40, 50, 40, 50, that’s the strategy Team Parker Racing dominated the blue riband Silverstone 500 with as they went daring with their pit schedule and reaped the results – their second win of the year.
At the start of the three-hour British GT showcase the team’s strategy – of only lightly fuelling the car and running shorter stints of 40 minutes for Rick Parfitt and 50 minutes for Seb Morris – helped Parfitt race round the outside of pole-sitter Jack Mitchell in the Macmillan AMR Aston Martin Vantage at the start and into a lead that looked pretty respectable by the end of the first lap.
Behind, pre-race talk that the Bentleys had good pace seemed to be coming good as – in addition to Parfitt in the lead – Ian Loggie was also going well in the second Team Parker Racing car as he got onto the rear of Richard Neary in the Team ABBA by Rollcentre Mercedes-AMG GT3 and went past him after a cheeky flash of the Bentley’s lights distracted Neary and sent him into a spin.
Loggie would go on to overtake championship leader Jon Minshaw in the Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 as well to claim third place, all that in the first 15 minute of the race – not too shabby.
Also not too shabby was the progress being made by part-time TV actor Kelvin Fletcher in the Team RJN Nissan 370Z in the GT4 class, starting in the mid top-ten a quick start launched him up to second. Some time was spent in second place before he started on claiming the lead off William Phillips in the GT4 pole-sitting Macmillan AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT4. However, Phillips was in a car that really suited the Silverstone circuit and maintained his lead into the first round of pit stops.
The battle resumed towards the halfway mark, but not with Fletcher as an engine inspection at the first stop saw that car fall down the order. Instead it was Matty Graham in the In2Racing McLaren 570S GT4 who was bringing the fight to another McLaren – this the car of Adam Mackay in the track-club outfit – and the Aston Martin of Academy Motorsport of Matt Nicoll-Jones, who had competed in the European GT4 race at the Red Bull Ring the day before.
Lap-after-lap the trio were swapping positions at the blink of an eye with Matty Graham holding the upper-hand until yet another round of mandatory stops.
Back at the front, Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt were looking unbeatable in GT3 even as Matt Griffin started to close in in the Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3, trying to close the gap with an alternative strategy.
That alternative strategy was hoping a safety car would make an appearance at some point. For a few fleeting seconds it appeared the McLaren would make an appearance as Ian Loggie suffered his own momentary lapse of concentration and hit the barriers at Copse. The car would be recovered under double waved yellows meaning, like the Ferrari of Griffin and the Lamborghini of Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw, any car that gambled on a safety car to get a ‘free’ stop were left sorely disappointed as they lost stacks of time pitting under the green flags.
It meant that Parfitt and Morris, who didn’t factor in a safety car, took victory by more than a minute with James Littlejohn, who was on pole with Jack Mitchell, a distant second, but also decently ahead of Matt Griffin and Duncan Cameron in the Ferrari.
GT4 went the way of Adam Mackay and Adam Balon in the track-club McLaren, taking their second victory of the season, taking advantage of the HHC Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4 of Will Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton – which had been a front-running car for much of the weekend – retiring early in the first hour. Finishing second was the Academy Aston of Matt Nicoll-Jones and Will Moore and third was the In2 McLaren of Matty Graham and Marcus Hoggarth.
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