Morris and Parfitt Power to Silverstone 500 victory


Rick Parfitt and Seb Morris claimed Silverstone 500 victory. (Credit: Craig Robertson/RacePhotography.net)

Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt claimed GT3 victory for Team Parker Racing in the three-hour Silverstone 500 event, whilst Adam Mackay and Adam Balon bagged top honours for Track-Club in GT4.

The three-hour Silverstone contest began with the #31 Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental of Parfitt muscling his way into the GT3 lead ahead of pole-sitter Jack Mitchell‘s #24 Macmillan AMR Aston Martin Vantage.

In GT4, Will Tregurtha in the #55 HHC Motorsport Ginetta G55 stuttered away at the start and fell to third behind Ciaran Haggerty‘s McLaren and William Phillips‘ Aston Martin.

A spin for Derek Johnston through The Loop saw the #1 TF Sport Aston Martin driver drop to the back after having to agonisingly wait for the passing GT4 field to stream through before rejoining the circuit.

Tregurtha’s troubles were compounded on lap two, with the GT4 Championship leader taking to the gravel trap before retiring a couple of laps later.

In the early duel for fourth in GT3, Richard Neary spun the #88 Team ABBA Racing with Rollcentre Racing Mercedes whilst under significant pressure from Ian Loggie‘s #7 Bentley.

Tregurtha’s exit sparked a fierce early GT4 battle for the lead, with Haggerty dropping three positions in succession as Phillips claimed the class top spot.

Parfitt continued to extend his lead at the front, as second-placed Mitchell dropped into the clutches of the battling duo of Jon Minshaw in the #33 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan and Loggie’s Bentley.

A relentless wave of pressure saw Loggie finally battle past Minshaw, whilst Duncan Cameron in the #21 Spirit of Race SA Ferrari 488 spectacularly swept past Mark Farmer‘s #11 TF Sport Aston Martin for fifth in GT3.

Wheelguns sounded to signal the start of the pitstops, as Morris replaced Parfitt in the leading Bentley, relinquishing the overall lead.

Adam Christodoulou switched with Neary in the Team ABBA Mercedes GT3 to make his British GT debut, immediately suffering from drama after being forced onto the grass down the Hangar straight by the #53 UltraTek Racing Nissan 370z GT4 of Richard Taffinder, who received a drive-through penalty for his part in the incident.

Overall leader Mitchell then peeled into the pits, seeing the provisional lead handed to Minshaw who had yet to stop.

The first GT3 penalty of the afternoon was handed to the #7 Team Parker Racing Bentley of Loggie and Callum Macleod, with the pairing receiving a stop-go penalty for a short pitstop during their driver change.

An hour into the race, Minshaw maintained the overall GT3 lead on the road, however Morris’ Bentley was the lead GT3 car on the track to complete a stop – fourth overall in the standings.

Christodoulou faced heavy pressure from the probing Macleod in a clash for fifth, whilst the top three cars in GT3 streamed into the pits in quick succession, handing the overall lead back to Morris.

In GT4, the sole car not having completed a pitstop – the #111 Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 of Anna Walewska – handed over to Mike Simpson, seeing Jan Jonck reclaim the category lead in the #42 Macmillan Aston Martin.

Both the Macmillan AMR Aston Martins were fighting at the front in GT3 and GT4. (Craig Robertson/RacePhotography.net)

Trouble immediately struck the Macmillan car upon reclaiming top spot, taking to the gravel and being bundled down to 4th in GT4 as a result.

Snetterton race two pole-sitter Joe Osborne‘s difficult Silverstone weekend continued after suffering a right-front puncture, seeing the #56 Tolman Motorsport McLaren 570s shuffled down towards the bottom of GT4.

Light contact between the #6 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini of Sam Tordoff and Charlie Robertson‘s Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT3 through Woodcote allowed last year’s BTCC runner-up through into second in GT3.

A second pitstop as Morris handed back to Parfitt in the leading Bentley elevated James Littlejohn into top spot in GT3, but a pitstop for the Macmillan car a lap later saw Matt Griffin claim an ever-revolving GT3 first place.

Moments later, the sixth overall Bentley nearly saw their hopes of victory shattered at the 70-minute mark. Parfitt in the #31 TPR car launched down the inside of Farmer’s Aston Martin into Stowe corner, but the two made contact, with Pariftt emerging unscathed whilst Farmer spun as a result of an overzealous blocking attempt.

The first major incident of the event came only soon after, with the sixth-placed #7 Bentley of Loggie making heavy contact with the Copse corner barriers after losing control through the sweeping right-hander. Despite significant damage to the rear of the car, Loggie emerged unharmed from the battered Bentley.

Ian Loggie and Callum Macleod’s late charge ended with a crash at Copse. (Credit: Craig Robertson/RacePhotography.net)

Undeterred by his teammate’s accident, Parfitt swept into the pitlane for the #31 Bentley’s third and final stop, handing over to Morris for the final stint as the Team Parker Racing outfit waited patiently for the remainder of the GT3 field ahead to make their necessary stops.

Heading into the final 40 minutes, both the Barwell Lamborghinis had only completed one of their three mandatory scheduled stops, hoping that their radical late-stopping strategy might payoff in the event of a safety car.

A crucial penalty in GT4 saw the second-placed Black Bull Garage 59 McLaren 570s of Haggerty and Sandy Mitchell stamped with a drive-through penalty for breaching track limits under yellow flags.

Ryan Ratcliffe in the #30 AMDTuning.com Mercedes suffered a high-speed spin late on after clipping the curb too aggressively at Club corner, luckily evading oncoming traffic before rejoining 9th overall in GT3.

As the remainder of the GT3 field flooded into the pits for their final stops, Morris had only the Ferrari 488 of Griffin ahead – who had yet to make his final stop – sweeping spectacularly through at Maggots to finally surge into the overall lead.

Griffin’s final stop dropped the Ferrari back to third, leaving the lead gap between Morris and second-placed Littlejohn at a comfortable 54 seconds with only a couple of laps remaining.

Whilst the GT3 front battle was all but settled, a three-car battle raged after the final pitstops in GT4, with the #72 Track-Club McLaren of Mackay emerging into the lead six seconds ahead of Matt Nicoll-Jones‘ #62 Academy Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage – with the #29 In2Racing McLaren 570s of Matthew Graham rapidly closing in third.

Morris motored home to seal a dominant GT3 victory for Team Parker Racing alongside partner Parfitt, whilst Littlejohn and Mitchell’s Macmillan Aston battled to second ahead of the Spirit of Race pairing of Cameron and Griffin.

In GT4, Mackay blazed across the line to bag victory alongside Balon for Track-Club, with Nicoll-Jones and Will Moore‘s Academy Motorsport Aston Martin sealing second narrowly in front of Graham and Marcus Hoggarth‘s In2Racing McLaren.

Adam Mackay and Adam Balon sealed GT4 victory in the Track-Club McLaren. (Craig Robertson/RacePhotography.net)