Britcar Endurance Championship Race Report – Donington 11th May


The BAMD Motorsport Ferrari of Darren Nelson and Nigel Greensall has taken the overall victory in the second Britcar Endurance Championship race at Donington Park. The 458 Challenge battled from the start to claim the win in changeable and tricky conditions. Rain during the supporting Caterham races left the track greasy if not wet and the decision was taken to start the race behind the safety car.

The strategy started even before the Mercedes ML63 AMG tripped its brakes and led the field off. The #43 BMW of Anna Walewska pitted after the lap to the grid to change tyres from the wets on which the E92 M3 left the pits to slicks for the start of the race. That proved to be a mistake however as the class 3 car struggled throughout the opening phase of the race, dropping back and being lapped by the sixth tour of the track.

Also joining from pit lane was the #24 Porsche 997 Cup of Guillaume Gruchet and the #7 Ultima GTR GT3 of Jonny MacGregor. The Porsche may have been playing strategy, the Ultima was already battling problems. Repeated trips down pit lane would cost the Just Doors sponsored class 1 entrant twelve laps by the end of the race and along with the Intersport run E92, the Ultima would ultimately not be classified at the end of the 90 minutes.

Early pit stops affected Mike Millard’s #8 Rapier SR2 LMPX. The first visit to pit lane came after a scary moment down the Craner Curves. Mike started off fine but once he got up to speed down the curves he found his helmet riding up. Unable to see in places he gingerly brought the car back to the pit lane to re-fasten his helmet but as you would expect, it didn’t take 90 seconds. Millard left the pits too soon and was called back to the garage to serve a 90 second stop and go.

That left the Mosler MT900 GT3 of Javier Morcillo to take the win, or not. Morcillo had to take an extra stop to change tyres which put him a lap down on the FF Corse Ferrari 458 Cup of Callum Lockie. The Mosler driver also had to fight with his cars’ braking when the brake bias cable tangled with the throttle cable, leaving him having to brake gently for fear of indirectly accelerating instead. Only another unscheduled trips to the pits would fix the problem.

When Lockie – trouble free in contrast to his would be rivals – handed over to David Mason and Manuel Cintrano relieved Morcillo the gap was a similar amount. Cintrano hunted the Ferrari over the second stint until the rains came again.

Cintrano then made his first mistake of the year, losing the Mosler at Old Hairpin and ending up pointing backwards in the gravel. The marshals leapt into action and extracted the car under local yellows but Manuel lost two laps as they worked. He never recovered the places and finished a lap down and one Porsche from his only real rival in class 1, the Rapier of Millard.

The real battle throughout was the fight for class 2 which was led for much of the race by FF Corse. Late on Greensall began to carve time out of the 458 Cup, taking up to fifteen seconds a lap from the #26. While we were focussing on the gap between the Ferrari’s there was another obstacle in the way, though it took little effort for the Carnell backed 458 to get past the #21 Audi. A lap later the pair breezed past Mason on the start finish straight to go first and second overall.

Gruchet took class 2 fourth place and fifth overall while the #33 Chevron GT3 of Alistair Lindsay and Jensen Lunn finished last of the classified runners and six laps down on the leader.

Class 3 was another good battle, with the Saxon Motorsport team of Nick Barrow and Robert Hall on the pace from the off. The Intersport E46 M3 of Adam Hayes and Mark Radcliffe put up a fight for the early part of the race but eventually fell back, losing 40.661 seconds over the 48 laps put in by the class winner. David Green, Richard Adams and Max Adams recovered from their problems in the Britcar Trophy Series race to grab third in the class though they were three laps down on second place.

Nigel Greensall was delighted by BAMD’s second win of the season, saying, “Because the race was changing so fast it was very difficult to keep up with what was going on so I just went as fast as I possibly could and did every lap flat out and hoped that it would all come good. At the end of the day it’s just so much fun in those conditions driving flat out and sliding the car around and enjoying it.”

Nick Barrow was breathing a sigh of relief after claiming the BMW 150 GTR’s first ever race win. He told us, “At Silverstone we had two non-finishes and yesterday we failed to finish again but we’ve identified the problem and we seem to have cured it temporarily so we can now work on it and get it fixed on a permanent basis.”

The series now prepares for its trip to Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium where the Britcar Endurance and Britcar Sports and Touring Car Championship will enjoy the legendary corners of Eau Rouge, Blanchimont and Pouhon. Fans not making the trip to the Ardennes forest can join us when the championship returns to the UK at Oulton Park on 5th July.

Author: Nick Smith

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