Donington Park, UK

MASTERS RACE WEEKEND
27 – 28 June 2020

Donington Drama as the Masters 2020 season gets under way!

The Donington Park circuit played a perfect host over a busy 2-day timetable to finally get the Masters 2020 Schedule underway. With all six Masters European grids taking part, there was plenty of action on track and some great battles throughout! The weather stayed kind as Mike Cantillon, Gary Pearson, Shaun Lynn, Craig Davies, Jonathan Mitchell, Tom Bell, Steve Tandy and Joe Ferguson all took home a win!

RACE REPORTS

Aston Martin Masters Endurance Legends – Race 1
Lynn triumphs in AMMEL Race 1

Shaun Lynn triumphed in the opening Aston Martin Masters Endurance Legends race of 2020 at Donington, today, in a safety car-affected race.

Starting from pole position, Steve Tandy blasted away in the Lola B12/60-Judd as Mike Newton took his Le Mans class-winning MG Lola EX257 up to second on the opening tour ahead of Jack Dex (BR 01). Dex’s team-mate Shaun Lynn chased in the second Russian-built chassis with Phil Quaife (Ferrari 430 GT2) next up.

As Tandy built the lead, Dex upped his pace and caught Newton, the BR diving up the inside heading into Redgate to put the newer prototype ahead. Newton’s MG Lola started to fade as the pit stop window approached, allowing Lynn (BR 01) to catch and pass him for third place.

David Methley (Chevrolet Corvette) made an unscheduled pit stop early in the race and then ended his race on lap 16 in the Redgate gravel when his brakes disappeared. That brought out the safety car which enabled Quaife and Lynn to pit under the caution conditions, especially good news for Quaife who had an extra two minutes to serve in the pits an a solo Elite driver. The safety car failed to pick up the leader, allowing Lynn to gain almost a lap over Tandy, the margin after the first racing lap being over one minute. Tandy was on a mission for the remainder of the race.

Tandy piled in fastest lap after fastest lap, with Dex running third and Newton fourth, but the gap never came down sufficiently allowing Lynn to run out a winner. Tandy was a frustrated second from Dex and Newton, while Quaife gained fifth from Marcus Jewell (Porsche 911 GT RSR),

Class wins fell to Lynn, Tandy, Newton, Quaife, Jewell/Ben Clucas and John Cockerton (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup).

Race two for the Aston Martin Masters Endurance Legends is this afternoon at 15:40.

Aston Martin Masters Endurance Legends – Race 2
Tandy triumphs at Donington

Steve Tandy made up for earlier disappointment by winning the second Aston Martin Masters Endurance Legends race at Donington this afternoon.

Tandy’s Lola B12/60-Judd blasted in to the lead and asserted himself as his tyres and brakes came up to temperature. Behind, the two Russian-built BR chassis of Jack Dex and Shaun Lynn chased hard but Tandy was in uncompromising mood having lost a certain race one win to a confused safety car intervention.

This time, Tandy wasn’t to be denied. The experienced sports car and GT racer bolted way from Lynn but the gap rose steadily, even allowing for the traffic which Tandy caught early on. As the margin rose to over 18 seconds to Lynn, Shaun then came under attack from team-mate Dex who found a way past on lap 15 to move into second place and a class lead. Dex tried to catch the older Lola but Tandy was not ready to relax his pace.

Although the order shuffled on the pit stops, allowing race one winner Lynn a chance to lead the pack briefly, Tandy was back ahead when it counted, taking the win by 17.9sec. The ex-Dyson Racing Lola ran out the winner with 36 laps completed in the 40-minute duration.

The internecine BR battle went the way of Dex who was able to stave off race one winner Lynn after the pit stops, the margin between the pair being 26.9sec as Lynn dropped away in the second stint, while fourth was Mike Newton in his Le Mans class-winning MG Lola EX257. As in race one, the RML-tended car faded in the second stint, the 2004-built car giving away a decade to its rivals.

Class winners were Tandy, Dex and Mike Newton, while the GT classes fell to Phil Quaife (Ferrari 430GT2), Marcus Jewell/Ben Clucas (Porsche 911 RSR) and John Cockerton (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup).

Masters Racing Legends for 66/85 F1 cars – Race 1
Cantillon storms to victory in F1 thriller

Mike Cantillon triumphed in a thrilling opening FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship season-opener at Donington Park this afternoon.

