Race 1 saw the 25-minute sprint race won by Steve Burgess’ Radical RXC dominantly. Elsewhere, the championship leading Valluga Porsche faced setbacks by the start incident, while the lengthy safety car period prompted a close finish among several high-profile competitors.
Before the formation lap, the #76 7TSiX McLaren of Leo Loucas pulled over from the grid with possible technical issues, though it returned on track after the first lap. At the start, the #7 RAW Motorsport Radical RXC of Steve Burgess overtook both the pole-sitting #16 RAM Racing Mercedes-AMG of Ian Loggie and #66 Enduro Motorsport’s Hugo Cook to take over the lead. But the race was then under safety car procedure amid the incident involving several GTH entries. The #51 Valluga Porsche Cayman Clubsport of Rhea Lucas and #62 CSC racing Ferrari 458 Challenge collided at the exit of Copse corner. Both Trade CentreFormula Woman McLarens entries also halted on separated spots.
The 25-minutes race had been reduced into an 8-minute sprint after 10 minutes of the safety car period. With the speed and aero advantage, Steve Buress quickly pulled away, whilst the four-way contest for the second-place spot erupted. Ian Loggie led the quartet, followed by Hugo Cook, while #67 JMH Automotive’s Simon Orange and fellow RAM Racing driver Mike Price joined the pursuit. The chasers soon started moving, with Orange first challenging Cook at Stowe.
Not fazed by the opponents behind, Cook turned his attention to Loggie and pulled an audacious move by going round the outside at Luffield. Two AMGs then went side-by-side across the pit straight, with Loggie giving up the second place at Copse before losing one more spot to Orange’s McLaren 720s GT3. Failing to keep up in the podium fight, Loggie lamented the safety car interruption, which prevented him from maintaining the advantage. “If we hadn’t had the safety car, I would have managed the gap of the other Mercedes; but after the safety car, I just didn’t have the same pace for some reason”.
The last few minutes of the race were less eventful, with the Greystone GT McLaren of Andre Borodin being the only GT3 retiree after a spin at Luffield. Having led comfortably from the start, Steve Burgess crossed the line to take the Race 1 win; Cook and Orange shared the remaining podium spots, while the RAM Racing pair completed the top five. The sole Topcats Racing Lamborghini Super Trofeo #9 shared by Charlotte Birch and Jensen Lunn claimed the GTC win after a late pass on Lucky Khera’s Racelab entry. The remaining Valluga Porsche of James Wallis fended off Make Happen Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Steve Walton to finish 14th overall.
In contrast to the incident-filled Sprint Race, Race 2 saw a smoother start with all the cars going past the first corner without trouble, with more action coming at the latter half, as championship debutant Marcus Clutton stood out in a late race thriller. Once again, Steve Burgess jumped into the lead from the start, followed by the pole-sitting Hugo Cook, and the duo spent the next 10 minutes battling for the first position. Cook’s AMG was quicker in sections such as Maggots-Becketts-Chapel; the move came at Village 2 when the Enduro Motorsport driver dived up the inside.
The GTC class also saw some fascinating action. Seemingly unaffected by the loose rear wing on his Lamborghini, Lucky Khera passed Roy Millington’s #56 FF Corse Ferrari and Birch’s Lamborghini within the first sector; before receiving a Black-Orange flag and retreating to the pit.
The 50-minute pit-stop race features driver change, and the Pro drivers take over the spotlight and start trading faster lap times. #11 RAM Racing’s Callum Macleod was the first driver to get under the 2 minutes mark; soon, Enduro’s Marcus Clutton followed suit, before JMH Automotives’s Michael O’Brien took the fastest lap honour with a 1:59.729 lap time. Clutton and O’Brien then swamped past Ian Loggie, and their fight for P2 soon became a lead battle, as Burgess’ Radical suddenly slowed down at the start/finish straight. Clutton defended the hard-charging O’Brien for the last few laps and crossed the line first with only three-tenths separating the top two.
With Burgess settling down at fourth place after technical issues, Ian Loggie secured the final podium position after an improved race. “We made a change to the car for the second race, made it softer at the rear, and the car was pretty decent. We started at sixth, then got up to third, so yeah.”
The FF Corse pair of Millington and Benny Simonsen won the GTC class, while the Lamborghinis of Top Cats Racing and Team Webb rounded out the top 3. After Saturday’s races, JMH Automotive leads the overall championship, ahead of Racelab and Valluga Racing.
Report by Kelvin Lee
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