Damp Donington Hosts Britcar

Torrential rain failed to keep away the crowds for the weekend’s round of the British Truck Racing Championship at Donington and the Britcar Endurance and Trophy Championships share the programme for the second round of their season.

Saturday saw two races in the MSA British Dunlop Endurance Championship. In the morning’s 30 minute qualifying session, several teams used the time to not only post fastest laps for grid positions but also to scrub in new sets of new Dunlop slicks. Mike Millard grabbed pole in his all-white Rapier SR2, just 0.132 seconds ahead of Osman Yusef’s Radical SR8.

Calum Lockie headed Class 2 in the FF Corse Ferrari 458 in the absence of usual team mate David Mason. Nick Holden fielded his modified Ariel Atom and posted a very respectable 3rd in class and 6th overall in a car that was suffering from severe electrical problems – nothing showing on its electronic dash – as well as an engine low on power.

Danny Holland was the sole driver from Team BRIT to run in the Mk6 VW Golf, run by Newbridge Motorsport, but he parked it in the gravel, condeming him to start from the back of the grid – at least for the first of the two races.

Race 1 was eventful to say the least with Yusuf’s radical haring off the line, while Lockie’s Ferrari got the jump on Millard’s Rapier to take second.

The new regulation to help level the playing field when a 2-driver team only fields its fastest driver didn’t disadvantage the FF Corse team. Calum Lockie’s team played an ingenious game when the safety car deployed, taking his two stops in quick succession, first for tyre and again after just a lap for fuel. This took the Ferrari into the lead and Millard’s Rapier was never to challenge the car for the remains of the race, allowing Lockie to take another Britcar win.

Darelle Wilson was an early retirement in the diesel VW Scirocco with a loose exhaust manifold. The GT4 Aston Martin retired with damage to the front left which initially appeared superficial but a suspension arm that the team did not have a spare for had been bent.

Despite having lead from the lights, and set the fastest lap of the race – an impressive 1:06.188 – a crash damaged the right rear wheel and suspension, ending their race after 36 laps.

The Moss Motorsport BMW E46 M3 had a spin at Fogarty Esses late in the race but eventually dragged itself out of the gravel to rejoin and finish 2nd in Class 4.

Martin Schiele pitted in the #66 BMW M3 Compact with just two laps remaining but was deemed to have completed sufficient laps to take 3rd in class and 7th overall.

Despite his earlier problems – and an extremely loud pop through its exhaust on each trip past the start/finish line – Nick Holden piloted the Aerial Atom home to 2nd in class and 4th overall.

Danny Holland piloted the Team BRIT Golf to the finish to mark his first solo race finish and landing himself the all-important race signature taking him on his way to an International license – which the whole team will need as they head into Europe next season.

The three Sports and Touring drivers, entering only one of the two races, headed for home as the second Endurance race gridded up for a second one and a half hour race. Sadly an unavailable suspension part ruled out the return of the #55 22GT Racing Aston Martin GT4 so 8 cars set off for the usual rolling start. Based purely on qualifying times, it was only really the Radical SR8 of Osamn Yusuf who could challenge Calum Lockie’s Ferrari but a big plume of oil smoke on the horizon, followed by a small fire, signalled the end of their race.

After an earlier pitstop for a quick look at the engine, Mike Millard came in to withdraw after 23 laps, meaning the Ferrari became the only remaining car in Class 1.

The #88 Rollcentre BMW pitted first for Martin Short to swap with Richard Neary with the car lying 2nd overall. Darelle Wilson brought the VW Scirocco in to let Ian Heward take over, while Nick Holden completed his fuel-only stop still less than a lap behind.

With 1/2 hour remaining, Calum Lockie wasn’t showing any sign of easing off with lap times consistently in the 1:08s, 4 laps ahead of Neary’s BMW. Lockie pitted again late for tyres gifting the BMW a lap but Lockie’s times were still unreachable for the Class 3 BMW. A little later the VW Scirocco retired leaving only five cars lapping. Meanwhile Danny Holland’s pace was creeping up with a new fastest time coming up on lap 55.

