The Silverstone GP hosted the latest round of the British GT for the Silverstone 500, a 3 hour endurance race.
The Macmillan AMR Aston Martin started the race on pole with Team Parker Racing Bentley lining up alongside them in the GT3 class. Championship leaders, Barwell Motorsport lined up P4.
As the cars passed the starting line on the rolling start Rick Parfitt Jnr in the Bentley made his move and by the time they all got to Copse was ahead. It wasn’t long before he was able to stretch out the lead to the chasing Aston Martin of Macmillan AMR to 5 seconds.
Behind the top two it was all change. The Ferrari of Cameron made a poor start from third on the grid and was swamped and ended up P7. Last year’s champions though suffered a major setback as Derek Johnston half spun his TF-Sport Aston Martin exiting the loop. To make matters worse for the team the Aston Martin had power steering failure which made the car interesting to drive.
As the Bentley and Aston were off on their own out front, it was all action behind. Richard Neary in his Team ABBA with Rollcentre Racing Mercedes-AMG spun out of P4 and fell behind while it was anyone for P3. Jon Minshaw in his championship leading Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini vs Loggie in the sister Team Parker Bentley vs Farmer in the TF-Sport Aston Martin vs Cameron in his Spirit of Race Ferrari vs Griffin in the other Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini were all fighting for third.
With the Silverstone 500 being a 3 hour race this meant that the teams could try things with their pitstop strategies. Team Parker Racing were the first team to blink and made their first of a minimum three stops to hand the reins over to Seb Morris. Macmillan AMR made their first stop a further 20 minutes into the race. Once Littlejohn rejoined the race the Bentley was 29 seconds down the road.
This pattern stayed the same for the rest of the race. The Bentley pitted before the Aston, but the pairing of Morris and Parfitt Jnr had the speed and this was key to keep them ahead. The only worry came when contact was made with Farmer in the TF-Sport Aston. Luckily for the Bentley team the race official deemed it was a racing incident and no penalties were handed out so they could continue their dominance towards the flag.
The Macmillan AMR pairing of Littlejohn and Mitchell finished an excellent second but over the distance didn’t have the speed of the Bentley. The end of the 3 hours the distance to the Team Parker Racing Bentley was over a minute, but the Macmillan AMR team picked up their best GT3 result.
The action though was for third. This had provided the most action throughout the three hours. In the end it went to Spirit of Race and the Ferrari of Griffin and Cameron by just under 8s from Barwell Motorsport’s pairing of Minshaw and Keen.
Even though the Barwell pairing were off the podium, they still retain the championship lead but now its only a four point difference to Team Parker Racing dup Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jnr. Third is now Cameron and Griffin.
GT3 winners Team Parker Racing
In the GT4 class championship leaders HHC Motorsport lined up in pole position just ahead of Black Bull Garage 59 McLaren of their championship rivals. In fact the pairing of Tregurtha and Middleton in the HHC Ginetta with no pitstop penalties were expecting to do well. Unfortunately for them, a broken driveshaft put them out of contention.
Given the speed and success of the Black Bull Garage 59 McLaren in the hands of Mitchell and Haggerty you would have thought it was theirs. The UltraTek/RJN team with ex BTCC racer Kelvin Fletcher behind the wheel and Macmillan AMR Aston Martin had other ideas and battling for the lead between them.
Behind the top three the Track-Club McLaren of Balon was running in fourth until just before the first round of pitstops. Academy Motorsport with Moore behind the wheel had an excellent first stint. Starting at the back due to other commitments on the Saturday they were soon in fifth and then passed Balon for that fourth place.
During the second hour of the race it all started to happen. UltraTek/RJN’s Nissan had fallen back and to top it off suffer a puncture. Out in front Jonck in the Macmillan AMR enjoined the lead, but the gap was small back to Mackay and the Trackclub McLaren, Graham in the In2Racing McLaren and Nicoll-Jones in the Academy Motorsport Aston Martin. It all started when Mackay made his move into the lead and the Macmillan AMR Aston fell back to fourth. Mackay’s lead though didn’t last long and was soon passed by Graham on the next lap.
The order remained unchanged until round 2 of the pitstops. As the gaps between these drivers and teams was so small it was Balon in the Track-Club McLaren who emerged in the lead. It was a lead that he wouldn’t surrender and duly took the chequered flag despite pressure from Academy Motorsport’s Nicoll-Jones. After 3 hours racing the gap at the flag was only 2.8s between these two teams.
Behind the top two the final podium went to In2Racing’s Graham who just pipped Macmillan AMR’s Jonck by 0.4s to stand on that third step. Reigning champions Mike Robinson and Graham Johnson finished in sixth in their brand new McLaren after a terrible qualifying.
Overall in the championship Lanan Racing now lead, thanks to their fifth place at Silverstone, but the gap back to Track-Club is only 3.5 points. Previous championship leaders HHC Motorsport are now in third but only 2 points behind.
GT4 winners Track-Club
The next round of the Championship takes place at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, on 7/8 July.