Britcar Production Cup and Sportscars, Snetterton, August 17th 2013

Britcar Production Cup & Production Sportscars

Snetterton, August 17th

Redemption Day


Keith Webster, in the Geoff Steel-run BMW E36 took a dominant win – his third on the bounce and his second as a soloist – in Snetterton’s 90-minute race. Webster toughed it out on slicks as a shower blighted the race 15 minutes from the finish, whilst behind him it was a tale of redemption for the class winners.


The hour-long qualifying session was red-flagged two-thirds of the way through, after Nicola Gillatt had placed the MGA Motorsport Mazda MX5 into the barriers. Thankfully she was OK – “Nothing damaged but her pride” reported father Peter, due to be her co-driver for the day, but the car required a bit more work than the short lunch break allowed, and wouldn’t be taking the grid.

No matter, the best times had generally been set at that point, with Webster, driving alone due to Michael Symon’s extended French holiday, and himself interrupting a Spanish vacation, nailing pole at 2:00.843, a full two seconds ahead of fellow Class 1 runners Adam Hayes and Mark Radcliffe in the Intersport BMW E46.  No Class 2 SEATs on the front row this time, it was an atypical Class 1 lock-out, and there was only one of the Spanish machines on row two, as Mike Moss’s BMW E46 continued its progress, heading the Class 2 contingent just over a tenth of a second shy of the more powerful  BMWs. Mike himself was pacing the floor in a maternity ward, so regular young hotshoe Tom Howard was partnered by BEC regular Flick Haigh, and they were ahead of the Professional Motorsport World Expo SEAT Supercopa of  Graham Johnson/Mike Robinson.  Lone driver Harry Cockill was fifth in the HE Racing Supercopa, sharing row three with the similar Fauldsport machine of Simon’s Roche and Mason. Veteran Britcar journeyman Martin Parsons  partnered regular Henry Dawes  in the Tracktorque SEAT, and they lined-up alongside the top Class 3 runner, which was a bit of a revelation, the usual squabbling front-runners Hayes/Thompson (SEAT Toledo)and Lawson/Wilds  (BMW 320i) being usurped by the Invitation-entry RJN Nissan 370z of South African GT Academy aspirant Ashley Oldfield and Autocar scribe Matt Prior. The Damax BMW 325i of Nick and Tim Adams, and Guillaume Gruchet’s Porsche Boxster completed the Class 3 grid, and Class 4 was headed by the Lohen Mini Cooper JCW, piloted by series debutants Robert Taylor and Graham Cox, ahead of Alyn James’ Synchro  Honda Civic, rebuilt after a brush with the Armco in testing. Out of place amongst the Class 4 runners was the troubled Ginetta G40 of Chris Webster and Matt Nicholl-Jones.


Keith Webster pushed ahead once the red lights went out, and began pulling away at around three seconds a lap, anxious to nullify the 60-second pitstop “success” penalty he had accrued. Behind, Tom Howard and Mike Robinson had got ahead of Mark Radcliffe’s BMW, which had Harry Cockill’s SEAT on its tail. Ryan Cefferty had dropped to the back of the field in the red MGA Motorsport Mazda MX5, but was recovering, passing stablemate Skid Carrera’s white #0 machine.

Ian Lawson pitted the Ing Sport BMW after just 10 minutes, alternator problems being diagnosed, but soon returned to the fray, while Chris Webster was moving up from the atypically low grid slot in the Academy Ginetta, and Alyn James claimed the Class 4 lead from Robert Taylor’s Mini.

Lone driver Harry Cockill made an early stop too, just 20 minutes in; not exactly his choice, but while an ECU issue was sorted, the team elected to make this their mandatory stop. Chris Webster pitted the Ginetta too, again not of choice. He would rejoin, but retire before the halfway point, by which time the Nick and Tim Adams BMW had also suffered retirement.

Robinson, in the TCR-run SEAT, had by now shaken off Radcliffe’s BMW, and was on the tail of Howard’s E46. Radcliffe was a fairly early pitter after that, handing the Intersport machine, which wasn’t at its best, over to Adam Hayes just before the 30-minute mark. Keith Webster was fairly early with his stop too, and hadn’t quite built up the one-minute buffer to compensate for his success penalty, so with a 53-second lead, and with 53 minutes of the race left, the orange BMW relinquished the lead to Tom Howard, who had less than a second advantage over Robinson, who had been biding his time patiently.

Not for much longer though  – the black and green SEAT made a move on the black and green BMW at Agostini, and Robinson was through into the lead. Coincidentally, Webster rejoined the race right behind the pair, though a lap adrift in fifth place, and set about claiming that lap back.

