A fantastic grid of 37 slick-shod cars entered for the Liqui Moly Slicks Series race, supporting British GT. Immediately following the 3 hour main event, the Liqui Moly Slicks competitors put on a great show for the large crowd and live stream audience.
We were well supported on the weekend by Joseph Perry, flooding the CSCC's social media accounts with interesting content across the weekend. Click here for his photos, comments and videos on our main page: https://www.facebook.com/ClassicSportsCarClub/ Also search Twitter and Instagram for the club accounts.
Official CSCC photographer David Stallard Made the drive up from the south-east just for you, taking photos from different vantage points, in both qualifying and the race. View and buy his high resolution photos here: https://www.davidstallardphotography.com/ClassicSportsCarClubCSCC/CSCC-2022/CSCC-Donington-Park-Slicks-2829-May-22/
He doesn't just offer photos, printed mugs for example are now a favourite among CSCC drivers!
The complete results breakdown is here: https://www.tsl-timing.com/file/?f=BF3GT/2022/222105sli.pdf
The race was live streamed and can be played back in full. Skip the safety car for the first ten minutes or so, then sit back and enjoy some quality racing:
With qualifying not until late on Saturday, it gave drivers the option to arrive on Saturday morning, with the downside being that the paddock was full, well, the area we were assigned anyway. The half-dozen drivers who were parked outside for the first day were remarkably cheerful about it, for this the club thanks you.
The drivers briefing welcomed not only 'old hands' but also a total of nine drivers who were racing with the CSCC for the very first time. One driver was taking part in his very first race, for two drivers this was only their second ever race, whilst at least one had just lost their novice cross. The CSCC is used to this mix of experience, as long as drivers show respect for each other and use their mirrors their is rarely a problem, this event was positive proof of this.
Qualifying was short-lived for the Lotus 340R of David Harvey, snapping a shaft before completing a lap, a similar fault halting the Noble M12 of Kevin Jones, just after leaving the assembly area.
Most drivers entered had experience of driving at Donington, on the National layout, but for a number the Grand Prix loop was new to them. With two red flags and the session shortened, those two driver teams were particularly short of valuable practice time. Matty Evans for example just getting in the mandatory 3 laps, before handing over to co-driver Roger Lavender, so the latter could get to grips with the BMW 1M.
Simon Evans' 996 experienced an overheating issue early on. Frustratingly it won't replicate this fault on the rolling road, only at sustained high revs over multiple laps, as at Snetterton last time out.
The first qualifying red flag, after 3 laps, was caused by the stricken M3 of Bryan Bransom (car 26), after the E46 had a failed throttle position sensor, leaving him with no power to move the car off the grass.
After the session got underway again most drivers enjoyed 5 or 6 laps of clear running, aside from the Volvo S80 of Nigel Mustill/Phil Bennett, that limped back to the paddock with a broken rear suspension pushrod, trailing tyre smoke. A Porsche 911 (I'll save the driver any blushes) found itself stuck in the gravel before the chicane. It was going to be unsafe for the Marshals to recover it from here, besides, it would have been impossible for drivers to have improved on their lap times with waved yellows covering the incident. The red flag and early chequered flag was therefore shown, to allow the final race of the day to take part at their scheduled live stream time.
Whilst we lost 5 or 6 minutes, race controls experience probably saved a very manic dash to get in just one or two flying laps.
To that point we'd witnessed a thrilling back and forth exchange of fastest laps between a number of drivers, notably the largest-engined car on the grid, the 7 litre Mosler, of Marcus and Morgan Short and the smallest, the 2.3 litre Motorsport Elise (incorrectly listed as a 2.5), piloted by Rob Fenn. The Mosler came out on top, by 0.9 seconds, but their was a pace difference between both co-drivers that would be telling come the Sunday, this being Morgan's first race in the Mosler and his first time at Donington. To add to the pressure, the Mosler is currently up for sale!
With Evans' 996 and Jones' Noble both withdrawing and the Clerk able to get the now repaired Harvey 340R a few laps behind the safety car, we were all set for a 35 car race.
The Liqui Moly Slicks race was given a favourable time for competition on Sunday mid-afternoon, immediately following the headline 3 Hour British GT race. This gave drivers the time to relax, watch some racing, or fix their cars. Andrew Robey and team were hard at work repairing their Marcos Mantis and probably welcomed the two day format this time, the Slicks Series action usually taking place on just the one day.
Whilst the British GT's were certainly impressive, both in their team equipment and cars, were they having more fun? A point that David Harvey made (I wish I had remembered his exact quote), measuring success in motorsport by the amount of 'smiles' generated, David relishing the chance to start from the back.
Almost all drivers were in the assembly area super early, earning thanks from the Marshals. A very dark cloud approached from the Coppice end of the circuit, with rain visibly falling. Thankfully, no more than a few drops fell on the track, but someone nearby got a soaking.
