Brabham take historic first overall GT Cup win in Silverstone spectacular
14 August 2021
Paul Bailey and Ross Wylie gave Brabham's BT62 a historic first overall GT Cup Championship race victory in a thrilling endurance race at Silverstone, sharing wins with Abba Racing who fought them all the way.
The first day of the annual trip to the home of British motorsport did not disappoint, with championship leaders Abba Racing grabbing the Sprint race triumph thanks to Richard Neary before he and son Sam battled to hold off a charging Wylie in the dramatic Pit Stop contest later in the day, the latter coming out victorious.
Each group had its own individual dramas. GTC enjoyed a sublime last-lap win for Stanbridge Motorsport thanks to a charging Stuart Hall, sharing honours with the Ferrari of Kan-Yan Racing. GTH also produced a dramatic photo finish in race two won by Greystone Racing ahead of Balfe Motorsport, the opener taken by Paddock Motorsport.
The GTB spoils were shared between JMH Automotive and Valluga Racing's Porsches, while GTA victories were handed out to Ginetta outfits Orange Racing with JMH and Century Motorsport.
The fast and furious 15-minute qualifying session went the way of the Mercedes GT3 of Sam Neary, who scorched to another pole position ahead of the GTO-topping Raw Motorsport Radical RXC.
Warren Gilbert kept Topcats Racing's title charge on course with pole in the GTC group in their Lamborghini Huracan, while Valluga Racing took pole in GTB. Enduro Motorsport's Mercedes GT4 machine surged to the top spot in GTH ahead of Orange Racing with JMH Automotive, with Craig Wilkins putting the Scott Sport Ginetta G55 on the GTA pole.
Father Richard Neary jumped into the Mercedes - rebuilt following a luckless visit to Spa-Francorchamps recently - looking to give the team its 11th win of the season, and a swift move on the fast-starting Radical of Ben Dimmack at Stowe corner was enough to give him the opportunity to complete the job in hand.
The victory margin was 15 seconds by the chequered flag ahead of GT3 rival John Dhillon, while third went to the GTO-winning Radical of Raw Motorsport despite a spirited charge from last to fourth overall by the impressive Bailey in his Brabham right behind.
GTB went the way of Valluga Racing in an intra-Porsche dice throughout, with the Ian Humphris entry taking a win on their debut ahead of the Team HARD car of Richard Marsh by six seconds.
The fight in GTC went the way of Andie Stokoe and James Swift in their Kan-Yan Racing Ferrari 488 Challenge, one of five cars representing the Prancing Horse. Topcats Racing's Gilbert battled hard with the returning James Webb, the latter grabbing second in the group on his comeback.
Orange Racing with JMH Automotive added another GTA win with their Ginetta G55 thanks to Simon Orange, while Josh Jackson grimly defended the GTH lead in their McLaren 570s for much of the race before the #32 entry of Paddock Motorsport overtook both the Orange car and their Paddock Motorsport team-mate Tom Rawlings to seal a win on their debut with Porsche Sprint Challenge GB racer Alex Malykhin.
It set the scene perfectly for a 50-minute spectacular later in the afternoon, although the Pit Stop race got off to a very dramatic start.
While Richard Neary held the lead, behind them the GTA Ginetta of Simon Orange was tipped onto its roof in the shake-up heading through Becketts. The sister car of Russ Lindsay stopped after a spin to check up on his fellow competitor, who thankfully emerged unscathed from the incident.
The safety car eventually departed, only to re-emerge as the Team HARD Porsche left the road in front of the Silverstone Wing, creating a queue of cars taking their mandatory stops up front. Sam Neary took over the Mercedes but behind the Steve Burgess/Dimmack Radical, which he swiftly passed with bold move on the outside at the entry to Becketts on the restart.
