After the successful first collaboration last year, the BRSCC and the C1 Racing Club are ready to twice around the clock once again for the Silverlake C1 Endurance Series’ centrepiece event of their season – the epic, fun and incredibly competitive C1 24 Hours on the full Silverstone Grand Prix circuit.

It’s a race that inspires many of the UK’s finest club racers to take part and test their skills, battling the elements, the clock and each other from late on Saturday afternoon when the race gets underway, through into the twilight of early evening and then the long darkness of the night stint. Survive that and they’ll be greeted by the dawn of Sunday morning, before light prevails and sees the teams tackle the final few hours until the chequered flag declares a winner.

Outright speed may be an element required to succeed in an endurance race like that, but to truly come out on top you also need solid consistency, an iron-clad pit stop strategy, a strong and consistent squad of drivers, and even with all of that you’ll still need luck and good fortune on your side to keep out of trouble. That’s much easier said than done and any team that can successfully balance all of the above stands a grand chance for clinching the C1 24 Hours for themselves come Sunday afternoon.

Last year, it was Irish squad Hybrid Tune that picked up their second 24 hour win in as many years, despite making a late entry in the end. As of writing, they will not be back for the three-peat which means it opens the door for any of the 50 teams lining up in 2023 to take the crown.

Starting as favourites will be the squad that came runner up by a lap in 2022, the formidable Emax Motorsport’s #346 car piloted by James and Jake Little, along with Stuart Ratcliff and Max Finn. The Littles took the liberty of winning the last four races on the bounce last year at Croft and Snetterton, and then captured victory last time out at Oulton Park alongside Ratcliff, which makes this squad suitably prepared for the challenge ahead. They will certainly be the strongest of the three-car team Emax brings to Silverstone this weekend.

Some will certainly look to the opening 4 hour race of the season in March on the GP circuit as a potential form guide, and in the case of the above Emax squad they finished 3rd behind JW Bird in 2nd and winners Mac Tools Racing. While Mac Tools and their BTCC star drivers Josh Cook and Jade Edwards won’t be present, their third element in Sylvain Rubio will be on the grid with a new team.

Rubio joins the #375 BPC Racing line up alongside father and son duo Rob and Sid Smith. Rob has been there and done it all in endurance racing with a CV that includes an European Le Mans Series class title, a class win the the 24 Hours of Le Mans, appearances in the 24H Series, Fanatac GT World Challenge Europe, NLS and the World Endurance Championship, plus a Fiesta ST240 class title in 2021.

He’s joined by son Sid, who is blazing his own trail after becoming Fiesta Junior champion in 2022 and has now switched to single seaters in GB4. The pair shared a C1 at Oulton Park and will wish to use that experience its fullest. Their quartet is completed by Adam Sharpe, another with plenty of international endurance, GT and touring car experience. If they can stay the course with minimal to no problems, they will certainly be dark horses to contend for the win.

In the case of JW Bird Motorsport, their wait for a first C1 Racing Club win continues after a string of 2nd and 3rd place finishes have marked them as one of the most consistent teams on the grid. Their #347 car driven by Philip House and Nick Beaumont has taken runner up spot in the first two C1 races of the year so far, but their determination to go one step higher will be strong especially with current TCR UK driver Matthew Wilson and former VW Cup ace Anthony Prendergast added to their driving strength.

JW Bird’s second car will be piloted by another father and son duo in Sam and Joe Roach, joined this time by Nick Wingrove and former British GT racer Kieran Griffin, while Kieran’s father Liam Griffin will pilot the third team car with the ex-BTCC and British GT man sharing with Robert Daniels, Paul Brown and Ruaridh Clark.

Trojon Racing are pooling all of their resources into a single car effort this year, with all four of their regular drivers (Jonathan Munday, Chris Freeman, Charlie Bingham and Adam Willis) joined by Austin Munday to make a strong five-man team. Trojon took their first two race wins in C1 Endurance last year and have proven to be a constant towards the head of the field – but will relying on just one car this time help them focus their efforts in a bid to take the win?

Scuderia Pollo Rosso are never far away from the leading group and with Frank Claydon, Graham Wilkins and James Matthews back together again after sharing driving duties between them so far this year, they’re also joined by Shaun Birch as their fourth driver. Patrick Watts Racing are also back for their 2023 cameo at the C1 24, with Patrick and daughter Aimee Watts leading car #506 alongside Edward Robinson, Orlando Lindsay and Freddie Hunt, son of 1976 F1 world champion James.

Their sister car sees Ludo Glanville at the wheel along with TCR UK youngster Oliver Cottam and Marcus and Morgan Short, sons of renowned sportscar racer and team boss Martin. Either one of these cars could stand a great chance at a strong result if they can avoid dramas.

There are more experienced teams that will certainly wish to reach their own goals in this 24 hour race. WRC Developments with CB Autoservices brings two cars once more, with David Drinkwater, Andy Mollison, Chris Chadwick and Ian Duggan the most notable names across the nine drivers lining up for them. They’ve shown pace to get up towards the front of the field and have a great chance of doing so again.

Series sponsors Silverlake have a strong three-car effort, with Allen and Gary Prebble leading the line and looking to make an impact across their trio of squads too. Plus renowned Mazda MX-5 squad AB Motorsport are also back for more with a pair of cars in their entry, headed by the #394 car of Stuart Symonds, Oliver Allwood and Philip Ingram.

Other teams who will be in the mix up and down the grid will certainly include Jelly Snake Racing with Liqui Moly, RABsport Racing, BH Motorsport/ SCK Motorsport who looked strong early in last year’s race before their cars hit problems, Red Sky Racing, Bianco Auto Developments and MLP Developments to name a few.

This is set to be another thrilling endurance test for all teams involved and there’s a chance the true picture of just who will win the 2023 Silverlake C1 24 Hours won’t become clear until we get to the latter stages of the race. As we know, anything can happen in a 24 hour race and usually does, so get set for another rumble around the clock to find the next team that will stand atop the podium on Sunday afternoon!

Scott Woodwiss


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