Masters News

Saturday 26th August 2023

Pearson/Brundle take famous Ferrari win in Masters Sports Car Legends race at Silverstone

Gary Pearson and Alex Brundle brought the Ferrari 512M back to the top in historic sportscar racing, as Brundle held off Olly Bryant’s Lola T70 Mk3B for a famous win in the Yokohama Trophy for Masters Sports Car Legends at Silvestone. In a hugely exciting final race of the Silverstone Festival, the top ten cars fought hard for the top spots, with the pole-sitting Lola T296 of James Claridge/Gonçalo Gomes eventually coming away with third ahead of the Diogo Ferrão/Martin Stretton Lola T292 and Tim De Silva’s Taydec Mk3.


“It was great!” said Brundle. “That Ferrari 512 is an unbelievable machine. They kept us honest out there, I kept looking in the mirror and seeing an Olly Bryant-shaped car and I wished he leave me alone! But we had a fantastic race and it’s just a privilege to be able to race such a car.”


“Ah, I loved it", said Pearson. “Honestly, after the stops, I’ve been able to watch it on the TV, and these are the coolest cars, and I think if we get a good bunch of these big cars racing, there’s nothing like it. It’s the best historic racing in the world.”


“It was great, it was fantastic”, said Bryant. “It was great fun from the start, got to fight with Gary and in the end there with Alex, and it’s not even that a Chevy has not enough grunt to keep in front… but it was fantastic racing that Ferrari, and great to see it out. It’s been a big effort to get the car here, as we only got the new engine on Wednesday – so thanks to Masters for such a last-minute entry.”


“When you get a grid of these cars, with such variety – they’re fantastic”, said Claridge.


The second Ferrari 512M in the field, shared by Dutch father and son David & Olivier Hart, was also in the mix but Hart Sr spun away his initial lead while Hart Jr was penalised for a safety-car infringement, leading to a 10-second stop-and-go penalty. This allowed the Chris Beighton/Simon Hadfield Lola T70 Mk3B to also finish ahead of the Dutch pairing. Initially, Martin O’Connell was well up too, but the T70 taken over by Steve Brooks at the stops retired on the final lap to drop down from sixth to a classified tenth.


John Spiers and Nigel Greensall led home a McLaren M1B 1-2-3 in the Hulme class, with Andrew Haddon losing out on second place to Richard McAlpine on the final lap. In the Bonnier class, Dominik & Simon Jackson vanquished the ubiquitous Chevron B8 by taking their Lenham P70 to a unique class win ahead of Stephen Nuttall and Charles Allison/Peter Thompson.


Drawing the curtains on a brilliant Saturday of the Silverstone Festival, some 30 Masters Sports Car Legends car rumbled onto the grid for their 50-minute race. One corner into the race, two Ferraris were leading the field, Pearson from David Hart, but soon the Dutchman was ahead, with Diogo Ferrão following through into third in the Lola T292, the Portuguese driver passing James Claridge in the T296. Olly Bryant in the first of the Lola T70 Mk3Bs was into fourth before the end of the opening lap, with Martin O’Connell in another T70 also following through. On lap 2, Henry Fletcher moved up into seventh in the Chevron B26, ahead of Tim De Silva in the Taydec Mk3.


At the front, Hart inched out a 1.4-second lead over Pearson, as the T70s of Bryant and O’Connell powered through into third and fourth, both demoting Ferrão, who now had to deal with Fletcher. In the Bonnier class, Stephen Nuttall led the Chevron B8 battle from Julian Thomas and Christian Pittard, while in the Hulme class John Spiers and Andrew Haddon in their McLaren M1Bs were ahead of Billy Bellinger in the Cooper Monaco King Cobra.


As Hart Sr set fastest lap of the race, Pearson was coming under pressure from O’Connell who had relieved Bryant as the top T70 driver. Behind them, on lap 4, Ferrão, Fletcher and De Silva ensured that the entire top seven were covered by less than nine seconds! Claridge was in no man’s land in eighth, with Chris Beighton bearing down on him in the third T70, with Jason Wright a further six seconds back in another T70.


