British GT Championship – Brands Hatch

September 11, 2023

Former British GT champ Sandy, bags top five finish at Brands Hatch with Black Bull and Lamborghini.

Lamborghini GT3 factory driver Sandy, bagged a top five finish in the latest round of the Intelligent Money British GT Championship at Brands Hatch. But for the 23-year-old from Forfar, it was a case of what might have been. Partnering team-mate Shaun Balfe in the No 78 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2, prepared by Barwell Motorsport, the duo started the two-hour race at the Kent circuit from third on the grid.

Balfe immediately eased himself into second place at Turn 1 and comfortably held the gap to the leader. The opening 64-minute stint was punctuated by two Safety Car periods, and Balfe retained second place when he pitted to hand the car over to Sandy. But having completed the pitstop and served the extra 10-second success penalty — a result of having finished third last time out at Portimao in Portugal — Sandy was then forced to sit and watch a string of five cars pass him before he could be released from his pit box.

“It was just really unfortunate timing,” Sandy, personally backed by Huntly-based Black Bull Scotch Whisky, Tunnocks, Lamborghini Edinburgh, Upper Dysart and Alan Davie Transport, stated. “Shaun delivered a really strong stint to retain second place in the race. We knew we had the extra 10 seconds to serve at the stop but just as I was about to be released, a queue of other cars exited. We had no alternative but to sit and let them roll passed.”

Rejoining in seventh, Sandy rapidly caught the No 11 McLaren in sixth, and following a third appearance of the Safety Car eased himself ahead. He instantly set his fastest lap of the race to bring himself up to the rear bumper of the No 3 car, itself the third in a bumper-to-bumper line of three Mercedes. Sandy then spent the next 37 minutes hounding the #3 Mercedes, closing up in the corners but then having to watch as the rival car eased away on the fast straights.

With two minutes remaining, the #3 car retired when it ran out of fuel. Now fifth, Sandy was again instantly on to the rear bumper of the fourth-placed #4 Mercedes, before crossing the finish line just 0.245secs adrift. Third, fourth and fifth places were covered by just 1.380s.
“We threw everything we had at that race after the pitstop,” 2020 British GT champ he explained. “I knew over the full lap I had a quicker car, but because Brands Hatch is such a difficult place to overtake it’s hard to fight through the field, despite having such strong pace. Falling back at the pitstop was frustrating, because if I’d been able to exit ahead of those cars I know I had the pace to stay in front. Shaun and everyone in the Barwell team did an excellent job this weekend. Now we head to Donington next month for the final two-hour race in the championship, determined to finish on a high and bag our second win of the season.”