Ben Clucas Racing

4th In Silverstone 24

The TopCats team lined up at Silverstone for their 3rd attempt at a 24-hour race in the Runnymede Homes Mosler, Desperate to make up for the disappointment of Zolder a few weeks earlier.

 

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4th In Silverstone 24 Defending Britcar 500 champions Ben, Pat Gormley and Andrew Beaumont were joined by Henry Fletcher for the event. As in most 24-hour races speed is of little relevance. Knowing this and knowing they had one of the fastest cars on the grid, the TopCats team decided to take it fairly steady through the pre- race sessions, wanting to look after the car as best they could. Despite this and very bad traffic during the qualifying hour, Ben put the number 1 Mosler 5th on the grid in the 60 car strong field.

Before the race started a team meeting was held during which the strategy was set. It was decided the team in the number 1 car would run to a set laptime well below what the car was capable of. This was so they could put as little strain on the Mosler as possible, and if they were still in contention come the 18-hour mark, would re-adjust their speed accordingly.

As the race got under way it was Andrew Beaumont who did the important first stint. Sticking to the set laptime, the Runnymede Mosler dropped slightly down the order, but everyone knew there was a long way to go and things would turn around. Soon it did, the lead cars having started with unbelievably quick laptimes for a 24 hour race soon started to encounter problems and it wasn’t long before the British quartet were sitting at the top of the timing screen. As night fell, so the heavens opened making driving conditions very dangerous, with it impossible to even stay fully on the throttle down the straights without aquaplaning.

During the race the normal trials and tribulations occurred that always do in a 24 hour race and with 3 hours to go the Number 1 Mosler found themselves in a titanic battle for 3rd. Ben jumped in for his 4th double stint of the race, tired, but eager to catch the Porsche ahead and get on that final podium step. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite to be and despite everyone’s best efforts it became apparent they weren’t going to make up enough ground. With 20 minutes to go and the placing already having been decided Andrew again jumped in, to finish the race and bring home a memorable 4th place finish and 2nd in class.

Ben was exhausted, but very pleased afterwards. “It’s been a great race and to finish a 24 hour race is an achievement in itself. It would have been nice to get on the podium, but we were just going to be a bit short of catching them. This is I think the 6th 24 hour race Andrew has done and the first he’s finished, so I think it was appropriate he brought the car over the line. We definitely had the right strategy, backing off the pace a little and looking after the car. I can’t believe the pace some of the front cars were doing at the start; it was like they were in a sprint race! The TopCats team did an unbelievable job and the fact they got all 3 cars to the finish, with zero mechanical problems, speaks volumes about the team.”

 

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