The 2022 Silverstone Classic lived up to all its expectations by putting on a thrilling display of classic racing at the ‘Home of British Motorsport’. With the sun shining all weekend long, a vast selection of classic GT cars made the biggest grid of the weekend.
Meanwhile, endurance legends from the mid-90s to the present day made an appearance with two pitstop sprint races to whet the appetite. New for 2022 saw GT4 make an appearance. Whilst not technically classic, first-generation GT4 cars competed against present-day British GT machinery in a highly competitive duo of races.
To further get sportscar fans excited was the inclusion of a pair of Group C demonstration runs led by none other than Derek Bell. Numerous Rothmans Porsches took to the track accompanied by a Silk Cut Jaguar and the fearsome Aston Martin Nimrod.
Despite the value of the cars on offer, no driver took it easy as they battled to be the first to take the chequered flag.
Masters Endurance Legends
An impressive selection of Le Mans prototypes was joined by GT2/GT3 machinery and even present-day LMP3 cars. Needless to say, there was no shortage of action on track once the engines fired up.
Qualifying was a chaotic affair with three red flags truncating the session. Firstly, Keith Frieser in the ex-Nigel Mansell #5 Zytek 09s spun at the Vale Chicane causing Jamie Constable to take avoiding action in his #99 Pescarolo 01. Both cars ended up beached in the gravel with Constable making contact with the barrier ending both of their sessions early.
In the meantime, Steve Tandy had set the fastest lap of the session in his Peugeot 90x before spinning into the gravel at Club, bringing out the second red flag of the session and ultimately ending his session.
However, it wouldn’t cost him the top spot as the sister Peugeot of Kriton Lendoudis spun on cold tires exiting Brooklands on the restart bringing out the third and final red flag of the session.
Meanwhile, David MacDonald claimed pole in GT with the Kan-Yan Racing Ferrari 458 GT3 just 0.2-seconds clear of Angus Fender in his own Dodge Viper GT3.
Race one was a straightforward affair for Tandy in his Peugeot. Despite being passed early on by Timothy De Silva in the second Pescarolo 01 an unfortunate technical error saw the car ground to a halt just after the mandatory pitstop window.
Tandy would remain unchallenged to the chequered flag and clinched an easy victory by 11-seconds over Jamie Constable who fought through from the back of the field to take an impressive second place.
Michael Lyons came home an impressive third in the ex-IMSA Mazda Lola B12/80 despite being in slower machinery than the cars around him and a late race penalty.
The GT field meanwhile Andie Stokoe had led comfortably before handing over to the ever-rapid David MacDonald who further extended their advantage. They would remain unchallenged and romped away to a 21-second margin of victory over the second-placed Aston Martin DBR9 of Niklaus Ditting who struggled in the tricky qualifying session.
Colin Sowter in the sister 458 GT3 home third, albeit 40-seconds adrift of the Aston Martin but a lap ahead of his nearest rival in the ex-Paul Miller Motorsport Porsche 911.
Angus Fender was an early favourite for victory after a strong qualifying, however, retiring after just 6-laps was not part of the script.
Also not part of the script was a 31-second time penalty applied to none other than race winner, Steve Tandy. A yellow flag infringement saw a strong penalty applied 4-hours after the race had finished, demoting him to second and handing an unlikely win to the Pescarolo of Constable.
Race 2 was a much closer affair after a late safety car bunched up the pack leading to a final lap shootout.
The grid order was set by Race 1’s finishing positions therefore Constable led Tandy to the green. A lockup into Village corner nearly cost him but he just held the Peugeot behind. A lap later, Tandy lunged up the inside and took the lead, for a single corner before Constable out-accelerated him onto the Wellington Straight.
Then having compromised his own line, Tandy lost out to Lyons heading into Brooklands.
From then on, Lyons would not let Constable out of his sight and hounded the Pescarolo right as Tandy was doing to him. Backmarkers came into effect with 18-minutes remaining and disaster struck the leading car.
Constable arrived at Copse just as the ex-Proton Felbermayr Porsche was turning into the historic corner. Historically, two cars have not fared well running side by side here, and unfortunately, this instance was no different. The Porsche suffered a bent right rear wheel putting it out on the spot. Meanwhile, Constable carried on but immediately was passed by Lyons and by the time he reached Copse again, the left rear tyre was flat, sending him into a spin and retirement from the race.
With the safety car deployed through the pit window, Lyons resumed his lead despite a 15-second elite driver pitstop penalty with Timothy De Silva now in second after starting in 26th place.
