2013 MSA British Endurance Championship – Race Report Final Round, Donington Park, November 2nd


Horsepower in the Darkness, but Loggie and Jones Take the Title


The title race went down to the wire, and, subject to confirmation, Ian Loggie and Chris Jones, in the Team Parker Porsche 997, took the overall BEC crown with a safe Class 2 victory in the two-hour night event , while Paul Bailey and Andy Schulz’s Aston Martin Vantage bagged an overall race win that seemed only so-so possible.



The one-hour daytime qualifying session – the one that set grid – saw Mike Millard take pole in his Rapier SR2 prototype, the open-topper seemingly now free of the electrical glitches that had plagued it all season, though the team were reluctant to discuss the matter with the media for fear of “commentators curse”. Millard would be tackling the race alone, and at 1:04.684, was just 0.139 seconds ahead of the Horsepower Racing/Scuderia Vittoria Aston Martin Vantage that had held provisional pole for much of the session. The top two, it appeared, were going for something that nobody else really, truly desired, for Javier Morcillo, sharing the Neil Garner-run Mosler with Manuel Cintrano, was knocking-on four seconds adrift of the front row, the Spaniard admitting that he didn’t think it t was important in a race of this length .The entry had been boosted by some late championship registrations, and the tactical Horsepower Racing- entry Ferrari 458 Challenge, driven by Charlie Hollings and that man Schulz again, was newly-promoted from Class 2 to Class 1, and completed the second row of the grid.


It was good to see the MacG Racing Ultima running well, and, with the distorted engine block woes behind them, Jonny MacGregor and Damian Hudes headed the third row, with the conservative Loggie and Jones Porsche alongside, the pair not risking any heroics in the damp and blustery conditions. BGT regular Nathan Freke was joined by Tom Oliphent in the Century Motorsport Ginetta G55, and they annexed sixth on the grid, ahead of Ash Woodman’s BPM Racing Renault Megane Trophy. Ash was partnered here by Sam Head, and the pair explored the limits of grip and performance, bringing out the red flags towards the end of the session in the process.Next up was the Optimum Motorsport Ginetta G50 of Benny Simonsen/Nathan Morcom, and filling the back row of the short grid were the two RJN Nissan 370Zs, driven by the latest batch of Playstation/GT Academy graduates, the Miguel Faisca/Stanislav Aksenov #22 car three-quarters of a second ahead of the Lee Cunningham/Florian Strauss machine, all four drivers having a full day, having campaigned the same cars in the Production Cup races too.


Sadly not making the grid was Olly and Grahame Bryant’s Marcos Mantis, which had missed much of the earlier free practice and qualifying sessions with exhaust problems, and the Horsepower Racing Ferrari due to be driven by Hollings was tactically withdrawn from the race by the team.



The 30-minute “night qualifying” session served only as a mandatory accustomisation for racing in the dark, and the field quickly formed up for the two-hour race. Millard squandered his pole position by spinning on the first of the two pace laps, and crossed the star line as the rest of the field were heading up to the Old Hairpin. Javier Morcillo made the most of the gap left by the absent Rapier, and seized the lead as the pack entered Redgate at the start. Also moving up wwere the two Ginettas, Nathan Morcom ahead of Tom Oliphant, and by lap four Olipgant was third, behind Paul Bailey’s Aston. Ash Woodman in the Megane was scrapping for sixth place with Damian Hudes’ Ultima, and Millard was carving through the field, now up to eighth.


Morcillo went about the business of building a lead that might sustain co-driver Cintrano’s pace later in the race. High winds and squally rain made the conditions a little more tricky, but the GT Academy graduates hauled themselves past Woodman’s Megane – first Aksenov, then Lee Cunningham.


There was drama on lap 17, when Hudes got caught out by the conditions, the Ultima slewing suddenly as it powered-up from the chicane, and glancing the pit wall. The Safety Car was deployed, and within three laps the whole field, with the exception of Bailey, took an opportunist pit-stop, with just 25 minutes of the race run. No driver changes at this point, just 25 litres of fuel, and tyres where necessary, and after five laps of caution, the course went green again, leaving Bailey with a tenuous lead of two seconds over Morcillo.


Not for long, though, as the Aston was missing next time round, and came into the pits later than expected; Bailey had made an excursion into the scenery, incurring slight damage to a track rod arm. He jumped back into the car to complete his stint after a check-over and tyre change, rejoining third behind Oliphant’s Ginetta, but it wasn’t long before he was pitbound again, this time for fuel and to hand over to Andy Schulz, ostensibly for the remaining 75 minutes of the race.