The halfway mark saw a flurry of mandatory stops, and some atypical issues – Simon Mason momentarily stalled the Fauldsport SEAT he’d just taken over from Simon Roche, and Flick Haigh, new to the car, stalled the BMW that Tom Howard had just brought in from second position., losing time to Harry Cockill, who now assumed fourth place. Martin Parsons made a noisy exit in the Tracktorque SEAT that Henry Dawes had first-stinted in, as he fiddled with an unfamiliar paddle shift. Surprisingly at this point, second place was held by novice Ashley Oldfield in the RJN Nissan 370z, who was having a great debut, and leading the Production Sportscar contingent.

Mike Robinson pitted the leading SEAT quite late, and Graham Johnson rejoined still in the lead, with a nine-second lead over Webster. Guillaume Gruchet took a late, and seemingly long stop in the Boxster, while Flick Haigh was now the fastest out on track, though specks of rain were beginning to appear. There was bad news for Intersport – the team’s Mini Cooper had undercut the pit timing by one second when Duncan Rogers handed over to Danny Russell, and they were hauled in for a stop/go. On the up side, Adam Hayes was moving through the field with a spirited peformance, had taken Parsons’ SEAT for fifth, and was challenging Webster to grab a lap back.

The rain had now intensified, though with less than 20 minutes to go, it was touch and go whether the shower would persist enough to justify the long pit stop to change to wet tyres, or in Fauldsport’s case, a superbly hand-crafted set of cut slicks. Alyn James was the first to make a decisive move, and the Synchro Civic returned to the track with more appropriate rubber, but the Welshman squandered the advantage with a spin, though, losing the class lead.

In fact, there were few that didn’t change to wets, notably the two Class 1 runners, Webster and Adam Hayes, and Class 3 leader Andy Thompson, who had taken over the Westlake SEAT Toledo from Cris Hayes. Graham Johnson was now pedalling the second-placed SEAT around the wet track 15 seconds faster than Webster’s slick-shod E36, and with the conditions getting no better as the clock ticked towards 90 minutes, had half an eye on victory. Martin Parsons was making the most of it to, splashing past Hayes and Webster as he regained his laps. Hayes spun as the race drew to a close, and Keith Webster crossed the line after 41laps, still a good 40 seconds ahead of second-placed Johnson, with Harry Cockill salvaging his earlier problems to finish third, on the same lap.

“That was tough” grimaced Webster after the race, adding “that last 20 minutes was torture, every corner was a drama”.

Graham Johnson was delighted with second overall, and finally that well-deserved class win; “I wish it had rained earlier, we might have won! I‘m happy we finished at last, but Mike kept his head in that first stint, it was so frustrating behind the BMW”, while a drained Harry Cockill commented “No time spent in the gym prepares you for a one hour 20 minute stint”.

Cris Hayes and Andy Thompson finally stood on the top step of the Class 3 podium, after Thompson toughed it out on slicks – “He was going so well we didn’t want to bother him” admitted Hayes, and the stunning novice/journo combination of Oldfield and Prior bagged second in the Invitation-entry Nissan 370z, claiming the Sportscars win as well, ahead of Gruchet.

Andrey Magiy’s Lohen team of Robert Taylor and Graham Cox in the Mini Cooper JCW took Class 4 honours,   despite a spin by Cox, ahead of the Russell/Rogers Intersport Mini, the MGA twins Cefferty/Whitmore and Carrera/Shemmans in their Mazdas, and Alyn James classified as the last finisher.

If there was a prize for determination, then it must go to Ing Sport; the early alternator problems meant that the BMW spent   a great deal of the race in the pits while the battery was charged. Nevertheless, Anthony Wilds brio assured the team of that all important point for fastest lap, and the whole team pushed the car across the timing beam in the pit lane in an attempt to salvage their title chase, but were unclassified, 13 laps down.



Snetterton Production Cup and Sportscars 17th August – Quick Report.

Quick Report

Britcar Production Cup & Production Sportscars

Snetterton, August 17th


Keith Webster, in the Geoff Steel-run BMW E36 took a dominant win – his third on the bounce and his second as a soloist – in Snetterton’s 90-minute race. Webster toughed it out on slicks as a shower blighted the race 15 minutes from the finish, but the Class 2 runners all pitted for wet tyres at that point, and it was redemption for Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson, who at last nailed a well-deserved class win, and second overall, in the TCR-run SEAT Supercopa. Redemption, too, for Cris Hayes and Andy Thompson, who finally sealed a Class 3 victory that had been on the cards all season.  Thompson also stayed out on slicks as the conditions worsened, bringing the SEAT Toledo home seventh overall, while title aspirants Ian Lawson and Anthony Wilds suffered a setback as alternator problems caused a DNF for the Ing Sport BMW 320i, though hopes were kept alive by Wilds scoring the all-important point for fastest lap.  Alyn James squandered the Class 4 lead with a spin after changing tyres on the Synchro Honda Civic, leaving the Lohen Mini Cooper of series debutantes Graham Cox and Robert Taylor.

