Nigel Mustil put his Riley on pole in qualifying for the two 45-minute Britcar Trophy races on Silverstone’s GP circuit, backing up the first 24 hour race the Northamptonshire circuit has seen for three seasons.
The grid saw a number of changes over the drivers we’d normally see for Trophy, boosted by the likes of Calum Lockie and David Mason’s Ferrari 458 which qualified 2nd, both of whom normally contest the Endurance Championship in the striking FF Corse car.
The Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 of Gary Furst managed to land sixth before a transmission problem forced him back to the garages for hasty repairs.
Race 1, on the Friday afternoon, saw the Ferrari of Lockie and Mason blow away the qualifying lead of the Riley to take the first win of the weekend, a massive 1:09 ahead of the Topcats Racing Lamborghini Gallardo of Neil Huggins. The #28 Ferrari 430 GT3 was third but the Riley was a DNF along with the #31 TVR, Alun Edwards’ Tampoli and the grey Porsche 996 Cup of Fothergill and Bennet.
First into the assembly area for Race 2 on the Saturday morning was the #59 Ferrari 360 Challenge, but driver Paul Ugo grabbed a pit bike and zoomed off to fetch his mobile phone – I guess even racing drivers can’t afford to be out of contact for long.
Craig Dolby soon ditched any idea of taking it easy in the refreshed Riley and stormed past the Ferrari of Calum Lockie and moments later also the Lamborghini Gallardo of Neil Huggins to take P1 before the end of the first lap.
Gary Furst’s Evo picked up front end damage and eventually retired. The #46 Chevrolet CR8 was proving a bit of a handful for Rob Headley and brake lockups and a lively suspension hit is lap times, dropping him to 11th overall and 2nd in class.
Pulling out a significant lead, the Riley was never really challenged and Dolby and Mustil won by 1:43 over the FF Corse Ferrari, again with lap times nearly six seconds up on Lockie and Mason who had to settle for second but took a class win; the Topcats Lamborghini LP560-4 was third.
Steve Glynn will have been far happier with his pair of races in the dark purple #29 TVR Sagaris, taking 4th and 7th, in contrast to the incidents he suffered in the first rounds.
The Trophy drivers now have the option to join Britcar’s foreign excursion, to Zandvoort in The Netherlands on 20/21st June, where places on the Endurance grid are available to them. Otherwise regular 45 minute races return at Donington on 26th July.
Words and photos: Chris Valentine