No mention of Ian Loggie yet; the Cheshire-based Scot had been plugging the Team Parker Porsche around, avoiding any hysterics and keeping out of trouble, and crucially, keeping a weather eye on the other Class 2 points-scorer, the BPM Megane. Schulz, a rival for overall points, but not race position, took the Porsche with ease to claim fourth place, but would soon drop back again. The Aston was shown the black flag, and awarded a drive through penalty for reasons undisclosed, Schulz duly taking his punishment and emerging fifth, with Millard’s Rapier coming up fast behind.


The Ultima had rejoined the fray, the MacG team having effected some swift repairs, but Jonny McGregor had a notable lack of illumination, with what looked like a strip light across the bonnet of the car, whilst the RJN Nissans were enjoying an internecine battle, Cunningham having swopped positions with Aksenov.


With the halfway point of the race ticking over, some pit-stops were taken; Oliphant came in from second place to hand the Century Ginetta to Nathan Freke, whilst Benny Simonsen relieved Nathan Morcom in the Optimum G50. Loggie relinquished the Porsche to Chris Jones, and Woodman let Sam Head take over the BPM Megane, while there was a change in the #22 Nissan; Faisca for Aksenov.


No stops from the Class 1 boys though. Morcillo was now the best part of four laps up on Schulz, who, whilst hunkering down to put a chase on, had the distraction of Millard’s Rapier closing down on him. It was on lap 50 that Millard took the Aston, as they came out of the chicane, but his second place was short lived – just five minutes later the circuit CCTV picked-up the Rapier nose-in to the wall at Hollywood, and the Safety Car was deployed once again. There were now just 40 minutes of the race left, and time for the final stops for those that needed a top-up, and for the Neil Garner Mosler, a driver change at last, to let Manuel Cintrano take a closing stint at the wheel. The Aston stopped though, though Schulz climbed back in after fuelling, and, once the Safety Car came in, he was unleashed for a final assault on the Mosler’s four-lap cushion.


What followed was a phenomenal charge by Schulz – a full 10 seconds faster than the Mosler over a lap, he brought the gap progressively down – three laps, then two laps, and with 12 minutes to go he unlapped himself from Cintranofor the final time, but the Spaniard had responsed to a degree, the lap-time difference now down to eight seconds.


Meanwhile, Jonny MacGregor had pitted the Ultima for the last time, the exhaust spitting violent flames on the limiter and giving a brighter aspect to the rear of the car than the weak light at the front. There we also a couple of cars in the gravel which were handled with local yellows – Miguel Faisca’s Nissan, and Sam Head, who was recovered from the chicane gravel after posting the fastest Class 2 lap in the BPM Megane.


As the clocked ticked down, it was debatable whether the Aston could catch the Mosler in the time left, but that became academic on what would be the penultimate lap of the race. A circling motion of headlights and tail lights at the Old Hairpin was surely a car spinning. It was, sadly, the Mosler in what team boss Neil Garner described as “an unfortunate incident with the Ultima in the pitch black conditions which put him on the grass”.


So Schulz took the flag, 54 seconds ahead of Cintrano, and six laps ahead of Nathan Freke’s Ginetta, which had lost a wheel on the last lap, followed home by Benny Simonsen, finishing on the same lap in the Optimum G50. “We didn’t think we’d do it, we calculated that we’d be eight seconds behind at the flag” said a relieved Paul Bailey after the race. They bagged the maximum 31 points, but that wasn’t enough, for Chris Jones had done just enough in his stint in the Team Parker Porsche, coming home sixth overall and claiming 30 points for the class win, but four laps ahead of the BPM Megane, which stole the fastest lap point.


“I told you we were in it to win it” said new joint-champion Ian Loggie, alluding to his bold pre-season statement, adding “I got the call from the pit wall to speed up, but I looked at the gap back to the Megane, and as long as we held that, I ignored them”.


The GT Academy graduates acquitted themselves well on their journey to the Dubai 24hrs, with the Cunningham/Strauss car coming home fifth overall, and claiming the bottom step of the Class 3 podium, and the more exuberant Faisca/Askenov machine eighth, while last of the classified finishers was the MacG Racing Ultima, having lost over half an hour repairing the front-end damage.





Pos Class Drivers Car Laps
1 1 Paul Bailey / Andy Schulz Aston Martin Vantage GT3 87 Laps
2 1 Javier Morcillo / Manuel Cintrano Mosler MT900R 87 Laps
3 3 inv Nathan Freke / Tom Oliphant Ginetta G55 81 Laps
4 3 inv Benny Simonsen / Nathan Morcom Ginetta G50 81 Laps
5 2 Lee Cunningham / Florian Strauss Nissan 370z 79 Laps



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