Wylie - now in the Brabham BT62 - also climbed to second in the battle, and started his chase of Neary up front. The Scot made his move at Stowe in the final 10 minutes but was rebuffed at Club corner, only to repeat the move successfully minutes later to grab the lead and stroke home a fine first overall win for David Brabham's machine - SB Race Engineering's first of the season.
The GTO win therefore also went their way, Grahame Tilley and Will Tregurtha climbing to third overall despite two stops. The GTC group also had its drama to play out, with Stuart Hall's heroic final lap pass on the FF Corse Ferrari of Roy Millington and Benny Simonsen enough to seal the group win with Chris Kemp and Stanbridge Motorsport despite a drive-through penalty attempting to derail them.
GTB success went to the popular entry of Sean Winder and Adam Wilcox for JMH Automotive, the Porsche pairing raising money for the Children's Intense Care Unit at Staffordshire Children's Hospital in Winder's first race since 2015. The GTA win went the way of James Kellett and Alex Stevenson for Century Motorsport (Ginetta G55), while GTH was again tense to the flag, won by Jon Lancaster and Rich Mason by a mere 0.032s in a phenomenal photo finish.
#28 Ross Wylie
“It’s a relief more than anything to get the first overall win, it’s been a long time coming! I’m delighted and over the moon for the guys at SB Racing, Horsepower Racing, Brabham Automotive and of course Paul Bailey as well. Good to get that overall win. I was just biding my time with some traffic and such like, I just thought there was no sense in taking chances here. Like I say, it was good to bring it home in first and it’s all to do again tomorrow. It was fun coming through traffic, and it was all about traffic management and whether the car in front has seen you and such like. Thoroughly enjoyed my drive and enjoyed my result as well. We’ve helped Paul get comfortable in the car, it’s a big step up from what he’s driven before and he’s taking to it like a duck to water. I’m really pleased and really proud of his driving so far.”
#88 Sam Neary
“It was a good day for us, two class wins and still leading the championship so can’t really complain! Nothing I could do against the Brabham, I tried to hold him up as much as possible but it’s just got too much horsepower – down the straight it’s got 10 car lengths. It’s got more aero but I’m still keeping up through Maggotts, Becketts and Chapel so clearly the car is just too quick really for us to do with. I gave him a run for his money and I thought I held my own. I tried all my moves, pulled out all the stops, but kept it fair and kept it clean. We race again tomorrow.”
#96 Stuart Hall
“Race was good, Chris did a really good job and the car was great – Stanbridge have prepared a fantastic Lamborghini Huracan this weekend. We were able to take advantage of the safety car, and we came out of the pits second or third in class and then just got my head down. It was nice to get a win, we didn’t do Oulton so it’s nice to turn up and get a win and get some good points. With that comes the success penalty in tomorrow’s race, tomorrow is going to be a difficult day, but today was a good day and we’ll enjoy it tonight and wake up in the morning and start again.”
#7 Ben Dimmack
"It’s been eventful, got a little bit of damage and just learning the car. Considering it’s a new car, we can’t really expect for much better than what we’ve got. It’s a shame on the endurance race where we had no time penalties so we should have benefitted from that but when the safety car came out, by the time we got out everyone else had caught me up. Overall, we finished fifth overall and second in class in the endurance race so can’t complain. There’s a lot to learn with the new car, it’s hard to drive – totally different to the last one. Both enjoying it, Steve did a great job in qualifying so hopefully we can do the same again tomorrow.”
#19 Sean Winder
“[The pitstop race] was absolutely fantastic. I kept it on the black stuff and then gave it over to Adam who obviously brought it in. It was 90% down to him, all I did was not crash it! I’m absolutely over the moon. We’ve had a great time leading up to this weekend doing all the testing together, it’s been a great laugh. To actually achieve this today well let’s put it this way, at the beginning of the day I don’t think either of us believed, based on my pace, that we were going to do anything. The safety car worked out for us very well and we got the call at exactly the right time which put Adam in the best position to be able to bring it home.”