Britcar Report – Donington Park, August 5
Flux Leads the Life of Riley
British GT competitors
Ian Flux and Kevin Riley, in the Rollcentre Mosler MT900R, came
to Britcar, saw, and conquered in the 100-minute race at Donington
on Saturday. Riley’s opening stint was marred by handling
problems and a minor clash, but he recovered to hand the car in
a good position to Fluxie, who set a string of fastest laps as he
claimed and substantiated the lead.
None of these
elements are strangers to Britcar of course; Flux and Riley have
drifted in and out of the series, both singularly and together,
and a Rollcentre Mosler was the winner of the inaugural Britcar
24 Hours last year, but what was this weekend’s story?
at Rockingham a few weeks back, and there is no way I’m going
to race there in British GT, so we decided to do Britcar, and V8
Supercars instead,” said Riley, who also found it hard to
contain his excitement about using Dunlop rubber; “They’re
so good, I want to take them to bed with me!”
was the preserve of the Porsche 935 Replica of Richard Chamberlain
and John Allen, revelling on a revised Dunlop mix, with the tyremakers
logo writ large and proud on the sidewall.
time of 1:09.741 was just 0.166 quicker than Flux in the Mosler,
who was in turn nearly three seconds faster than third-placed Phil
Bennett, wringing the neck of Nigel Mustill’s Opel V8Star
– on an oily track.
The Harry Handkammer
/ David Leslie BMW M3 was next, followed by fellow GT Cup class
contestants Willie Moore and Dave Cox, in their newer E46 M3.
Pete Chambers’ red and silver Eurotech Porsche
GT3 has been a familiar site in a number of GT and one-make series
for several years, and with Mark Sumpter sharing the driving, the
car lined-up sixth on the grid, heading the GT3 runners, which significantly
included the Ferrari 360 of Bo McCormick and Calum Lockie in seventh.
Mick Mercer had used the V8 Supercars races as a running-in exercise
in the Topcats Marcos Mantis, and, partnered by Hyperion boss Richard
Fores, was eighth. It was an all-Porsche fifth row, the “Nobby’s
Crisps” ex-Supercup machine of Jean-Marc Rotsaert and ex-Clio
and Caterham ace John Gaw alongside the 911virgin.com car of Henry
Firman and Pete Morris. Colin Wilmott has risen from one-make MG
racing this year, at Spa in a BMW M3, and now in a Porsche 996,
quickly got to grips with the machine, lining up 11th.
Next up was
the second Topcats Marcos, driven by Luc Paillard and Gilles Vannelet.
“They only speak French, so we don’t know what their
plan is, who’s starting, when they’re stopping –
we’ll just let them run their own race,” joked team
boss Warren Gilbert.
Peter Cook and
Franck Pelle qualified their older Porsche 911 13th, but failed
to take the grid, leaving the Damax Ferrari 360 of David Back and
Andy Ruhan alone on row 7, and it was bad luck too for Simon Leighton
and John Taylor, whose Porsche GT3 suffered clutch problems after
qualifying 15th. The Torquespeed V8 BMW M3 of Dave Benett / Marcus
Fothergill was next, then George Agyeton’s self-built BMW
M3, being shared with Mark Smith. The Bilmo BMW M3 of Peter Hardman
and Nick Leventis was withdrawn after an off during qualifying,
leaving the back row to Paul Livesey / Brian Robinson Porsche 911,
and the rebuilt Marcos Mantis of Alun Edwards and Jerry Hampshire.
It was nearly
a quarter-past five when the Britcar field was finally let loose,
and Riley, in the Mosler, seized the initiative into Redgate, ahead
of Bennett’s Opel. The action at the front was hard and fast,
though, and Riley spun – or was he tapped? – as they
entered Coppice, and it was Bennett who led as they chalked up the
first lap, followed by John Allen’s monster Porsche, Handkammer’s
BMW (below), the amazing John Gaw (up to fourth from ninth on the
grid), Mercer, Chambers, Morris, then the recovering Riley.
Dave Cox brought
the Moore International BMW into the pits with front-end damage.
He would rejoin after some attention, but retire after 19 laps.
Gaw in #47 relieved Handkammer of third place on lap three, and
then dispensed with Allen next time round, though it appeared that
the orange Porsche could have a problem, laying a trail of thick
grey smoke in the braking zones, which hung around in a pall over
the corners. By lap eight, Allen brought the car in for a prolonged
investigation, and after a further exploratory lap, it was retired.
Phil Bennett was eking out a comfortable lead at
the front, now nearly 18 seconds to the good ahead of Riley, who
had made short work of climbing back through the field, while Mick
Mercer’s Marcos Mantis spun at Redgate, after a storming performance
in the opening laps. Undeterred, Mercer pulled it together, mounting
a charge back, though under pressure from Pete Morris’s Porsche,
which was the meat in a Marcos sandwich, as Vannelet in the second
Topcats Mantis was hard on his tail. This was short-lived, sadly,
for Mercer, and with his Mantis smoking it was pitbound, to retire
after just 23 laps.
Pete Chambers had been closing in on Gaw, who appeared
to be slipping slightly after his initial charge, and once Chambers
was past into fourth, Gaw became fair game for Pete Morris, closing
in at nearly two seconds per lap. Again, this was short-lived, for
smoke billowed from the rear of the 911virgin.com car as it crossed
the line, followed by a small burst of flame, and Morris brought
the car safely to a halt down the hill from Redgate. “It was
a broken oil line, the engine’s OK. It wasn’t as bad
as it looked,” said the Tamworth construction magnate later.
