British GT Championship - Silverstone - Sunday Morning Notes

With no warm-up to worry about, Sunday morning was a leisurely one for the BGT runners.

The #34 Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari will apparently adopt a different strategy from the Kirkaldy / Kinch car, Chris Niarchos will start the race on the harder compound of Dunlop tyres hoping to give the 250 guests he has invited to the race something to cheer about.

Andrew Kirkaldy meanwhile was reflecting on yesterday’s 1000km race. “It was the worst conditions I’ve ever raced in, the visibility was just non-existent.” The forecast is for rather better weather today.

The Bill Barrett Motorsport awning was a particularly relaxed zone, as the team enjoyed their (unofficial) pole position. Team manager, Jules, explained the remarkable turn-around in fortunes over the last couple of days. “At four o’clock on Friday afternoon, we thought it was game over when our car threw a rod; but then we started ringing around to see if we could hire a car. Motorbase had a shell that we could have; we got an engine from somewhere else; Stuart Parker supplied us some bits; other bits have come off the existing car – basically, we’ve cobbled together three cars to make one and the guys have done a fantastic job putting it all together. The only thing we couldn’t do was sort the fuel issue as the ECU with the engine was Porsche Cup spec and we didn’t have time to convert it to run with the Sunoco fuel; so we’re running in the Invitational Class. We’d rather run in GT3 and go for points, but the important thing for us was to support the race – we were determined not to be thwarted by the engine failure.” Well done those chaps!

Sean Edwards is debuting with the team this weekend and made an immediate impact when he set the pole time almost straight away. “We’ve known Sean’s dad for a long time and he was keen for us to give Sean a test,” continued Jules. “To be honest, we weren’t too keen on testing an 18 year-old in a £70,000 super car, so we sat him down and told him what he had to do; he did what he was told and more! The lap after he set pole, he actually radioed in to apologise that he’d been baulked into the complex. He would have gone even faster otherwise. There’s only a tenth between Sean and Steve (Warburton), so we know that we’ve got a strong pairing. The real unknown, of course, is the car; it’s fast, but the longest stint it’s done so far is six laps.”

The car’s speed is even more impressive when you consider that the car is running with a manual shift. Mike Quaife told the team that a sequential box would give them an extra second per lap.

Some of the regular drivers were suggesting that any invitation cars should start from the back of the grid....

David Ashburn and Fred Moss were not quite so enamoured with their Porsche this weekend. With Rory Fordyce and Jason Coffin absent this weekend, Moss and Ashburn had both cars at their disposal. Having driven both cars in free practice on Friday, they chose their regular mount, but changed their minds after qualifying. Clerk of the Course, Dave Scott, was having none of it and they would have to live with their decision. Fred Moss; “We then asked Dave if we could start both cars and then swap over at half way, but he said that we’re too old.” The car was on its third suspension of the weekend (and many other components had been changed) by Sunday morning.

Despite his Morgan Aero 8 setting a qualifying time faster than the 2004 pole, Keith Ahlers was less than thrilled to be three seconds off the fastest pace. His car was, however, running without problems and Ahlers had noticed that the tyre wear increased significantly on a fast lap. He suggested that the front-runners may struggle to set a fast pace in the race and still preserve the tyres.

Co-driver Ollie Bryant was an interested spectator of the LMES race the previous evening. A good friend of Bill Binnie Motorsport driver Sam Hancock, Bryant was close by when the Lola B05/40 had its early engine problems; “We could see that his lights were out and then he pulled off right in front of us. We were thinking that we’d give him a lift back to the pits when the lights came on again and he rejoined.” At Bryant’s 18th birthday party, the two drivers had apparently had an epic kart race – a taste of things to come, perhaps?
Mark Howson


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