The Nissan GT Academy/Team RJN Nissan 370Z headed the Production Sportscars contingent in their annual sojourn into Britcar races prior to their assault on the Dubai 24hrs, whilst Class 3 of the division was taken by the red MGA Motorsport Mazda MX5 of Ryan Cefferty and Dave Whitmore.


Full report to follow.



Silverstone GP Circuit Testing 20th September

Grand Prix Circuit –  Testing – Friday 20 September


  • Open Pitlane.
  • £300.00 plus vat per car
  • Silverstone recognised Ard’s Licenced Instructors(Grade A or above) permitted in car for General Testing.*
  • Noise limit 105dB drive by.
  • Booking with Britcar – or call


*Vehicle restrictions and charges apply.

Britcar Production Cup and Sportscars, Thruxton, 21st July 2013

Britcar Production Cup and Sportscar Series 2013

Thruxton 21st July

Webster’s Sunday Afternoon Drive

Keith Webster, driving the Geoff Steel Racing BMW E36 alone, took an easy victory in the 90 minute race, but in his wake there was intrigue, excitement and heartbreak.


 The 30-minute qualifying session was interrupted early on when Mark Radcliffes’s BMW E46 stopped out on the circuit with diff failure, causing a lengthy red flag whilst recovery was effected; sidelined for the rest of the session, Adam Hayes would start the car from the back of the grid.

As usual, it was the Graham Johnson/Mike Robinson SEAT Supercopa that set the ball rolling at the top of the time sheets, but the times tumbled as the session progressed, with Webster and Edward Cockill, tackling the event alone in the Class 2 HE Racing SEAT, slogging it out for pole.  The Thompson/Robinson car maintained third on the grid, ahead of the similar Class 1 machine of Peter and Mark Cunningham, back together again after family priorities had taken precedence, and these top four were covered by less than a second.

The Clarke/Gibson BMW E92 led the rest, but over a second shy of the front two rows, with Simon Mason putting the Fauldsport SEAT shared with Simon Roche next up, ahead of the resurgent Moss/Howard BMW M3, now running under Moss’s own team banner, and with Matt Faulks of Tour de Force having a significant and hasty input into the preparation.

Class 3 was headed by the Cris Hayes/Andy Thompson SEAT Toledo, though late-discovered electrical issues kept them busy between qualifying and the race, in front of the Ing Sport BMW 320i shared by Anthony and Mike Wilds, and Rich Bennett’s almost-classic ex-Jonny Mowlem Porsche 993 (built, incidentally, by a certain Mike Jordan), shared this time by regular Lotus exponent Chris Randall.

The glorious, brand new Synchro Honda Civic annexed the Class 4 pole, despite shearing  a drive shaft in pre-event testing, a full  three seconds ahead of the Nicola Gillatt/Mike Gorton Mazda MX5, and the Intersport Mini Cooper of banger racing champion Duncan Rogers and marque expert Chris Knox. Sadly, engine failure signified an early withdrawal by the Ryan Cefferty/Dave Whitmore Mazda MX5.


Webster’s orange BMW was off like a robber’s dog when the red lights went out, and rapidly began building a lead of around three seconds a lap over Ed Cockill, who was himself pulling way from a four-car battle that was the highlight of the opening laps. Peter Cunningham led the group, at least for the first couple of laps, but they were two, three, sometimes four abreast up Woodham Hill, giving way to a snake through the Club Chicane; Graham Johnson and Wayne Gibson were the middle two of the group, trading places through the laps, with Tom Howard keeping a watching brief on the rear bumpers of the scuffling pair. It was clean, though, clean and exciting stuff from four experienced racers.  Gibson made the power of the E92 stick after a couple of laps, pulling a tentative half-second advantage over the pack, with Johnson dropping to the rear and Howard eventually displacing Cunningham.

Early pit visitors were Cris Hayes’ Toledo, the wiring loom issues spelling retirement, and the luckless #9 Intersport BMW E46, Adam Hayes having a throttle issue investigated.   Hayes had made short work of cutting through the field from the back row, and was closing up on the four-way fight for third when he pitted. Radcliffe would take over later in the race, and bring the BMW home eighth overall.