Bo McCormick had been pacing himself as usual, and,
now in seventh place, and with 60 of the 100 minutes race duration
to run, pitted to hand the Ferrari 360 to Calum Lockie. Riley, from
second, and three-quarters of a minute adrift from leader Bennett,
came in too, Ian Flux taking over the Mosler. John Gaw had got second
wind, for he had now got back onto terms with Chambers, and once
past, began to pull away. Chambers was soon pitbound though, it
now being around the half-way mark, though Phil Bennett stayed out,
consolidating his lead, as did Gaw, now in second place.
Flux was now
flying, two laps down on Bennett, but rapidly seizing one of them
back as Bennett offered little resistance, and with 50 laps on the
board, and 39 minutes to go, the silver Opel V8Star was in the pits,
and owner Nigel Mustill installed behind the wheel.
Gaw left it
a little longer, with just 36 minutes left on the clock, before
handing the Porsche to Jean-Marc Rotsaert. With the stops all taken,
the race was back on an even keel, revealing Mustill’s Opel
still in the lead, but now just 38 seconds in front of the Mosler,
with Flux bringing the lap times lower with every tour. Barring
dramas, the Mosler taking the lead was inevitable, and by lap 60,
Fluxie was in a position to make his move, for which he bided his
time, selected his moment, and conducted in a gentlemanly fashion,
under the Dunlop bridge and through the chicane.
It was bad news
for the Topcats team, for, with the Mercer / Fores Marcos already
out, Luc Paillard brought the #4 car smokily into the pits to retire
with just 15 minutes to go.
hit the Eurotech Porsche, for Mark Sumpter brought the car in on
the very last lap with a puncture, relinquishing fourth overall,
and more importantly, the GT3 Class victory to the Bo McCormick
/ Calum Lockie Ferrari.
So, the Rollcentre
Mosler took a popular victory, though it hadn’t all been plain
sailing in the early stages, as Kevin Riley explained; “We
fitted new tyres, and the brake bias wasn’t right –
I had to keep changing the bias, to get it right.”
Phil Bennett had excelled in Nigel Mustill’s
Opel. Nigel has been developing the car, and lately it has been
showing signs of worrying the front-runners, but Bennett had raised
it to another level, showing his true class. Harry Handkammer and
David Leslie used all of their endurance nous, and punched well
above their weight to finish third overall, and claim the GT Cup
win, in the GTS Motorsport BMW.
Behind the GT3 leaders (McCormick / Lockie and Chambers
/ Sumpter), Jean-Marc Rotsaert and John Gaw claimed the GTC runners-up
prize. The phenomenal Gaw had done the lion’s share of the
driving before handing over to a more cautious Rotsaert. Paul Livesey
and Brian Robinson came home third in the GT3RS class in the their
older Porsche 911, the 996 being saved for the upcoming 24 hours.
David Back and
Andy Ruhan – affectionately dubbed “Rack and Ruin”
by Melindi Scott – had enjoyed an in-out, on-off relationship
with the pits, the grass, and the gravel in the Damax Ferrari 360,
but had done enough to bag the final podium spot in the GT3 class.
out, and similarly plagued by pit-stops and spins, was the Torquespeed
BMW of Dave Benett and Marcus Fothergill.
Third in GT
Cup was old campaigner George Agyeton, just desserts for him and
Britcar regular Mark Smith in the E46 BMW, and fourth in GT Cup,
and the last classified finisher, was the #11 ISL Marcos Mantis
of Alun Edwards and Jerry Hampshire.
1 79 1 FLUX/RILEY Mosler MT900R 1:40:07.520 80 1:09.604
2 39 1 MUSTILL/BENNETT Opel V8 Star 1:40:40.947 80 33.427 1:10.960
3 1 3 HANDKAMMER/LESLIE BMW M3 E36 1:40:42.067 79 1 LAP 1:13.583
4 44 2 McCORMICK/LOCKIE Ferrari 360 Challenge 1:40:41.334 78 2 LAPS
5 101 2 CHAMBERS/SUMPTER Porsche 996 GT3 1:39:30.175 77 3 LAPS 1:13.709
6 47 3 ROTSAERT/GAW Porsche 996 GT3 1:40:10.830 74 6 LAPS 1:13.965
7 98 1 LIVESEY/ROBINSON Porsche 996 RSR 1:40:11.533 74 6 LAPS 1:15.661
8 42 2 BACK/RUHAN Ferrari 360 Challenge 1:40:48.561 72 8 LAPS 1:16.730
9 22 2 BENNET/FOTHERGILL BMW M3 E36 1:40:21.645 71 9 LAPS 1:15.866
10 50 3 AGYETON/SMITH BMW M3 E46 1:41:01.226 70 10 LAPS 1:18.340
11 11 3 HAMPSHIRE/EDWARDS Marcos Mantis 1:41:22.426 69 11 LAPS 1:18.455
4 3 PAILLARD/VANNELET Marcos Mantis 1:25:55.866 62 D.N.F. 1:14.190
70 3 Colin WILMOTT Porsche 996 GT3 53:44.752 42 D.N.F. 1:14.130
41 3 FIRMAN/MORRIS Porsche 911 GT3 36:41.218 29 D.N.F. 1:13.735
6 3 MERCER/FORES Marcos Mantis 29:16.303 23 D.N.F. 1:14.253
56 3 MOORE/COX BMW M3 E46 28:05.680 19 D.N.F. 1:14.446
5 1 CHAMBERLAIN/ALLEN Porsche 935 Replica 17:31.742 9 D.N.F. 1:14.726