The latest round of the GT Cup endurance and sprint series tested the full gamut of the elements at Silverstone over the weekend with everything from torrential rain on the Saturday, through brilliant sunshine for the duo of Sunday sprint races, to fire as Tim Hood’s TVR burst into flames. Hammerite sponsored the weekend and Motors TV showed live coverage.
Heavy rain and some standing water met the drivers as they went out onto the Silverstone south or International circuit on Saturday morning for the qualifying session for the endurance race. Sean Balfe put his Ferrari 458 on pole with Jim Geddie joining him on the front row.
The afternoon race itself remained dry and Jim Geddie took the win with Balfe later disqualified by the Clerk of the Course. Pete Smallwood had his first taste of racing for some time in his Parr Motorsport-run Porsche 997 Cup, finishing a very respectable 13th overall. His car now heads to Le Mans to take part in the special joint France/GB Carrera Cup 45-minute race during the final build up to the start of the 24-hour marathon next weekend. Mike Sellar also made a welcome return to the GT Cup scene but felt more of the elements than most having lost his windscreen in qualifying.
Sunday saw clearer skies and higher temperatures for the two 25-minute sprint races and again it was Jim Geddie and Shaun Balfe we were to dominate with Geddie taking the GTO class 1st. David Whalley took the GTB title in his red and white Porsche 997 Cup with Peter Jennings at the front of the GTC cars. Jeff Wyatt brought his BMW M3 GTR home for a GTA win.
Those near Stowe Corner would have witnessed a thankfully rare sight in British motorsport as the yellow TVR Sagaris of Tim Hood burst into flames as he braked from 160mph. An oil pipe had become dislodged and the sprayed oil immediately flashed into a fire that entered the cabin. Tim remained calm and the on-board extinguishers, together with the marshals, quenched the fire before significant damage was caused. Luckily Tim himself was mostly unhurt – apart from a singed eyebrow.
Disaster struck the grid for sprint race 2 where a stalled car led to confusion over an extra green flag lap and GTB driver Gary Marsh launching himself into the rear of a Ferrari, damaging his centre radiator – game over for the experience driver. Up front a two-car battle for the lead lasted the entire race with Jim Geddie’s McLaren MP4-12C finally beating Shaun Balfe’s Ferrari 458 GT3 to make it a weekend of three wins for Geddie.
Next stop for this exciting series is the Snetterton 300 circuit in Norfolk on July 19th and 20th.