Race Report: Heritage Grand Touring Car Challenge Silverstone 18th April
At this weekend’s Formula 2 race meeting, part of the package of racing was the Heritage Grand Touring Car Challenge (HGTCC) 50 minute enduro race. The cross section of machinery that came out to play was staggering from father and son team of Grahame and Oliver Bryant with their highly modified mighty Morgan +8 to Leigh Youles and Paul Tarry’s 1966 Austin Mini Cooper.
The weather was perfect for the start of the race, which saw the Phil James hit the front in the Thunder Road Cars Ram Cobra TRSC with Grahame Bryant driving the first stint in the Morgan +8 never more than a few car lengths away. After a fantastic start John Wilson put his MGT V8 into third but spun out on lap 2, handing the position to the Crossle 9S of Roger Donnan, who himself was embroiled in a battle with Mark Hobbs similar car.
During the race the cars are required to make a compulsory pit stop to either change drivers or if a lone driver, run three laps round their car before getting going again. Lap 10 saw Bryant dive into the pits for his mandatory pit stop handing the car over to his son Oliver. GT driver Oliver was immediately on the pace, reeling off a series of blisteringly fast laps to cement his lead and doing the fastest lap of the race on lap 20 with a time of 2:06.189, an average speed of 91 MPH in the process.
Arguably the prettiest car in the field was Chris Shipton’s Gulf liveried Ford GT40 Mirage which was running comfortably in the top 6. Shipton who was obviously enjoying the car, had to be called in to the pits for his stop on lap 16. During his stop an oil leak was discovered and the Mirage was reluctantly retired.
Starting at the back of the grid John Dickson in his bright orange Ram Cobra 427 got my ‘drive of the race’ with a spirited and determined drive to second place albeit nearly 43 seconds behind the Bryant’s flying Moggie.
A Spell bounding battle for the mid field places played out between the Crossle 9S’, assorted Aston Martins, the hard charging Ram Cobra of Phil James and Cheng Lim, also joining the party another, back of the grid charger, in the shape of the Morgan +8, ably piloted by Paul Conway and Ed Mercer.
At the finish after a gruelling 51 minutes Olly Bryant thundered across the line in the Morgan, with Dickson’s Cobra a distant 2nd and Donnan’s giant killing Crossle 9S a mere 1.1 seconds down the road to complete the podium trio. The James/Lim Cobra came home a fine 4th, followed by the Crossle 9S of Andrew Todd and Nigel Edwards. The Mercer/Conway Moggie finished 6th a lap down, pursued by the gorgeous Aston Martin DB5 of Ian McCullum and John Bussell.
Next Report will be from the VSCC meeting Saturday 24th of April