SILVERSTONE GOES THE DISTANCE IN APRIL OPENER
The Nankang Tyre Compact Cup looked as competitive as ever as it began another season – Photo: Dave Maries
Silverstone was able to bask in beautiful sunshine across two days of flat out racing action on the International circuit as the BRSCC Midlands Centre helped guide 12 races across two days, with the main focus being on 3 thrilling endurance encounters.
The first of which was the FunCup Championship, which boasted a record 32 car grid amidst clear blue skies. Reigning champions JPR Uvio would start their title defence, as every #1 car does at the start of every year, from the back of the grid whilst pole was drawn by lot by Team Lane Roofing Evolution. However, it was in fact Despatchbay.com that would take the lead initially before multiple champions Racelogic took over at the front in a lead that seemed as though they were destined never to lose. For over half the race the #252 headed the pack, but come the end of the third hour Despatchbay.com had managed to work their way to the front with Racelogic down in 6th. But, despite being a lap down heading into it, the PW Racing/Team Trooper crew of Paul Wighton, Harry Mailer, Jake Rattenbury and ex-BTCC legend Anthony Reid brought the #101 car home for maximum points. Team Honeywell, another former regular frontrunner, clinched 2nd place with Tim Wheeldon and Neil Plimmer, while Chris Hart and Henry Dawes took a 3rd place for Track Torque 2Rent Dominos.
Sunday saw the endurance reigns handed over to the Dunlop Endurance Series by Britcar. With both a 50 minute “sprint” and a 2-hour endure contend with, another 32-car strong field headed for the start. After leading from pole position for a major portion of the race, the #3 Mosler of Javier Morcillo and Manuel Cintrano was overhauled by the charging #9 Ferrari 458 Challenge of Mike Wilds and Dino Zamparelli. They would go on secure the victory in the 50 minute encounter from the #3 Mosler and the #43 Ferrari 458 GTE of Witt Gamski and Ross Wylie.
In the two-hour race that would see both Endurance and Sprint class cars race together, Edward Moore’s Ginetta came out on top in the Sprint category after 50 mins from Paul Calladine and the Nevinson/ Cooper Porsche Cayman, allowing the Endurance runners to complete the longer distance. When it was all said and done, overall victory went to Bonamy Grimes and Johnny Mowlem in another Ferrari 458 Challenge ahead of the Hudson/ Wilcox Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and the Brough/ Hollings Ferrari.
Over in the “sprint racing” side of the weekend, there was a highly anticipated season opener for the Nankang Tyre BMW Compact Cup. Over 30 cars appeared for the one-day thrash as reigning champion James “Jiggy” Gornall picked up where he left off with pole for both races, followed up by a race long duel with Steven Dailly in the first encounter. At the flag, Gornall headed Dailly by just over 0.3 seconds, while Ian Jones came home a slightly distant 3rd. Not content with one win, Gornall doubled up in the second but this time pulled away from Dailly to the tune of 5.8 seconds by the finish, with Jones taking another 3rd place somewhat slightly closer than before.
Already heading into their second meeting, the Toyo Tires Porsche Championship visited Silverstone with the prospect of seeing how the Race Boxster class’ new aero packages would fare on the International Circuit’s long straights. As it turned out, it became business as usual for 2015 champ Ed Hayes as he clinch his 3rd win on the bounce in Race 1 from Richard Avery, with Adam Southgate taking his first podium since his return at Oulton Park. Hayes would then make it 4 in the second race with Southgate this time taking 2nd and Nick Hull claiming his second podium of the year with 3rd.
As for the 924 Class, it was total and utter domination from PDC Racing and in particular, Pip Hammond. Taking class pole by a whopping 1.3 seconds, Pip then went on to lap the entire 924 entry to take a staggering win on the same lap as overall leader Hayes! Teammate Gavin Johnson clinched 2nd from Karl Rossin in 3rd, before Hammond did it again to secure win #2 with Johnson only 12 seconds behind this time. Rossin was able to double up on his silverware haul for the weekend with another 3rd place. Given his pace at Oulton Park against guest driver Richard Styrin, it’s looking rather ominous for Pip this season in terms of his chances for the title.
Also making their second appearance of 2017 were the Alfa Romeo Championship, where Anthony George’s Modified class Alfa 33 was unbeaten all weekend. He took overall pole by a substantial margin before running away with both race wins at a canter and virtually unchallenged. Behind him, where were shared overall podium spoils with Ray Foley’s Power Trophy class 147 GTA and the McFie siblings Simon and Chris, as once again the pair turned out in their brace of Invitation class Fiat Puntos. In the hotly contested Twin Spark Cup category, it would be James Browning and James Ford that the honours would fall too, whilst rostrum places were taken by Michael Tydeman, Dave Messenger and Tom Ford respectively.
Last but by no means least, our friends at Sports 2000 also picked Silverstone to begin their new campaign as all 37 cars from the Duratec, Pinto and Historic championships took to the track together for two frantic races. Reigning champion Michael Gibbins duly justified the #1 on his car by taking the first race win of the season ahead of Tom Stoten and Nick Bacon. The top two then produced a carbon copy performance in the second race, albeit this time being joined on the overall and Duratec podiums by Tim Tudor. In the Pinto contingent, Peter Needham and Mike Fry claimed a win each whilst the Historic wins were shared by Jonathan Loader and Simon Aldworth.
A massive thank you as always to all of our drivers, teams, officials and magnificent marshals for helping the weekend to flow nicely. The BRSCC Midlands Centre will spring back into life at the end of May for our second visit to Silverstone, this time on the National Circuit.
A full run down of the results from the weekend can be found here via TSL Timing – SILVERSTONE RESULTS.