Sandy Mitchell’s mesmerising final stint added a silver lining to what was a British GT Championship race filled with chaos from start to finish, with rain, crashes and multiple cars stranded in the gravel made the three-hour race at Donington Park a hard-fought one for the Barwell Motorsport racer alongside Alex Martin. 


In GT4, Jack Brown and Zac Meakin demonstrated their prowess in getting their head down and powering through as they secured a fine victory for Optimum Motorsport, after prevailing in a tight battle with Forsetti Motorsport. 


The chaos started before the race had even officially begun. A yellow warning for heavy rain put teams on notice that they might need to be on alert, but with the rain showers being so isolated there was discussion as to whether Donington would get any rain.

Well that question was answered quickly. As the cars rolled off what was a pleasantly warm and sunny grid, a dark cloud rolled through and dumped a monumental amount of water on the circuit, turning the slick-shod GT cars into boats rather than racing cars. Sensible minds prevailed and aborted start was called, with teams given 10 minutes to swap to wet weather Pirellis. 

When the race started properly, Ram Racing made an intriguing move to pit John Ferguson and install Raffaele Marciello along with a new set of sticker wets. It could have been a masterstroke, but the first sign things that might not have gone ideally for the squad was Marciello going out the pits just in front of the battling Alex Martin & Rob Collard. The other sign was the warmth of the air drying out the circuit pretty quick.

The result? Within 20 minutes of the start, there was a substantial dry line and while GT3 rivals could pit for slicks alongside swapping drivers, Marciello was having to cope with managing the wets on a dry circuit. More than 15 minutes after the first teams started pitting for slicks, Ram gave in and swapped the Italian out onto slicks.

That, however, was probably the worst thing they could have done as yet again the skies turned black and what started as pretty sporadic rain started to fall. 

With parts dry and parts wet, the Pros were making their money – especially Adam Smalley in the Garage 59 McLaren 720S GT3 Evo who prevailed in a battle with Ricky Collard as he squeezed his way past the Barwell Lamborghini at the Old Hairpin to assume the lead, with Mitchell then relegating Collard to third later on the same lap at the Goddards hairpin. 

A few minutes later and the rain really came down. Smalley, Mitchell and Maxi Götz immediately pitted from the sharp-end of the field, and that was the right decision. That’s because teams who elected to try and wait a lap for a quieter pitlane were left powerless as their cars started to skitter off into the gravel at Redgate. 

Seven cars in all went off – including Ferguson, who had taken over from Marciello – as well as Seb Morris in the Team Parker Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 and Alex Buncombe in the RJN McLaren, who was fortunate to avoid the tractor that had been called to start clearing the beached machinery. 

With a couple of laps completed under the safety car, it was probably the correct – eventual – decision to throw a red flag and let the worst of the rain blow through. After a 40-minute delay, the racing got underway with a track that was starting to dry out again slowly but surely. 

Things weren’t exactly calm, mind, as a couple of Full Course Yellows were needed to recover cars making little mistakes – Ed McDermott ended in the gravel at the Fogarty Esses after hitting a kerb a bit too hard and then Lucky Khera also ended in the gravel at the same chicane after going in too deep to the first left-hander. 

It just put a pause on what were some captivating battles with Rob Collard defending the lead from a charging 2 Seas Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Ian Loggie while Simon Orange – who had rotated through to third thanks to canny pit strategy by the Orange Racing By JMH crew – was defending his spot from Shaun Balfe, who’d taken over from Adam Smalley. 

Orange was defending with everything his McLaren 720S GT3 Evo could give him, but Balfe was relentless and finally got past at Redgate with just over an hour to go. Orange’s race would then get significantly worse. Running slightly deep at the Old Hairpin allowed Kevin Tse to get a bit of a run, but the 2 Seas driver elected to try and make a move on the inside of Orange at Starkeys Bridge when there was nowhere near enough space. 

The end result was Orange’s race being ended prematurely and a 20-minute FCY to Safety Car period where the leading contenders all made their final stops and handed over to the Pros. 

In those stops, Phil Keen took over from Loggie and sneaked into the lead a fraction ahead of Ricky Collard, who had Mitchell and Tom Gamble – in the Optimum McLaren – filling his mirrors. 

Collard tried to hold them off, but found himself pushed down to fourth as the two behind unpicked his defences.

With Mitchell and Gamble through, there was a second separating the top three, with Keen widening out his Mercedes-AMG to keep his rivals behind him. 

There’s a reason Keen is tied for most wins in British GT, and that on full display as he looked to add a 20th win to his record. Taking clean lines through GT4 traffic allowed him the occasional moment to take stock, but even when Mitchell was delayed through a very rare mistake – Keen wasn’t given a moment of rest. 

It was in the final 10 minutes that the Barwell Huracán finally took the lead, as Mitchell had a better run out of Mcleans and ran level with him at Coppice – a cheeky nudge on his way out of the right-hander confirmed his taking of the place. 

