British GT: Silverstone

April 29, 2024

Lamborghini factory driver Sandy sets new qualifying lap record at Silverstone, but Lady Luck scupper’s British GT race win hopes.

Sandy set a new GT3 qualifying lap record at Silverstone, but his hopes of winning for the second time in this season’s British GT Championship were ultimately dashed by two unlucky incidents outwith his control. Sandy, the 24-year-old from Forfar and bidding to win the three-hour Silverstone 500 for a record third time, had dominated qualifying in his No 78 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2, prepared by Barwell Motorsport. Having watched his co-driver Alex Martin deliver an impressive drive to finish third in his session, Sandy re-wrote the record books again by eclipsing his previous PRO qualifying lap record. The Scot stormed round the 3.66-mile grand prix circuit in 1m 56.602secs. Wth their combined times putting them second on the 42-car grid, Martin started the race behind the Safety Car. The team’s strategy then saw Sandy take the wheel at the first of the three compulsory driver changes after just eight minutes.

In mixed, drying conditions following a morning of torrential rain, Sandy rattled off no less than seven fastest laps of the race and, having rejoined in 35th place, had battled through to lie third when he handed the car back to Martin with 1hr 47min remaining. But Lady Luck was about to scupper the duo’s hopes.
“We were in the top three cars on the primary strategy, so it was looking really good,” Sandy, personally-backed by Huntly-based Black Bull Scotch Whisky, Tunnocks, Alan Davie Transport, Upper Dysart and Results Gym, explained. “But then we just had two unlucky moments.

“The first was when the field went under a Full Course Yellow period the lap after we’d made our second pitstop. That allowed a number of our competitors to gain time on us by pitting when the cars were restricted to 80km/h rather than full race pace. Then, with about 55 minutes remaining it looked like a car made a mistake and we were an innocent party in the subsequent contact when the McLaren rejoined the track. There was absolutely nothing Alex could do to avoid the resulting contact and our Lamborghini just wasn’t able to continue. It was a real pity because I was looking forward to getting back in the car for the final stint and making up some places.”

But Sandy, who came into the Silverstone weekend leading the championship by five points with team-mate Martin, immediately looked forward to the next round, another three-hour race at Donington next month. “What’s important is that we reflect and focus on the positives,” he emphasised. “I feel we did a really good job this weekend, both driving and in terms of car set-up as a whole team. We have a fast car and we both delivered the pace required to be fighting at the front of the field. We’ll just reset for the next round. It would have been nice to get in the top 10 and score points, but at least it means we don’t have any success penalty for the next three-hour race at Donington. We’ll go full attack in the next one and hopefully be back on the podium.”