FIA and ACO to continue successful collaboration

On the occasion of the 89th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the FIA and ACO have prolonged the Accords Le Mans agreement and are set to continue the successful collaboration, together building the future of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

The governing body of world motor sport, the FIA and the founder and organiser of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the ACO – the subsidiary of which, Le Mans Endurance Management promotes the FIA World Endurance Championship – have penned the extension of the agreement, providing a stable platform for the growth of championship.

By virtue of the agreement, the FIA and ACO will continue to work hand in hand, having recently reached a major milestone with the introduction of the Hypercar category to the FIA WEC that managed to attract new entries to the championship’s top class and keeps generating great interest among the manufacturers.

The signing of the agreement follows the announcement of the six-event 2022 calendar

 

Jean TodtFIA President, said: The partnership between the FIA and the ACO provides the much-needed stability on the promotional side, which is key to support the positive developments in the FIA World Endurance Championship. On that front there’s plenty to look forward to, including the Hypercar category and the influx of manufacturers. Therefore, formalising the continuation of the cooperation was an obvious decision. Endurance racing has solid foundations for the future”.

Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: “At the dawn of a new golden age of endurance racing, we are delighted to extend our agreement with the FIA. The growing interest in our discipline and the return of the greatest automotive brands to the top class is proof that our collaboration is fruitful. The next few years offer prospects the likes of which endurance racing has never seen. The FIA World Endurance Championship has never been so popular, and we are delighted to be pursuing our partnership with international motorsport’s governing body.”

British GT: Race 2 Honours to RAM Racing

#69 RAM Racing. Mercedes-AMG GT3. James Cottingham. Sam De Haan. 2021 Intelligent Money British GT Championship Round 1 Qualifying Brands Hatch ©2021 Ian Musson. All Rights Reserved

Ian Loggie and Yelmer Buurman bounced back into title contention by claiming theirs and RAM Racing’s first Intelligent Money British GT Championship win of the season in Snetterton’s second 60-minute race this afternoon, while Will Moore finally collected his maiden GT4 victory alongside Academy Motorsport co-driver Matt Cowley seven years after making his series debut.

A race that started wet and almost dried out completely by the end featured two more title contenders on the overall podium after Barwell’s Adam Balon and Sandy Mitchell beat WPI Motorsport’s Phil Keen and Michael Igoe to second place despite the latter’s impressive final stint.

The GT4 rostrum was completed by Century’s Chris Salkeld and Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke who repaired some of the damage inflicted by their Race 1 DNF, and Team Rocket RJN’s Alain Valente and Michael Benyahia. Nick Halstead and Jamie Stanley took Pro-Am honours aboard Fox Motorsport’s McLaren.

The day’s second race couldn’t have looked any different to the first after a heavy rain shower soaked the track just before cars headed to the grid.

This time the Pros started where they qualified, but Dennis Lind was unable to hold on to the lead at Riches where Yelmer Buurman swept around the outside of Barwell’s championship leading Lamborghini.

An early Safety Car period to recover Assetto’s stranded Ginetta GT4 also played out in RAM’s favour when Darren Turner’s delayed Aston Martin found itself between the GT3 leaders at the restart. Unable to overtake before the start/finish line, Lind was powerless to prevent Buurman streaking into a significant lead that extended to eight seconds before the GT3 pitstops.

However, by then it was Barwell’s other Lamborghini that held second place after Lind dropped behind Charlie Eastwood and Sandy Mitchell at the restart. The Race 1-winning Aston Martin couldn’t match either of the Huracans for pace, though, and was pushed back to fourth by two well executed moves before the pit window opened.

With neither of the top two serving Success Penalties, Ian Loggie and Adam Balon re-joined on the same lap still separated by eight seconds. The latter initially halved his deficit before RAM’s Mercedes-AMG re-established its advantage once fully up to speed. Balon closed back in as the track dried but it was too little, too late – Loggie taking the chequered flag 4.6s clear.

Balon was perhaps spurred on by WPI’s rapidly approaching Lamborghini, which stopped a lap before the rest of GT3’s main players. Phil Keen kept Jonny Adam honest over the opening stint as the championship stalwarts ran fifth and sixth, but the extra lap meant Michael Igoe was fully up to speed when Andrew Howard exited the pitlane just ahead. The positions switched on the run towards Wilson before the Lamborghini also relieved Leo Machitski of third.

All three had benefitted from Eastwood’s maximum Pitstop Success Penalty, which initially dropped the newly installed Ahmad Al Harthy from third to sixth. Like for like moves around the outside of Howard and Machitski on successive laps at Coram helped the TF Sport-run Aston Martin move back up to fourth, but that’s as far as it would climb after Igoe’s searing pace in the damp but drying conditions left WPI’s Lamborghini out of reach.