Fenn and Short were under strict instructions to control the pack on the rolling start, something they managed perfectly. It was looking like a perfect start, until the Lotus Evora of Kevin Riley slewed across the rear of the pack, spinning and then hitting the pit wall hard, thankfully without contact from anyone else. The spin was suspected to have been triggered by the lightest of side-to-side contact with the Harry Petch Ginetta G50, although a later conversation confirmed no damage to the Ginetta, so was perhaps a case of cold tyres for the Evora. Riley later conceded he hadn't seen Petch alongside until the very last moment, perhaps triggering a movement, hard to say when these things happen in a blink of an eye.
Around Redgate, the live stream showed Dominic Malone was tapped from the rear, ending his race in the gravel, whilst Peter Challis spun to the grass at the inside of Craner Curves. This wasn't looking good for the reputation of the Classic Sports Car Club, until it turned out that Malone's gearbox had failed, leaving him with no drive and no-where for the poor BMW to go, except tapping him into touch. Challis' spin was caused by a very light touch from behind, before making a brilliant recovery drive to tenth. Challis said post race "the spin was caused by contact with the BMW. I don't blame him at all. It was a first lap incident were we are all trying for every inch and normally I get the advantage but unfortunately for me this time I didn't. Fully on the edge of the tyre so the slightest touch sends you around. No more damage than a rub, so all's good and we get to race another day."
The safety car was scrambled and picked up Short at the conclusion to the first lap.
The shaken but unharmed Riley was helped from the sorry looking Evora by the medical team, reporting that it wasn't the worst crash he'd experienced in his long racing career! With the Evora transmission seized and chassis damaged it took more than ten minutes for the tractor to lift and drag the remains into the pit lane. This meant that when the pit window opened the rear end of the tractor was partially blocking the pit entry. All competitors sensibly continued for another lap, when racing was re-started and the first pit-stops took place.
At this point I won't attempt a detailed race report, the live stream does a far more exciting job of this, so please go and watch it, but I will add a few notes.
The grunt of the Mosler was helping to keep it ahead on the longer straights, with the Elise nipping at its heels through the twisties. The pair of them pitted at the same time and therefore left simultaneously. The live stream showed what looked like a risky overtaking at pit exit, but once again their were mitigating circumstances. When the pit-lane speed limiter was deselected the Mosler bogged down, the mixture too rich and meant the accelerating Elise jinked right, across the paintwork, on to the circuit.
The repaired Volvo S80 would once again suffer from broken suspension, putting it out of the race. The live stream caught the moment it collapsed under full throttle at Starkey's, driver skill helping to avert calamity.
A fantastic battle took place after the pit-stops between the Mosler (now driven by Marcus and having served a 20 second winners success penalty), McLaren 570S (David Foster, in only his second ever race) and 997 Cup car of Daniel Petters. A shame the Lotus was not part of this, delayed with transmission issues. The M3, now piloted by Arran Moulton-Smith was in sight, but not able to engage. Marcus, still getting to grips with both Mosler and circuit was understandably cautious when faced with a wall of cars he wished to lap, all involved in their own battle. His rivals were decisive and slipped past. Petters showed his handling skill, drifting the 911 on the very limit, entertaining for the live stream viewers if nothing else!
Due to the unusual circumstance of the recovery tractor partially blocking the pit entry, combined with confusion over the pit window rule following drivers briefing a number of drivers regrettably picked up post-race time penalties. One of these was David Harvey, who having started from the back, reached as high as 9th, before penalty dropped him to 13th, I'm sure he was still smiling though.
After seemingly working on the Marcos for at least a day, Andrew Robey was rewarded with 11th overall. John Cockerton is still getting to grips with his immaculate, carbon-wrapped 997 and despite miscalculating the pit-stop duration finished a creditable 5th in class.
Matt Eddolls was our newcomer, out in his first ever-race, what an event to choose! His driving appeared exemplary, courteous to the leaders and his Aston GT4 was far from last too, we hope you always remember this race Matt.
The Short brothers brought the car home in first overall by 6.8 seconds, without a mark, to the relief and pride of father, Martin! David Foster was a deserved second, but was really put under pressure by the E36 of Arran Moulton-Smith (and Mark Smith), the latter setting his fastest time in the final lap, finishing 3rd, by just a tenth of a second.
Just four days later an understandably small grid of 13 cars raced at the CSCC's Brands Hatch Jubilee meeting. Once again the Short's were victorious, ahead of Smith/Moulton Smith and Matty Evans (BMW 1M), well done all and thank you for supporting the series.
A number of you are joining us later in June for the Spa Summer Classic, with 3 x 30 minute, non pit-stop races, with some strong competition from other CSCC categories. There is still time for a late entry. After that it's back to the UK for the Liqui Moly Slicks round at Castle Combe, on 16th July, we hope to see you there.