The MSA British Endurance championship (BEC) got underway at Donington Park last weekend, sharing a one day meeting with the Britcar Production Cup championship and the first ever races of the Britcar Production sports car series.
The day had started sunny meaning qualifying for the BEC was held in dry conditions but by the time the three hour race started at around a quarter to five the rain was pouring. The Mike Millard entered Rapier had taken pole but soon list the lead at the start. Incidentally, Nigel Greensall, one of the Rapier drivers was competing on the same day in a Funcup endurance race at Oulton Park and was commuting back and forth between the two circuits!
The Morcillo and Cintrano driven Mosler, a championship regular took the lead at the start but it was the new to the championship works Chevron GR8 GT3 that took second at the first corner, driven by Marcus Clutton (with Jordan Witt). The car having been updated for 2013 was racing for the first time. The Scuderia Vittora Aston Martin GT3 was just behind driven by more championship regulars, Andy Schulz and Paul Bailey. There was an interesting story behind this entry, it was intended to be a Ferrari 430 but the car’s engine blew up in testing the week before and a replacement couldn’t be found so the Aston Martin was purchased just in time to compete that Saturday. The race turned into a two way battle between the Aston and the Mosler, the Chevron’s challenge for victory was lost when it ran wide at coppice. This also ended the Rapier’s challenge when stones from the Chevron’s off entered and damaged the Rapier’s radiator. The car, already suffering from a throttle issue was now put out of contention altogether by a long pit stop. Despite this they were classified tenth by the finish.
Class 2 was being dominated by the Team Parker Racing Porsche 997GT3 of Ian Loggie and Chris Jones which for most of the race ran third overall. Class 3 had a very close battle with three cars battling for the honours. In the end ex BTCC star Anthony Reid took the class win in the works Chevron GR8 GT4 assisted by Ray Grimes. They snatched the postion from the impressive quick Ginetta G55 driven by Ryan Ratcliffe and fast lady Flick Haigh. Flick had been very impressive in the early stages overtaking several cars in very tricky conditions. They eventually took second in class and fifth overall. The Webb brothers BMW M3 had looked like giving both other class 2 cars a hard time but was forced to retire with a diff failure. Another Chevron GR8 driven by Jensen Lunn and Alistair Lindsay took third in that class. The rest of the class 2 podium behind the dominant Loggie /Jones Porsche, consisted of another Porsche driven by Peter Cook and Anthony Mott and yet another Chevron GR8, this time driven by Field and Hart. But up in front in class 1, the Mosler and Aston battled hard. The Mosler lead for nearly the whole race but looked like it’d be caught by the Aston that was charging up behind it. But a late penalty stop and then a “splash and dash” ended their challenge for victory. So the Cintrano/Morcillo Mosler took victory overall and in class 1 with the Bailey and Schulz Aston taking second, again both overall and in class. With the class 2 porsche taking third place overall on the podium, the ailing Rapier down in tenth took a consolation of the final class 1 podium slot.
Earlier in the day, Michael Symons won the production race, after a challenge from the Radcliffe Intersport BMW came to nothing when it retired with engine damage. The class 2 SubZero Wolf team Seat Leon Supacopa took second. Driven by Craig Davies and former BTCC ace Adam Jones, it looked like it may have even challenged for overall victory. Further Seat’s took the next 3 places with the Cox family BMW M3 taking sixth.
The inaugural Production sports car races were both won by Richard Bennett in a Porsche 993. In the first race, a stunning drive from Chrissy Palmer saw him take second in a Mazda Mx5 with Guillaume third in a Boxter. In race two, Ryan Cefferty and David Whitmore took second with Palmer again on the podium in third. These races currently do not count towards a championship.
The next rounds of all three are at Silverstone in the middle of May.
1st 2 MORCILLO / CINTRANO Mosler MT900R – Javier Morcillo 132 3:01:00.477
2nd 28 BAILEY / SCHULZ Aston Martin GT3 – Horsepower Racing 131 3:01:29.109 1 Lap
3rd 24 LOGGIE / JONES Porsche 997 Cup – Team Parker 129 3:01:21.657 3 Laps
4th 97 GRIMES / REID Chevron GT4 – Chevron Cars 129 3:01:55.204 3 Laps
5th 75 RATCLIFFE / HAIGH G55 – Fauldsport 129 3:02:11.338 3 Laps
6th 46 COOK / MOTT Porsche – Peter Cook 126 3:02:09.355 6 Laps
7th 71 FIELD / HART Chevron GR8 – Tracktorque 122 3:01:54.767 10 Laps
8th 99 LUNN / LINDSAY Chevron GR8 – Jensen Motorsport 118 3:02:26.391 14 Laps
9th 60 WOODMAN / SMITH / LEITH Renault Megane V6 Trophy – BPM 117 3:01:13.268 15 Laps
10th 8 MILLARD / GREENSALL / LE BLANC SR2 – Mike Millard 115 3:01:48.912 17 Laps
Production championship results
1 4 SYMONS / WEBSTER BMW M3 – Geoff Steel Racing 70 1:29:59.055
2 19 DAVIES / JONES Seat Supa Copa – Craig Davies 70 1:30:06.125
3 8 JOHNSON / ROBINSON Seat Supa Copa – Graham Johnson 70 1:30:54.414
4 1 COCKILL / COCKILL Seat – HE Racing 70 1:30:56.919
5 23 CUNNINGHAM / CUNNINGHAM Seat – Mark Cunningham 70 1:31:05.977
6 25 COX / COX / COX BMW M3 CSL – Dave Cox 70 1:31:11.847
7 29 Martin THOMAS BMW – Intersport 69 1:30:31.177 1 Lap
8 37 GILBERT / DAWES Seat Supercopa – Tracktorque 68 1:30:54.059 2 Laps
9 44 ROCHE / MASON Seat Supa Copa – Fauldsport 67 1:30:44.681 3 Laps
10 46 LAWSON / WILDS / WILDS BMW E36 – ING Sport 66 1:30:47.853 4 Laps By Marc Waller