British Endurance ChampionshipEndurance RacingSportscars

Martin Short Shines In Brands Britcar Night Race

4 Mins read

Martin Short single-handedly won the final Britcar GT race of the season, snapping the streak of wins by the MJC Ltd Ferrari at the final opportunity.

Short – driving the new spec 'Super GT' Rollcentre Racing Mosler – had taken pole position around the Brands Hatch Indy circuit and was further rewarded when the second slot on the front row fell vacant after more misfortune hit the Aquila CR1.

The Danish car, fantastically rapid but frightening fragile in its previous outings showed both facets of its character in qualifying only losing pole to Short in the final minutes before the Aquila lost a left-rear wheel on the drag up towards Druids, suffering extensive suspension damage in the process. With the Britcar ranks squeezing qualifying and the race into a single day there was no time to effect a repair on the car and the machine, entered for drivers Phil Bennett and Rob Huff was withdrawn – a sad end to a week where the car had reportedly topped 180mph down the short Cooper Straight on the 1.2mile track.

Now relatively unchallenged Short was able to convert his pole to a lead on the rolling start and was able to pull out a significant lead. After just 15 laps Short had rattled up a 15 second lead and was putting the MJC boys a lap down. Witt Gamski – performing his normal duties of starting the Ferrari, the car performing its normal duty of being a handful on cold tyres with a full tank of fuel – had fallen to seventh, though he was able to move up to sixth past the Orbital Sound Lotus Elise of Chris Headlam.

Gamski's early torment was ended with a (very) early pitstop to hand over to Keith Robinson after just 18 minutes of the 90 minute encounter, though before Robinson could get in the car the safety car was scrambled to enable to recovery of the TVR Sagaris of Tim Hood, deposited firmly in the Druids gravel.

Robinson rejoined in the midfield and while others took the chance to make their mandatory pitstops Short stayed out, but saw a sixteen second advantage sliced in half over the Phil Keen piloted Eclipse Mosler.

Keen's challenge was not to last much longer.

Just after the race restarted an intermittent misfire reached critical mass, forcing a pitstop that would cost ten laps by the time Sean McInerney returned the car to the race.

Short eventually came in for his stop with just 24 minutes or the race left, maintaining a two lap lead over the MJC Ferrari – Keith Robinson having hauled the red and white machine through the production runners on track. And it was that two lap advantage that Short maintained to the end of the race, beating Robinson and Gamski to what would have been a formidable achievement.

The result was, of course, enough for the pair to clinch the championship, a positive Gamski was quick to highlight after the race. “The highlight of the year was taking maximum points in every race, and winning the 24 hours” said Witt, while Keith joked “the only problem we had with the car in a race was when the wiper arm failed at Silverstone – we'll have to talk to Michelotto [the car builder] about that”.

No perfect season for MJC - but still the champions

On their Britcar debut father and son team Ray and Alex MacDowall took the final step on the overall podium and the top step on the GT Class Three rostrum to boot. “I never expected this,” admitted the elder MacDowall, who shared a TCR fielded Ginetta G50 with his son. “I drove like a prat, and spun on the warm-up lap, and the first race lap.”

They were joined on the class three podium by the Spanish pairing of Javier Morcillo and Manuel Cintrano, who finished seventh overall in their Porsche. As the series looks ahead the duo are among those stepping up next season – when the championship receives MSA backing – already scheduled to race a Mosler.

The Barwell entered Ginetta finished third in the class for Mark Lemmer and Julian Draper despite being docked two laps for an infringement during the pitstop. “I thought it was the drivers that got the penalty, not the car,” rued team boss Lemmer. “If I'd have known that, I'd have brought the other car instead.” With the penalty laps the Barwell squad would have finished only one lap behind the MacDowalls.

They were not the only team to suffer pitstop delays. Both the Eclipse Mosler and the Topcats Racing Marcos of Steve and Jonny Hyde were forced to make late pitstops – inside the crucial final 15 minutes – the Hydes the latest to suffer the near-legendary late Topcats puncture, seemingly a fixture in any Britcar event.

The delay was enough to drop the pair in second place in Class Two, which was taken by Alistair James and Charlie Hollings in a Team Parker Racing Porsche Carrera Cup car.

The MacDowalls - Ray and Alex - won their class on debut

The championship will not return to Brands Hatch in 2011, a move which race winner Short supports in light of the changes the championship will undergo over the off season – changes exemplified by Morcillo and Cintrano's aforementioned plans.

“I was beginning to feel dizzy out there,” he said. “With the Brands Hatch GP circuit not available to us, it's just not feasible to have the cars we'll be running in 2011 on the Indy circuit for three hours.”

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About author
James is our Diet-Coke fuelled writer and has been with TCF pretty much since day 1, he can be found frequenting twitter at @_JBroomhead
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