Britcar 24 Hours: Race Preview

This weekend the Saturday night around Silverstone will be filled with the varied engine noises of some 50 cars during the middle portion of the 2011 running of Britain’s most grueling race.

Britcar 2011The Britcar 24 Hours is Britain’s only true 24 hour challenge and this year is fittingly run on the Arena circuit, the latest iteration of the home of the British Grand Prix. The challenge of the 3.66 mile circuit is compounded by the endurance test of men and machine and the time of year.

Just like the twice-around-the-clock event at Daytona in January, and very unlike the French midsummer benchmark for 24 Hours as much as half the race is run under the cover of darkness, with little or no artificial light around the track. Thankfully, for anyone who has braved previous editions the vagaries of the British weather appear to have delivered the 2011 race from the rain that blighted the 2010 weekend. Whether the ubiquitous Britcar 24 fog can be avoided remains to be seen.

The field – with over 50 cars expected – is split into four classes, spanning cars from bespoke racing machines to production based Renault Clios and MG ZRs with a range of drivers to match.

Leading the entry list, carrying the no.1 plate is the four man Ferrari crew of MJC Ltd. The team saw off the challenge of JetAlliance Racing in 2010 after a battle that lasted for much of the race. While their Austrian rivals opted out of a return to Silverstone the MJC team of Witt GamskiKeith RobinsonJohn Gaw and Phil Dryburgh are reunited with the Ferrari 430 from a year ago.

Gamski and Robinson dominated the Britcar GT season in 2010, winning all but the final race, but have endured a less auspicious 2011. After getting off to a winning start at Silverstone in March, they were narrowly beaten at Rockingham the following month. Their season came to an end at Donington Park in May, when the car spectacularly blew its engine in qualifying forcing an expensive rebuild by Michelotto in Italy. The car will only return to competition on the 24 Hours weekend.

Read the full story at The Checkered Flag.