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Watch Scots racers in Silverstone and Knockhill action

By Giles Blair

SCOTS endurance racer Sandy Mitchell delivered a masterful performance last weekend to win the Silverstone 500 in the British GT Championship.

His second victory in three years at the series’ Blue Riband race meant the Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo driver became the event’s first two-time winner.

And, after three hours of racing, he did it by the narrowest of margins – crossing the line just 0.5 seconds ahead of the Garage 59 McLaren 720S being piloted by Marvin Kirchhoefer.

The 22-year-old Scot had held his nerve to keep the German at bay over the final 35 minutes of the championship’s second-round race.

But Mitchell, from Forfar, partnered by Adam Balon in the Lamborghini, had thrown down the gauntlet by setting a new GT3 qualifying lap record of one minute and 56.765 seconds to put the car on pole position.

Mitchell and Balon celebrate their victory (Mat Acton (Egghead Media))

The Italian marque’s factory driver showed his hunger to win even more as he roared out of the pits for his final race stint. It meant when the McLaren emerged from its final pit stop, the Scot was three car lengths ahead.

Mitchell said: “The Barwell guys did a fantastic job not just with the timing of the pit calls but also with the actual pit stops. If I’d been one or two seconds further back on the track after the last pit stop then I probably wouldn’t have been ahead of the McLaren.

“I knew I would have to soak up the pressure right to the chequered flag. That final stint was really tough in terms of intensity.

“But I always knew I was in control of the race and it was fantastic to cross the line 0.529 seconds ahead. From the point of view of the 2022 championship, the result is huge – it puts us in a great position for the rest of the season.”

Aberdeen duo Lewis and Stewart Proctor repeated their achievements of the opening round, taking the third step of the podium in the Silver-Am class aboard their Greystone GT McLaren 720S GT3.

The Proctors stormed to third in the Silver-Am class (Mat Acton (Egghead Media))

Their eighth place finish overall provided the team with its maiden outright top-10 result in the series.

Lewis said: “To be third in Silver-Am and coming through from 15th to eighth in a pretty gruelling race gives me a lot of confidence that we can be even stronger next time out.”

Dad Stewart added: “It was a clean race with no mistakes and we got the result that we deserved.”

Meanwhile, Kirkcaldy’s Jonny Adam was reunited with Flick Haigh (the pair won the championship in 2018) and they finished fifth overall on board a 2 Seas Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3.

In the GT4 class, Dumfriesshire’s Ross Wylie and team-mate Matthew Graham swept their Valluga Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport to third overall and second in the GT4S ranks.

Ross Wylie had a superb second-place finish in the GT4S category at Silverstone (Mat Acton (Egghead Media))

Wylie said: “For Matty and I to finish second in our first BGT together with the Porsche was a massive achievement. The guys at Valluga did a great job for both of us.”

In the supporting GB3 series, Uddingston’s Cian Shields proved his move from karting was a good one with a maiden victory in the reverse-grid race in his Hitech GP machine.

He took the lead away from polesitter David Morales at the start and resisted race-long pressure from Hillspeed’s Nick Gilkes to win by 0.434 seconds.

East Kilbride’s Logan Hannah was also on the podium in the new GB4 championship with Graham Brunton Racing. She finished second in the last of three races at the world-famous Northamptonshire venue.

Back at home, Fife’s Knockhill Circuit served up a treat for bumper crowds, with the The David Leslie Trophy race for the visiting Super Touring Cars topping the bill.

That was backed up by an impressive gathering of Modified Fords from the 70s, 80s and 90s, as well as a packed programme of Scottish Motor Racing Club contests.

Scotland’s double British Touring Car Champion John Cleland lived up to expectations, winning the Trophy race in his ex-Works Vauxhall Vectra.

Fife driver Conrad Murray, in his Ford Focus, came second and Tony Absolom was third aboard his ex-Works Cavalier. Another star was fourth-placed Steffan Irmler, who travelled from Germany to be in the tribute race.

It was a day of double SMRC victories for many as Oly Mortimer won both R53 MINI Cooper S races, Michael Weddell also got a brace of wins in the MINI Cooper Cup and Jack Irvine took victory in the concluding reverse grid race.

Michael Weddell was flying in the MINI Cooper Cup at Knockhill (Craig McAllister)

Continuing the brace theme, Steven Gray got a double in the Ford STs and John Kinmond also got to take home the silverware twice in the Classics.

Knockhill events director Stuart Gray said: “This had all the makings of being the best SMRC event in years and it delivered action in spades.”

This weekend, promises more thrills, with the BTCC visiting the Brands Hatch Indy circuit in Kent.

Fife racer and triple title winner Gordon Shedden will look to build on an impressive start – the Honda Civic Type R driver is second in the standings after the first round.

Other Scots to look out for will be Rory Butcher in his Toyota Corolla and Infiniti Q50 duo Aiden Moffat and Dexter Patterson.

Stephen Petch will lead the field away at the Border Counties Rally (Eddie Kelly Motorsport Photography)

The supporting MINI Challenge UK also features a host of Scots – namely Ronan Pearson, Jack Davidson, Robbie Dalgleish, Ru Clark, Hannah Chapman, Joe Tanner and Ross Marshall.

F4 and Ginetta action involving Oliver Stewart and Fergus Chalmers add to the package for Scottish fans.

And Gordie Mutch will be back in Praga Cup action as part of the Britcar weekend at Snetterton in Norfolk.

Some of the best gravel rally drivers in the UK will tackle the Border Counties Rally as the Jedburgh-based event returns on Saturday after a two-year hiatus. The top-seeded drivers are Stephen Petch, Matthew Hirst, Elliot Payne, Ian Bainbridge and local ace Michael Binnie.

Overseas, Dean Macdonald is set to compete in a Garage 59 McLaren 720S GT3 in the GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup at Magny-Cours in France.

The Era Motorsport LMP2 Oreca that Ryan Dalziel will be racing (Era Motorsport)

Jonny Adam will be in Italy competing for Oman Racing with TF Sport in an Aston Martin Vantage GTE in the 4 Hours of Imola as part of the European Le Mans Series.

Colin Noble will be at the same circuit competing in his Nielsen Racing LMP3 machine in the Le Mans Cup.

Ryan Dalziel will be hoping for his second Lexus Grand Prix win at Mid-Ohio – and a chance to boost his IMSA SportsCar Championship LMP2 class lead.

He will be joined in the race by fellow Scot Stevan McAleer – who will be in the Gilbert/Korthoff Mercedes, before teaming up with Alex Premat in the RS1 Porsche 718 for the Pilot Challenge. Then he will be out again with Joe Robillard in the Prototype Challenge.

Robin Liddell will be back in the Rebel Rock Racing Chevy Camaro with Frank Depew in the Pilot Challenge.

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