Indeed, Igoe set multiple fastest laps in his pursuit of Balon and Loggie whose advantage dropped from 24s to just eight over the final 25 minutes.

Al Harthy came home a relatively lonely fourth, while Howard hounded championship rival Machitski all the way to the finish.

Proctors Stewart and Lewis were seventh in Balfe’s McLaren and Paddock’s Bentley was restricted to eighth by a penalty for stopping after GT3’s pit window closed.

All of that leaves Machitski and Lind 6.5 points clear of Loggie/Buurman and Howard who are tied for second with three races remaining. Balon/Mitchell and Igoe/Keen have work to do at Oulton Park next time out if they’re to remain in title contention before the final round.

#61 Academy Motorsport. Ford Mustang GT4. Will Moore. Matt Cowley. 2021 Intelligent Money British GT Championship Round 5 Snetterton 300 FP1 ©2021 Ian Musson. All Rights Reserved

Will Moore and Matt Cowley excelled in difficult conditions to grab a first victory of the year for Academy Motorsport and Ford after both drivers contributed to a superb recovery following an early off.

Assetto Motorsport’s Ginetta started the race on pole but was removed from the reckoning along with several other potential victory candidates on lap one when Charlie Robertson came together with Century’s #57 BMW, Ciceley’s Mercedes-AMG, Newbridge’s Aston Martin and Toyota Gazoo Racing UK’s Supra on the run out of Wilson hairpin.

The incident triggered a Safety Car to recover the stranded G56, but also accounted for Darren Turner’s fast-starting Vantage, Scott McKenna and Jake Giddings.

Once the order worked out behind the resulting caution, Snetterton specialist and Race 1 winner Jordan Collard emerged in front aboard Team Rocket RJN’s #2 McLaren, while Gus Burton escaped the contact with Robertson to run second ahead of Cowley.

Things then almost went south for Cowley whose grassy moment entering Palmer dropped the Mustang to sixth before the pit window opened.

But he would receive a reprieve in the form of the top two’s 10 and seven-second Success Penalties for finishing first and second earlier in the day. Indeed, the handicaps – as well as a stop-go penalty in Century’s case – would drop both cars out of victory contention.

Pro-Am’s shorter minimum pitstop times helped Fox Motorsport’s Nick Halstead initially lead once the pit cycle was complete, but the Bronze-graded driver immediately had a gaggle of Silvers on his tail, chief among whom was Will Burns who soon dived for the lead at Agostini. But almost as soon as the move was done the car was pinged with a stop-go penalty for making a marginally short pitstop.

That left Halstead to defend from Moore, who had vaulted up the order thanks to a mighty in-lap from Cowley whose early stop also avoided the brief rain shower that restricted others, as well as slow stops for Team Rocket RJN’s armada. Moore reeled in the lead McLaren, slid past and made good his escape to victory.

Halstead put up a spirited fight but was unable to hold back the line of Silvers headed by Chris Salkeld’s #9 Century Motorsport BMW, which narrowed the championship gap to its team-mates by finishing second.

Alain Valente and Michael Benyahia’s #3 Team Rocket RJN McLaren completed the podium, giving the pair some solace after their Race 1 disappointment, with James Kell and Collard’s sister car finishing fourth.

The recovering Burns/Burton finished fifth, while Team Rocket RJN’s third McLaren and Balfe’s 570S were classified sixth and seventh in the final result.

Halstead and Jamie Stanley’s McLaren initially completed the top-six but survived a 40s post-race penalty in lieu of a stop-go for a pitlane infringement to still seal Pro-Am victory in eighth overall.

British GT: Lights to flag victory for Al Harthy and Eastwood in Race 1

#97 Oman Racing with TF Sport. Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3. Ahmad Al Harthy. Charlie Eastwood. 2021 Intelligent Money British GT Championship Round 5 Snetterton 300 FP1 ©2021 Ian Musson. All Rights Reserved

Oman Racing with TF Sport’s Ahmad Al Harthy and Charlie Eastwood took victory in the Intelligent Money British GT Championship’s opening race of the day at Snetterton, while Jordan Collard and James Kell claimed GT4 honours for Team Rocket RJN.

The guest-entered Aston Martin beat Paddock Motorsport’s Bentley shared by Kelvin Fletcher and Martin Plowman who bagged full championship points as GT3’s first full-season entry home. The latter resisted late pressure from Barwell Motorsport’s charging Lamborghini of Leo Machitski and Dennis Lind who relieved Jonny Adam of third place on the final lap.

