The Silverstone Classic Endurance race, in support of the 1000 Kilometer event, proved to be a race of surprises, with a quality entry and very close racing, plus it produced a fourth different winner following the rounds at Paul Ricard, Spa and Monza, making sponsors Motul and EFG Bank very happy.
The day belonged to Gareth Burnett in the well-known Chevron B26 “Chocolate Drop,” the ex-works car that became a modified Skoda before returning to its original guise. The race, however, was not a straightforward contest by any means, as Burnett describes:
“We topped the time sheets in first practice on Friday though the straight-line speed was only 13th fastest. It proved the chassis was working well. Unfortunately, in the next session, qualifying was curtailed when an oil pipe breather came off and put oil onto the exhaust. I pulled off to avoid any risk. At the time I was only 21st and that would be a disaster if the weather was dry for the second qualifying session. In that session the Chevron was up to 7th, and we changed wings and roll bars, but then a lot of oil on the circuit stopped any further advance.
“In the race, the first laps were frantic. I had contact with Mike Catlow’s Lola T296—he was off the circuit and came back on. It left Chocolate Drop with 20 mm of toe out and very strange handling, resulting in a spin and I was down to 13th but I then settled down with a clear track and could set to work. We were in 6th by the pit window and a really good pit stop got us 4th. I managed to catch and pass the Lolas of Fox, then Rahal and, finally, Catlow/Wilkins. The tire was down to the carcass at the end!”
Carlos Barbot’s Lola T290DFV had been on pole but retired at lap 15, the same lap that saw the end of Paul Knapfield’s Ferrari 712P, which was also on the front row. Last minute shuffles saw Lafargues’ Lola 2nd from Fox/Kemp. The Chevron led home four Lolas followed by the Chevron B21 of DaRocha.
By Ed McDonough