That wasn’t the end. Gamble passed Keen for second – a textbook display of bravery as he drew level on the exit of the Old Hairpin and kept his foot in to allow the outside to become the inside at Schwantz Curve to take the place.

Freed to pursue Mitchell, Gamble was on fire. The Optimum racer was cutting down Mitchell’s advantage and on the last lap there was half-a-second between them with the McLaren looking likely making a move. However, dipping a wheel on the grass coming out of Redgate delayed him ever so slightly and allowed Mitchell a clean run to the flag – converting pole to victory alongside Alex Martin.

Second went to Gamble and Mark Radcliffe – the latter racing injured after breaking a number of ribs in his crash at the Silverstone 500 – with Keen and Loggie taking the final spot on the podium by the thinnest of margins. 

That’s because Marcus Clutton was on a charge, he took a few laps to finally get past a stubborn Ricky Collard but when he did he erased a four-second deficit to the car ahead and was close to passing Keen – an eventual deficit of just 0.351sec suggesting that another lap and he might have been able to nab a podium alongside Morgan Tillbrook in their Garage 59 McLaren. 

Fifth went to Rob & Ricky Collard, the pair doing alright, but perhaps not quite able to deal with what was a chaotic three hours in the East Midlands.

Michael Johnston & Dan Harper took sixth in their Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT3. The pair had a good race, but clearly didn’t have the pace of the others – you couldn’t fault Harper’s commitment, as he skimmed the tyre stacks at the Fogarty Esses in his pursuit of the cars ahead. 

Tse and Götz took seventh for 2 Seas Motorsport, with Smalley and Balfe fading slightly as the race wound towards its end to take eighth – but the win in the Silver-Am class – with Jonny Adam & Giacomo Petrobelli taking a lonely ninth in a race that was pretty unremarkable for the Blackthorn pair.

Sacha Kakad & Hugo Cook overcame numerous driveshaft issues on Saturday to round out the top 10 and take second in Silver-Am in their J&S Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo2. Rounding out the Silver-Am podium was Beechdean AMR, with Andrew Howard & Jess Hawkins picking up what was a well-earned piece of silverware – they finished 11th overall.


Compared to the chaos that was GT3, the secondary class was a demonstration that calm heads can prevail – even with the numerous challenges thrown at you. 

From the off, Jack Brown and Zac Meakin took everything as it came to them in their Optimum Motorsport McLaren Artura, and didn’t let anything bother them – the pair were comfortable sticking their elbows out to ensure they wouldn’t be robbed of what ultimately became an immaculate victory. 

Early on, it was the Stuart Middleton-started Ginetta G56 of DTO Motorsport that headed the field but as the track started to dry, it was Meakin who was really putting in the pace and he took no time in stripping Middleton of the lead.

He didn’t have it his own way, though, as Jamie Day in the Forsetti Motorsport Aston Martin was flying and it was only a matter of minutes later that he muscled his way past the yellow Artura and assumed the lead himself. 

With pitstops shaking things through, Freddie Tomlinson – taking over from Middleton – was in a net lead ahead of Brown but was actually second on the road as Ian Duggan in the Mahiki Racing Lotus Emira GT4 had resisted the urge to pit after the track dried for the first time and stayed on his wets when the second shower submerged large parts of the circuit. 

The red flag disrupted the order with some cars pitting, others not, and then having the whole order shaken further behind the long safety car restart period once the action finally got going again. 

Benefitting from that mainly was Will Moore & Matt Nicoll-Jones in the Academy Motorsport Ford Mustang who were leading from Mikey Porter, in the formerly Day driven Forsetti Aston.

However, misfortune struck the #7 Forsetti as they were slapped with a stop/go penalty for a short pitstop and the Mustang also found itself dropping down the order as the pace ramped up. 

In the final round of stops, a lack of an additional time penalty for being Pro/Am entries allowed the #47 Forsetti of Marc Warren & Will Orton and the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK Toyota Supra of Kavi Jundu & Dan Vaughan to sneak ahead and into the lead.

Brown, though, wasn’t to be denied and he pretty clinically picked his way past them both and into victory – not a comprehensive one though, as consistent pressure from Orton meant the margin of victory was just three seconds come the chequered flag. 

Warren & Orton took second, with Jundu and Vaughan taking third – a good result for the duo having been there or thereabouts for most of the race in what will arguably be the strongest race for the Supra this season.

Despite pressuring for the lead, Paddock Motorsport’s Alex Walker & Blake Angliss took fourth overall but second in the Silver Cup in – much like the Toyota crew – probably a season-best effort for the McLaren Artura racers.

You could extend the feelings even fifth to cover fifth overall and the final spot on the Silver Cup podium as Harry George and Luca Hopkinson added some silver-lining to what was a pretty dark Ram Racing cloud with a well-earned trophy in their Mercedes-AMG GT4 – ahead of the Nicoll-Jones/Moore Mustang.

The next round of the British GT Championship takes the field across the English Channel and a two-hour race at Spa on June 22&23, a week before the Spa 24 Hours.


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