In GT4, Kell and Collard bounced back from their Spa disappointment, as well as that of team-mates Alain Valente and Michael Benyahia whose own chances were dashed by a puncture, to celebrate Team Rocket RJN’s first win of the season. The pair vaulted past Century’s championship leaders Will Burns and Gus Burton during the pitstops and left the BMW to fend off a late challenge from John Ferguson and Scott McKenna’s Toyota Gazoo Racing UK Supra.

It was Collard’s third GT4 victory in as many years at Snetterton, while McLaren also maintained its record of winning in each of the six seasons the 570S has raced in Norfolk.

There was much to admire in an opening race that saw Ahmad Al Harthy claim his first British GT win since 2014, and Charlie Eastwood record his maiden triumph, on Oman Racing’s return to the series. It was also a breakthrough of sorts for Paddock Motorsport, which collected maximum points courtesy of Kelvin Fletcher and Martin Plowman, while Dennis Lind’s thrilling stint helped Barwell’s #63 crew extend their championship lead.

Pole position and no Success Penalty meant this was always the TF Sport-run Aston Martin’s race to lose, but it enjoyed a faultless 60 minutes in which Al Harthy first broke away from the chasing pack and then handed Eastwood a comfortable advantage at mid-distance.

Instead, the action centred on who would complete the podium.

Fletcher’s career-best qualifying helped Paddock’s Bentley start on the front row, and it maintained second throughout an opening stint in which Michael Igoe – up two places from fifth – proved a constant distraction. But things got too close on the stroke of the pit window when WPI’s Lamborghini ran into the Continental. Both cars continued in second and third, albeit with the Huracan nursing front-end damage.

A seven-second Success Penalty and subsequent 10s stop-go for causing a collision ultimately dropped WPI out of contention and left Martin Plowman with a slight cushion over Enduro’s pursuing McLaren after the stops.

That became more comfortable when the 720S was black flagged for failing to serve a drive-through penalty incurred following a pitstop infringement.

Further back, Leo Machitski and Dennis Lind’s maximum Success Penalty had seemingly dropped the championship leaders out of contention. But Barwell failed to inform their rapid Dane who set his fourth fastest lap in five races while chasing down Yelmer Buurman and team-mate Sandy Mitchell.

RAM’s puncture removed the Mercedes-AMG-shaped obstacle before Mitchell’s stint-long brake issue created a gap just large enough for Lind to nip through at Wilson. Next up was Jonny Adam who resolutely defended a net third place until the final lap when GT4 traffic helped the Lamborghini get a run on Beechdean AMR’s Aston Martin.

Job done, Lind just ran out of time to attack Plowman who crossed the line 0.3s ahead of the Huracan, while Adam collected third place points with fourth overall to keep Andrew Howard firmly in title contention.

Indeed, Oman Racing with TF Sport’s race-by-race status means the full-season entries in second, third and fourth must serve 10, seven and five-second Success Penalties this afternoon. Al Harthy and Eastwood will also be stationary for the maximum extra 10 seconds.

Mitchell and Adam Balon will compete without the added time after finishing fifth overall, while Balfe’s McLaren shared by Stewart and Lewis Proctor overcame its qualifying gremlins to make it five different manufacturers in the top-six.

WPI were classified seventh overall, RAM’s puncture-hit Mercedes-AMG completed the top-eight, and G-Cat’s Porsche finished ninth.

#2 Team Rocket RJN. McLaren 570S GT4. James Kell. Jordan Collard. 2021 Intelligent Money British GT Championship ©2021 Ian Musson. All Rights Reserved

Jordan Collard and James Kell produced the best possible fightback from their disappointing last outing at Spa by scorching to a first GT4 win of the season in their Team Rocket RJN McLaren. A testing accident prevented the #2 570S from racing in Belgium, but the duo bounced back with their borrowed chassis in superb style to maintain McLaren’s six-year victory streak at Snetterton.

Having started fourth on the grid, Kell used a strong first lap to vault past Will Moore’s Academy Motorsport Ford Mustang. And that became second after 15 minutes when a front-left puncture cost team-mate Alain Valente the lead.

Valente’s misfortune also helped Century’s #57 BMW initially inherit top spot. But with Will Burns and Gus Burton having to serve an additional five seconds in the pits as ‘reward’ for their Spa podium, Kell and the newly installed Collard emerged with a three-second advantage, which grew to an impressive 21s by the chequered flag.

With Collard away up the road, the fight for the remaining podium places was anything but settled. Burton resumed in second place but soon found himself under pressure at the head of a four-car train.

Chief among his pursuers was Scott McKenna who’d charged up the order in Toyota Gazoo Racing UK’s Supra after taking over from John Ferguson. He first pulled a great move around the outside of Coram to snatch third from Harry Hayek’s #4 Team Rocket RJN McLaren, and then closed right in on Burton for second. The pair circulated within inches of each other for the final few minutes when Burton’s defence also allowed both Hayek and Charlie Robertson’s Assetto Motorsport Ginetta to home in.

