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Dunlop Britcar

Britcar British Endurance Championship, Brands Hatch Indy - Race Report
Mosler Magnificent

Paul White complemented Javier Morcillo’s dominant opening stint to take a convincing win in the Azteca/Strata 21 Mosler in the two-hour race on Saturday afternoon.  Andy Schulz pulled every trick he knew to get the Ferrari 430 started by Paul Bailey into contention with the Mosler and finished 38 seconds down, two laps ahead of the Lee Mowle/George Murrells Ginetta G55.

Qualifying

No surprises here – It was the championship’s “big four” at the front, with Javier Morcillo posting 45.816 around half-way through the 45 laps that the Mosler managed during the 50–minute session, which indicated that there wasn’t much sitting around for the Spaniard and co-driver Paul White. Andy Schulz and Paul Bailey did 48 laps, but ended nearly half a second shy of pole in the SB-Race Engineering-run Ferrari 430, a little more than a tenth ahead the Optimum pairing of Mowle and Murrells, who did the same amount of lappery in the G55. Having to be content with fourth place after half of the distance, though, were Mike Millard and Ian Heward, the Flat Six Rapier SR2 being sidelined with alternator failure, though the team were hoping that a complete rebuild of the Nissan engine, which revealed an incorrectly machined cylinder head, might enhance their reliability.

The Team Tiger Mantis headed the Class 2 runners, Chris Beighton reporting that all was now well with the 13-year old machine that hadn’t been raced for several seasons, with the Motionsport Ferrari 458 of Simon Philips and Peter Storey three-quarters of a second adrift. But splitting them on the grid were the two fastest of the Class 3 contingent, the Bullrun Lotus Evora and the returning Orbital Sound Lotus Elise of Chris Headlam and Jamie Stanley, which had missed the opening three rounds. “We’ve changed just about everything on the car and you’ll see the improvement when we go out for qualifying” revealed Jamie Stanley earlier in the day, a point that wasn’t missed by Bullrun’s Richard Adams; “Class 3 is getting very strong and competitive now” he rued after qualifying, adding “The Webb’s BMW and then the Chevron and now we’ve got the Abra/Poole BMW, plus the Elise is in too – it’s going to be tougher now”.

The Class 4 pole-sitter was the Strata 21 Porsche 996, wearing its third new livery in as many races and with Adam Sharpe and David Pittard on driving duty, just over half a second ahead of the Mileham/Guglielmi Elise, with Jeff Mileham fighting-fit after his recent hip replacement.  Such was the competitiveness of the field, the classmates were split by five Class 2 and 3 cars, whilst the Intersport BMW E92 would be starting third in its group, with Mark Radcliffe joining Wayne Gibson as Kevin Clarke was nursing a shoulder injury sustained in a shunt-avoiding incident during Friday testing. Newcomers joining the fray were Andy Holden’s TVR Sagaris, entered under the Hawthorns banner and co-driven by former Britcar champion Rod Barrett, and the Tim Dutton/Duncan Pittaway Ginetta G50, bearing prominent KitKat sponsorship.

Race

Clerk Tony Watts had been emphatic, when questioned during the drivers’ briefing, that there would only be one pace lap unless track conditions changed after qualifying, but he hadn’t reckoned on  the incident that forced the pace car to take a further tour before letting the field go; with the tail-end of the pack straggling somewhat, the pace car slowed to almost a halt along Cooper Straight, to get a semblance of order behind, then, perhaps caught-out by the acceleration towards the start, Jacques Duyver, starting from the fifth row in the FF Corse Ferrari 430, spun out of pack at Clearways. With the pace car now going round again, the novice South African caught the back of the grid up and proceeded to thread the black Ferrari through to his allotted slot.

 

Once the green was given, Morcillo powered the Mosler into the lead and, despite valiant attempts by Mowle and Bailey to snatch something through Paddock, the Mosler would never be headed for the rest of the race. Star turn in the opening laps was Chris Beighton in the Tiger Marcos, who was able stave-off Millard’s Rapier whilst moving past Bailey’s Ferrari into second place. The power of the WSCC prototype Rapier was a bit too much to resist though and Millard was soon past both Bailey and Beighton, whilst the opening ten laps saw some early pit visitors - the officials had slapped a stop/go on Duyver for the pace lap shenanigans and Peter Smith brought the Redgate/Virgo Ginetta G55 in. With the driver not perhaps in the best of shape, son Matt took over after some investigation around the car.

With Morcillo now ten seconds in front of Millard, the luckless Team Tiger Marcos was pitbound with just 16 laps chalked up; once again posting the first retirement of the race, with the right rear wheel askew at a 45 degree angle. “It was a broken rose joint, an eight-quid part; it could have happened to anybody, but it happened to us” rued Chris Beighton later.

