As Sunday’s daylight established itself at the Dunlop 24 at Silverstone the Grand Prix track began to come back to the teams, pitcrews swapping their cars back onto slick tyres and more and more drivers began to set their fastest laps of the race.
During the three hours of running to the 18 hour mark at 10am a lack of safety car interventions allowed the race to settle into some sort of rhythm with the lead being swapped back and fourth between the Simpson Motorsport Audi and the Beechdean AMR Aston Martin. As you would expect, being a Class 1 entry compared the GT4 Vantage in Class 3, the Audi had the better pure pace but the Beechdean crew were able to run fractionally longer stints and perform slightly quicker pitstops, though with minimum times governing the stops the time made up was minimal.
The 18th hour ended with the Aston in the lead, but with the Audi gaining back time awaiting their rival’s next scheduled pitstop.
The SEAT of St Bas Koeten Racing is third overall, leading Class four ahead of the Cor Euser Racing Lotus Evora and the Speedworks Motorsport Aston Martin, the pair second and third in Class 3 behind the Beechdean entry.
The Speedworks car was – one way or another – involved in two of the major incidents of the three hours.
It had already planted the seed of one hours earlier when it clashed with the Team LNT Ginetta-Nissan at Vale. The Ginetta LMP3 was damaged in the initial contact, losing time to repairs but – unbeknown to the team, a fragment of bodywork had worked its way into the exhaust of the machine. Eventually it caught fire, burning through the wiring and causing the throttle to hang open. Unaware of the exact cause and nature of the problem Charlie Robertson opted to put the car into the gravel.
At almost the same time as the Ginetta was being recovered back to the pits the Speedworks car clashed with the Class 2 leading Topcats Racing Marcos Mantis. While the Aston was damaged – and was issued a 60 second penalty for avoidable contact – the Marcos came off much worse, being brought back to the pitlane on a recovery truck with a heavily damaged front end.
The Red Camel-Jordans.nl SEAT continues to dominate Class 5 from 9th overall while the #91 MARC Cars Australia inherited the Class 2 lead from the unfortunate Marcos. That was despite the Anglo-Australian team having to be pushed down the pitlane.
2015 Dunlop 24 Hours at Silverstone overall standings after 18 hours:
1 – #35 Beechdean Motorsport Aston Martin – C3 – Andrew Howard/Jonny Adam/Ross Gunn/Jamie Chadwick/Harry Whale
2 – #8 Simpson Motorsport Audi – C1 – Peter Cook/Phillip Hopkins/Franck Pelle/Adam Sharpe/ Stephen Ritchie
3 – #50 St Bas Koeten Racing SEAT– C4 – Karel Gils Bessen/Roger Grouwels/Harry Hilders
4 – #37 Cor Euser Racing Lotus – C3 – Hal Prewitt/Joe Brody/Alistair MacKinnon/Dirk Schulz/Sam Alpass
5 – #41 Speedworks Motorsport Aston Martin – C3 – Anthony Hughes/John Gilbert/Ollie Hancock/Devon Modell
Other Class leaders
Class 2 – 91 MARC Cars Australia Ford – C2 – Tom Onslow-Cole/Ben Gersekowski/Paul White/Gary Jacobsen (12th overall)
Class 5 – #62 Red Camel – Jordans.nl – Ivo Breukers/Rick Breukers/Sjaco Griffoen (11th overall)