When the safety car came in, there was time for just one racing lap. Lyons did all he could to create the widest Mazda in history with De Silva weaving left and right desperate to find any route through.
Heading through Vale he managed to cut back to the inside of the Soul Red Mazda but ran wide in the process clinching victory by just 0.4-seconds. However, the stewards took a dim view of De Silva’s interpretations of the track limits and slapped him with a 1-second time penalty, dropping him behind Lyons, gifting the Mazda the overall victory.
Tandy meanwhile clinched third in a hectic race.
In the GT ranks, it was as if the race had been repeated with Stokoe/MacDonald winning from Ditting with Sowter in third.
Fender once again had a disaster and only completed four laps before retiring to the pitlane ending a dismal weekend at Silverstone.
Masters GT4 Classic
New for 2022 was the inclusion of classic and current GT4 cars to the roster. Current British GT stars: Seb Hopkins and Freddie Tomlinson piloted modern machinery whilst the Stratton Motorsport Lotus Evora made its return to run in the Cup Class.
Race 1 saw Seb Hopkins lead the field away in the familiar Team Parker Racing Porsche 718 Clubsport from Freddie Tomlinson in a brand new Assetto Motorsport Ginetta G56 GT4.
In typical Hopkins fashion, every lap was a qualifying lap as he pushed the bright orange Porsche to a 7.3-second margin of victory. Tomlinson meanwhile couldn’t match the pace from the Porsche and settled for a lonely race in second having fought off an early challenge from David Vrsecky in the Buggyra Racing Mercedes AMG GT4.
The former would come home second with Vrsecky in third.
In the Cup Class, it was Greg Evans who clinched victory in the Makehappen Racing Ginetta G55 with a late race move on John Dickson in the Stratton Evora. Any chance of a late-race comeback from the Lotus was scuppered when a recovering Stephen Walton fought his way back through after an early spin.
British GT race director, Peter Daly came home third in class in his Team Parker Racing Cayman Clubsport GT4.
Race 2 once again saw the starting positions taken from Race ones finishing results. This time Tomlinson got the jump at the start and immediately faced immense pressure from the Porsche driver.
It wasn’t long however before the safety car was deployed after Danny Henrey had a frightening spin at the hugely fast Maggots / Becketts complex. Fortunately, the impact with the tyre barriers was relatively small and Henrey was perfectly ok. Replays showed fluid coming from the right front corner of the car prior to the wild spin with this acting as the cause of the off.
At the same time, GT Cup regular, Chris Murphy also ran into the gravel at Club corner, beaching his Aston Martin V8 Vantage.
On the restart it was status quo as Tomlinson and Hopkins pulled away from the pack behind, squabbling amongst themselves. Hopkins was glued to the rear of the Ginetta darting left and right, desperate for a way past.
With just a minute remaining, Hopkins was warned for track limits at Copse. But it wouldn’t matter as he ran wide exiting Luffield, running all four wheels into the gravel and gifting Tomlinson the win by 1.5-seconds.
The battle for third was just as close with the Buggyra teammates swapping positions just before the line as Aliyyah Koloc defeated her mentor Vrsecky. The battle further back for fifth was also water-in-the-mouth stuff. Craig Wilkins in the Speedworks Toyota Supra forced Balfe Motorsports David Foster into a mistake at the final corner and just clinched fifth by 0.1-seconds at the line.
Meanwhile, in the Cup Class, things were just as frantic at the end as once again the Ginetta chased down the Evora for the lead. With the safety car interruption, Dickson was able to hold on from the charging Makehappen Cars. Stephen Walton once again had managed to separate the pair in his Mercedes with all three cars separated by just 1.3-s at the flag.
With it being the 40th anniversary of Group C competition, a special display of the greatest Group C racecars was on offer at this year’s event. Not only could fans get up close and personal with some of their favourite cars but a special 10-minute demonstration run took place on both Saturday and Sunday to give the true sensation of seeing a classic Le Mans prototype in action.
Rothmans Porsches featured in great numbers with Silk Cut Jaguars and Sauber Mercedes C9’s also present. Not only these great successful cars but also the unique Nimrod NRA/C2 (which utilises an Aston Martin V8) which marks the first foray into the world of Le Mans prototypes for the historic British marque.
The parade itself was headlined by former winner, Derek Bell in his ex-Rothmans 962C whilst Alex Brundle drove Martin Brundle’s 1990 Le Mans winning Jaguar XJR-12.
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