The Heritage Grand Touring Car Challenge: Silverstone 2011
The Heritage Grand Touring Car Challenge
MSVR Formula 2 support race
Silverstone ‘Arena’ Circuit
Sunday 17th April 2011
Once again as part of the impressive Motor Sport Vision Racing (MSVR) Formula 2 package, the Heritage GTCC is back. We had to wait for the final race of the meeting but worth the wait.
Ex F1 star and TV presenter Tiff Needell had put John Dickson’s mighty DWR RAM Cobra on the pole along side Clinton Dorrell’s equally mighty Gardner Douglas 427. The second row featured John Wilson with his MG BGT V8 and for many people, the car to watch in the shape of Father and son Graham and Oliver Bryant’s ‘1 MOG’ 4.7 litre Rover Morgan +8. Another Star, TV’s Tony Jardine was next up with Trevor Knight and their 3.3litre Turbocharged Porsche 911, Chris Scragg joined them on the third row with his gorgeous Aston Martin V8.
At just gone 17:15 the lights went out and Dickson put the hammer down taking the bright orange Cobra into the lead, Dorrell gave chase in his Gardner Douglas 427 with the smoking MG BGT V8 thundering after them. Graham Bryant slide into 4th with the Knight/Jardine 911 in close attendance. On lap 3 the luckless Dorrell had to call it a day retiring his Cobra moving everybody up a spot and thats how it stayed until the pit stops.
By lap 9 John Dickson had built a comfortable 12 second lead over Wilson, whose MG was laying an oil smoke screen at more or less every corner. Dickson handed over to Tiff Needell who roared out of the pits and set to building on his partners lead. Lap 9 also saw Wilson, Bryant, Knight and Scragg visit the pitlane, now the race to the chequered flag was on. Needell was on fire in the Cobra, clearly revelling in the car, he set his fastest lap of the race on lap 12, then on the 13th tour, and set to go even quicker, disaster struck at Stowe, the Cobra’s half shaft failed shedding the left hand rear wheel, pitching the car into the gravel, game over! This handed the lead to John Wilson, however he was being hunted. Oliver Bryant who had taken over driving duties in ‘1 MOG’ and was reeling the MG in at a savage rate of knots, the gap on lap 14 being just over 13 seconds next time round it was 10, on lap 16 it was just over 7, with a lap to go it was down 3.8 seconds. Ollie was relentless in his chase and on the final lap Bryant had caught the still smoking MG in the new loop section. With his mirrors full of Morgan, Wilson made a small error coming on to the Wellington straight and Bryant was through taking the win by just 1.125 seconds, setting the fastest lap of the race in the process. Third was Chris Scragg who had a relatively quiet race in the big green Aston with forth going to the Knight/Jardine 911 turbo.
5th and 6th was a hard fought affair for B class honours between two of the best turned out Mk1 Escorts I’ve seen racing, Laki Christoforou’s RS1600 and Sean Brown in a 2 litre Mexico were duelling for the entire race never more than a couple of lengths apart. At the flag the pair crossed the finish line just half a second apart with Christoforou victorious.
I hope this has whetted your appetite for all things retro and vintage in the UK, I’ll be back after the Easter weekend with the report and Photos from the Vintage Sports Car Club’s annual ‘Spring start’ meeting at Silverstone. Have a happy Easter!