Impeccable racing and Burton’s staunch defence were just enough for Century’s BMW to hold off the Pro-Am class-winning Toyota, while Hayek claimed fourth in the car he shares with Katie Milner from the Robertson/Mark Sansom Ginetta.

Matt Cowley brought the Academy Mustang he shares with Moore home in sixth but could have been much higher had he not been elbowed wide in traffic. Spa winners Jack Brown and Ashley Marshall were seventh in Balfe’s McLaren after serving the maximum 10s Success Penalty, and Fox Motorsport’s Nick Halstead and Jamie Stanley completed the Pro-Am podium in eighth overall.

Newbridge Motorsport’s Matt Topham and Darren Turner crossed the line ninth but were handed a 40-second penalty post-race in lieu of a 10s stop-go for causing a collision with Steller Motorsport’s Audi, which retired as a result of suspension damage.

British GT: Snetterton Gallery

#11 Paddock Motorsport. Bentley Continental GT3. Kelvin Fletcher. Martin Plowman. 2021 Intelligent Money British GT Championship Round 5 Snetterton 300 FP1 ©2021 Ian Musson. All Rights Reserved

Once again, Ian Musson is on site for the British GT, this time round 5 from Norfolk’s very fast, but very wet Snetterton circuit. Here’s another fabulous gallery from him. 

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Spa 24: Iron Lynx Wins Memorable Spa 24h

An unforgettable 2021 TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa has been won by Ferrari after a faultless showing from Iron Lynx gave the Italian marque its first triumph in the Ardennes since 2004, ending more than a decade of German dominance.

The #51 car was consistently the fastest on-track in wet and dry conditions whether it was Alessandro Pier Guidi, Côme Ledogar or Nicklas Nielsen behind the wheel. Starting from 13th on the 58-car grid, it was running second by the fourth hour and hit the front in time to bag maximum Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS Endurance Cup points at the race’s one-quarter mark.

The Italian squad was pegged back shortly before midnight when it was handed a refuelling infringement penalty but remained firmly in the hunt. Pier Guidi was the star of a stellar night shift, which ensured that the Ferrari was leading once again at half-distance, adding another 12 points to its Endurance Cup tally.

As the sun rose over the circuit to signal the final push towards the chequered flag the #32 Audi Sport Team WRT car had emerged as the most serious challenger to the Ferrari. Starting from 54th after a disastrous qualifying, the crew of Dries Vanthoor, Charles Weerts and Kelvin van der Line produced a memorable comeback. By 09:00 on Sunday morning it was running second, though by this stage the leading Ferrari was 40 seconds clear at the head of the field.

It was not until the final four hours that the battle for victory burst into life. It was at this stage that Nielsen came upon heavy traffic at Blanchimont, giving Van der Linde an opportunity to pass at the Bus Stop. The Audi driver dived up the outside and briefly had his nose in front, albeit with an armful of opposite lock and the barriers rapidly approaching.

The race was building towards a grandstand finish. At the penultimate round of pit stops Pier Guidi climbed aboard the Ferrari, while Vanthoor was installed in the Audi. In a battle between two of GT racing’s elite drivers it was the Italian who emerged on top, pulling away throughout the 23rd hour to lead by more than 20 seconds when he stopped for the final time and took slick Pirelli tyres.

When Vanthoor stopped one lap later there seemed to be nothing that Audi Sport Team WRT could do to get their driver in front, but the Belgian team had a final hand to play. Though the track remained dry, wet weather tyres were fitted to the #32. It was an inspired choice: the heavens opened just as Vanthoor was re-joining the circuit at the top of Raidillon, handing the Audi driver a huge advantage.

Pier Guidi tried to hang on with slicks, but as the rain intensified he did well to simply keep the car pointing in the right direction. Iron Lynx had no option but to bring their driver in for another stop and surrender the lead to Audi Sport Team WRT. Meanwhile, the #33 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari hit the barriers on the Kemmel Straight, requiring the intervention of the safety car.

Once the pack was bunched up Vanthoor had five lapped cars between himself and the Iron Lynx Ferrari with just under half an hour remaining. It looked like an almost impossible task, but Pier Guidi gave himself a fighting chance by clearing the traffic in two laps. The hunter had become the hunted.

It was soon evident that the Ferrari was far more comfortable in wet conditions, with Pier Guidi visibly quicker through Raidillon. He took just a few laps to reel in Vanthoor and had his first chance at an overtake into Les Combes with 10 minutes left on the clock. The Audi driver held firm, but Pier Guidi got another run just a few corners later.