Starting from pole position, Cantillon’s ex-Carlos Reutemann/Keke Rosberg Williams FW07C bolted into an immediate lead of the 25-minute race chased by Steve Hartley’s McLaren MP4/1and a quick starting Michael Lyons (Hesketh 308E). As Cantillon tried to break away, Hartley lost out to a prowling Lyons who then set off in pursuit of the leader. However, an early spin by Chris Perkins (Surtees TS14) at the Chicane caused a brief safety car period but just before the boards came out, Lyons was quicker on his toes than Cantillon exiting the final corner and jumped ahead as they crossed the timing line.

As officials investigated the overtake, Lyons tried to open the gap to Cantillon with Hartley dropping away a little. However, as Cantillon brought down the gap, and Lyons went defensive, that enabled Hartley to close the gap and briefly set the fastest lap of the race. As Cantillon closed to within striking distance, the Williams seized its opportunity at Coppice Corner on lap 14, surging alongside the older Hesketh on the run to the Chicane. Lyons fended off the advances as best he could, but Cantillon claimed the inside line for Redgate Corner starting lap 15 and with it the race lead.

The drama wasn’t over yet, though, as Lyons started to drop away meaning that as Cantillon cantered clear, Hartley moved up to second spot and Lyons had to content himself with third overall and a class win, the older Hesketh unable to stay with the later ground-effect cars..

A superb battle raged for fourth place as well, with Jamie Constable (Shadow DN8) heading the pack. However, he was a cork in the bottle as Steve Brooks (Lotus 81), triple Le Mans winner Marco Werner (Lotus 77) and Mark Hazell (Williams FW08C) all queued up behind. As Constable’s progress was arrested by a battery problem, Brooks moved up to fourth ahead of Werner with Hazell rounding out the top six.

Cantillon secured honours in the Head class for later Ground-effect cars and Lyons took gold in the Fittipaldi class for earlier ground-effect machinery. Hazell won the Lauda class for flat-bottomed cars (ahead of Ian Simmonds’s Tyrrell 012) and Matthew Wrigley’s March 721G took the Stewart class in seventh overall.

With Chris Perkins out of the race after a spin and Jamie Constable’s battery travails stopping his Shadow, the other driver out of luck was Frenchman Patrick D’Aubreby who was forced to park his March 761 mid-race. Missing from the grid was Masters supremo Ron Maydon whose Lec CRP1 was damaged in qualifying.

Race two will be at Donington tomorrow, Sunday, at 14:15.

Masters Racing Legends for 66/85 F1 cars – Race 2
Cantillon at the double

Mike Cantillon scored a double in the FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship at Donington Park by securing honours in the second race of the weekend. As in the opening race the previous day, Cantillon didn’t have it easy.

In an excellent race, Steve Brooks (Lotus 81) led away from pole position on the semi-reversed grid, with Michael Lyons (Hesketh 308E) slotting into second ahead of Cantillon’s Williams and Steve Hartley (McLaren MP4/1). Lyons relieved Brooks of the lead on lap three and the Hesketh then started to edge away as Brooks fended off Cantillon and Hartley.

The Williams/McLaren duel moved ahead a lap later but Lyons was flying, building his gap to over 3.5sec over Cantillon who in turn had the constant shadow of Hartley behind him. As the older Hesketh started to lose its edge, so Cantillon closed. Slashing the gap, the ex-Carlos Reutemann Williams was on the tail of Lyons by lap eight, but the Hesketh driver wasn’t giving up without a fight. Lyons defended valiantly, until lap 15 when Cantillon finally breached his defences and stormed past. Hartley pounced as well, the ex-John Watson McLaren moving ahead and the experienced F1 racer desperately trying to move past Cantillon for the lead. He was never quite able to do it but the pair made a stirring sight as they ran nose to tail to the end of the 24-lap race.

Lyons had to content himself with a class-winning third with Brooks taking fourth spot with Mark Hazell (Williams FW08C) coming home a distant fifth. Triple Le Mans winner Marco Werner, on his Masters Historic Racing debut, brought his ex-Gunnar Nilsson Lotus 77 home in sixth place, hitting trouble right at the end of the race which allowed Hazell ahead. Matthew Wrigley (March 721 G) netted seventh and Jamie Constable’s Shadow DN8 recovered from engine woes in race one to take eighth place.

Class honours went to Cantillon (Head), Lyons (Fittipaldi), Hazell (Lauda) and Wrigley (Stewart).

The next race for the Masters Historic Formula One is at Brands Hatch on August 22/23.

