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Lamborghini takes third British GT race win of the year in Donington three-hour enduro

27 May 2024

Sandy Mitchell and Alex Martin prevail in wet-dry race to take the points lead as Collard/Collard take fifth

Barwell Motorsport’s Sandy Mitchell and Alex Martin moved to the top of the British GT Championship points standings after claiming a hard-fought second victory of the season in a red flag disrupted fourth round at Donington Park.

The crew at the wheel of the #78 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2 started from pole position but looked to have slipped out of contention after the race was stopped amid a heavy downpour of rain which caused a number of cars to spin off at the first corner. Following a lengthy delay, Martin handed over to Mitchell, who made a pair of crucial overtakes late on to take the win.

Mitchell made the most of a late safety car restart to slide ahead of the sister Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini #63 of Ricky and Rob Collard before mounting a challenge to the race-leading Mercedes of Phil Keen in the closing laps. Pressure and a slight mistake from the Mercedes gave Lamborghini Factory Driver Mitchell the opportunity he needed to seize the lead, which he then successfully defended from the McLaren of Tom Gamble to come out on top by just half a second at the chequered flag.

The weekend began strongly for the pair of Lamborghinis, with Martin and Mitchell setting the second-quickest time in opening practice before topping the pre-qualifying session later in the day. Come qualifying itself, Barwell Motorsport was unbeatable, with Mitchell and Martin’s combined Q1 and Q2 times good enough for overall pole position. It was a similar story for the #63, which joined the #78 on the front-row of the grid for a Lamborghini one-two.

Changeable conditions on Sunday morning meant that the track was partially wet, with organisers deciding to start the race behind the safety car. Martin took the start in the #78 and briefly held onto his advantage before slipping back to fourth place as the #63 made moves towards the front. The order changed after the first round of driver changes as Mitchell recovered to second place ahead of the #63, with both trailing the race-leading McLaren.

All cars were on slicks from the start, but the rain returned with a vengeance with around two hours to go. A sudden cloud burst meant that Mitchell had no option but to pit for wet tyres, while Collard elected to stay out another lap. The race was then red flagged two laps later as six cars got beached in the gravel at Redgate. A long delay followed with the restart taking the order two laps before the red flags were shown.

This meant that Collard was in the lead but, as the track dried out once more and two subsequent full course yellow periods followed, Mitchell – who had taken over from Martin for the final stint – finally found himself in the pound seat. The Scot found a way past Ricky Collard at the last restart and set about chasing down Keen’s Mercedes, while also having to defend against Gamble’s McLaren. Eventually, the Mercedes got held up behind a GT4 car and Mitchell then forced a mistake from Keen at Coppice to grab the lead with eight minutes to go.

From then, Mitchell had to defend against the McLaren which closed to within a second on the final lap, but the Lamborghini held firm to take the win by just half a second, as the #63 finished fifth. In the championship, Martin and Mitchell now lead the points standings with 77.5 points, with Collard/Collard second in the standings with 68 points heading into the next round of the year at Spa-Francorchamps.

Sandy Mitchell, Barwell Motorsport, and Lamborghini Factory Driver said: “That’s got to be one of the craziest races I have ever done in British GT, it felt like it lasted forever. I knew it was going to be very difficult to get past Phil [Keen]’ he doesn’t make many mistakes at all, and with the differences between the cars, it was difficult to get close enough to make a move. But he got held up by a GT4 and I thought ‘this is the only moment I’m going to get’ so I went full steam ahead and I can’t really believe we managed to win today!”

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