From the start, the Topcats Mosler was the car to beat as the Ben Clucas and Pat Gormley duo secured pole for the race, albeit just 10th’s of a second separating the leading three Moslers. Regular driver and owner of the Runnymede Homes Mosler, Andrew Beaumont, had decided to take a different role for the race and join the team strategists in the pit garage. 2nd place on the grid went to Le Mans driver, Calum Lockie and his co-driver Paul White and in 3rd spot, Mosler specialist, Phil Keen and his co-drivers, McInerney Jr. & Sr.
Ben Clucas started the race and led from pole into the lead, forcing the P2 Mosler to stay on the outside as they rounded the first corner. Clucas was able to take the race line and extend his lead as they headed down to Maggotts and Becketts. From then on Clucas maintained a safe distance from Lockie in the Mosler as he squabbled with Keen in 3rd place. Keen finally managed to muscle his way past to take 2nd and was pushing very hard to catch Clucas. The lead cars were setting ‘qualifying’ laps times in order to claim dominance at the front of the field. Clucas was thinking much longer term though and allowed Keen to take the lead but always keeping within striking distance. This strategy paid off as not long after and with only 20 minutes of the race run, the Keen/McInerney car began to show signs of a failing engine and streaks of smoke began to emit from the exhausts. Two laps further and Keen’s race was run as he retired back to the pits leaving, Lockie to pick up where he left off.
A more subtle threat was emerging from the Sumpter/Slater driven Porsche RSR which made itself apparent and was beginning to harass the Lockie/White Mosler.
With the Moslers handicapped with a maximum 50 litre refuel at each pitstop, the Topcats had worked out an ingenious strategy, firstly by pitting after the first 30 minutes of the race to top up with fuel as the rival cars ran to empty before refuelling, then the safety car was deployed for a lengthy 20 minutes to clean up the track from an exploded gearbox which had dropped metal and oil so the quick thinking team refuelled under the safety car, rejoined the back of the train of cars and then pitted again immediately afterwards, which gave the car double the fuel load with very little time lost. This proved to be pivotal in the success of the race.
Clucas, in the meantime, had succeeded in smashing the fastest lap time and remained unbeaten to the end.
Before dusk, as anticipated, rain began to fall, but light enough to only have to run on intermediates. Clucas did the lion’s share of the wet weather driving and was able to circulate faster than any other car on track. Despite running in 4th place, behind the Lockie/White Mosler, Sumpter/Slater Porsche RSR and the Adrian Newey/McKinnon Lotus, due to the number of early pit stops for refuelling, the strategy was soon to pay dividends.
It was now a three-way fight, Mosler, Porsche, Mosler. With an hour remaining Lockie had used up his percentage of driving allowance and would have to hand the remainder of the race to his co-driver White who was unable to lap at the same pace. The Topcats Mosler now had enough fuel to run a full hour without another pit stop, so with Gormley installed and gambling on a brand new set of slicks on a very damp track, the team could now only watch and see how the rest of the race would play out.
The Lockie/White Mosler used a different strategy and had to do one more stop half an hour before the end, that time came and as they pitted, Gormley leapfrogged back up to 2nd place. Then the Sumpter/Slater Porsche RSR too had to make a final stop. The Topcats Mosler was back in the lead. It now became a two-way fight with hugely experienced driver, Sumpter in the Porsche. Gormley had very little time to get his tyres working and was chipping away the time on every lap but not enough as the Porsche was catching. Fifteen minutes remained of the race and Sumpter was bearing down on Gormley with only a few seconds between them. Gormley at this point decided it was ‘do or die’ and immediately knocked off seconds per lap in response. Only the intermittent traffic gave Gormley a breather and enabled him to stay in front, then to the relief of everyone in the team, and now with only 10 minutes to go, the timing monitors flashed up that the Sumpter Porsche had committed a pitstop infringement having pit stopped 11 seconds shorter than the mandatory time. Gormley was radioed and told the good news; he could now relax a little and just bring the car home. Gormley took the chequered flag minutes later and with it a truly nail biting victory!