The latest round of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup – the Paul Ricard 1000Kms – brought huge success for Barwell Motorsport on Saturday evening. The prestigious ‘into-the-night’ race around the famous French track finished with both of the team’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3s on the podium in their respective classes, including a fantastic first victory in the Silver Cup ‘junior pro’ category for the Black Bull Whisky-backed machine of Michele Beretta, Sandy Mitchell and Martin Kodric. Joining them on the podium was Mark Lemmer, who collected our first Silver Cup Winning Team trophy. Backing this up with their second podium of the season were Leo Machitski, Adrian Amstutz and Francisco Guedes, who again took the runner-up spot in the Am Cup class for Bronze drivers. Both of the Barwell team crews have now moved into third place in their respective Championship points standings, at the half way stage of the season.
The Silver Cup victory really was the result of an all-round team effort including great performances on track from all three drivers, great strategy calls and race management from the Barwell engineering team, and some super slick pit work from the wheel changers and refuellers. After some early contact with another car, the drivers had to battle with increasingly stiffening steering, but still maintained excellent race pace as they all double-stinted. The Silver Cup battle in the first half of the 6-hour encounter was incredibly intense, with the top six in class virtually running nose-to-tail. During this period we were in the heart of the dog fight and fluctuated between second and fourth place, but after the third hour pit stop we vaulted into a lead that we would never relinquish.
Meanwhile in the Am Cup a very strong opening stint from Leo established our Huracan firmly in second place, which was consolidated by similarly rapid drives from both Adrian and Francisco. We briefly took the lead after taking our short ‘joker’ pit stop earlier on in the race than the pace-setting McLaren, but were powerless to resist the British car re-taking the top spot.