The Britcar Endurance Championship and Britcar Sports and Touring Car Championship seasons come to a close this weekend at Donington Park with the only ‘into the night’ race of the 2014 calendar. After an improved season, with the new format of two 90 minute races for the Endurance championship and the Sports and Touring Car field joining the second race to boost numbers, Britcar appears to be on the mend after a tough financial crisis. Also looking up are the fortunes of perennial Britcar entrants Neil Garner Motorsport and the Spanish pairing of Javier Morcillo and Manuel Cintrano.
At over a hundred points clear of class rival Mike Millard, the Mosler MT900 GT3 has returned the pair to class victory already. Only once since the inception of the Britcar Endurance Championship has Javier and Manuel failed to claim their class victory, last year when the now Avon Tyres British GT Championship entered Horsepower Racing Aston Martin took the class and Team Parker Racing claimed the overall title.
On the negative side of the ledger for Neil Garner Motorsport is the fact that only once in the five year history of the series as a class 1 car taken the title, thanks to Whit Gamski’s MJC entered Ferrari 430 in the inaugural year.
There is a challenger, in fact the Mosler would be termed the hopeful as the season comes to a close. The current points leader is a class 2 car, run by Ferrari experts FF Corse for the duo of David Mason and Calum Lockie. The Ferrari 458 has had a controversial season in a pro-am championship. At Snetterton and on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit Calum Lockie raced solo. Mason missed Snetterton due to family issues while personal injury forced him to miss the second visit to Northamptonshire for the season.
Combine that with the fact that Lockie’s first race at Snetterton was run on waivered tyres, the last two rounds of the championship have rammed the Ferrari into a solid championship lead.
Both title contenders played down their chances when thecheckeredflag.co.uk asked post-Silverstone. Morcillo cited the strong points lead and impressive pace of the modern GT Cup spec Ferrari. Lockie pointed out that the finale was being held in pure Mosler territory, the long straights and flowing corners of the Donington Park circuit.
Historically Donington hasn’t been kind to the Mosler crew. Issues at the same event last year put the pairing on the back foot for the Brands finale which handed the class to the GT3 spec Aston of Paul Bailey and Andy Schultz. The first visit to Castle Donington for this year also brought problems, including a small mistake from Manuel Cintrano which beached the Mosler in the gravel at Redgate, losing time and points.
As the third year for Neil Garner Motorsport running the Mosler and Morcillo/Cintrano effort, perhaps it will be a case of third time lucky?
Class 2 could change in theory but the dominance of the Ferrari pretty much assures Lockie and Mason the title. Only Guillaume Gruchet’s Porsche 997 GT3 Cup run by Newbridge Motorsport can hope to topple the FF Corse machine. Gruchet’s season has been a second breakthrough on the trot. After an astounding first season in the Britcar Production Cup in 2013 the Frenchman stepped up to a sole driver effort in the main game. The advantage of sticking to a team he knows well was offset by a newer, bigger and more powerful car and a series on longer races but his performance has again been exemplary. With a 991 shaped cup car, Gruchet could well have been challenging for the overall win.
Class three was won half a season ago. Anna Walewska, Ian Donaldson and Kevin Clarke hold a 252 point advantage going into the final round. Their Intersport team mates Adam Hayes and Mark Radcliffe have had a decent season but the E46 M3 has been no match for the E92 M3 V8 GT4 built by the team.
The Sports and Touring Car Championship battle is much tighter and will go right down to the wire. Eleven points split the SEAT LEON of Zest Racing, with drivers Robert Taylor, Graham Cox and Gary Coulson from their main rivals Mike Moss and Tom Howard. The black and green Moss Motorsport BMW M3 will be better suited to the circuit at Donington Park but three more SEATs behind are all in a position to capitolise on the smallest error. Chris Hayes and Andy Thompson have 247 points to the 261 and 250 of the title leaders and Moss Motorsport pair respectively. 246 points belong to SG Racing and the father/son duo of Mark and Peter Cunningham while the Tracktorque SEAT, driven this season by a remarkable eight different drivers, has 239.
Thirty-one points split the top six cars in the class 4 battle.
The trophies are to be awarded at 20:00 on Saturday evening so we will soon know all the answers for 2014. Thecheckeredflag.co.uk will be covering all the action from both the Endurance and Sports and Touring Car Championship deciders. Then attention turns to the 2015 season and the near certain return of the Britcar/Silverstone 24 Hours race in April.