At high speed and on a drenched circuit, the Italian dared to go around the outside of Vanthoor at Blanchimont. In a move that will be replayed for years to come, Pier Guidi powered past and into the lead of the race. Vanthoor had no reply. A few laps later, the #51 Iron Lynx machine crossed the line to take Ferrari’s first TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa win since 2004 and the first for a non-German marque during the GT3 era.

Behind the leading duo the #95 Garage 59 Aston Martin completed the overall podium and was the only other car on the lead lap. The crew of Nicki Thiim, Marco Sorensen and Ross Gunn were quietly excellent, rarely attracting attention but running a fast and error-free race to take Aston Martin’s first overall podium since 2008.

Audi Sport Team WRT was fourth with its #37 car, followed by the #47 KCMG Porsche and the #25 Audi Sport Team Saintéloc. JOTA was a superb seventh to give McLaren its best-ever overall result in the Ardennes, followed by the #63 Orange1 FFF Racing Lamborghini, the #66 Audi Sport Team Attempto and the #89 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG.

Madpanda Motorsport took Silver Cup honours with its #90 Mercedes-AMG, giving Ezequiel Perez Companc’s young team its biggest success yet. Considered an outside contender before the race, the car took advantage of an early shower to move to the lead by two hours and remained at the head of the class thereafter.

It was rarely a long way clear, however, particularly after a drive-through penalty for track limits allowed the #159 Garage 59 Aston Martin to close in. But the crew of Perez Companc, Rik Breukers, Patrick Kujala and Ricardo Sanchez had the pace to pull away when it was needed the most and kept their cool during the final downpour to claim a popular class win. Toksport WRT took runner-up to ensure a Mercedes-AMG one-two, while Garage 59 was third at the chequered flag.

AF Corse added further silverware to the Ferrari haul by securing a one-two finish in Pro-Am, its fifth victory in the class and the first since 2015. The #53 line-up of Duncan Cameron, Matt Griffin, Rino Mastronardi and Miguel Molina came out on top against the sister #52, establishing a comfortable advantage during the final third of the race. This was a vintage year for the 488 GT3, which also finished fourth thanks to Sky Tempesta Racing. The only interloper was the #77 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini, which completed the class podium in third.

The Hägeli by T2 Racing claimed victory in the all-Porsche battle for Am Cup honours. It was involved in a close battle with the #23 Huber Motorsport car, which had edged in front by the morning hours only to suffer a heavy crash at Raidillon. At the same time the Hägeli by T2 Racing entry was wheeled into the garage, but the team was able to re-join the race and clinch victory with Pieder Decurtins, Manuel Lauck, Marc Basseng and Dennis Busch.

As ever, there were hard-luck stories. The #63 Lamborghini looked strong during the night hours but lost a lap after receiving two drive-through penalties for speeding in the pit lane. It had fought back to fourth spot, only to be hit with another drive-through for tipping the #93 Ferrari into a spin before a puncture with two hours remaining cost it even more time.

The Mercedes-AMG challenge faltered in the early morning when the factory-supported #88 AKKA ASP entry was forced to retire with a broken left-rear damper. After starting from pole the car had remained a leading contender for the majority of the race and was running third, behind the eventual top-two finishers, when disaster struck.

Nor was luck on the side of the four crews that were eliminated within 22 minutes of the start. Thankfully, however, all of the drivers involved escaped without serious injury, a testament to the dedicated work of emergency staff at the circuit and the incredible safety standards of modern GT3 cars.

Ultimately, the 2021 edition should come to be remembered as a classic. The arrival of intense rain during the final hour and the incredible battle for victory that followed could not have been scripted better, while Audi Sport Team WRT’s tyre choice was a masterful piece of strategy. In the end, however, it was impossible to outthink Pier Guidi’s pace during the closing minutes. His pass at Blanchimont was thoroughly worthy of victory in the biggest race on the calendar.

Alessandro Pier Guidi, #51 Iron Lynx Ferrari: “I have tried many times to win this race, and after two second places overall and two wins in the Pro-Am Cup, I am very happy to take this overall victory. We led the race for most of the time, but in the last half hour everything looked lost. After the restart I decided to give everything – I had no choice. Maybe it was not the easiest overtake on Dries, but he made a small mistake exiting Stavelot and I managed to get alongside. I don’t know why, but I felt I had to go for it and it worked. This is an incredible feeling and it will take a bit of time to understand what we did.”

Dries Vanthoor, #32 Audi Sport Team WRT: “Before my last pit stop I reported there was a large dark cloud coming towards the circuit, and the team immediately decided to go for wets. That was a very good call. But when the lights went to green, I immediately felt that I did not have all the grip that I would have liked. I was not surprised when the team told me the Ferrari was catching me. I tried everything I could, but when he got alongside I tried to play it fair and we did not touch. They were quick anyway, both in the dry and the wet.”

