The British Endurance Championship headed to Snetterton for round 3 of the 2022 season. In what was the second and final 3-hour race of the year, British GT regulars 7TSIX stormed the field and claimed their first BEC victory.
Class A featured a number of changes ahead of Snetterton. Firstly, Lucky Khera had switched his Lamborghini Huracán GT3 for the 7TSix McLaren 720S GT3 and brought in the team’s regular driver, Euan Hankey.
Former British GT4 driver, Matt George would take up Gleb Stepanovs seat in the Aston Martin Vulcan for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity whilst GT Cup race winners John Dhillon and Andrea Amici formed an invitational entry with their Huracán GT3.
After qualifying, things looked ominous as Hankey set an absolutely sensational lap time of 1m46.696s. Not only did this claim pole by a mighty 2.2-seconds, but it also eclipsed the British GT unofficial track record of 1m47.181s set by Nicki Thiim back in 2019.
Fortunately, the race was a much closer affair with Matt George and John Dhillon keeping the McLaren on its toes in the early stages.
Unfortunately, halfway through the second stint, the ever spectacular Vulcan slowed heading onto the Bentley Straight and ultimately would be retired with a rare mechanical issue.
Meanwhile, things were hotting up at the front as Tom Jackson in the Rob Boston Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 had secured the lead after the final round of pitstops and held just a 0.3-second advantage at the end of the McLaren’s out-lap, which was somewhat assisted by backmarkers.
It would only take another half a lap before the impressive McLaren was back out front which allowed them to cruise to a dominant victory taking the chequered flag 28-seconds clear of Jackson in second.
Meanwhile, third place in class went to the troubled ING Sport BMW Z4 GT3 which finished 7-laps down on the leaders after troubles and a lack of pace hindered its performance at the team’s Snetterton debut.
Class B saw three entries, with the Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo being the car of choice. Bovet and MacDonald returned after their Oulton Park misfortune whilst Stanbridge made the grid with team regular Chris Kemp partnering the rapid Benny Simonsen.
The final class entry was an invitational entry meaning they are ineligible to score any championship points but the usual Greystone GT pairing of Iain Campbell and Oli Webb teamed up for a one-off outing in the Super Trofeo car.
The new car clearly didn’t phase the drivers as Webb put the car fourth on the grid and first in class. However, a pitlane start saw Campbell with his work cut out as 25-cars roared past him as the green flag dropped.
This didn’t hinder Campbell, who is now in his second full season of racing after stepping up from being a track day regular, all that much as he climbed to fourth position overall by the end of his first stint.
Capitalising upon this, Webb was unleashed to do his thing and absolutely wring the neck of the raging bull. And that he did, catching and passing class leader, David MacDonald in the Blackthorn Lamborghini and cruising off to a 1-lap advantage at the flag.
MacDonald himself has been busy this season with dual campaigns within the British Endurance Championship and GT Cup. But more impressive is the fact that he continued to compete despite suffering from a fractured coccyx which in turn crushed a sciatic nerve. Despite the excruciating pain, he and co-driver, Claude Bovet put in an exceptional performance to finish second in class and fourth overall.
It was a troubled day for the Class C runners with only one entrant not hitting trouble throughout the race.
The duo of Peter Erceg and Marcus Clutton in their Porsche 911 Carrera Cup car was the first retirement of the race after just 30-minutes of action. The team will be hoping for better fortunes next time out at Silverstone after a disappointing run as of late for the reining Class 4 champion.
RNR Performance Cars managed to complete the race in their Ferrari 458 Challenge albeit 27 laps down on the eventual class winners.
Valluga Motorsport would take the class victory once again, but not in their intended car. The Ferrari 458 Challenge which they intended to use at Oulton Park threw a rod in testing. Therefore they switched to one of their many Porsche Cayman 718 Clubsports as an interim replacement.
With the Ferrari still not running, they had no choice but to run the Cayman again which could be considered an underdog against its opposition.
Having taken the Class C win, Valluga were still not satisfied.
With the father-son Little duo running a Porsche Cayman GT4 in Class D, the pressure was on to make it a clean sweep for the newly-formed team.
And that they did, a stunning drive in sweltering conditions saw them finish just one place behind the sister car and an impressive 3-laps clear of the second-placed Ginetta GT4.
However, it could’ve been a much different story. Michael MacPherson pulled a stunning first stint in the Team HARD Ginetta GT4, performing a solid 90 minutes of qualifying-esque laps, taking the class lead in the process.
Unfortunately, just before Josh Hislop took over, the car developed gearbox trouble and got stuck in fourth gear. The team did the best they could to try and rectify the issue to allow Hislop to continue, and miraculously, that’s exactly what happened. Three laps were lost in the process, but things could have been so much worse.
Things indeed did get much worse for championship leaders, Team BRIT. During Andy Tucker’s spell in the car, a small fire developed on the run towards Agostini forcing the deep purple Aston Martin into early retirement. Fortunately, Tucker was completely fine in what was his second fiery experience in Team BRIT machinery.
This left T7 Motorsport to claim the final podium placing in a disrupted weekend for the GT4 field.
Not one but two Cupra León Competición TCRs took to the grid over the event with Corten Miller Motorsport making their BEC debut. Experienced TCR endurance competitors Will Casswell and Brad Kaylor stepped up from the 750 Motor Club – Club Enduro championship into the highly competitive class and blew the competition away.
The results show their nearest rival being over 1-minute behind at the flag but this doesn’t tell the full story.
The final round of stops saw the Cupra emerge from the pits ahead by just 0.3-seconds from the Sheard Autosport VW Golf TCR of Jonathan Beeson and Will Heler. A tense fight ensued but the Cupra just held on in what was a thrilling final stint of the race.
Unfortunately for the Golf pairing, they were slapped with a 155-second post-race penalty for a safety car/pitlane infringement. Their final placing was third thanks to troubles with other class runners.
Second unexpectedly went the way of EDF Motorsport. A gearbox issue shortly before qualifying saw frantic action in the garage as technicians from Hewland attempted to fix the issue without opening the box itself and forfeiting the race altogether.
This meant starting from the back but this didn’t slow down the Class 4 runners who, as always, put in a champions performance to round out the podium.
After missing the previous round at Oulton Park, Newbarn Racing returned with their revised Jaguar F-Type to compete against the McAleer Porsche.
Early on the Porsche had the measure of Jaguar, lapping up to 5-seconds per lap faster on occasion.
However, disaster struck as mechanical issues forced them out of the race and gifted the Jaguar its first-ever British Endurance Championship class victory. A testament to all of the hard work the team has put in over the winter.
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