Niki Faulkner had started Dave Shelton’s BMW GTR from tenth on the grid, but showing the true potential of the Belgian-built machine had got it up to fifth place. But before the first half hour had elapsed, the car was driven straight into the garage for attention, confirming Shelton’s pre-race comment of “They all call it racing, we call it testing,” with a wave of the hand along the pit lane. Chris Headlam was also visibly having problems with the revamped yellow Elise and was pitbound too, experiencing gearbox problems.

Paul Bailey pitted the black Ferrari early, with just 30 minutes of the race run. Andy Schulz rejoined in 16th place and was installed for the duration.  Steve Glynn brought his Sagaris in early too, though just eight minutes later the Safety Car was deployed- Jacques Duyver had beached the FF Corse Ferrari 430 at Paddock. A little early for planned stops, maybe, but Millard, Mowle and Jeff Mileham in the Elise all dived in without further invitation. “I just had a slight off at Paddock and thought I had a tyre issue, so it was lucky that the Safety Car came out now, though its ten minutes earlier than we planned,” explained Lee Mowle.

Next time round it was Andy Holden’s Sagaris, Gary Coulson in the Motionsport Elise and the #34 Topcats Marcos - Rob Wilson handing over to Jon Harrison - with the team’s #35 Mantis following it in on the next lap, Sam Head giving way to Owen O’Neill. Last to pit during this caution was James Webb, handing the GTS-run BMW GTR to brother Tom. The slick stop was well-timed, with the BMW rejoining just as the field was going green again, leaving it well-placed on the track.

David Pittard was awarded a five-second penalty for exceeding the track limits in the Strata 21 Porsche 996 and, though running an impressive third on the track, dropped to fourth on the timing screens. Nick Jarvis pitted the Tracktorque Chevron GR8 just before the half-way mark but, as the hour ticked over, it was bad news for Steve Guglielmi, cruising round to the pits and into retirement in the Elise. Another stop for the Hawthorns TVR preceded another Safety Car, this time to recover the Shelton BMW GTR which had hit the Armco on the Cooper Straight.

Pittard brought the Porsche in to refuel, then jumped back in for another lap before refuelling once more and handing over to Adam Sharpe; “We came in as planned, but the Safety Car had just come out, so we could only put 25 litres in and we needed the full 50, so I drove round and pitted again,” he explained. Duncan Pittaway also brought the KitKat Ginetta in and the purple Sagaris of Andy Clarke made a further stop; but significantly, the leading Mosler and the Optimum Ginetta came in too. Murrells took on a 25-litre top-up and was on his way in the Ginetta and likewise the Neil Garner crew put 25 litres of Sunoco in the Mosler. Paul White took over, but came to the pit exit just as the Safety Car crocodile was passing and was held at the red light. Luckily, though, the Safety Car executed a wave-by and within a lap the Mosler, which had retained the lead, headed the train.

Staying out through the cautions were the Motionsport Ferrari 458 and the Bullrun Evora – minding their own business, no heroics and sticking to the plan, Peter Storey and Martin Byford were now second and third respectively.

Lap 77 and the caution was lifted once again. George Murrells was taking no prisoners and unlapped himself from the Mosler as the unleashed pack swarmed into Paddock and was off like a robber’s dog up to Druids.

Mark Radcliffe had handed the Intersport BMW E92 to Wayne Gibson earlier, but a long spell in the pits signalled retirement for the Snetterton class-winning machine.

With 45 minutes to go, further planned strategies, particularly for the more fuel-efficient cars, began to unveil – Mark Poole handed the Geoff Steel-run BMW GTR to Richard Abra; Mark Steward was relieved by Jensen Lunn in the Class 4 Chevron GR8; and Peter Storey, after a good run in the 458, let Simon Phillips take over. Still out there though, was Byford, the Evora now just ten seconds shy of the leading Mosler.

Tommy Field had taken over the Tracktorque Chevron GR8 from Nick Jarvis, but there was to be no repeat of their Snetterton success, the Gulf-liveried machine coming to a smoky demise on the infield at Clearways, leaving the Essex engine-builder to walk disconsolately back to the pits.  The “green” Topcats Marcos pitted again, Jon Harrison later admitting that there had been an earlier clash with a BMW; and Matt Smith, having had a solid run since that very early driver change, brought the Redgate/Virgo Ginetta in with suspension failure.

Meanwhile, Andy Schulz was on the ragged edge in second place and on a relentless pursuit of the leading car; the most graphic depiction being when the two cars were together on track, with Schulz unlapping himself from White - the Mosler seemingly on rails through Graham Hill Bend, whilst the black Ferrari’s tail was wildly sliding onto the saw-tooth kerbing.

Ian Heward unlapped the Rapier from the Mosler and, at last, with 24 minutes to go, Martin Byford pitted the Bullrun Lotus Evora and David Green rejoined - in the class lead - for a short stint to the end. This had been a stunning stint from the experienced Essex driver, but he had his reservations; “We adapted our strategy because of the Safety Cars and I could have stayed in for the whole race if they had let me, but it’s not all done yet – the Webb car is only ten seconds behind and anything could happen”.