Ezequiel Perez Companc, #90 Madpanda Motorsport Mercedes-AMG: “I had fun all week! This is the main aim of Madpanda: we are a ‘pandemic’ team and we try to bring joy to people who are having a hard time. We worked really hard for this result, and since we are new there were not many people that believed in us. I am really proud now, and would like to thank every member of the team.”

Duncan Cameron, #53 AF Corse Ferrari: “What a nailbiter! I was in my RV when I heard the rain come down on the roof and I was glad I wasn’t in the car! We had a great strategy and the whole team did a perfect job. Amazing.”

Manuel Lauck, #166 Hägeli by T2 Racing Porsche: “This team was only created at the beginning of the year, and of course we lacked some experience. We lost one hour because we had to repair the steering rack, but when we saw the other Porsche had crashed we were determined to finish the race. In the end we won, and I’m quite happy with that.”

Historic: Silverstone Classic 2021

Saturdays at The Classic are always very special and this year’s was one of the best in the festival’s history with 12 fiercely-fought retro races, record numbers of classic cars on display… plus a new outright lap record. It all added up to more than 15 hours of epic entertainment with reggae chart-toppers Aswad and acid jazz legends The Brand New Heavies sending everyone home happy.

The fast and furious track action kicked-off with a full capacity grid of 54 Formula Juniors and a memorable dice for victory between the two 1962 Brabham BT2s of Richard Bradley and Cameron Jackson – Bradley #81 finally took the chequered flag.

Image Credit: Nick Holland for SportscarGlobal

The Pre-War BRDC 500 showdown which followed featured the oldest cars on the weekend’s bill. The#11 1928 Frazer Nash shared by Fred Wakeman and Pat Blakeney-Edwards overcoming the Talbot, Bentley and Aston Martin opposition.

Image Credit: Nick Holland for SportscarGlobal

Later in the morning the coveted Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy for Historic Cars (Pre ’63) was won by #16 the unique 1961 Ferrari 250 GT ‘Breadvan’ of Lukas Halusa – the scarlet icon beating a number of hard-charging E-types including one raced by Martin Brundle, the well-known F1 driver turned Sky TV pundit.

Image Credit: Nick Holland for SportscarGlobal

After Michael Lyons – a last minute replacement for former British Grand Prix winner Johnny Herbert in the #8 1981 Ensign N180B – had won the weekend’s first Murray Walker Memorial Trophy for Masters Historic Formula One, a brief shower not only added to the afternoon’s excitement but produced some spectacular sideways racing.

HSCC Thundersports, Classic Mini Challenge, Transatlantic Trophy for Pre ’66 Touring Cars and HGPCA Pre ’66 Grand Prix Cars all producing thrilling finishes – Sam Wilson winning the last of those in the Lotus 18 raced in period by the great Jim Clark.

With the track dry once again, next up on the retro roster came the Masters Endurance Legends staged for GT and prototypes that raced at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in between 1995 and 2016.

Image Credit: Nick Holland for SportscarGlobal

Taking full advantage of the perfect conditions – and the re-introduction of the faster ‘Historic’ corner layout at Club – Rob Wheldon #116 set a new lap record for the Classic circuit format in his 2012 Lola-Judd B12/60.

Image Credit: Nick Holland for SportscarGlobal

Eclipsing the previous record set by Nic Minassian in the Group C Jaguar XJR14 back in 2013, Wheldon averaged a speed of more than 124mph when successfully chasing down the ex-Jacques Villeneuve Peugeot 908 #7 of Francois Perrodo.

Image Credit: Nick Holland for SportscarGlobal

The evening’s final two races were also for the sports racers, this time from earlier golden eras. The Yokohama Trophy for Masters Historic Sports Cars was won by #23 the Lola T70 of Alex Brundle who will team up with father Martin to contest the 60th Anniversary E-Type Challenge on Sunday.

With headlights ablaze the combined Royal Automobile Club Woodcote and Stirling Moss Trophies bought the days racing to a spectacular conclusion.

Full results from all 12 races are available from The Classic’s website:www.silverstone.co.uk/events/the-classic
More images from the event can be found: Sportscarglobal’s Silverstone Classic Galleries 

Squeezed in between all the races, the famous Silverstone Grand Prix track also hosted a number of significant parades celebrating major milestones in motoring history.

These included the 50th anniversary of the Lamborghini Countach and 60th anniversary of the Jaguar E-type – the latter parade included the very first Geneva Show car revealed to the world in March 1961 and ECD 400, the roadster which Graham Hill raced to a debut victory just weeks later.

