RAM Racing’s successful pursuit of TF Sport resulted in Ian Loggie and Callum Macleod winning British GT’s blue riband, three-hour race – the Silverstone 500 – in thrilling fashion earlier today.
The best Silverstone 500 ever? Quite possibly, and certainly one that will live long in the memories of Ian Loggie and Callum Macleod who claimed their second British GT victories together, and RAM Racing’s first, by 36s. However, such a dominant margin doesn’t tell the whole story…
They faced fierce opposition all afternoon from TF Sport’s #47 Aston Martin as well as Balfe Motorsport’s Rob Bell and Shaun Balfe, who took it in turns to lead as different strategies built towards the race’s climax.
Davidson led the opening stint from pole but was under pressure throughout as first Loggie and then Balfe harassed the Scot. RAM were the first to react by pitting Loggie after just 25 minutes before Balfe’s McLaren was in 20 minutes later. TF Sport, meanwhile, elected to run deep towards the hour mark, ensuring the respective Pros were left racing the clock rather than each other up front.
Drive time regulations saw strategies converge with just over an hour remaining when Balfe emerged fractionally ahead of Loggie. The McLaren pulled steadily clear thereafter but fell short of the 10s gap required to negate its Pitstop Success Penalty from Snetterton, which was to be served during the final driver change.
Meanwhile, Davidson maintained a watching brief five seconds behind Loggie, whose short opening stint saw him remain onboard for longer as the race ticked towards its conclusion. TF Sport’s longer initial run ensured Adam could be installed earlier, and his natural pace advantage saw the Aston Martin lead Macleod by five seconds heading into the final 20 minutes. It would sadly remain a two-way scrap due to Balfe Motorsport’s pitstop infringement and subsequent 10s stop/go penalty.
All eyes were on Macleod whose fresher tyres helped him carve into Adam’s advantage. Five seconds quickly became just 0.5s as RAM’s Mercedes-AMG desperately searched for a way past the Aston Martin. For several laps they circulated together, Macleod darting this way and that but unable to pass Adam’s increasingly wide Aston Martin.
That was until four minutes remained when the leaders happened upon GT4 traffic at the fast Maggotts/Becketts section. Adam, sensing an opportunity to drop Macleod before Hangar Straight, went for the gap but made contact with the Mustang which slowed their momentum. The Mercedes-AMG shot past on the inside as Adam span into retirement after clipping the Ford while exiting Chapel.
It was a tough end for TF Sport, which looked set to claim a double podium. As it was, Mark Farmer and Nicki Thiim were the chief beneficiaries of their team-mates’ misfortune after the Dane passed Seb Morris in the final stint.
JRM also finished on the rostrum but were disqualified post-race for their Bentley being underweight after Rick Parfitt Jnr and Morris had battled through from 11th on the grid and served a stop/go penalty.
Instead, WPI Motorsport claimed their maiden British GT podium courtesy of debutant Dennis Lind and Michael Igoe who executed an incredible double pass in the space of two corners early in the opening stint.
Optimum’s Ollie Wilkinson and Bradley Ellis won the Silver Cup class by finishing fourth overall despite being punted into a spin in the final hour, while Andrew Howard and Marco Sorensen’s Beechdean AMR Aston Martin enjoyed a trouble-free run to fifth.
Glynn Geddie’s rapid opening stint helped Team Parker Racing’s Bentley initially carve its way from 16th to fourth. However, a 30s post-race penalty issued in lieu of a drive-through for multiple track limits offences ultimately dropped the car Geddie shared with Ryan Ratcliffe to sixth.
Barwell’s afternoon was compromised on the opening lap when championship leader Adam Balon hit the back of team-mate Sam De Haan, who was forced to pit for repairs. Balon and Phil Keen’s subsequent 10s stop/go penalty and additional Pitstop Success Penalty carried forward from Snetterton restricted their #72 Huracan to seventh, one place ahead of the sister #69 car.
Davidson and Adam’s stranded Aston Martin was classified ninth ahead of JMH Auto’s John Seale and Jamie Stanley.
Loggie’s race and qualifying performances – he was also the fastest Am on Saturday – earned him the Blancpain Driver of the Weekend Award, while Thiim set the Sunoco Fastest Lap.