Another who had pulled through from a low grid slot was Nick Adams, who had got some clear air around the Damax BMW 320i, in seventh place, and heading Class 3 ahead of Anthony Wild’s ETCC version of the car. Behind them was another close battle, with the Porsches of Production Sportscar frontrunners Richard Bennett and Guillaume Gruchet, split by Simon Roche’s SEAT.

A grassy moment at the Chicane saw Peter Cunningham lose momentum, and Tom Howard had now taken Gibson’s E92 for third place in the Complex, the squabbling quartet now spread out a little. It was unlucky lap13 for Mike Gorton, bringing in the MGA Mazda M5 to have flapping  exhaust trussed up, and not so good for Alyn James either a lap later- the erstwhile Class 4 leading Civic had dropped back, and made a last-minute slithery move into the pit lane as it exited the chicane. The errant driveshaft had sheared again, and Synchro’s self-built masterpiece was retired. Better will come.

Lone driver Gruchet was the first to take a mandatory stop, bringing in the Boxster with 68 minutes to go, and it wasn’t long before Gorton was back in, too, for a more permanent repair on the MX5’s exhaust. With the opening 30-minutes about to elapse, and 60 more to come, there were some more stops; a straight service and driver change for the #8 SEAT, with Mike Robinson taking over, but an earlier-than-planned visit for Nick Adams – a rear left loose wheel needed looking at, and son Tim would now take over for the final hour.

Keith Webster had built a lead of well over 30 seconds at this point, enough to cover his additional pit-stop success penalty, and took his stop with 51 minutes to go, leaving Ed Cockill to take the lead. Also stopping now were Simon Roche (to Simon Mason), Anthony Wilds (to dad Mike), and Adam Hayes, while back in again so quickly was Mike Robinson, sadly retiring the TCR-run SEAT.

The Safety Car was deployed at the half-way mark, conveniently aiding the mandatory pit stop timing for most. Nicola Gillatt had taken over the errant #88 Mazda, but had stopped out on the circuit, and needed recovering. Leader Cockill took the advantage, as did Skid Carrera in the #0 Mazda “guest car”, handing over to Anthony Shemmans, and Wayne Gibson too, with Kevin Clarke taking over the Intersport E92.  It was a short caution period, just three laps, and some were caught out by the early withdrawal of the  Safety Car, with leader Tom Howard’s BMW following it into the pitlane, along with Chris Knox in the Intersport Mini Cooper, and strangely, Tim Adams, who performed a self-imposed drive-through.  Tom Howard’s good work was somewhat undone by the necessity to change tyres, and with only trolley jacks, and with five-stud wheel fixings, the newly-formed Mike Moss Racing team were up against it time-wise, and Moss rejoined in sixth place.

Thruxton’s abrasive surface was taking its toll now – Tim Adams was constantly wild through the Club Chicane, and even Kevin Clarke has a grassy moment as he straight-lined the second half of it, while Ed Cockill was visibly struggling with grip, and when he totally failed to negotiate the Chicane on lap 47, taking a wide line round the outside due to a front left puncture, it was time to pit the red SEAT for some attention.  Once the tyre was fixed, though, the car developed an electrical fault, and retired after a few more laps, a devastating end after a superb performance.

Having little concern, though, were Mark Cunningham, Simon Mason, and Matt Nicoll-Jones, hauling the Academy Motorsport Ginetta G40 through the order after a solid opening stint by novice Chris Webster. It was Cunningham and Mason, along with Kevin Clarke, that provided the late-race excitement, in fact. Mason, in the Fauldsport SEAT, a lap down on the leaders, but leading Class 2, was giving second-placed Clarke a hard time in his efforts to get a lap back. Quite why the black BMW E92 defended so vigorously was identified after the race; “We didn’t have a radio – it’s still in our Mosler – so I thought I was fighting for position” said the laconic Brummie. Mark Cunningham was on a flyer, though, and Clarke’s distraction aided his cause, taking three seconds a lap out of the gap ahead. It didn’t help, either, that Clarke’s tyres were now shredded like an aromatic duck starter from a Chinese takeaway, and as the clock ticked down, Cunningham got past, and Mason got his lap back too.

Mike Wilds, leading Class 3, made a late lurch for the pits in the Ing Sport BMW, but didn’t quite make it, and circulated a couple more times before pitting very near the end of the race. Fuel maybe? The car has been known to have a thirst when the father and son duo have be “on it”, but this was for safety reasons, to secure a loose battery. Also pitbound was Tim Adams in the Damax BMW, and this was a fuel issue, but with no remedy; the team had fuelled the car up at the circuit filling station, and had no means of making a splash and dash, leaving the totally frustrated 17-year old to sacrifice the Class 3 runner-up spot after what had been stunning drives from him and his dad.

