Motorsport – Rounds 11 & 12 - 2004 British GT Championship
Loads of Luck – All of it Bad
It was a frustrating return to the scene of Eclipse Motorsport’s
greatest triumph, as the 2004 British GT Championship visited the
Silverstone Grand Prix circuit for two one hour races on Sunday.
Qualifying had seen The Eclipse TVR’s rediscovered form again
apparent, Steve Hyde lapping very quickly indeed but ultimately
unable to trouble the front row.
Pollard: “We’re still not as quick as we were here last
year, and we are trying to find out why, but we’re reasonably
Race One on Sunday Morning saw Hyde start the race and run in a
strong fourth place, including a great move on the exit of Luffield
to deny the place to the hard charging Godfrey Jones. Hyde would
run behind a charging trio ahead, the #35 Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari
trying to get away and the lead JWR Porsche and Embassy Corvette
looking to spoil the party for the Ferrari squad.
leading trio were pulling steadily away from Hyde at the rate of
around a second per lap but was the pace one that the cars ahead
to falter was Mike Jordan, his #33 Porsche lapsing onto five cylinders
and pitting for attention. Hyde was up to third.
Silverstone circuit was proving to be a tricky challenge for many
of the N-GT runners and Steve Hyde was one of several to get caught
out, a spin costing him eight seconds of the gap he had opened up
over Godfrey Jones - but third place was still in the hands of the
pit window now opened and just before the halfway mark of the 60
minute race Hyde pitted to hand the baton to Piers Johnson. But
the car though would soon be back, dealt a drive through penalty,
apparently incorrectly, for the car being restarted from a slave
battery: a bitter blow, and a fatal one for Eclipse’s podium
there it was a fight back against the odds for Johnson, and despite
a spirited effort seventh place was the best that could be achieved
in a race that could have reaped so much more. It was another race
win for the #35 Ferrari, ideally suited to the wide open spaces
of the Hangar Straight.
Two would see Piers Johnson start on the third row of the grid -
on a track soon to be very slippery: an unpleasant mixture of rain
and oil. The guesting ‘La Squadra’ Lamborghini Diablo
poured copious quantities of oil around the circuit on its first
lap, the source of the slick then being misdiagnosed by circuit
observers and it was at least two laps of V12 assisted oil spreading
before the Diablo pitted.
was particularly bad news for the unfortunate Piers: he was one
of a number of runners to be caught out but he would lose out more
than most and would lose well over a lap beached in the gravel.
The pace car would limit the damage and by lap eight the rain had
eased but once again a good potential points finish had been ruined
freed from the gravel, both Johnson and later Hyde would lap very
quickly indeed, right on the pace of the eventual race winning GruppeM
Porsche. By the end, Steve Hyde was lapping rather faster than the
race winner, but the gap was far too much to make up and a finish
outside the top ten was a disappointing outcome to a weekend that
had promised so much.