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Mitchell blasts into history books with second Silverstone 500 victory in British GT thriller

Forfar's Sandy Mitchell, right, is the first two-time winner of the Silverstone 500, after success with Adam Balon. Photo: McMedia.
Forfar's Sandy Mitchell, right, is the first two-time winner of the Silverstone 500, after success with Adam Balon. Photo: McMedia.

A second British GT blue riband event victory in three years has put Angus star Sandy Mitchell back in the motorsport history books.

The Forfar 22-year-old produced a masterful performance to become the first-ever two-time winner of the Silverstone 500.

And the young Lamborghini ace did it by a margin of just 0.529 seconds after three hours of intense racing at the legendary Northamptonshire track.

Sandy Mitchell
Sandy Mitchell emerges victorious from the Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo. Photo: McMedia.

Qualifying lap record

It came after the 2020 British GT champ set a new qualifying lap record to secure pole position for the No. 72 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo, prepared by Barwell Motorsport, which he shares with Adam Balon.

Mitchell had been on fire in practice with a record-breaking lap of 1min 57.1 secs, before lowering it to 1:56.765s for a new qualifying lap benchmark.

“That lap was perfect,” said the Lamborghini factory driver and British Racing Drivers’ Club member.

“It definitely confirmed we had a car capable of winning the three-hour race.”

Balon took the opening stint in Sunday’s enduro and handed over to the young Scot after around three-quarters of an hour.

Lamborghini Huracan
The Balon/Mitchell Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo on its way to Silverstone 500 victory. Photo: McMedia.

Race rules require three driver changes and Mitchell maintained the lead in his opening spell, for Balon to then stay right in the hunt with their closest rival, the No. 88 McLaren 720S GT3 of Marvin Kirchoeffer and Alexander West.

With 43 minutes of the race remaining, Mitchell, personally backed by Huntly-based Black Bull Scotch Whisky and Thorntons Solicitors, was back in the hot seat.

Crucial final changeover

“Adam’s second stint was really important,” said the former Dundee High School pupil.

“He maintained the gap to the #88 car in front, which meant I could do a few really quick laps when I got in the car to have a chance of being ahead when they pitted.

“Thankfully that’s exactly what happened.”

It saw the two main protagonists separated by just a few car lengths when the McLaren made its final stop – but crucially the Lamborghini was in front.

“Managing to get ahead of the #88 car when it rejoined the circuit after its final pitstop was the be all and end all of the race,” added Mitchell.

“That was the result right there.

“The Barwell guys did a fantastic job not just with the timing of the pit calls but also with the actual pitstops.

“If I’d been one or two seconds further back on the track after the last pitstop then I probably wouldn’t have exited ahead of the McLaren. It was that tight.”

But Mitchell masterfully held off the challenge of German star Kirchoeffer.

“I knew I would have to soak up the pressure right to the chequered flag,” said the Lamborghini ace.

“That final stint was really tough in terms of intensity. He was within a second for most of the stint.

“But I always knew I was in control of the race and it was fantastic to cross the line 0.529secs ahead.”

Championship challenge re-ignited

The win, which dramatically boosts Mitchell championship standings, was his second Silverstone 500 win in three years.

It was the race which sealed the 2020 British GT title for the Letham lad and Rob Collard.

And 12 months ago he also took maximum points when he finished second, behind a car not registered for the championship.

Sandy Mitchell
Sandy Mitchell’s 2022 title hopes have been re-ignited. Photo: McMedia.

“From this year’s championship point of view, the result is huge,” he said.

“We had a difficult first round of the championship, and quite a lot of the guys who had a good first round had a difficult round here, so it’s basically all to play for again.

“It puts us in a great position for the rest of the season.

“We’re right back in the mix.”

He returns to British GT Championship action on May 28/29 at Donington Park.

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