Rick Parfitt and Seb Morris in the #31 Team Parker Racing Bentley took a dominant victory in the three-hour Silverstone 500 British GT race on Sunday, coming home over a minute ahead of their closest challengers.
Second went to the polesitting Silver/Silver driver pairing of James Littlejohn and Jack Mitchell in the #24 Macmillan AMR Aston Martin, while Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin got the #21 Spirit Of Race Ferrari on to the final podium position.
Parfitt jumped into the lead off the grid and from there he and Morris never looked back. They did lose the lead at various points, however, as although competitors were required to make three driver-change stops within the race’s three-hour duration, there were no set pit windows to adhere to, so different strategies were applied. But with no safety car periods at all in the 180-minute race, opportunities for strategic gambles were limited and the result largely came down to pace and lack of errors.
Cameron didn’t have a great start from third on the grid, dropping to seventh in his initial stint, but later hard-charging laps from him and co-driver Griffin saw the dark green 488 on the podium in the end. Championship leaders Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw were fourth in the Demon Tweeks Barwell Lamborghini, having stretched some of their stints to the maximum permitted time to no avail.
Elsewhere, pressure from Ian Loggie in the #7 Team Parker Bentley saw Neary spin the Rollcentre Merc early in the race, but in a later stint Loggie lost the car at Copse in his own and backed heavily into the tyre wall, fortunately damaging only the car and not himself. Rapid pace from Christodoulou during his stints at the wheel ensured that not even a late stop-go penalty for a short pitstop could prevent the Abba-sponsored AMG GT from taking fifth at the flag.
The second Barwell Lamborghini of Liam Griffin and Sam Tordoff was sixth on a weekend where the latter admitted “nothing went right and nothing went wrong”. Next up were Mark Farmer and Jon Barnes in the #11 TF Sport Aston Martin, who endured contact with the race-winning Bentley on their way to seventh.
Ryan Ratcliffe survived a dramatic late-race spin to bring the AmD Tuning Mercedes he shares with Lee Mowle home in eighth, while reigning champions Jonny Adam and Derek Johnston trailed in ninth after the #1 TF Aston lost power steering during the race. The GT3 runners were rounded out by the lone Century Motorsport Ginetta, which made an underwhelming return to the championship after both the team’s cars sat out Snetterton, despite flashes of pace from Charlie Robertson when he was at the wheel.
In GT4, Track-Club’s duo of Adam Balon and Adam Mackay took their second victory of the season in the #72 McLaren 570S. Matt Nicoll-Jones and Will Moore meanwhile scored a remarkable second, having started from the back of the grid due to skipping qualifying while the contested a GT4 Europe race at the Red Bull Ring. The final GT4 podium position went the way of Marcus Hoggarth and Matthew Graham in the #29 In2Racing McLaren.
Macmillan’s GT4 Aston, piloted by Will Moore and Jan Jonck, was fourth in the class, while Lanan Racing’s Alex Reed and David Pattison were the highest-finishing Ginetta crew on day when double 2017 race winners Will Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton were sidelined by a broken driveshaft in the HHC Motorsport G55.
PMW Expo/Optimum’s Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson came home sixth on their first race since switching from Ginetta to McLaren, ahead of a one-off Ginetta entry for this race, the Twisted-backed G55 of Ade Barwick and Bradley Ellis. The Black Bull McLaren of Haggerty and Mitchell was on the back foot with a 20-second success penalty from the previous round, and was also hit with a drive-through penalty for exceeding track limits under yellow flags, eventually finishing eighth just ahead of the sister car of Rabindra and MacDonald.
Team Parker Racing’s Porsche was 10th in GT4, ahead of the #111 Century Ginetta of Mike Simpson and Anna Walewska (hit with a 10-second stop-go for a pit infringement) and the #54 Ultratek Nissan, which at one point suffered a puncture while Struan Moore was at the wheel. Coming home 13th in GT4 and last classified finisher was the Tolman Motorsport McLaren of Osborne and Pattison, who endured a nightmare race with two heavy punctures.