Keith Webster took the flag after 62 laps. Yes, he had broken sweat, but this hadn’t been a difficult race for him – a flawless drive in a flawless car – or was it?  “The team gave me a faultless car, and it was a case of managing the tyres, but there were times when I was daydreaming – I went off at Church twice during the race – and had to re-focus” he said.

Mark Cunningham was delighted at second place, though nearly three-quarters of a minute adrift of the winning BMW, and felt redemption after a traumatic few months for the family; “I’m pleased – because of our performance, of course, but because it’s made dad happy again as well. The car was mega, awesome, today. We really didn’t know which way to go, but we found such a sweet set-up”.

Simon Mason put in his usual stunning second stint to bag Class 2 honours in the Fauldsport SEAT started by Simon Roche. “It was grunt and grip – Kevin had the grunt, I had the grip” he said, referring to the battle with the Intersport BMW, adding “The team gave us a brilliant car, so we had to look after it, but I didn’t expect this result”. Redemption, too, for Mike Moss, who capitalised on Tom Howard’s great opening stint to claim the best result yet for the season, and the first as a self-run team. Just 18 seconds adrift from the Class-winning SEAT, they might have won the class were it not for the trolley-jack wheel-change…………..

The claw-back of the race had to be the little Academy Ginetta G40, which the vastly experienced Matt Nicholl-Jones brought up to third in Class 3 after Chris Webster’s solid stint in the first half of the race.

Despite the late stop, Anthony and Mike Wilds secured the Class 3 win, and Chris Randall rapidly familiarised himself with Teutonic efficiency to seize the Class 3 runner-up spot in Richard Bennett’s glorious Porsche 993, with fellow Production Sportscar exponent Guillaume Gruchet taking third in his Boxster.

It was a popular Class 4 victory for the Intersport Mini Cooper of Duncan Rogers and Chris Knox. Marque expert Knox has been omnipresent in the Intersport garage this season on a consultancy basis, and his partnering of novice Rogers for this race paid off. Second in class, after a fine debut drive were Skid Carrera and Anthony Shemmans in the #0 MGA Motorsport Mazda MX5.


Excellent Britcar Thruxton Coverage in Picturesports Magazine

Picturesports Magazine has an excellent, photo based, coverage of last weekends race meeting for the Britcar Production Cup and Production Sportscars at Thruxton.

You can read the issue by following this link:

Britcar Production Sports Cup Round 3 Report, Rockingham June 1st.

Britcar Production Sports Cup

R3, Rockingham, June 1st

Keith Webster made a triumphant return to the championship at Rockingham, sharing the Geoff Steel Racing BMW E36 with regular pilot Michael Symons to take victory in the 90-minute race, which featured a smattering of Production Sportscar runners. It could have been different though; Mark Cunningham’s Seat Supercopa led for a great deal of the race, before an incident in the closing stages.


Once again, the TCR-run Class 2 Supercopa of Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson annexed pole, with lone driver Cunningham’s Class 1 variant alongside. Kevin Clarke and Wayne Gibson, after a disappointing start to the season in the BEC, rejoined the Production field in the Intersport BMW E92, and, after a cautious start, Clarke posted third-best time in the later stages of the session. The Cockill brother’s Seat was next up, with Harry suffering with a nasty virus, then the Bubble and Kick BMW M3, which had topped the timesheets in the opening 10 minutes of the session, and thereby hangs a tale; both Tom Howard and Mike Moss, unfamiliar with the track configuration, had used a little more of the kerbs than the officials were happy with, and had their initial times disallowed for exceeding the track limits. Languishing mid-grid was the usual pole-shooter, the Symons/Webster BMW, a rear shock absorber having pierced the boot tray after Symons had done just four laps. Luckily, the Geoff Steel team had an E92 display car in the garage, which was rapidly raided for parts

The Class 3 battle is getting interesting now that the Westlake Seat Toledo is running well, but it was the Ing Sport BMW 320i of Ian Lawson and Anthony Wilds which took the class pole, a worrying second and a half faster than Thompson and Hayes in the Toledo. Splitting them on the grid was the returning Lohen Mini Cooper, Clio Cup regular Luke Wright and team boss Andrey Magiy doing a supreme job of claiming the Class 4 pole, ahead of the Cefferty/Whitmore Mazda, and the misfiring Mini Cooper of Duncan Rogers and Danny Russell; a faulty, and welded-in Lamda sensor was identified and fixed.

