2013 Britcar Production Cup Donington Park, November 2nd


Intersport Back on Top


A stunning drive by Kevin Clarke, sharing the #9 Intersport BMW E46 with Adam Hayes, clinched the win in Round 7 of the championship, and a class victory for the ING Sport team extended their lead in the overall title quest.


It was cold and damp at the start of the one-hour qualifying session, and Michael Symons’ lappery around the 1m22s mark set the bar for much of the early part of the proceedings, and after the first quarter of an hour, many teams elected to sit in the pitlane and see how conditions improved. Chrissy Palmer was the first to go out on slicks, but initially his Mazda MX5 was posting times 10 seconds slower than his wet-shod laps. Yellow flags at McLeans, protecting Tim Adams stricken BMW, stymied any further progress, then a gearbox problem halted his session completely.

By the halfway point, it was time though, and the lap times came down as each team tried its own combinations of slicks, inters and wets. Kevin Clarke, standing-in for the injured Mark Radcliffe in the Intersport BMW, yo-yoed with Tom Howard (in Mike Moss’s BMW) at the top of the timing screen, with the Cunningham’s SEAT occasionally popping into second for brief moments before eventually settling at the top, Mark having brought the time down to 1:14.012. Clarke had parked up and was done for the day, but Symons had been pootling around, unable to make any inroads due to traffic, but created himself a clear road right at the end of the session, crossing the line as the chequered flag fell, and posting 1:13.853. This had been a real nail-biter of a session, and the “Tango” BMW would start from pole with the satin-black SG Racing SEAT alongside, with Class 2 annexing the second row – the Moss/Howard BMW and the Cockill brothers SEAT, with a class mixture on the next row, the Hayes/Clarke BMW and the Fauldsport SEAT of Simons Roche and Mason; BMW/SEAT, BMW/SEAT, BMW/SEAT – very tidy!

Newly-crowned BTCC champion Andrew Jordan showed his class by bagging Class 3 pole, in the Eurotech-run Honda Integra shared with Nigel Ainge, and, despite his gearbox issues, Chrissy Palmer still managed to claim Class 4 pole.



This was going to be as much about tyre choice as anything, and those that took a gamble on starting on slicks wouldn’t see an immediate benefit. Thus, while Peter Cunningham seized the lead into Redgate once the race went green, and Michael Symons had claimed the front spot on lap two, both Edward Cockill and Tom Howard were way down in the pack. Symons began to streak away, – he was nine seconds to the good by lap five – and the two RJN Nissans driven by the GT Academy graduates were annoying Adam Hayes for fourth place, but it was midfield battle which was most exciting; Andy Thompson (SEAT Toledo), Ian Lawson (BMW 320i), Nigel Ainge’s Honda and Richard Bennett’s Porsche 993 were all swapping places. Chrissy Palmer pitted his MX5, sadly into retirement with the recurring gearbox issues, and the Safety Car was deployed on lap six to recover Anthony Shemmans’ Tracktorque-run Fun Cup machine, which was stuck in the gravel at the chicane.


The caution was lifted after three laps, and the positions at the front stayed the same; Symons, Peter Cunningham, the two amazing RJN Nissans, with Florian Strauss ahead of the exuberant Miguel Faisca, then Adam Hayes E46. Behind these, young Tim Adams, doing a superb job in the Damax BMW, was coming under pressure from Andy Thompson, who had shaken off the pack now led by Ian Lawson, and which Simon Roche had joined.


Tom Howard and Ed Cockill?


12th and 13th.


Strauss was still on his meteoric rise,passing Peter Cunningham’s SEAT for second place, and Andy Thompson was putting in one of his best drives of the season in the Westlake SEAT, now up to fifth place and leading Class 3 by some way.


