The typical mad close to an endurance race this is becoming.
The 2010 Britcar 24 Hours briefly became a game of 'strategy chicken' between the lead pair as the Ferrari and Porsche teams tried to second guess whether they needed to pit again.
With the battle for the lead almost the only fight in the top it became a battle of John Gaw – back in the cockpit for MJC Limited against Mikael Nykjear in the Jet Alliance car.
From a starting point of a 36 seconds Gaw gnawed at the lead by a handful of seconds a lap, closing in for the pass as the race entered its final ninety minutes. The gap fell from seconds to a fraction of a second within half a dozen laps, Gaw only briefly hesitating behind the Porsche as the pair fought though the traffic of the slower cars, a fight that included an opposite lock slide at Stowe as the Ferrari tried to pass the Ford Escort Cosworth.
The move was completed on lap 533, with 72 minutes still remaining in the race when Gaw slid past into Becketts. Just as he had gained on the Porsche he began to pull away – a handful of seconds a lap – taking a 1.6 second lead on the same lap he completed the move, which increased to 3.9 seconds a lap later.
The great unknown was fuel mileage. The Porsche remained on track even after being demoted to second place. Instead with just over an hour it was the leader who blinked first, Gaw bringing the car in, the team fitting intermediate tyres in the place of the wets that had carried the car through the lead battle since the dark hours.
The stop – adhering as closely as possible to the 90 second minimum time for Britcar pitstops – dropped Gaw – just under ninety seconds behind the Porsche, but the possibility of another Porsche stop still to come as Gaw resumed his relentless progress into the lead, seconds at a time.
Elsewhere among the top runners the no.45 Welch Motorsport SEAT, that includes Archie Hamilton on its driving staff, took eleventh overall and sixth in class by passing the no.52 Vantage Racing Aston. There were problems for another of the front runners elsewhere in Class Three the KG Motorsport BMW suffering having lost sixth gear and unsure whether the remaining gears would hold together enough to preserve their ninth overall.
In the final class the Ginetta still leads, but a change for second place was the Cox Family Ford Escort Cosworth has passed the Saxon run Honda Civic, leaving the no.81 car three laps behind with just 60 minutes remaining.
Class Standings After 23 Hours
1 No.8 MJC Limited – Ferrari 430 GTC
2 No.1 Topcat Racing – Mosler MT900R GT2
3 No.4 Strata 21 – Mosler MT900R GT2
1 No.22 Jet Alliance – Porsche 997
2 No.21 Topcat Racing – Marcos Mantis GT3
3 No.19 Chesterton Commercial Holdings – Marcos Mantis GT3
1 No.42 Neil Garner Racing – Porsche 996 GT3 Cup
2 No.38 AMR Jota Sport – Aston Martin N24 GT4
3 No.44 Welch Motorsport – Seat Leon Supercopa
1 No.83 Team LNT – Ginetta G40
2 No.73 Dave Cox Motorsport – Ford Escort Cosworth
3 No.81 Saxon Motorsport – Honda Civic Type R