Masters Gentlemens Drivers
Pearson prevails in Gentlemen Drivers GT opener

Gary Pearson scored honours in the opening Gentlemen Drivers Pre-1966 GT race of 2020 today at Donington Park after a dominant display in his Jaguar E-type. Pearson was never headed in the 90-minute enduro despite strong opposition.

Mike Whitaker (TVR Griffith) led away from pole position, racing the car for the first tie in three seasons, but lost out to Gary Pearson’s Jaguar E-type at the Old Hairpin on the opening lap while Richard Kent hustled his Jaguar E-type through to second place. As the Big Cats opened a margin, Whitaker dropped a little time as he looked after tyre and brake life, but the pack soon bunched up again after an early safety car period caused by Mark Martin’s Lotus Elan 26R catching fire at Redgate.

Once racing resumed, Pearson stormed away to open the lead over Kent, but Whitaker started to push on. He moved through to second place and then set off in pursuit of Gary, the gap between the two coming down. Kent hung on to third ahead of Mark Donnor in his Pearson-prepped E-type with Mike Wilds (in Ron Maydon’s Ginetta G4R) next up. Ex-BRM F1 driver Wilds enjoyed a frantic tussle with single-seater-turned-GT young gun Nicolai Kjaergaard (Shelby Daytona Cobra) who was spectacular in his efforts to combat the 1720cc Ginetta. However, Nicolai’s efforts came to nought as the Cobra cried enough before the pit window.

The 10-minute pit window was crucial to the outcome as the double-driver entries swapped over with drivers of differing paces in certain cars.

Mark Donnor (Jaguar E-type) was first to stop giving way to Andrew Smith from fourth place, with Richard Kent in a lap later to hand over to the rapid Chris Ward, with the E-type 29 seconds in third place behind leader Pearson. Smith rejoined ninth and Ward sixth. Whitaker rejoined just behind Ward after his pit stop, the TVR having spewed coolant out of its engine bay during its stop. With pit stop times affected by engine size, the TVR’s 4.7-litre engine caused a longer stop than the Jaguars leaving Mike a big challenge in the second stint and in turn that increased Pearson’s lead.

After 31 laps and with 40 minutes to go, Pearson led Ward by 29.6sec but Ward was on a mission as was Smith in fourth chasing Whitaker, starting his attack just 2.8sec adrift. Ward was lapping quicker than Pearson but not by big chunks, seemingly giving Pearson the advantage, whereas Smith set the fastest lap of the race in his pursuit of Whitaker’s TVR. Whitaker responded by retaking the fastest lap and stretching the margin over the E-type as the pair had to work through traffic. By lap 45, Smith had moved up to third with Whitaker dropping away as its lap times went up as brakes became an issue with 20 minutes to run. To add to his woe, Whitaker then picked up a five second penalty for exceeding track limits…

Suddenly, Ward’s E-type slowed but Chris waved Andrew Smith by into second spot. Ward pressed on, back up to pace, trying to claw back the lost place, but Ward had an oil pressure problem that manifested itself and caused retirement with 15 minutes to go. That released Smith to second but he was too far back to challenge Pearson who ran out an easy winner.

Whitaker hadn’t given up and used traffic to his advantage to set a late-race fastest lap as he tried to catch Smith’s E-type, but the gap ebbed and flowed as traffic affected the pair at different times.

CLP winners father-and-son Nick and Eddie Powell (Lotus Elan) took fourth ahead of the similar car of another father-and-son combo: Shaun Lynn/Maxwell Lynn. Despite a 19-second stop-go penalty for being under the regulation pit stop time, Ron Maydon and Mike Wilds (Ginetta G4R) took sixth overall.

As well as overall winner Pearson, class wins were claimed by Malcolm Paul/Rick Bourne (TVR Grantura), Mike Wrigley/Matthew Wrigley (Jaguar E-type) and Nick Powell/Eddie Powell (Lotus Elan).

The next outing for the Gentlemen Drivers Pre-1966 GT cars is Brands Hatch on August 22/23.

Masters Pre66 Touring Cars
Davies on song in Mustang’s Alley

A drama-filled hour of racing kicked off the Masters Pre-66 Touring Car season at Donington Park, with Craig Davies coming out on top.

From pole, Nigel Greensall (Ford Mustang) stormed away from the similar car of Craig Davies, with an inspired Paddy Shovlin (Lotus Cortina) going gang-busters from seventh on the grid to snaffle third place on the inside at turn one.

