for tomorrow”.

Taking their maiden WEC pole in LMGTE is Team Project 1 in the Porsche 911 driven by Jorg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey and Egidio Perfetti. Bergmeister commented; ”I’m definitely very happy for our first pole for the team, for the race I am happy not to be in a pro car, tyre wear is an issue, depending on the weather it will be interesting!”

Perfetti; ”we are delighted, we are very pleased, there were some big changes before qualifying so when I went out there the car was definitely together for the second half”

 

The 6hrs of Silverstone starts Sunday at 12.00.

Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick 

WEC Silverstone Free Practice

Fridays free Practice 1 and 2 saw the #7 Toyota of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez top the timings just a second ahead of the #8 sister car of Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso, but in todays Free Practice 3 the #8 car was quicker with the #7 car finishing behind the  #11 and #17 SMP Racing duo, 3 seconds behind the sister TS050.  Bruno Senna had an accident in Free Practice 1 in the #1 Rebellion Racing Gibson, and will be missing the rest of the weekend due to a fractured foot, although the car is back out on track today.

The #28 TDS Racing of Francois Perrodo, Matthieu Vaxiviere and Loic Duval was fastest LMP2 in Free Practice 1 and Free Practice 3, with the

#38 Jackie Chan DC Racing of Ho-Pin Tung, Gabriel Aubry and Stephane Richelmi fastest LMP2 in Free Practice 2.

LMGTE Pro was owned by Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK with the #66 of Stefan Mucke and Oliver Pla heading Free Practice 1 and #67 of Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell fastest in Free Practice 2 and 3.

In LMGTE Am Dempsey Proton Racing in the #88 Porsche 911 of Gianluca Roda, Giorgio Road and Matteo Cairoli were fastest in both Friday sessions fresh from their class win at Le Mans In June.

In Free Practice 3 the #98 Aston Martin Vantage of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda led the class.

 

Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick ©Allison Remzi

750 Motor Club Silverstone Round thrills

750 Motor Club headed to Silverstone last weekend with some great racing on the bill in front of some enthusiastic motorsport fans.

Race One was the Porsche Club Championship 25 minute race, the first of two for the championship on the Saturday. The win went to Mark McAleer in his Porsche 996 in an eventful race that saw championship leader Mark Sumpter, and third in the standings, Chris Dyer out of the race on the first corner. Simon Clark suffered gear box issues which saw him eventually finish in fourteenth place.

However Sumpter and Dyer were back for race two on the front of the grid, and Clark returned but only able to use his Cayman in fourth gear which didn’t stop him finishing the race in eighth place, but the win this time went to Paragon Porsche’s Sumpter with McAleer in second place and Dyer in third place.  Moving into the final round at Brands Hatch on September 2nd/3rd Sumpter leads the Championship table in Class 1, just 1 point ahead of Jonathan Evans who leads in Class 2.

The Aim Technologies Bikesports Championship caters for motorbike engine powered sportscars and non-current Radical models. The grid was made up almost entirely of Radicals with just one Spire among the pack. Joe Stables dominated across the weekend in his Radical SR3, winning all three races and consistently clocking the fastest laps. The 19 year old comes from a racing family and has competed in BRDC Formula 4.

Fielding two races across the weekend was the Heritage Parts Centre Formula Vee Championship, the single seater formula has been in existence for more than 50 years and attracts a huge grid of competitors and a large variety of marques. But it was Craig Pollard of Bears GAC who finished first in both races, the second race by just a whisker ahead of second place Daniel Hands

One of the most affordable championships is the RGB Sports 1000, four stroke motorbike engines powering a variety of two seater sports cars. RGB Sports 1000 is an understandably popular championship.

The first race of the weekend for the Championship saw Paul Smith in his Mittell MC-35 take a dominant win, with Mittell’s completing the rest of the line up on the podium courtesy of Christopher “Chippy” Wesemael in second place and Daniel Larner in third.

Race Two found Wesemael take his first win in the championship with a dominant 35 second lead, in a race with some incredibly close racing.

There was some fantastic track action courtesy of Classic Stock Hatch and the Hot Hatch Championship. In the Classic Stock Hatches Matt Rozier took the win in both races in his Peugeot 2015 GTi, while in the Hot Hatches Ben Rushworth took the win in the first race on Sunday, with the second win going to Steve Sawley.

The Cartek Club Enduro Championship is a great way to get into low cost endurance racing.

The Championship is open to production sports and saloon cars, and with a packed, varied grid fielding a variety of marques affording excellent endurance competition. Saturdays 2 hour race found Luke Sedzikowski on the top step of the podium and taking  the Class A win in his E92 M3. While second place went to Darren Ball also in the E92, third place going to Martin James in the Honda Civic Type R. A particularly good place for James who had earlier suffered damage causing him to pit early and was dropped to the back of the field.

Meanwhile in Class B Matt Faizey took the spoils in his Porsche 968, and the Invitational Class winners were Martin Duffy and Andrew Armstrong in their relay BMW M3’s completing in eighth place overall.

On Sunday Paul Cook in his BMW E46, took two for two in the Tegiwa M3 Cup + MTEC Brakes 330 Challenge, while the Gala Performance Toyota MR2 Championship races were both signed, sealed and delivered by Shaun Traynor.

The next 750 Motor Club race weekend takes place at Donington Park on September 1st and 2nd.

Images ©Allison Remzi