Mitchell's Silverstone 500 masterclass 09 | 05 | 2022

    SCOTS ENDURANCE RACER Sandy Mitchell delivered a masterful performance to win the Silverstone 500, the Blue Riband race in the British GT Championship, for the second time in three years. After three hours of intense racing, the Scot’s winning gap was just 0.529secs. (Related: Mitchell fired-up for Silverstone return)

    Mitchell, the 22-year-old from Forfar, partnering Adam Balon in the No 72 (#72) Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo prepared by Barwell Motorsport, built on his stunning performance in qualifying 24 hours earlier.

    Having clocked the fastest time round Silverstone in a GT3 car in Free Practice 2, clocking 1min 57.100 secs, the Scot went even quicker in qualifying, stopping the clock in 1:56.765s to set a new qualifying lap record and put the car on pole position. (Related: Scot Sandy Mitchell wins 2020 British GT Championship)

    “That lap was perfect,” Mitchell, a Lamborghini factory driver and member of the British Racing Drivers’ Club, admitted, “and definitely confirmed we had a car capable of winning the three-hour race.”


    Balon took the opening stint in the race and led for the opening six minutes before he was nudged wide by the #32 Lamborghini. The contact brought a penalty for the #32 and Balon retook the lead before pitting to hand the car to Mitchell after 43 minutes.

    The Scot maintained the lead through his first stint, navigating traffic and managing the Pirelli tyres brilliantly, before handing the car back to Balon.


    The Englishman was frustratingly hampered by slow-moving traffic towards the end of his stint, but despite that Balon delivered a really strong performance to keep within striking distance of the #88 car allowing Mitchell to achieve the undercut at the next pitstop. (Related: Mitchell positive after tough British GT opener)

    With 43 minutes of the race remaining, Mitchell, personally backed by Huntly-based Black Bull Scotch Whisky and Thorntons Solicitors, was back in the Lamborghini.


    “Adam’s second stint was really important,” the Scot, British GT champion in 2020, explained. “He maintained the gap to the #88 car in front which meant I could do a few really quick laps when I got in the car to have a chance of being ahead when they pitted. Thankfully that’s exactly what happened.”

    When Mitchell emerged from the pits he immediately set his personal fastest lap of the race, a 1:58.372s, and followed that up with two other super-quick laps. It meant that when the #88 emerged having completed its final pitstop, the Scot was three car lengths ahead. (Related: Mitchell battles back to bag Euro GT points)


    “Managing to get ahead of the #88 car when it rejoined the circuit after its final pitstop was the be all and end all of the race,” Mitchell admitted. “That was the result right there.

    “The Barwell guys did a fantastic job not just with the timing of the pit calls but also with the actual pitstops. If I’d been one or two seconds further back on the track after the last pitstop then I probably wouldn’t have exited ahead of the #88 McLaren. It was that tight.


    “I think if they’d come out ahead of us I would have had one lap of a chance to get passed him. After that it would have been really, really tough to try and get passed.” (Related: Mitchell commits to 2022 British GT Championship)

    It was a point masterfully demonstrated by Mitchell as he fended off the #88 car, driven by German Marvin Kirchhoefer, for the remaining 40 minutes.


    “I knew I would have to soak up the pressure right to the chequered flag,” Mitchell smiled. “That final stint was really tough in terms of intensity. He was within a second for most of the stint.

    "I had to negotiate GT3 traffic as well as GT4 cars which were fighting for positions in their own class. It was really intense to ensure I don’t lose any time in key areas. But I always knew I was in control of the race and it was fantastic to cross the line 0.529secs ahead.”


    The win, which dramatically boosts Mitchell championship standings, was the second time he has won the Silverstone 500 in three years, becoming the only driver to win it twice. Twelve months ago he also took maximum points when he finished second, behind a car not registered for the championship.


    “From this year’s championship point of view, the result is huge,” Mitchell said. “We obviously had a difficult first round, and quite a lot of the guys who had a good first round had a difficult round here, so it’s basically all to play for again. It puts is in a great position for the rest of the season. We’re right back in the mix.”

    Mitchell returns to action in the British GT Championship on May 28/29 when the series returns to Donington Park.

    Related: Mitchell named Lamborghini factory driver

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    Jim McGill

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    Chris Lazenby

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