Calum Lockie claimed victory in both MSA Britcar Dunlop Endurance Championship races at Donington Park despite a regulation change designed to handicap cars running with just a pro driver. The FF Corse driver ran alone as his partner David Mason is awaiting clearance from doctors to race again after illness, clearance which is expected before the championship heads to Snetterton for round 3.
The regulation change, notified via the Britcar24hr.co.uk website on 15th July. The announcement says, “Due to circumstances beyond our control, relative to two driver teams, it has been seen that if the “faster driver” has to do the race on his own, due to illness or other unforeseen circumstances relative to his co-driver, that could be seen to be an advantage for that car against the rest of the field. Therefore we are implementing through the Championship Organisers decision in the 2015 Sporting and Technical Regulations section 5.2.5 an additional penalty pit stop of 90 seconds, line to line, in any races up to 3 hours and 1 lap as of 15th July 2015.”
Qualifying gave hope of a different story as both the #6 Rapier of Mike Millard and the #8 Radical SR2 of British GT4 racer Osman Yusef outpaced the Ferrari 458 Challenge. Lockie topped class 2 with the BMWs of Rollcentre Racing’s Martin Short and Saxon Motorsport’s Nick Barrow. Nick Holden in the Neil Garner Motorsport run Ariel Atom struggled for pace due to electrical problems which left him with no dashboard and reduced power. He took third in class 3 and sixth overall.
A trip into the gravel for Danny Holland made for an inauspicious start to Team BRIT’s Britcar career. Danny Holland drove alone for both the races in the Newbridge Motorsport prepared Volkswagen Golf but put in only three slow laps in qualifying to start in 12th place for race 1.
Come the start of the first race it was Lockie who immediately impressed, pushing into second place on the run into Redgate corner, displacing the #6 of Millard while the #8 raced away. With an additional 90 second stop to serve, Lockie did all he could to take the lead but began to fall back on the Radical. A safety car saved the FF Corse team’s bacon though and smart pit strategy had the Ferrari into the pit lane on consecutive laps. First it was for tyres, then for fuel.
Both Millard and Yusef left their stops until the safety car came in which handed the lead to Lockie. He never gave up the top spot and went on to build a lap advantage over Millard. Accident damage did for the #8 Radical of Yusef which dropped out after 38 laps.
First to fall was the #63 Volkswagen Scirocco TDi of Team HARD, victim of a broken exhaust manifold on the first lap. The Aston Martin Vantage GT4 of the Browns retired as a result of accident damage too, bringing out the safety car on lap 32. The damage initially looked superficial and the team were confident of getting the car back out for race 2. The shunt damaged a suspension arm though and the team didn’t have a spare which put them out of the day’s action.
The Saxon Motorsport BMW 150 GTR retired on lap 43, slowing to a halt with a mechanical problem the team had fixed in plenty of time for the second race. Both the #57 Moss Motorsport BMW M3 and the #66 BMW M3 Compact of Martin Schiele were delayed too. The Moss machine took a trip through the gravel but was dragged to a place of safety from which it was able to rejoin the race. Mike Moss’ machine went on to finish in sixth overall and second in class behind the Holden driven Atom in 4th and Luca Demarchi in the diesel powered Saxon 1-Series which took class 4 victory.
Martin Schiele in the M3 Compact drove a quiet race until the penultimate lap when he parked the car in the garage. Thankfully the car had completed enough distance to claim third in class 4. Danny Holland’s Britcar debut ended in 8th place, 4th in class 4.
Race two was a different story, with the Ferrari of Lockie flying away at the start to an uncontested victory. An eight car field, boosted by the inclusion of Team HARD’s Scirocco and the Team BRIT Golf, put on what display they could but the only battle came for the final podium spot.
Osman Yusef managed only four tours in his repaired Radical before an impressive engine failure left the car stranded in the pits, and several litres of oil through Coppice, the Exhibition Straight and in the final chicane. The second class 1 entry, the Rapier of Mike Millard was also in trouble, managing just 24 laps compared to the winning class 2 car, after frequent visits to the pit lane with engine troubles.
The class 1 troubles gave the Rollcentre BMW of Martin Short and Richard Neary its time to shine, finishing two laps behind Lockie but in second place overall. He was well clear of the #35 Atom of Holden who fought off attention from the former Nurburgring class winning BMW of Saxon Motorsport in the closest finish of the day. The Atom and the BMW were split by just 12.9 seconds at the end of the 90 minute race.
Danny Holland won the invitational battle for Team BRIT ahead of the Heward/Wilson Scirroco. This was just the start of his good weekend, prompting an invite to join the Britcar Trophy Series field on Sunday. Two class wins and the Driver of the Day award was Danny Holland’s reward for a second day of action. The 22GT Aston Martin didn’t take part after its race 1 shunt.
The championship now heads to Snetterton and the 300 circuit for round 3 on the final weekend in August.