Team BRIT returned to the track at Silverstone on the 3rd and 4th of July for the latest round of the Britcar Championship.
For Aston Martin GT4 drivers Bobby Trundley and Aaron Morgan, this was round 4 of the Endurance Category and for BMW drivers Luke Pound and Andy Tucker it was the third round of the year.
The team were also joined across the weekend by staff from a number of sponsors who enjoyed a day of corporate hospitality in the British Racing Drivers’ Clubhouse at the circuit and were able to hear presentations from the drivers and take part in tours of the garage.
The team descended upon the iconic track on Friday to a warm and dry day for testing. Some minor technical issues were revealed on the Aston and the BMW 240, giving the crew plenty to work on throughout the day ahead of the weekend’s competition.
On Saturday the heavens opened and torrential rain greeted the team for the day’s endurance race. Unfortunately, bad luck began in practice and was set to thwart the team for much of the day. A throttle issue meant that the practice session was cut short.
Conditions changed quickly, and with the crew working flat out to fix the throttle issues, there was little time to change the set-up on the car for the drier conditions ahead of qualifying. Bobby and Aaron pushed on regardless and placed 8th in class, which would set their start position for race 1.
Instead of the usual 2 x 50 minute races, this round saw a 2-hour championship special for the Endurance Class. Bobby and Aaron drove incredibly well throughout but were plagued with hydraulic issues during the race. The crew got the issue repaired and back out on track but sadly it cost the pair 12 minutes in the pits. As always, the team never gives up, and Bobby and Aaron brought the Aston home in a respectable 8th in class, securing a crucial 16 points.
Photo: Stevie Borowick
On Sunday, Luke Pound was joined in the 118 by guest driver Christiern Dart, a staff member of the team’s title sponsor Brit Insurance and Andy was joined in the M240i by Paul Voakes of sponsor, Peak.
A deceptively sunny start to the day was soon replaced with heavy rain once again by the end of qualifying, which put the Team BRIT drivers at a disadvantage against front wheel drive cars. Despite this, Andy and Paul qualified in P6 with Luke and Christiern in P8.
In race 1, Luke started in the 118, with changing weather again as the track started to dry out. Consistent driving saw him hand over to Christiern in P8, a position they held until the chequered flag.
Andy took the first stint in the M204i, making his way up the grid immediately and gaining 13 places overall by the end of the first lap, handing over to Paul at P5 in class. Despite it being Paul’s first race in the car, he steadily improved his lap times, holding the position until the end.
Photo: Dave South
In race 2, Christiern started in the 118, beginning in P8 as determined by the finish in race 1. After some incidents on track, the pit window open, giving him the opportunity to enter the pits in P6, and gaining 2 places into 4th by the time Luke re-joined the field. Luke held 4th place for the majority of his stint before being overtaken in the penultimate lap and securing a great finish of 5th place - only 8 seconds behind the overall winner.
In the M240i, Paul started for the pair, continuing to gain in speed in his inaugural race and handing over to Andy in a fantastic p6. Andy pushed with all he had and was on course for a podium finish when a turbo failure caused a freak fire at the back of his car. Luckily, Andy handled the situation perfectly, liaising with Race Engineer Al Locke over comms and immediately taking the car off the track to avoid any oil spill. Andy drove the car straight to the nearby marshal station and pulled the Lifeline fire extinguisher, enabling the marshals to carry out their fantastic work and extinguish the fire. Andy’s quick actions prevented any injury to himself or others and saved tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage to the car. Check out footage from the incident here. Despite this, Andy and Paul finished P6 in class having completed the race distance and are now in a strong position to push for a class podium finish in the championship.
Photo: Peter Markwick
Team BRIT founder Dave Player said, “This wasn’t the weekend we wanted in lots of ways, but I feel nothing other than pride in the way our drivers and crew handled each race.
“We came with high hopes, having taken silverware home in every race so far this weekend, and despite the issues we faced, we saw some brilliant performances.
“Technical issues are part of motorsport and it’s testament to the skill and determination of our crew that despite these, they responded and got our cars back out on track each time. Similarly, our drivers stayed positive and gave everything they could to secure crucial points.
“We’ll all be thinking about the scenes we saw of Andy’s car fire for some time and I am so relieved that he walked away from the incident unharmed. He handled the situation perfectly and I’d like to thank him, the crew and the incredible volunteer marshals who’s combined actions meant that no one was hurt.
“A huge thank you also to the army of sponsors and supporters who joined us for an exciting weekend of racing.”
The drivers race again on the 31st July / 1st August at Brands Hatch.
Header photo: Mark Ballantyne