Greensall stormed away to build the lead from Davies, with Steve Soper (Ford Mustang) charging up from 17th on the grid after qualifying dramas. Soper relieved Shovlin of third on lap three and the Irishman then had to preserve his class lead from Ben Clucas in Marcus Jewell’s Cortina.

Soper continued to charge, moving past Davies for second on lap six, the touring car legend setting the fastest lap of the race as he set off in pursuit of Greensall who would hand the Yank Tank to owner David Gooding in the pit window; Soper would hand to Henry Mann. Greensall responded by setting a new best lap of the race as the gap rose back to eight seconds with just a quarter of the race completed.

A safety car period was triggered just before the pit window after Jonathan Kent planted his Mini in the gravel and a number of drivers came in just before the window opened. Craig Davies pitted too early and was waved back by his crew meaning a second stop was needed and he would thus fall down the order. A number of drivers had their pit stops investigated for coming in too soon for their mandatory stop.

Soper pitted at the end of the window giving Henry Mann the task of closing a gap of 29 seconds to the leading Mustang. As Mann tried to close, he eventually came under attack from the recovering Davies who moved ahead on lap 30 with 15 minutes to go. That allowed Davies to chase the leader with a margin of 7.1sec to make up.

Within a lap, the gap was down to 2.7sec and Davies made his move for the lead at Redgate on lap 33. Gooding had an off shortly after that dropped the Mustang down to fourth spot, while Mann’s car retired with mechanical woes at Starkey’s Bridge.

The Cortina Class was enlivened by an early battle for honours between the JRT-built car of Paddy Shovlin and Australian F3 Champion Ben Clucas. Clucas used his single-seater racecraft to challenge but Shovlin’s car seemed to grow in width as the Irishman kept Ben at bay. Shovlin relayed Michael Cullen for the second stint but the former Ferrari champion then had to fend off soloist Ollie Taylor (Lotus Cortina). Taylor wriggled past Cullen, as did the class leading Austin Mini Cooper S of Tom Bell/Joe Ferguson, relegating Cullen’s Cortina to sixth. Michael fought back, moving back ahead of Ferguson and then chasing after Taylor for the class win. He moved ahead on lap 34 to take the class lead.

As Davies ran out the winner, Cullen/Shovlin secured second overall ahead of Ollie Taylor’s Cortina, with Greensall/Goodwing fourth. The Marcus Jewell/Ben Clucas Lotus Cortina secured fifth and sixth spot went to Bell/Ferguson.

Class wins were claimed by Davies (THA), Cullen/Shovlin (THC) and Bell/Ferguson (despite a stop go penalty for a pit stop infringement) won THD.

The next outing for the Masters Pre-66 Touring Cars is at Brands Hatch on August 22/23.

Masters Sports Car Legends
Lonely Mitchell wins Sports Car opener

Jonathan Mitchell survived a race of attrition to win the opening FIA Masters Historic Sports Car Championship race at Donington Park, inheriting the win after the two leading cars hit trouble on the same lap.

From pole position, Tom Bradshaw bolted away in his nimble Chevron B19, chased by Gary Pearson (Lola T70 Mk3B) and Jonathan Mitchell (Chevron B19).

Bradshaw held a modest lead over the Chevrolet-engined Lola, the Chevron quick through corners and the T70 using its grunt on the straights, the gap creeping up by a couple of tenths or so per lap in the early stages. As the race settled down, Bradshaw edged away, 1.6sec clear after eight laps of racing, while Pearson in turn was able to pull away from Mitchell, with Henry Fletcher (Chevron B19) running fourth ahead of the similar car of Matthew Wrigley.

Bradshaw, 12 laps in, started to lose pace. The Chevron sounded rougher and lost the lead to Pearson who was soon in trouble as well. Two laps later the car coasted out of the chicane with a gearbox problem as Bradshaw simultaneously dived for the pit lane with a misfire. Their retirement allowed Mitchell to assume the lead from Fletcher, with Wrigley third and the leading big-banger being fourth, the Lola T70 Mk3B of Chris Fox/Ross Hyett.

A brief safety car period was cued by the demise of James Hanson (De Tomaso Pantera) at Redgate with a mechanical problem, the field all diving for the pit lane as the window opened during the caution period, but without the leader being picked up by the safety car, leader Mitchell’s advantage grew hugely.

After the pit stops, and courtesy of the safety car, Mitchell was well clear off Fletcher by the better part of minute, Steve Brooks (in for Robert Brooks) moved up to third in his Lola T70 Mk3B with the similar car of Hyett/Fox fourth.

