Blistering Podium

July 24, 2023

Lamborghini Factory Driver Sandy, bags podium with Black Bull and Barwell, as British GT makes its Algarve debut.

Sandy, delivered a blistering drive to bag an impressive podium place in the latest round of the Intelligent Money British GT Championship in Portugal. Sandy, and team-mate Shaun Balfe, defied searing temperatures under cloudless blue skies at the dramatic Autodromo do Algarve near Portimao, to overhaul a 50-second deficit to finish just 0.347secs off second place. Starting from fourth on the 33-car grid in their No 78 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2, prepared by Barwell Motorsport, the three-hour race was punctuated by a series of safety cars, the first after just 11 minutes.

“It was a bit of a crazy race,” Sandy said afterwards. “There were a lot of safety cars which, when it’s a three-hour race makes a big difference to the strategy. We had three compulsory pitstops to make in the race and everyone tried to get some of them out of the way quickly, because you lose less time under the safety car. “Ironically we actually lost a fair bit of time when the first safety car came out. It didn’t stay out as long as we thought it would. Shaun pitted and when I came back out we were 18th and 50-seconds off the lead. “But when the next safety car appeared we got a really good strategy call and made up a few places. That allowed us to get back into the lead train of cars and suddenly we were only a few seconds off the lead again.”

Balfe did the penultimate stint, getting back in the car just 36 minutes into the race. Rejoining in 17th, when he handed the car back to Sandy with 64 minutes remaining he had moved the Lamborghini into the top five. “Shaun did a terrific job in his long stint,” Mitchell, personally backed by Huntly-based Black Bull Scotch Whisky, Tunnocks, Lamborghini Edinburgh, Upper Dysart and Alan Davie Transport, continued. It was extremely hot throughout the race and we have limited aircon in the car, so for Shaun to be able to do over an hour in the car as an amateur driver was seriously impressive.”
Pro driver Sandy rejoined the race in eighth, and after the final safety car period ended with 50 minutes remaining immediately set about attacking the cars ahead of him.

“Having moved up to fifth, I had a fantastic restart after the final safety car, getting past two cars coming into Turn One. One of them got back past me, but then I got him again which put me into P3,” Sandy explained.

With 47 minutes remaining, he was 5.1secs behind the second-placed McLaren. After a storming series of laps, when he was at times a second faster than the two cars ahead of him, with 29 minutes of the race left to run Sandy had catapulted himself to just 0.6s behind the McLaren.
For the remainder of the race, the Scot hounded the rear bumper of the McLaren but despite throwing everything at the car he couldn’t ease himself into second place.

“We had the pace,” Sandy, who missed out on the fastest lap of the race by just 0.047s, stated, “but catching the leaders is one thing. Overtaking them is another. When you’re only two- or three-tenths a lap faster than the car in front it’s extremely difficult to overtake with the dirty air coming off the car in front. I put him under a lot of pressure and he had to defend a couple of times, but I wasn’t able to quite make the killer move. To come out with a P3, especially considering where we were early on in the race, was a fantastic effort by the whole Barwell team. I’m really happy with the way we responded and delighted with the podium.”