Guilame Gruchet’s Boxster headed the Production Sportscar contingent, running as a Class 3 invitee, with the Nicola Gillatt/Mike Gorton heading Class 3 of the group, after lone driver Chrissy Palmer did just a handful of qualifying laps nursing a clutch issue.



The black Seats of Robinson and Cunningham blasted away side-by-side as the red lights went out, and it stayed that way for much of the opening lap. Wayne Gibson thrust the nose of the BMW E92 between them, but thought better of it as they rounded the Turn 1 banking. Gibson, in fact, had trouble holding on to third place, and during the second lap, both Edward Cockill’s Seat and Tom Howard’s BMW had got ahead.

Cunningham was in no mood to hang around, though, and in a haze of tyre smoke, dived down the inside of Robinson at the Deene Hairpin on lap two, and was into the lead. Gibson, fifth, was ahead of Chris Hart’s Tracktorque Seat, which headed an internecine BMW skirmish; Robert Day had overtaken Mark Radcliffe, and Michael Symons had tagged onto the back of the battle. Within a lap, all three had dumped Hart’s Spanish interloper down the order, but it wasn’t without incident, a clash with Day’s BMW displaying battle scars on the Seat. Radcliffe got his place back next time round, and Symons was taking no prisoners, disposing of Day, then trying a move on Radcliffe, on consecutive laps. Gibson was clearly struggling for grip, and ran wide at Tarzan, letting both Radcliffe and Symons through. Day was the next to take the ailing Gibson, the Intersport team now reporting a possible flat-spotted tyre for the E92’s demise. It wasn’t over yet though – Symons got past Radcliffe at Deene, and Tom Howard’s pursuit of Ed Cockill came good on lap 10. Phew !

What about the classes? Andy Thompson had seized the Class 3 lead, and the Toledo now headed Ian Lawson’s BMW, whilst Luke Wright’s Mini-Cooper was in front in Class 4. Dave Whitmore was making up ground in the red MGA Mazda MX5, and was closing in on Duncan Rogers’ Mini Cooper, and there had been action in the Sportscar class too; erstwhile leader Guillaume Gruchet (Boxster) had been relieved of the lead by Mike Gorton’s Mazda, and was now dicing with Chrissy Palmer’s similar car.

Just before the first 30 minutes elapsed, second-placed Mike Robinson pulled off the Seat at Yentwood, causing the deployment of the Safety Car. A little early for mandatory stops perhaps, but you take your chances where you can, and both Hart’s Seat and Lawson’s BMW took the opportunity, followed by Nick Adams, handing the Damax BMW 320 to son Nick, and Gruchet’s Boxster. The TCR Seat was recovered to the pitlane, where terminal engine failure was diagnosed, and Rob Day pitted his BMW just as the caution was lifted. Nick Adams was door-stepped by pitlane commentator Jamie Peters-Ennis, and commented  ”We’re running our own race – let’s see how the Safety Car plays out”. Not too well for them, as it happened, as the white BMW came to a smoky demise on the infield, signalling the end for 17-year old Tim. Symons had got the bit between his teeth since the Safety Car had come in, and had taken both Cockill and Howard, and was now in second place.

Howard, it seems, was having problems in the Bubble and Kick BMW, and Cockill re-assumed third place around the halfway point of the race. The Kent hotshoe was on a roll though, surprising Symons with a power move across the line, though the orange BMW got the place back when the red Seat ran wide at the hairpin.

The Production Cup runners seem a scrupulous bunch, and share their race duties 50:50, so the period around the midpoint of the race saw a raft of mandatory stops. Not coming back out, though, was the Bubble and Kick BMW, Mike Moss being left as a spectator when the car was retired with engine problems. A virus-stricken Harry Cockill resumed in the HE Racing Seat, his woes compounded by a troublesome diff and subsequent lack of traction. Wayne Gibson took it almost up to the hour mark before handing the Intersport E92 to Kevin Clarke, reporting a suspected clutch issue, and Mark Cunningham pitted from the lead a few minutes later, along with Andy Thompson, the Toledo at this point holding the Class 3 lead. Staying out, though, and assuming the overall lead for a while, was the impressive Lohen Mini Cooper, Luke Wright tasting glory for one further lap before handing over to team boss Andrey Magiy.

Going into the final 30 minutes, with all pit stops now taken, the race was still open. Adam Hayes, having taken over the #9 Intersport BMW from Radcliffe, was trading places with Keith Webster, who had relieved Symons in the Geoff Steel E36, but then Hayes fell prey to the recovering Henry Dawes, who was now in the damaged Tracktorque Seat. Nothing has been said yet about the Fauldsport Seat Supercopa; Simon Mason had qualified much as expected – third in Class 2 – and Simon Roche had done his usual solid opening stint. Mason was now on board, third in class, and eighth overall. More on this story to come.

