Matt Bell and Charles Bateman scored United Autosports’ second win in three races, taking victory at the Avon Tyres British GT Championship’s headline three hour race at Silverstone.
Despite the duration of the race it was a straight forward race for the pairing, in only their third race together in the team’s McLaren MP4-12C GT3 car. Starting from fifth place Bateman moved up to third place before making the first of three mandatory pitstops in the race, handing over to Matt Bell.
Initially in second place Bell inherited the lead when mechanical issues took the leading Team WFR Ginetta G55 out of contention. However, Bell then lost the lead to the McLaren of reigning champion Glynn Geddie, though he too would drop out contention for the lead before half distance, his Apex Motorsport team penalised for not observing the minimum pitstop time during their first visit to the pitlane.
From that point on Bell, then Bateman in his second stint, then Bell again held a steady, though not entirely commanding lead over the second placed team – at the flag Ecurie Ecosse – though Bell had to contend with fading car in the closing laps. His lead fell to just 12.5 seconds in the closing laps, before late race problems forced Ollie Hancock in the chasing BMW to back off to preserve his own position, trailing by 20 seconds at the end of three hours and 81 laps of racing.
“It was a long race, but it was a great result for the team. Lots of things could have gone wrong, thankfully it all went our way today,” said Bell. “United Autosports prepared a fantastic car and it ran brilliantly for the whole race. Our pit stops were excellent. McLaren has come a long way with the car so a big thank you to them. It was a tough race, but I’m not complaining; to take the win is a brilliant result. I couldn’t be happier.”
“It’s nice to win any race but to win the longest race, with the biggest grid, was the result we wanted,” added Richard Dean, team owner and managing director. “Both our drivers were faultless and drove a brilliant race. Our engineers and mechanics did a great job to understand these conditions and put us in a position to challenge for the win. The McLaren is still a new car so to take such a dominant victory is a great result today.”