On lap 6, however, it was all change, as David Hart spun off his twitchy Ferrari 512M to relinquish the lead to Pearson who still massively pressured by O’Connell, Bryant and Ferrão, in a thrilling fight that now had the lead at stake. Behind Fletcher and De Silva, Hart resumed in seventh, before on lap 7, Pearson succumbed to pressure at the end of the Wellington Straight, as both O’Connell and Bryant got ahead of the yellow Ferrari.


In the Bonnier class, Thomas had passed Nuttall for the lead while they fought with Hulme class leader Greensall in the McLaren. Haddon, meanwhile, had to work hard to defend his second place in class from Bellinger’s close attentions. Third place in the Bonnier class was taken over by Simon Jackson in the Lenham P70, as the Christian Pittard/Darren Burke Chevron B8 had faltered on lap 6, and needed to be recovered.


As a result, on lap 8, the safety car came to coincide with the opening of the pit window – and so on lap 9, the entire field came streaming into the pits all at once! The ‘race’ in the pits was won by the Thomas/Lockie Chevron B8 (although you had the feeling that something had gone wrong there) and Olly Bryant, with Steve Brooks up next in the Lola started by O’Connell, with Fletcher and De Silva another two having made up places. Alex Brundle in the Pearsons Ferrari was fourth, with a couple of hotshoe preparer-drivers right behind him – Martin Stretton in Ferrão’s T292, and Simon Hadfield in Beighton’s T70.


At the restart the little Chevron was soon usurped, as Bryant swept into the lead, with the Ferraris of Brundle and Olivier Hart following through, as De Silva took fourth off Brooks’ hands, with Stretton, Fletcher and Hadfield next, while Gonçalo Gomes was also coming on strong in the T296. Bryant’s time in the lead proved shortlived, however, as Brundle surged past on lap 14, while Hart Jr continued to harry Bryant for second. Sadly though, the young Dutchman faced a ten-second stop-and-go penalty for a false start at the restart, so that issue dealt with the red Ferrari 512M, allowing De Silva in the Taydec to move up into third.


Ten more minutes remained, and it was still all to play for. Brundle led Bryant by 2.4 seconds while six seconds further down the road, De Silva did everything to keep ahead of Stretton, but the American had to concede on lap 17, but Gomes was closing fast on both of them, with the Lola T296 passing the Taydec on the next lap. Moments later, Fletcher passed Brooks for sixth, while Hadfield was also looking for Brooks’ position. Seven ticks in arrears of Hadfield, the Stephan Joebstl/Andy Willis T70 had also moved into contention.


John Spiers continued to dominate the Hulme class in tenth overall, with Haddon a very distant second in class in 19th overall, while Richard McAlpine made it a McLaren 1-2-3 as the Keith Ahlers/Billy Bellinger Cooper Monaco King Cobra was forced to throw in the towel on lap 17. In the Bonnier class, Simon Jackson’s Lenham P70 had robbed the lead from the seemingly tight grip of Stephen Nuttall’s Chevron B8, as the Thomas/Lockie B8 was docked a full lap for indeed pitting too early under safety-car conditions.


In the dying minutes Brundle held firm to win by 2.9 seconds from Bryant, with the James Claridge/Gonçalo Gomes Lola T296 charging up to third ahead of the Ferrão/Stretton T292. They were followed home by De Silva, Fletcher, the Beighton/Hadfield T70, the recovering Ferrari 512M of David & Olivier Hart and the Joebstl/Willis T70, as the O’Connell/Brooks T70 retired on the final lap but was still classified tenth. In 11th overall, Spiers and Greensall led home two more McLaren M1B, but it was McAlpine instead of Haddon who took second in class, as Haddon was another one to retire on the final lap. Dominik & Simon Jackson’s Lenham P70 broke the Chevron B8 stranglehold on the Bonnier class by beating Nuttall and Charles Allison/Peter Thompson combo to the win.



Related news