Chrissy Palmer got his knuckles rapped for exceeding the track limits, and duly took the Mazda slowly through the pit lane to execute his penalty. He was back in again next lap too, apparently unsure that he had registered on the timing screen, and making doubly sure.

Adam Hayes reclaimed his place back from Henry Dawes, and Keith Webster had by now taken Kevin Clarke’s E92 for second place, and the amateur stopwatch boffins were now debating whether he could catch Cunningham’s Seat before the finish. It became academic, though, because the black Seat cruised slowly across the line with just 15 minutes to go, around the same time that Nicola Gillatt, now in the white MGA Mazda, was shown the driving standards flag. There had been a lapping misunderstanding, and the contact was enough for Cunningham pit for lengthy inspection, but to come back out at the end to post as the last classified finisher.

So Webster now led, and this was the point where it all came good for Simon Mason. He was now at the tail-end of a three-way fight for third, with flu-ridden Harry Cockill in front, and Adam Hayes in the middle, all covered by less than a second. Hayes spun the BMW at the Deene hairpin, then Cockill ran wide onto the gravel at the other hairpin, Tarzan, and with just eight minutes to go, third place and the Class 2 win was cut and dried for the Fauldsport Seat.

So, who could have predicted all this? A win for Webster after a lay-off from Britcar of over a year (and a second of the season for Symons), the Clarke/Gibson pairing forsaking the BEC and finding success in the previously recalcitrant E92, and Simon’s Roche and Mason on the podium.

The Cockill brothers battled illness and an iffy diff to bag enough points to consolidate their title chase, and the Hayes/Radcliffe and Hart/Dawes pairings were both third in their respective classes. Rob Day and Paul Phipps finished just shy of the Class 1 podium, but Day, certainly, had been hunting in the pack, and the team have at last got the car dialled-in.

Anthony Wilds spoiled the Westlake party once again, bagging the Class 3 win and fastest lap in his closing stint, after Andy Thompson and Cris Hayes had led earlier in the Toledo. Sportscar Series regular Guillaume Gruchet claimed the final class podium spot, and the victory in the race-within-a –race Sportscar event.

It was an impressive return for the Lohen Mini Cooper, with Clio expert Luke Wright and team boss Andrey Magiy showing the car’s true potential. They took the Class 4 win, ninth overall, ahead of the Ryan Cefferty/Dave Whitmore Mazda MX5, with the sister MGA Mazda of Mike Gorton and Nicola Gillatt third, and heading the Class 3 Sportscar race, ahead of Chrissy Palmer. Mature novices Danny Russell and Duncan Rogers were fourth in Class 4 after a solid run in the Intersport Mini Cooper.


Production Sportscars, Silverstone Round 2

Silverstone International, May 11th


Race 1 was combined with the Production Cup event, and a mid-pack spin by one of the leaders as the pack entered the first corner had a knock-on effect in the mid-field, in which Class 1 front-runners Rich Bennett (Porsche 993) and Guillame Gruchet (Boxster) got caught up, and were to play no further part in the race. This left Chrissy Palmer’s Class 3 Mazda MX5 to take the lead, and go onto an impressive win. Alan Broad, the only Class 1 runner to escape the first-corner carnage, finished a lap adrift, but behind him it was close, as the MGA Motorsport Mazdas of Ryan Cefferty/Dave Whitmore and Nicola Gillatt/Mike Gorton sandwiched the works car of Owen Mildenhall and Richard Aucock , all three separated by under five seconds at the flag.

Mark Ticehurst, in the other of the works Mazdas, was exhibiting body damage right from the first lap, and a trip through the gravel by co-driver David Hooper saw an end to their race 15 minutes before the end. Marcus Vivian also retired the pretty little Ginetta G20 roadster eight laps in.

Race 2, at the end of the day, was held on a damp track, and shortened by around six minutes to accommodate the curfew . Bennett started his Porsche 993 from the back row, but was unable to catch the flying Chrissy Palmer, who made it a clean sweep of overall and class wins for the day. Both made their mandatory pit stops late in the race, Palmer’s dad Chris urging him to get a move on to stave off the Porsche, but the gap was 22 seconds at the flag.

The Cefferty/Whitmore Mazda once again was the lead MGA car, third overall, in front of the works Mazda twins, the Mildenhall/Aucock machine finishing 11 seconds ahead of Ticehurst/Hooper car. Alan Broad was a distant second in the Class 1 standings, just seven seconds ahead of the Gillatt/Gorton Mazda, whilst again, Vivian’s Ginetta failed to go the distance.



