Friday July 7, 2017
Part three of the Legends of Brands Hatch Superprix takes a look at the Guards Trophy – Elva MK7S and below is a review from Ben Mitchell.
Max headed out at the beginning of the session, and we started as we meant to go on! Straight away he was up to P2 and after just a few laps, set a faster time to take pole position. Max again improved his time enough to beat McLaren Automotive Chief Test Driver, Chris Goodwin in his Lotus 23B by just 0.049 seconds. Max pitted the Elva midway through the 30 minute session to change over for me to do my stint. As I exited the pit lane, the session went under safety car to enable a stricken car to be recovered from the track. The safety car went in with just a lap to go at the end of qualifying, and the track had become somewhat slippy due to oil having been dropped. Max and I maintained the class and overall pole position, and looked forward to starting at the front in the 40 minute race on Sunday.
Max made an excellent start from pole, pulling out a two car length lead ahead of Chris Goodwin into the first corner. The pair dropped the rest of the capacity field in no time and ran together at close proximity for several laps, with the lead changing as they went. With Chris ahead, Max stuck close to the back of the Lotus 23B before a moment saw him drop a few seconds back. After setting some blistering times, Max pitted around the half-way point to hand over to me in the one minute pit stop.
A swift pit exit along with fast in and out laps meant that we extended the gap to our rivals in the pit stops. Chris soon ran into engine issues, and after a couple of long pit stops to diagnose the problem, he retired the Lotus. In 1st and with a strong advantage over the rest of the field, we looked set to take a convincing victory. Mark Colman had a horrendous accident at the first corner in his Chevron B8, which left him with a broken ankle. The incident required urgent attention, and the race was put under the safety car before being red flagged with about 15 minutes to go. Luckily Mark’s injuries weren’t worse, and the emergency rescue teams and marshalls did a fantastic job of extracting him from the car safely. The remainder of the race was aborted, and under red flag protocol, the results were taken from a lap before the stoppage. With the pit window still being open at that point, other cars hadn’t yet pitted so we ended up finishing in 2nd, despite being the leader on the net standings. Nonetheless, it’s a fantastic result in our first race driving together, and my first run in the Elva.
A huge thank you to Nigel Grant Motor Engineers for their help and to Lancaster Insurance Services and Reis Motorsport Insurance for their support! Silverstone Classic next up in the Historic Formula Ford.