The track was now drying out, probably good enough for slick tyres now, and first to stop was Adam Hayes, with just 25 minutes of the 90-minute race run. Slicks all round, and team boss Kevin Clarke jumped in for a long stint. The 30-minute mark so a raft of stops; Ian Lawson was forst of the pack, handing the Ing Sport BMW to Anthony Wilds, then Simon Roche (to Simon Mason), Anthony Shemmans (Fun Cup to Skid Carrera), the Bubble &Kick BMW (Nico Ferrari to brother Sebastian), and Peter Cunningham, handing the SEAT to son Mark.


The remainder left it till the halfway mark to make their driver changes, and in most cases tyre changes too. Andrew Jordan had now taken over Ainge’s Integra, but performed just one slow lap before pitting again, loose wheel nuts being the problem. Tom Howard, though, ploughed on, the slick-shod car now coming good, and in the lead of the race.


Lap 35 saw some dramatic developments. Mark Cunningham and Harry Cockill, both on charges after their pit stops, had come up to lap Nicola Gillatt’s Mazda and Danny Russell’s Mini Cooper. A “who goes where” moment left the two SEATs in the gravel at Coppice, and whilst the Cockill car got going again after being pulled from the gravel, the Cunningham machine had suffered considerable front-end damage, mainly from the recovery, and was going nowhere. Also not going much further was Cris Hayes, who retired the Westlake SEAT Toledo with compression problems after the drivers, and the car, had put in their best performance to date.


Howard relinquished the lead on lap 42, with 29 minutes to go, and Mike Moss rejoined third overall in the black and green BMW. Symons was now in front again, with Clarke chasing, and taking around two seconds a lap out of the gap ahead, and on lap 51, with 17 minutes of the race left, the Intersport E46 took the lead down the inside at Redgate.


Nick Adams pitted late on, driving the BMW straight into the garage with a drive shaft problem, then straight out again to finish the race whatever. A late spin for Harry Cockill, who had gone back out after checking earlier damage, saw him pitbound in the closing minutes, and the same misfortune blighted Symons’ final minutes, and the erstwhile leader finished a lap down as Kevin Clarke took the chequered flag.


So, the previously unbeatable “Tango” E36 had to give best to the #9 E46 which at last had a trouble-free race. The remaining Class 1 finishers, the invitation-entry RJN Nissans, were split by the victors of Classes 2 and 3, with the Cunningham/Strauss car fourth overall, and the slightly wilder Faisca/Aksenov machine sixth, after impressive performances from the Playstation/GT Academy graduates.


The Moss/Howard BMW maintained third overall and the Class 2 win, proving those tyre tactics were right, ahead of the Simon Roche/Simon Mason SEAT, and the newly-finished invitation entry Bubble & Kick BMW M3 of Nico and Sebastian Ferrari.


A stunning fifth overall, and heading Class 3 home after a superbly controlled drive was the ING Sport BMW 320i of Ian Lawson and Anthony Wilds, though they didn’t secure fastest lap this time – that went to second –placed Andrew Jordan, making up time after the extra pit stop in Nigel Ainge’s Integra. Nick and Tim Adams took the final Class 3 podium spot, ahead of the invitation entry Intersport Vauxhall Astra of Andy Yool and Dave Greenbank, which had pulled a move on the Class 4 winner on the last lap to finish 11th overall. Tailing off the Class 3 field was Guillaume Gruchet, who had an atypically quiet race in his Porsche Boxster.


Class 4 went to familiar faces in a new car; Ryan Cefferty and Dave Whitmore made it a winning debut in the MGA Motorsport Honda Civic, ahead of the Mini Cooper of Duncan Rogers and Danny Russell, the novice pair maintaining their quest for class, and even overall honours. Father and daughter duo Peter and Nicola Gillatt were third in the MGA Mazda MX5, and classified fourth in class, though strangely finishing 40 laps down, were Britcar journeymen Skid Carrera and Anthony Shemmans in a VW Funcup, or more correctly, a Superbug, as Tracktorque team boss Clive Reay-Young likes it to be known.




Results (Timing Solutions Ltd)

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