Callum Macleod and Ian Loggie claimed their first British GT Championship win for Ram Racing after a Silverstone 500 which was decided by a backmarker in the final five minutes of the three-hour race.
Starting in second, Loggie was constantly on the rear-wing of pole sitter Graham Davidson in the TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GT3 but immediately went onto an alternate strategy as the team pitted Loggie – and his Mercedes-AMG GT3 with just 25 minutes of the race completed.
That put them onto a different pitstop cycle than the crews around them and that strategy paid dividends towards the end of the race as Macleod found himself chasing down Davidson’s co-driver Jonny Adam for the race win.
Lap after lap, the pair were nose-to-tail with Adam using every bit of his skill to keep the Mercedes behind. That came to an end though, with just four minutes left on the clock.
Coming up to lap the #19 Multimatic Ford Mustang at Maggotts and Becketts, Adam had pulled up alongside the Ford and seemed to be fine but as Macleod tried to go round the other side of the car heading into Chapel, Chad McCumbee seemed to over-compensate when giving Macleod room and hit the rear of the Aston Martin – breaking its suspension and forcing Adam to retire.
For Loggie, victory is the ultimate reward for his enforced absence from the previous round at Snetterton, having broken both his collar bone and his wrist in a cycling crash after Oulton Park.
“It’s amazing,” the Scot said. “I had to have five weeks off after a big cycling crash so it was great to get back behind the wheel and have great speed all weekend. In the second stint, my wrist started aching so that was a real struggle but generally it was a faultless race.
“There was pressure from Shaun Balfe in the McLaren in the opening stint, but I didn’t feel any pressure from him. I just kept focused and focused on Davidson.”
Balfe Motorsport had a race of two halves in the McLaren 720S. After a great start from team boss Balfe, he was putting Davidson under pressure after Loggie’s early stop and it appeared the trio were set to make it a race-long three-way battle for the win.
With Rob Bell also performing strongly in his stints, the duo were set-up for at least a podium finish in the final hour, but a pit infringement – believed to be for a slightly open door as the car left the pits – resulted in a 10-second stop/go penalty which all but ruled them out of contention. Another stop late on demoted them to 12th at the flag.
Their relegation promoted both JRM and the second TF Sport Aston into the fight for second. Following clean and consistent stints from Rick Parfitt, Seb Morris went into the final 15 minutes with third in his possession but with Nicki Thiim working hard to overhaul him.
The Dane was under the rear-wing of the Bentley Continental GT3 but when Morris slightly hesitated lapping a GT4 car heading into Copse Corner, Thiim’s greater momentum allowed him to power past and into third which became second after the demise of the sister car. That promoted Morris and Parfitt onto the podium.
Finishing just off the podium was the WPI Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo. After a great opening stint from Michael Igoe – highlighted by a great double overtake on Parfitt and Beechdean’s Andrew Howard at The Loop – Lamborghini factory driver Dennis Lind stormed up the field with a potential podium in his sights.
However, Lind just ran out of time to join in on the Morris/Thiim battle and finished 3.847s shy of Morris. He finished almost a minute ahead of the Optimum Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage of Bradley Ellis and Ollie Wilkinson which lost time late on after Wilkinson braked harder going into Village than the Fox Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT4 expected and rear-ended the Aston. No damage was done, but Wilkinson had to use the run-off to recover.
Sixth went to Beechdean, with Team Parker Racing seventh. Championship leaders Adam Balon and Phil Keen struggled throughout the weekend. After qualifying lower down the field, Balon added insult to injury as he spun the sister car of Sam De Haan as the field bunched up at The Lop on the opening lap. That resulted in a stop/go penalty and capped a tricky weekend for the pair.
Compared to that despair, the GT4 class winners were almost lost for words with their success as Team Parker Racing, Scott Malvern and Nick Jones claimed their first overall win in the Mercedes-AMG GT4.
After solid stints from Jones, Malvern showed why he’s one of the fastest drivers in the class as he proceeded to pick off drivers left and right as he pushed his way up the field. Despite coming under pressure from ERC Sport’s Maxi Buhk – who developed the car in his role as a Mercedes factory driver – Malvern held on to secure the win.
After the race, he told GT REPORT he was delighted to avenge the pair’s disappointment after the second race at Snetterton, having lost a likely victory with a puncture in the final minute: “It’s about time! It is something I’ve been wanting for such a long time, to race with Silvers as a Pro-Am line-up and win is absolutely incredible.
“It was probably Nick’s best drive, his stints were superb and I just maintained what he’d done. To lose out at Snetterton was heartbreaking and we really wanted this one.
“My first stint was probably the most important. I just tried to build up a gap because I knew Peter Belshaw [in the ERC Mercedes] would be really strong in his stints so I wanted to give Nick as much of an advantage as I could. When it came to the final stint it was just a case of maintaining what we had.”
His race was helped by retirement for long-time leaders Tolman Motorsport. The #4 McLaren 570S of James Dorlin and Josh Smith had run a faultless race but 49 minutes remaining the car developed an engine issue and was forced to retire, leaking oil as it was pushed back into the garage.
Behind the two Mercedes at the front of the field was the Silver Cup winning Mustang of Seb Priaulx and Scott Maxwell. The duo had enough in reserve in the final hour to fend off the charge of Martin Plowman in the GT4 Beechdean Aston he shares with Kelvin Fletcher for the final overall podium places. The latter pair did secure third in Pro-Am though.
Second and third in the Silver Cup went to a pair of Aston Martins, as Ash Hand and Tom Canning in the TF Sport entry crossed the line with an eight-second advantage over the Optimum Motorsport car of Patrik Matthiesen and Mike Robinson.
One Aston that had a tougher race was the pole-sitting TF Sport car of Patrick Kibble and Josh Price. The pair had two penalties handed down to them for both a short pitstop and a pit infringement which dropped them down to 13th overall.
The next round of the British GT Championship is the two-hour race at Donington Park on June 22&23.