Britcar Production Sportscars

Silverstone International, May 11th


Race 1, combined with the Production Cup field, saw the frontrunning Porsches of Richard Bennett and Guillame Gruchet wiped out in first-corner midfield saloon mayhem, leaving Chrissy Palmer’s Mazda MX5 to take the overall and Class 3 wins, ahead of Alan Broad’s Porsche 944, the only class 1 runner to avoid the carnage.  The works Mazda of Ticehurst/Hooper suffered damage that caused it’s retirement, while team-mates Mildenhall/Aucock came home fourth overall.

Race 2, running close to the curfew, was curtailed by five minutes. Chrissy Palmer made it a clean sweep of overall and class honours, fending off back-row starter Richard Bennetts’ Class 1 Porsche 993 towards the end.


Full Report to follow.


Production TV

Don’t forget to set your PVR’s to record the highlights of round 1 of the Britcar Production Cup and Britcar Production Sportscars from Donington.  The show will be aired at 17:50 on Motors TV on Friday 10th May.

Mazda to race two MX-5 sportscars at Silverstone

  • Pair of 130mph Mazda MX-5 convertibles to contest Britcar Production Sportscar Series
  • Race-prepared by Jota Sport, 160ps 2.0-litre cars will be mechanically standard
  • Four drivers to tackle two 45 minute races on the International Circuit


Mazda UK is returning to the race track next month, entering a pair of Mazda MX-5 sportscars in the Britcar Production Sportscar Series event at Silverstone on Saturday 11 May.


The two 130mph racecars, sponsored by SMH Fleet Solutions, Mazda Financial Services, Total Lubricants, Sparco and Jota Aviation, are based closely on the soft-top Mazda MX-5 Sport Tech models powered by a 160ps 2.0-litre MZR engine with a smooth-shifting six-speed manual transmission and fitted with a Limited Slip Differential (LSD) for enhanced handling precision.


Racing on Silverstone’s nine-corner, 1.85-mile long International Circuit plays to MX-5 sportscar’s strengths of outstanding handling, 50:50 weight distribution and agility, especially through the corners. The second round of the Britcar Production Sportscar series poses an exciting proposition to defy convention, taking on the more powerful Porsche, Ginetta and Mazda teams contesting in the two 45-minute races.


This is the fifth time Mazda UK has entered Britcar and this year sees two regular experienced Mazda works drivers Mark Ticehurst, 42 from Hassocks, West Sussex and motoring journalist and racing driver Owen Mildenhall aged 40 from Bexleyheath, partnering up to drive the production MX-5 race cars with Motoring Research journalist Richard Aucock and previous Mazda MX-5 Britcar competitor, David Hooper from Wheel World Reviews.


Following a successful result in the 2011 Britcar Dunlop Production GTN Championship 2011, the MX-5 production race car secured three podium finishes, placing the car fourth in class and seventh overall for the 2011 season.


“Mazda performed well with these cars in 2011 and is delighted to get back into motorsport by taking our iconic roadster to the most famous circuit in Britain,” comments Graeme Fudge, PR Director, Mazda UK.  “Fun-to-drive characteristics are at the very heart of our legendary and immensely popular Mazda MX-5 sportscar, which remains unrivalled as an exhilarating motor that can also be used everyday.


“With its front-engined, rear-wheel drive chassis, the lightweight MX-5 delivers perfectly balanced handling, a thrilling drive and our Japanese brand’s unique ‘Jinba Ittai’ nimble handling finesse.  Unsurprisingly, it’s still the world’s best-selling two seater sportscar and has been voted ‘Best Roadster’ by Auto Express magazine for six years in a row,” adds Fudge.


Prepared by Jota Sport, the MX-5 racecar duo are mechanically standard and feature safety modifications which include FIA-compliant racing seat and driver harness, full roll-cage, competition steering wheel and alloy wheels, fire extinguisher, external electric cut-off switches and safety catches on the bonnet and boot.  Non-essential interior components are removed to reduce weight.


All the racing action from Silverstone is scheduled to be featured on Motors TV at 18.00hrs on Friday 31 May 2013.


The 2013 Mazda MX-5 road car line-up offers customers a choice of four soft-top and six roadster coupe models with a powered folding roof.  Prices start at £18,495 (OTR) for the 126ps, 1.8-litre SE Air Con soft-top with five-speed manual transmission and peak at £23,695 for the 160ps, 2.0-litre Powershift roadster coupe.


Details of the latest Mazda promotions and finance offers visit