It did happen, but to the Webbs. Just inside the final 15 minutes, Tom Webb brought the BMW in for a tyre change and rejoined in eighth place. The pressure on Green in the Evora now relaxed a little, to the extent that George Murrells was able to seize third overall from the Lotus; though Martin Byford had earlier alluded that the overall podium was inconsequential to the Bullrun team and that the class win was their focus.

A severe problem hit the Rapier as the final ten minutes approached, Ian Heward bringing the car into the pits with a wheel askew, the lower wishbone having snapped out of the tub – game over once again for the luckless Flat Six team.

Paul White took the flag, completing 135 laps in the Azteca/Strata 21 Mosler and making it two wins on the bounce for the team; “We were helped by the Safety Car - it came out at just the right time and with a 20-second pit-stop success penalty we needed to keep the stops down,” said White.

“It’s good to finish!” exclaimed Andy Schulz of the second place for himself and Paul Bailey, adding “We now know what we need to do – more mechanical grip”.

Mowle and Murrells in the Optimum Ginetta completed the overall podium, with the Bullrun Lotus ahead of Simon Philips and Peter Storey in the Motionsport Ferrari 458 and the Strata21 Porsche of Adam Sharpe/David Pittard, these three bagging the Class 3, 2 and 4 wins respectively.

Tom and James Webb hung on to the Class 3 runner-up position, ahead of Mark Poole and Richard Abra in a similar BMW GTR and second place in Class 2 was taken by Sam Head and Owen O’Neill in the #35 Topcats Marcos - enough to keep them at the top of the class points - whilst invitees Andy Holden and Rod Barrett had a good run to third in the TVR Sagaris.

Class 4 runners-up were Gary Coulson and Ben Pitch in the Motionsport Lotus Elise, the variable roster of drivers in this car always delivering solid performances and impressive results. In similar fashion, Jensen Lunn and Mark Steward bagged the final class podium position.

Britcar MSA British Endurance Championship, Brands Hatch Indy - Result
 No.ClassTeamDriversCarLaps/TimeBest
161Azteca MotorsportJavier Morcillo
Paul White
Mosler MT900 GT3135 laps
2:00:29.282
46.837
231SB Race EngineeringPaul Bailey
Andy Schultz
Ferrari 430 135 laps
+38.935
47.165
3171Optimum MotorsportsLee Mowle
George Murrells
Ginetta G55133 laps47.529
4513BullrunRichard Adams
David Green
Martin Byford
Lotus Evora132 laps48.933
5252MotionsportSimon Phillips
Pete Storey
Ferrari 458131 laps48.480
6894Strata 21

Adam Sharpe
Tom Jones
David Pittard

Porsche 996 Cup131 laps49.235
7693Team WebbMartin Webb
Tom Webb
James Webb
BMW M3 GTR130 laps49.679
8352TopcatsHead
Owen O'Neill
Marcos Mantis 129 laps50.488
9283MP MotorsportRichard Abra
Mark Poole
BMW M3 GTR128 laps49.345
10382 InvTeam Holden RacingAndy Holden
Rod Barrett
TVR Sagaris128 laps49.820
11884MotionsportGary Coulson
Ben Pitch
Lotus Elise 127 laps51.205
12994Jensen LunnJensen Lunn
Mark Steward
Chevron GR8126 laps50.373
13573Glynnsport LtdSteve Glynn
Andrew Clarke
TVR Sagaris V8121 laps50.639
14342TopcatsHarrison
Wilson
Marcos Mantis 121 laps50.081
15924Timothy DuttonTimothy Dutton
Duncan Pittaway
Ginetta G50120 laps53.040
1681Flat-Six.co.ukMichael Millard
Ian Heward
Rapier 6 SR2117 laps46.911
17533Redgate/
Virgo Motorsport
Peter Smith
Matt Smith
Ginetta G55 Cup90 laps
DNC
50.069
18713Track Torque RacingNick Jarvis
Tommy Fields
Chevron GR882 laps
DNC
49.809
19774Kevin ClarkeKevin Clarke
Wayne Gibson
BMW M378 laps
DNC
50.964
20703 InvFF CorseJacques Duyver
Charlie Hollings
Ferrari 430
Challenge
64 laps
DNC
50.286
21944F G MilehamJeff Mileham
Steve Gugliemi
Lotus Elise63 laps
DNC
50.455
2291 InvDave SheltonDave Shelton
Niki Faulkner
BMW M3 GTR50 laps
DNC
48.542
23553Chris HeadlamChris Headlam
Jamie Stanley
Lotus Elise Series 139 laps
DNC
49.472
24332Team TigerChris Beighton
Jon Finnemore
Marcos Mantis18 laps
DNC
48.469

Steve Wood