Double podium and class win for Barwell Motorsport at Silverstone 500

09 May 2023 Double podium and class win for Barwell Motorsport at Silverstone 500

Barwell Motorsport claimed second place overall and a class win in the competitive Silver-Am category at the British GT Championship's prestigious Silverstone 500 over the weekend.
While Sandy Mitchell and Shaun Balfe claimed the overall runners-up spot behind the wheel of the #78 Black Bull Scotch Whisky-backed Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2 at the end of a frenetic three-hour race, team-mates Mark Sansom and Will Tregurtha took the #72 machine to victory in the Silver-Am class en route to finishing sixth overall. 
With two strong driver pairings, Barwell was hopeful of getting both its cars onto the second row of the grid for the blue riband event, but ultimately had to settle for sixth and twelfth after qualifying was abandoned due to persistent heavy rain at the Home of British Motorsport and race organisers reverted to using lap times set during second practice earlier in the day.
Once the race got underway, in thankfully drier conditions on Sunday, Balfe started before taking advantage of an early safety car to hand over to Mitchell, but it was a similar caution period later in the race that really propelled the Black Bull-backed Lamborghini into contention. After both drivers had completed longer stints through the middle of the race, a multi-car accident with less than an hour remaining prompted the return of the safety car, and the Barwell team reacted quickly to put Mitchell back into the #78 for the run to the chequered flag. Crucially, however, the timing of the stop, and rapid work during the changeover, lifted the Scot from 11th at the time Balfe pitted — a position due largely to using more Am driver time than rivals who had run their Pro pilots for longer up to that point — into the lead of the race as rival teams complied with minimum stint lengths and dropped behind the Barwell entry.
It was a different story for Sansom and Tregurtha after they lost out during the first safety car period and found themselves shuffled back to P22 inside the first hour. Despite it proving tough for the #72 to pass in a straight line, strong stints from both drivers, allied to patience in waiting for things to come to them as the longest race of the season unfolded, were eventually rewarded when the Barwell car crossed the line sixth overall, top scoring in the Silver-Am category and elevating Sansom and Tregurtha to within half a point of the standings lead after three rounds.
Further up the order, Mitchell — the only two-time winner of the event — hit the front with just 27 minutes remaining and quickly opened a gap to the second-placed car, setting his fastest lap of the race in the process and raising hopes of further 500 silverware. However, despite the Scot's pace, the Barwell car ultimately proved powerless to resist the straight-line speed of a hard-charging BMW over the closing laps, with Mitchell crossing the line just 1.2secs from what would have been a second successive victory for the Barwell team and a record-setting third personally.

The British GT Championship returns to action in three weeks’ time, over the weekend of May 27-28, heading to Donington for round four. 
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