So the red Ferrari 458 took a second win of the day with Calum having posted a fastest lap of 1:08.391, with the #88 BMW taking 2nd. Danny Holland took a class win in the TeamBRIT Golf.


 

The Donington Indy circuit was dry on the Sunday morning for qualifying but the forecast for the day’s two 45-minute Trophy races was for rain.

Mike Moss was a one-man-band as he opted to run the black #57 BMW E46 M3 entirely himself – including timing his own pitstops. The car sounded good in qualifying – “so it should”, he said, “after three engine rebuilds in succession”.

Mark Allen took the Team BRIT VW Golf out and posted a fastest lap just marginally quicker than his team mate Fareed Ali’s time – his first race in the Newbridge Porsche Boxster. The other VW on the grid – the DW Racing Scirocco – was receiving attention until gone 03:00 this morning as the team struggled to fix the recurring turbo charger and exhaust manifold issues that caused loss of power in both Endurance Championship races yesterday.

The two Topcats Marcos Mantises took to the track for the first time in matching livery having been completely refreshed after the catalogue of damage collected in the Silverstone 24 hour race earlier in the year. Another impressive appearance, also being run by Topcats Motorsport, was the #44 Lamborghini Gallargo LP560 of Neil Huggins, running in the invitation class.

But it was Steve Donovan’s splendid Aquila CR1 that took pole in readiness for the first 45-minute race, with Warren Gilbert and Owen O’Neill two seconds apart in the matching Marcos Mantises for 2nd and 3rd.

At the lights, it was the #50 Marcos of Warren Gilbert who quickest away from the line but the Aquila surged through at Redgate to take the lead, which it was soon stretching out – sadly its luck was not to last.

Neil Huggins grabbed the lead but out-braked himself and Gary Furst passed in the Mitsubishi Evo 9 to retake it. Steve Glyn had a moment on the exit of Craners but rejoined, but then the Evo faltered and quit allowing Huggins to get back to the front in the Lamborghini.

The bad luck struck the Scirocco once again and they pulled into the pits – and then their garage – for attention, ready to return later.

Owen O’Neill’s Marcos left the track at Craners leading to a safety car deployment at the 23 minute mark, while the Aquila returned to the pits sadly to retire. Gary Furst’s Evo was recovered from the gravel leaving only the two Newbridge cars – Fareed Ali’s Boxster and Mark Allen’s Golf – still circulating, until they chose to take their scheduled pitstop together.

The safety car came in to leave Peter Challis’ Arrowpak Porsche 997 Cup just five seconds behind the Neil Huggins in the Lamborghini – two of only six cars running at that point.

As the clock wound down and with the Gallardo pulling away, it was Warren Gilbert in the #50 Marcoses who caught and passed Peter Challis’ Porsche to take 2nd. Mike Moss’s solo efforts kept his BMW M3 circulating along with the Newbridge VW Golf of Mark Allen and Porsche Boxster of Fareed Ali. The Scirocco and Sagaris (misfire) limping round closed out 8-car list of finishers.

There was only minimal letup in the rain for the second Trophy race of the day when the cars lined up again for another 45 minutes of racing. Mike Moss had called it a day, heading home with the black BMW.

Both the #54 Marcos and Aquila chose to retire as the standing water was becoming increasingly treacherous, O’Neill after a spin. Steve Glynn battled on in the TVR Sagaris despite hardly being able to see through his badly fogged windscreen. Fareed Ali mistook a mechanical failure flag as an indication he should pit, but this didn’t affect his result.

Neil Huggins took the Gallardo to a second Trophy win of the day, nearly 46 seconds ahead of the Mitsubishi Evo of Gary Furst with the #50 Marcos of Warren Gilbert making it to the flag after his earlier spin. Mark Allen was again fifth overall, first in class 4, in the Newbridge union flag liveried VW Golf, so the TeamBRIT boys had done very well from the weekend.

The next outing for Britcar will be on 30th August 2015 on the Snetteron 300 circuit. Lets hope the rain stays away this time!

Text and photos: Chris Valentine


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