The penultimate three hours of the Dunlop 24 Hours at Silverstone for 2015 was all about setting up the final three hours. Cars prepared for the dash to the flag, leaving three competitors stranded by the wayside. Beechdean Motorsport sailed calmly towards an outright victory while the class 1 cars continued to self destruct and other jockied for position.
First to drop out was the #8 Simpson Motorsport Audi R8 LMS, which first hit pit lane with a gear shift problem. The team labored to repair the fault, which was found to be electrical before sending the car back out to become stranded on the circuit later. Adam Sharpe later bemoaned on Twitter his inability to even finish a Britcar 24 Hour race.
The Audi wasn’t alone though, James Kaye had a massive shunt at Chapel Curve, hitting a concrete wall head on and wrecking the front end of the car for third time in three days. Team Russia by Barwell Motorsport had little choice but to retire the car, the most important bit of news is that James extracted himself from the car and is fine. The BMW M3 of JR Motorsport cant say the same after a lurid slide at Luffield put the car into the wall at speed. Again the driver was unharmed in the shunt but the car could no longer compete, the team are already packing away.
The class leaders then come in a strange order as the mix of fortunes spread the field in ever more imaginative ways. Beechdean AMR hold down the class 3 lead, despite the looming threat of a penalty from the stewards. The team manager was called to the race control building not long after a pit stop, but nothing more has been heard about the Vantage GT4. Second in the top class went to Cor Euser Racing in the #37 Lotus Evora with a troubled Speedworks Aston Martin in class 3rd.
The Speedworks car was involved in the race ending shunt which put the Topcats Racing Marcos Mantis #15 supposedly out of the race. At first we thought the punishment for the accident was exclusion for the entire car, but it was later made clear that it was just the responsible driver, John Gilbert who was no longer allowed to compete.
In class 4 the leader achieved a feat as impressive as the Beechdean effort. The Bas Koeten Racing SEAT has driven a fault free run to second overall and the head of the penultimate class. Nick Barrow‘s Saxon Motorsport BMW 135d was aided by diesel fuel consumption on the run to fifth overall and second in class ahead of the WEC Motorsport BMW M3 which resides in a relatively distant ninth place overall.
Our next class leader, in seventh overall, is the class 1 machine. This spares the Radical Motorsport RXC V8 the indignity of placing behind the class 5 leader. The car inherited the lead of the class after the Ginetta-Nissan of Team LNT suffered an accident and fire which put it in the garage for hours and disaster for the Audi. The LMP3 machine finally left the pit lane 100 laps off the lead. With the MJC Ferrari and Marco Schelp Porsche already long retired, the Radical finally had its day.
Second in class 1 went to the Simpson Motorsport machine which despite not turning a lap in an hour and a half, has enough laps in the bank feasibly to hold off the Team LNT Ginetta.
That gives us class 5 left and the astonishing run by Red Camel – Jordans.nl put the diesel SEAT in eighth place in the overall standings. Even the hobbled and much maligned Ford Fiesta of Mensley Motorsport is in seventeenth, and that is after a hub change which took hours. Don’t laugh at class 5, they may surprise you yet.
2015 Dunlop 24 Hours at Silverstone overall standings after 21 hours:
1 – #35 Beechdean Motorsport Aston Martin – C3 – Andrew Howard/Jonny Adam/Ross Gunn/Jamie Chadwick/Harry Whale
2 – #50 St Bas Koeten Racing SEAT– C4 – Karel Gils Bessen/Roger Grouwels/Harry Hilders
3 – #37 Cor Euser Racing Lotus – C3 – Hal Prewitt/Joe Brody/Alistair MacKinnon/Dirk Schulz/Sam Alpass
4 – #41 Speedworks Motorsport Aston Martin – C3 – Anthony Hughes/Ollie Hancock/Devon Modell
5 – #8 Saxon Motorsport BMW – C4 – Nick Barrow/Tom Barrow/Clint Bardwell/Richard Corbettt
Other Class leaders
Class 2 – 91 MARC Cars Australia Ford – C2 – Tom Onslow-Cole/Ben Gersekowski/Paul White/Gary Jacobsen (11th overall)
Class 5 – #62 Red Camel – Jordans.nl – Ivo Breukers/Rick Breukers/Sjaco Griffoen (8th overall)