Michael Lyons and his Scuderia Vittoria teammate Charles Bateman ended their maiden Avon Tyres British GT campaign third in the championship points after a fighting performance in the season finale at Silverstone.
Practice – run on Friday in a change to the normal timetable – brought with it a number of problems, including a broken floor on the Ferrari 458, that needed to be cured before qualifying and the race both packed into Saturday.
Qualifying ended with the duo on tenth place, an early marker set by Lyons slipping down the timesheets as times improved during the session. However, Bateman – starting the race – overcame the midfield starting position to end a startling first lap in third, taking second at Brooklands on lap two, moving past David Ashburn in the no.1 Trackspeed Porsche.
Bateman, briefly ran faster times that the leader – Joe Osborne in a third United Autosports Audi R8 LMS – but as the race settled down Bateman fell back into a comfortable second place, a result which would have given the duo the title while their main rivals battled in the lower half of the top ten.
The turning point in the race came with a safety car period caused by a car off at the south end of the Northamptonshire track. Bateman pitted just the yellow flags flew but was shuffled back in the order under the safety car. Unable to mount a challenge for the lead with up to ten lapped cars between he and the leading Audi Lyons instead slipped back down the order to fifth after being passed by Glynn Geddie in the championship leading Ferrari 458.
With their title chances driving away with Geddie Lyons was called to serve a drive through penalty for not respecting track limits.
The loss of time dropped the 20-year-old to tenth, but he was able to battle back to seventh in the final half hour of racing. With the late race retirement of Matt Bell in the United Autosports Audi that had begun the weekend third in points the result was enough to haul Lyons and Bateman into third in points behind the pairing of Jim and Glynn Geddie and David Ashburn.
“What a race! So many ups and downs,” said Lyons. “At one point, I really thought we might do it, but obviously didn't want to say that out loud!”
“Ultimately, it was a bit deflating immediately after the race, but when I look now, I realise what an amazing year we've had. To finish 3rd in the championship in the first year and win two races too, is really good, and I was really pleased with my personal performance.”
“Now we head into the winter, but for me it doesn't mean it all stops. We need to finalise plans for next year, but I would love to come back to British GT and with the championship! Let's see.”