Leo Machitski and Dennis Lind claimed the overall Intelligent Money British GT Championship Drivers crown at a dramatic final ‘Donington Decider’ 2-Hour race event, aboard their Vimetco Extrusion-backed Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo. This marked back-to-back titles for Barwell Motorsport’s drivers, after Sandy Mitchell and Rob Collard took the 2020 championship, which was the first overall British GT driver’s title for Lamborghini. This year Sandy finished third overall alongside Adam Balon in their Techtrak-supported Huracan, after another very strong season. Black Bull Scotch Whisky-backed Barwell Motorsport had already claimed the Teams crown prior to the Donington Park encounter. These two domestic titles mean that we have won a total of no less than six championships in 2021, including the four claimed in the GT World Challenge Europe.
Leo and Dennis led the championship points going into Donington and thus had the pressure of being the favourites, whilst Adam and Sandy were in with an outside chance in fourth spot but needed a lot of factors with their rivals to go in their favour. However the weather threw a major curved ball into the equation on race day, as morning rain meant the race was started in very tricky conditions with the cars all on grooved wet tyres on a drying track. With one of our main championship rivals, the WPi Lamborghini of Igoe/Keen, spinning out of contention on the opening lap, this meant that the only car that could stop us was the Ram Mercedes of Loggie/Buurman – who coincidentally were the chief threat to us in the Silverstone finale last year!
The maths of the points situation were straightforward, if the Merc won the race then Leo/Dennis needed to finish no lower than third to secure the title. If Loggie/Buurman were second then we only needed to be seventh, so the overall placings were critical. As the race entered its final three-quarters of an hour the overall situation was very delicately poised, with the Mercedes crew in second but less than two seconds behind the leading McLaren and Leo/Dennis in fourth just ahead of Adam/Sandy, but with our two cars a long way back from the third-placed car. The positions had to stay that way for the title to come back to Barwell, and we endured a nail-biting 45 minutes as all we could do was watch on and hope that the leading McLaren of Marcus Clutton didn’t drop behind the Yelmer Buurman-driven Ram Mercedes. In the end the race was red-flagged with two laps to go due to a GT4 car being stationary on the track, and the whole Barwell pits garage erupted in celebration as it was mission accomplished!
Mark Lemmer, Barwell Motorsport Team Principal: “It’s been another incredible season for Barwell and Lamborghini, an amazing achievement to have this year’s titles follow up our 2020 British GT and GT World Challenge Silver Cup crowns. Congratulations to Leo & Dennis for a brilliant championship victory and it was also another great season for Adam and Sandy, and third overall was the least they deserved. And for me the icing on the cake was the fantastic atmosphere that we enjoyed all season long between the four drivers, which was intense but at the same time both respectful and sporting.”
Leo Machitski: “What a fantastic season! It’s great to be the overall British GT Champion now, after I won the very first GT3 class title back in 2006 ! Huge thanks to Barwell and to Dennis for an outstanding year, and I’d also like to congratulate my sponsors, Vimetco Extrusion, on their 15th anniversary. Our longstanding relationship has seen many excellent results, but to win the Championship whilst Vimetco are also celebrating their own success is a great joy and I would like to express my appreciation for their continued support.”
Euan Shand, Chairman of Black Bull’s parent company, Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky, commented; “It was fantastic to be there at Donington with the team and watch the final two days of racing. It’s been a phenomenal season for Barwell, and we congratulate them on the skill and tenacity that they brought to the track which made for an exhilarating year of racing. We were proud to be Barwell’s main long-standing team sponsor once again this year.”