When not on parade, all these were on public display among the many thousands of classic cars exhibited by car club members. Their record turn-out being further proof of passions undiluted by months of lockdowns.

TV personality Mike Brewer was another excited to be back meeting friendly faces at The Classic – his informed and entertaining Car Clinics on the Village Green stage attracting large audiences throughout the day.

Looking ahead, Sunday’s nine-race programme starts with the second of the sold-out Historic Formula Junior grids at 9am and concludes at 5:50pm with a second of the spectacular Mini showdowns.

Other highlights include the Adrian Flux Trophy for MRL Historic Touring car Challenge and the International Trophy for Classic GT Cars (Pre ’66).

Although admission is by advance tickets only, some returned tickets are available for those not wanting to miss The Classic’s final day. Alternatively, those isolating at home or living abroad can catch all the on- and off-track thrills as they happens by tuning into the event’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/silverstoneclassic.

Historic: Gallery – 30th Anniversary of the Silverstone Classic

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Silverstone holds the delayed 30th Anniversary of its Classic weekend and the line-up is formidable. On track cars from the 1930s through to 2015 will be engaged in a mixed set of races catering for fans of both Sportscars and Single-Seaters through the years. 

We sent our team of snappers to sample some of the atmosphere and of course our glorious British Summer! 

Feel free to Click through & Flick through our gallery of the event – 

 

 

Historic: Gallery – Back in Time with Ian Musson

Yokohama Trophy For FIA masters historic Sports Cars Race 1 Silverstone Classic 2018 ©2018 Ian Musson. All Rights Reserved

This weekend Ian Musson will gain be at the Silverstone Classic, so in anticipation of more of Ian’s great images, here’s a lookback in time at both previous editions of the Classic meeting and some select other events including the 1991 Jaguar Intercontinental Challenge! 

We hope you will agree, Ian has shared some fabulous photos with us all here. 

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Spa 24: Super Pole to AKKA ASP 2nd Year on the Bounce

For the second year in succession Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP will start the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa at the very front of the grid after a scintillating lap by Raffaele Marciello secured top spot in Friday’s Super Pole.

The Italian confirmed his status as one of the fastest drivers in any discipline by emerging on top against world class opposition. In doing so, he became the first person to secure back-to-back Super Pole triumphs and gave Mercedes-AMG its third successive P1 start at Spa.

Marciello ran last in the 20-driver shootout after he and his AKKA ASP teammates Jules Gounon and Dani Juncadella topped yesterday’s full-field Qualifying session. This could have been a poisoned chalice, as dark clouds gathered over the track shortly before Super Pole began. Light rain was falling when the first car rolled off, though ultimately the weather would not play a significant role.

After a number of the early runners had laps cancelled for track limits, the first driver to make a serious bid for pole was Ben Barnicoat, who ran second in the #38 JOTA McLaren and posted a 2m18.597s. This remained the benchmark until Ricardo Feller (#14 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini) went three hundredths quicker, demonstrating the potential that the Italian marque’s Huracán GT3 has shown all week at Spa.

This was the latest in a series of impressive showings from the young Swiss racer, but his time on top was brief as Mirko Bortolotti delivered a special lap at the wheel of the #63 Orange1 FFF Racing Lamborghini. The Italian ran 10th, but as successive drivers failed to beat his 2m18.525s a first Super Pole triumph for Lamborghini edged closer.

Running fourth from last, Maro Engel looked on course to topple Bortolotti at the wheel of the #4 Mercedes-AMG Team HRT entry, but a small error at the final chicane scuppered his chances and left the German driver second. Nicki Thiim could not contend for the front-row in the #95 Garage 59 Aston Martin, which just left Marciello.

After mastering heavy rain last year, the Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP driver had clear skies above when he took to the track in search of another Super Pole. He completed the job on his first flying lap, becoming the only driver this year to break the 2m18 barrier at Spa-Francorchamps by setting an unmatchable 2m17.949s. There was no improvement on his second tour, but it did not matter: Marciello had done it again.

He led an all-star top-three ahead of Bortolotti and Engel, while Feller confirmed his status as future champion by placing fourth. This gave the #14 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini pole in the Silver Cup and represents the best-ever qualifying position for the class at the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa.

Sheldon van der Linde was a fine fifth in the #34 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW, followed by the equally impressive Barnicoat. Mattia Drudi (#66 Audi Sport Team Attempto), Nicky Thiim (#59 Garage 59 Aston Martin), Mathieu Jaminet (#22 GPX Racing Porsche) and Felipe Fraga (#89 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG) completed the top-10.

As well as the #14 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini, three more Silver Cup contenders competed in Super Pole: Pierre-Alexandre Jean put the #107 CMR Bentley 12th, Thomas Drouet took 16th in the #87 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG, while Philip Ellis was 19th in the #57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG. Seven brands were represented in the top-10, with only Bentley and Ferrari absent.

