Sportscar sensation Sandy Mitchell marked his milestone 18th birthday with a taste of his first 24-hour race in the wet, dark and blinding fog of Silverstone.
In advance of a Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup which gets underway at Monza in Italy next month, the 2014 British karting champion used the opening round of the global 24 Hour Series at the Northamptonshire track to gain experience of what lies ahead for him in 2018.
Following two seasons in the GT4 category of the British GT championship, the Angus racer is moving into the GT3 class in a Barwell Motorsport Black Bull-backed Lamborghini Huracan for a campaign of endurance events including the blue-riband Spa 24 Hours at the iconic Belgian track in late July.
Just a couple of days after turning 18, Mitchell teamed up with Excelr8 Motorsport for the one-off outing in their Audi RS3 TCR and banked vital experience in preparation for season in front of him, with a series of sparkling stints in the day and dark of the famous track.
Turbocharger issues ultimately blunted the team’s challenge for honours in an event which was also saw the red flags come out for more than 2 hours on safety grounds after thick fog blanketed the home of British motorsport, but the outfit did lift the Spirit of the Race award for their never-say-die performance.
For Loughborough College Motor Sports Association AASE sports science course student Mitchell, the new challenges came thick and fast on a track he already knows well from single-seater and sportscar outings there.
Sandy said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my first taste of racing in a 24 hour event. It was fantastic to gain valuable night racing time as well as experiencing all the different aspects of racing over such a long period of time.
“This will help me greatly when I compete at 24 Hour race at Spa in July. This was also my first time racing in a front wheel drive race car and I felt I adapted to this very quickly in the challenging conditions. I would like to thank all the team at Excelr8 Motorsport.”
The British Racing Drivers’ Club Rising Star is heading to Paul Ricard in France this week for more testing in the monstrous V10 Lamborghini ahead of the Italian curtain raiser on April 22.
Fellow Courier Country racer Rory Butcher was also in action in the weekend Silverstone event, leading in the early stages in the J W Bird Motorsport Volkswagen Golf before the debutant team’s push for the podium slipped away in the treacherous conditions.