Teenage star Sandy Mitchell penned another piece of British motorsport history on a sensational day for the Angus racer in the latest round of the British GT championship at Snetterton.
At just 16 years and 169 days, the Letham talent became the youngest ever driver to stand on the top step of the British GT podium after he and Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse teammate Ciaran Haggerty delivered a dominant winning display in their McLaren 570S GT4 in the first of Sunday’s races.
Having already chalked up the honour of being both the youngest British GT driver and pole sitter, 2014 British junior karting champion Mitchell and Johnstone’s Haggerty finally secured the long overdue win which bad luck and mechanical woes had deprived them of in recent rounds of the hotly-contested championship.
And Dundee High School pupil Mitchell almost made it a double podium for the pair with a storming recovery drive in race two at the Norfolk circuit, charging from 16th to fourth after Haggerty hit trouble when another car made unexpected contact with him on the formation lap.
The win in the day’s opening one-hour race came after Angus ace Mitchell fought his way through from sixth to hand the Ecurie Ecosse McLaren over to Haggerty in second place, and the 19-year-old was then forced to fend off a late charge from the second-placed Aston Martin to seal a nailbiting win by 0.336secs.
“I’ve got to thank the whole team, who have put in a huge effort throughout the season, and especially here, to put us in the position to get this win,” said Sandy.
“When Ciaran went out after the pitstop, he came under severe pressure towards the end, but he did a great job bringing the car home.
“Youngest ever winner in the British GT Championship – yeah, it’s got a nice ring to it,” he added.
“It’s not sunk in yet, but I’m sure it will over the next few days.”
“I was also very happy with my drive in race two,” he continued. “To come through from P16 to P4, just 13 seconds off a podium was great fun; it was a real adrenaline rush with all the overtaking.”
— Dario Franchitti (@dariofranchitti) August 7, 2016
The young pair’s history-making win for Ecurie Ecosse – 60 years on from the team’s most famous victory in the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours – caught the attention of Scots motor racing greats Dario Franchitti and Allan McNish, who were among those to offer Twitter congratulations to the duo.
Congratulations……the first of many ?? https://t.co/frkiqWTl69
— Allan McNish (@allanmcnish) August 7, 2016
The championship finale takes place at Donington circuit on September 10/11, where Mitchell and Haggerty will be looking to finish their GT4 campaign with a flourish, and reigning GT3 champ Jonny Adam will aim to bring the top category crown back to Courier Country.
Fifer Adam and TF Sport teammate Derek Johnston in the Aston Martin Vantage relinquished their season-long lead in the drivers’ title chase to Barwell Motorsport rivals Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen after that pair scored a Snetterton winning double in their Lamborghini Huracan.
TF Sport still top the teams’ championship, setting the scene for a thrilling showdown at Donington next month.