Teenage Angus sportscar sensation Sandy Mitchell delivered a blistering performance to score his first international victory in the weekend’s Paul Ricard round of the Blancpain GT Endurance championship.
The 18-year-old emphatically left behind the disappointment of retirements in two previous rounds and rivals trailing in the wake of his 190mph Black Bull Whisky-backed Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 in the 1,000 kilometre six-hour race into the darkness of the south of France on Saturday.
Mitchell, from Letham, near Forfar maintained the superlative form which catapulted him into the coveted Lamborghini Squadra Corse junior squad after stepping up to the international series this season following two years in the GT4 category of the British GT championship.
The sweet victory came after mechanical gremlins had prevented the British Racing Drivers’ Club Rising Star and teammates Michele Beretta and Martin Kodric from converting impressive performances into podium positions at the opening two rounds in Monza and Silverstone.
Competing in the Silver Cup category of a 51-car field containing some of the world’s most experienced sports car racers, the Angus talent laid down his marker with a qualifying stint which put him top of the class and a remarkable eighth overall.
Italian Beretta, 23, was behind the wheel for the opening stint, before Mitchell stepped in for a faultless two-hours behind the wheel on a French Grand Prix circuit where he had tested but never raced before.
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He then handed over to Croatian 20-year-old Kodric and the #78 Lamborghini eventually took the chequered flag more than half a minute clear of the #6 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG to secure the Silver Cup category win and 14th overall.
Paying tribute to the team and sponsors who have played a vital role in helping him pursue his sportscar ambitions, Mitchell said: “Compared with the first two races of the season, we didn’t have any problems here to stop us from winning.
“That was pretty much the perfect weekend for us,” said the teenager.
“The car was great, I was really pleased with my performance in qualifying, and I thoroughly enjoyed my first two-hour race stint.”
He mastered the conditions as dusk set in to put the team firmly on course for the top step of the podium.
The young star added: “Once the sun had dropped behind the hills and the temperatures dropped, the car’s handling came back to me.
“I was really fast in that final hour. I got into a good rhythm and my pace was consistent, which was important.
“I was able to pull away from the cars behind me and really establish a gap at the front of the Silver Cup field.”
“At Monza we had an issue with the engine and at Silverstone it was a gearbox failure.
“Here we had a consistent race and I’m glad that we ended up where we are meant to be – on the podium.”