The final hour of the 2011 Britcar 24 Hours was more like a coronation for the Eclipse Motorsport team as Michael McInerney led the team for a serene final 50 minutes to take the checkered flag to win Britain's most gruelling race for the first time in six attempts.
While the Ferrari continued to a win that had been a near certainty since the retirement of the Topcats Mosler earlier on Sunday.
Behind them the second and third place cars took their final pitstop on the same lap, American Hal Prewitt piloting the Lotus Evora trying to pry second place away from Karsten Le Blanc – tasked with bringing the Nicholas Mee Racing Aston Martin Vantage to the checkered flag.
Further uncertainty surrounded the destination of third place in Class Three and fourth overall. The Intersport team believed they could catch the Japanese crews 'Oriental Express' Marcos for the position, but a recurrence of a steering pin problem in the no.68 BMW ended their tilt for a class podium with forty minutes of the race remaining.
As ever in endurance racing there were stories up and down the grid. The Japanese crewed Marcos was just one, the Carvell Motorsport run VW Golf Mk III – coming home 13th after just 11 pitstops must be one of the best of the race.
There was heartbreak too. Already having gone through three driveshafts over the course of the race the no.52 Forza Motorsport 4 backed Toyota MR2 turned its last corner at Becketts just after the tow backs to the paddock were stopped before the end of the race.
The single Class Two finisher was the no.27 Topcats Racing Marcos Mantis.
Brunswick Automotive collected the Class Four victory their six lap advantage clearly showed they deserved. The Dutch Red Camel team and the Cox's BMW M3 CSL completed the Class Four podium
Full report to follow. When we have recovered.
2011 Britcar 24 Hours class leaders after hour 23
1 – No.2 Ferrari – McInerney/McInerney/Keen
2 – No.6 Aquila – Mustill/Berridge/Evans/Martin
3 – No.3 Mosler – Beaumont/Fletcher/Draper/Hetherington
1 – No.27 Marcos – Upton/Huggins/Fletcher/Orton
1 – No.49 Aston Martin – Le Blanc/Van Lanschot/De Zille/Nimkoff
2 – No.57 Lotus – Euser/Prewitt/Brody/Freebird/McKinnon
3 – No.53 Marcos – Shimojima/Seya/Kakiuchi/Kikuchi
1 – No.89 BMW – Griffiths/Green/Forsbrey/Kirkpatrick
2 – No.84 Seat – Breukers/Thijssen/Jensiew/Han
3 – No.77 BMW – Cox/Cox/Cox/Stubber