The third hour of the race included the second safety car intervention of the race, brought out out by the RJN Nissan stopping on the inside of Copse Corner, reportedly with an engine failure that has added the GT Academy backed team to the list of early retirements.
The safety car tempted the leaders – the Strata 21 run Mosler – in from the lead, with their nearest challenger also taking the opportunity to swap starting driver Michael McInerney back into the car in place of Phil Keen.
Despite both teams stopping McInerney assumed the lead as the race restarted 20 minutes into the hour.
While both leaders were making their second stops the Class Four leader after the first two hours – the APO Sport SEAT was making its first driver change stop of the event, Alex Osbourne stepping aside after a mammoth stint in the SEAT Leon.
Though the McInerney's Ferrari remained at the top of the order two of their Class One rivals went in different directions. Trying to fight back from a pair of early penalties MJC were halted by a problem with the seat coming loose, Keith Robinson having to end his stint after only eighteen minutes when the problem struck. The delay knocked the no.1 car out of the top twenty, ending the hour a lowly 22nd overall.
Going in the opposite direction was the Aquila CR1. After a, reportedly, fuel pressure problem the car had fallen several laps off the lead. However, with John Martin in the car for his first stint of the race he reprised the pace had given him the pole position time by nearly five seconds.
The Australian has set the fastest time of the race so far (2:05.922) as he moves back up the order, fifth at the close of the hour.
With the early demise of the RJN Motorsports Nissan the Class Two field has thinned dramatically – now only the Rollcentre Racing run Ginetta G55 and the no.37 Topcats Racing Marcos running inside the top 40. The orange Ginetta leads the class at the end of the hour, running an impressive second overall, though a full lap down on McInerney.
APO Sport's stop, and additional problems have dropped them down the order, a full ten laps off of the Class Four pace set by the CTR Developments Lotus Elise, which itself has a lap lead over the Mardi Gras Motorsport Honda Integra.
Nicholas Mee Racing, leaders in Class Three after the second hour continue to lead the class, with a lap advantage over the Dorset Sports Cars Porsche and Scuderia Vittoria's Ginetta G50.
2011 Britcar 24 Hours Class Leaders after hour three:
1 – No.2 Ferrari – McInerney/McInerney/Keen
2 – No.3 Mosler – Beaumont/Fletcher/Draper/Hetherington
3 – No.6 Aquila – Mustill/Berridge/Evans/Martin
1 – No.30 Ginetta – Tomlinson/Short/Turkington/Simpson/Nicoll-Jones
2 – No.27 Marcos – Upton/Huggins/Fletcher/Orton
3 – No.31 Nissan – Buncombe/Ward/Mardenborough/Heitkotter
1 – No.49 Aston Martin – Le Blanc/van Lanschot/De Zille/Nimkoff
2 – No.66 Porsche – Winter/Mundy/Morris/Speed/Raven
3 – No.61 Ginetta – Denis/Jones/Spencer/Thorne
1 – No.83 Lotus – Chamberlain/Randeria/Fillingham/Webb
2 – No.88 Honda – Smail/Meins/Lillington-Price/Harding
3 – No.84 SEAT – Breukers/Thijssen/Jensiew/Han
Follow live coverage from The Checkered Flag here: http://www.thecheckeredflag.co.uk/2011/10/2011-britcar-24-hours-live-coverage//