Try as he might, Fletcher’s Martin O’Connell-tended Chevron couldn’t catch the leader, more drama coming as Fletcher picked up a one-second stop-go penalty for too short a pit stop, while the third-placed car of Beebee/Brooks also copped stop-go a penalty of three seconds for the same offence.

That shuffled the order again in the closing stages, as Fletcher dropped to fourth behind Beebee/Brooks and James Claridge (Chevron B23), although a fired-up Fletcher soon moved back ahead of Claridge and closed on Brooks for second. Brooks eventually took his penalty, allowing Fletcher back up to second with Claridge assuming third, while Brooks went on the attack to try to regain a podium finish. Matthew Wrigley took fifth with father Mike in their Chevron B16 ahead of Robert Shaw’s Chevron B19, as Ross Hyett/Chris Fox retired their Lola T70 Mk3B.

Class honours fell to Mitchell (Marko), Beebee/Brooks (Rodriguez), Claridge won the Stommelen class, the Chevron B6 of Andy Newall (Bonnier), John Sheldon’s Chevron B16 (Siffert), James Bates guided his Porsche 911 RSR to Pescarolo honours and Robert Shaw’s Chevron B19 won the Invitation class.

The next race for the Masters Historic Sports Cars is at Brands Hatch on August 22/23.

Masters Mini – Race 1
Bell rings in new Masters Mini season

Tom Bell came out on top of a superb race to kick off the Masters Pre-66 Minis season at Donington Park.

After topping the times in a truncated qualifying session, Bell came out on top in a race full of battles and comprising some of the best Mini racers in the UK.

In a car shared with Joe Ferguson over the weekend, Bell bolted away and built an early lead, benefitting from the pack behind squabbling race-long, allowing him to further extend his advantage. A gap in a Mini race of 15 seconds is almost unheard of, but Bell achieved it in the 20-minute thrash.

Behind him, a quite superb battle played out for second place involving Mini champions Ian Curley and Jeff Smith. The pair traded places throughout, running side-by-side through the Craner Curves for example, thrilling fans with the outcome always in doubt. Curley moved ahead, Smith moved back ahead – it was classic Mini racing, with the action clean and close. When it counted, however, it was Curley ahead by a tenth from Smith in third.

Bill Sollis ran fourth, but copped a penalty for an out-of-position start, dropping him to fifth, while nearest rival Michael Cullen was another penalised for the same offence! That dropped the Irishman to eighth place, allowing David Ogden to inherit fourth ahead of Sollis, while Barry Sime took sixth ahead of Jo Polley, her car repaired after a broken driveshaft stopped her qualifying effort. With a frustrated Cullen eighth, ninth fell to fellow countryman, and business partner, Niall McFadden, while Carl Nairn rounded out the top 10.

With Bell also setting fastest lap on his way to the win, the Mini hordes know that they have a new name to combat in 2020.

Masters Mini – Race 2
Mini happy returns for Ferguson

Joe Ferguson backed up stable-mate Tom Bell by taking their Austin Mini Cooper S to a win in the second Masters Pre-66 Minis race of the weekend at Donington Park as the delayed 2020 season burst into life.

Under sunny skies and in front of a sizeable number of enthusiastic fans, the second Mini stanza rounded out the first Masters weekend of the season and came just hours after the first frantic 20-minute race which was full of action.

Race two was no different, although the Ferguson/Bell car once again asserted itself out front. Taking over the car in which Bell won the opening race, Ferguson romped into the lead and steadily extended it over Ian Curley who was close but never able to close enough on the leader to make an effort for honours. Eventually, Curley had to settle for second place, safe on the knowledge that he was well clear of the pack behind. Ferguson, who also claimed the fastest lap of the race, took a winning margin of eight seconds after an impressive drive.

That gap from Curley to the rest extended thanks to a superb battle between Jeff Smith, Bill Sollis, David Ogden and Michael Cullen. Sollis ran third to begin with, fighting and trading the place with Jeff Smith, before Cullen became involved as well! Once Smith had ensconced himself in third, Cullen moved up to fourth and Ogden grabbed fifth, but then battled his way past Cullen on the final lap of the race.

Sollis dropped away a little towards the end still secured sixth place ahead of Irishman Niall McFadden, with Jimmy Sime having his outing in the family car to take eighth. Ninth went to Lawrence Warr while 10th was claimed by Billy Nairn.

The Masters Pre-66 Minis are next in action at Brands Hatch on August 22/23.