The 2021 TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa will get underway tomorrow at 16:30 and will see Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP seek to become only the second team in 10 years to win the race from pole. Every minute of the action will be streamed live on the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa website, the event’s official Facebook page and the GTWorld YouTube channels.

Raffaele Marciello, #88 Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP: “I just wanted to try and qualify the car inside the top five and to stay out of trouble at the beginning of the race. That’s why I didn’t drive too aggressively. For the race I can count on an excellent team and mega team-mates. I think we have the package to do really well, but we are not the only ones that want to win this race. We will need a bit of luck with the weather, the strategy, etc. But if everything goes right we should be able to be at the front.”

Spa 24: Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP top Quali

Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP will chase its second successive Super Pole at the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa tomorrow evening after it’s #88 crew topped qualifying, while all nine brands contesting this year’s race will be represented in the deciding shootout.

The evening’s session also saw the Pro-Am and Am Cup pole winners decided as Garage 59 (#188 Aston Martin) and Hägeli by T2 Racing (#166 Porsche) earned top spot in their respective classes, but the Silver Cup battle will not be decided until Friday after a record four cars progressed to Super Pole.

At the top of the overall order, it quickly became clear that the #88 Mercedes-AMG was in control. Raffaele Marciello set the tone by topping Q2, the first session involving three-driver line-ups, with a time of 2m18.323s. Next to run was Daniel Juncadella, who repeated Marciello’s result by leading Q3 with a 2m18.565s. This gave Jules Gounon a golden opportunity to seal top spot, and with it the opportunity to run last in Super Pole.

The Frenchman completed the task by posting the third-fastest lap in Q4, more than enough to secure P1 on average times. The #88 Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP machine was 0.433s clear of the #95 Aston Martin, which occupied second position from Q2 onwards after Nicki Thiim finished just 0.004s shy of Marciello. Ross Gunn and Marco Sorensen could not match the Danish ace, but were quick enough to secure P2.

Last year’s runner-up Audi Sport Team Attempto was third with its #66 machine following a supremely consistent showing from Chris Mies, Mattia Drudi and Dennis Marschall. The #4 Mercedes-AMG Team HRT also secured safe passage into Super Pole, followed by both Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW entries, with the #34 just edging the sister #35.

Seventh overall went to the #107 CMR Bentley, which led an unprecedented four Silver Cup cars into Super Pole. The French squad was at the top of the order from the start after Stuart White led Q1. Strong showings from Nelson Panciatici, Pierre-Alexandre Jean and Ulysse De Pauw completed a superb day’s work for the event’s only Bentley runner.

The #14 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini will also compete for top spot in the Silver Cup and Super Pole tomorrow. Ricardo Feller was the standout driver, topping Q4 and setting the fastest time of the entire qualifying process with a 2m18.067s. Two more Silver Cup crews will contest Super Pole after AKKA ASP (#87 Mercedes-AMG) and Winward Racing (#57 Mercedes-AMG) also booked their places.

In total the Super Pole shootout will consist of five cars representing Mercedes-AMG, four from Lamborghini, two each from Audi, BMW, Ferrari and Porsche, and single entries from Aston Martin, Bentley and McLaren.

Pro-Am pole went the way of Garage 59 with its #188 machine, which finished 32nd overall and six spots clear of the #69 RAM Racing Mercedes-AMG. Alexander West, Chris Goodwin, Charlie Eastwood and Marvin Kirchhöfer all contributed to the effort, which saw the #188 out-qualify its sister Silver Cup car. Am Cup pole was secured by the #166 Hägeli by T2 Racing Porsche driven by Pieder Decurtins, Manuel Lauck, Dennis Busch and Marc Basseng, who were six tenths clear of their closest class rivals.

Several big squads missed out on Super Pole, including the #21 Rutronik Racing Porsche (22nd), the #54 Dinamic Motorsport Porsche (23rd), the #25 Audi Sport Team Sainteloc (24th) and the #50 HubAuto Mercedes-AMG (41st). The biggest casualty, however, was the #32 Audi Sport Team WRT car that had topped both free practice and pre-qualifying. Disaster struck when a pair of red flags during Q2 prevented Dries Vanthoor from setting a lap time, meaning that one of the pre-event favourites will start Saturday’s race from 55th on the grid.

The first of those red flags was caused by a sizeable accident for the #19 Grasser Racing Lamborghini of Tim Zimmerman, which made heavy contact with the barriers at Raidillon. The German driver was able to climb from the car, but its participation in qualifying was over and the team now faces a major repair job. Qualifying was halted for more than half an hour while the scene was cleared, ensuring that the majority of the session was staged in darkness.