Words by SSgt Dan Moughton
The Birkett Relay is 6 hour endurance race, with around 250 cars under 70 teams taking to the iconic Silverstone Circuit! This year the Army Sports Car Racing Team took 3 cars to race in this epic event.
For those that have been following our social media pages, you’ll know that we have been having a few issues with our storage facility, meaning many of our cars could not make the race. Luckily, we managed to get the Royal Engineers BMW 116, Matty and Nicks 3 Series Compact and Jasmin brought her Audi TT! 5 Drivers, 3 Cars and 6 hours of racing!
6 hours is a serious amount of racing, strategy and readiness is essential.
Will took to the role of garage manager, ensuring that drivers were ready to go at moment’s notice and that every member of the team knew their responsibilities throughout the day. Ben Dickinson took to the Pit Wall as crew chief, communicating to the drivers and providing essential team updates, a role that requires Ben to pretty much stay glued to the pit wall!! Team Principal Ted had a key message for the team “this is a sprint, not a marathon and that lap time consistency is key to a successful strategy”.
The first few hours of the race saw drivers Ben Moore and Ben Gundry consistently placing the bulletproof RE BMW 116 in strategy achieving lap times, with Driver Nick Hills following suite in the BMW 3 Series Compact. Ben Gundry showed his experience at Silverstone Circuit, making some sensational overtakes and somehow making the BMW three cars wide when it came to positional defence. Ben Moore, further added to this race craft but was unfortunate with a spin which set the car back a few seconds. Rookie driver Nick Hills, kept the consistent laps coming in and made some outstanding saves in the tail savvy compact.
However, after an incredible stint, disaster struck when driver Matty Davidson had a serious puncture in the BMW Compact! With some excellent driving throughout the day, this small set back caused a shift in the strategy, meaning driver Jasmin Norman would have to go out a little earlier than expected. Jasmin's Audi TT was the teams much faster car on the track, and her race craft didn’t disappoint. Given the green light by the team to go out and drive hard, Jasmin took to the challenge and presented some outstanding lap times. As always, the team banded together to get the Compact back and ready to go, allowing the compact to finish the final 20 minutes of the race, mainly due to the time the Audi could manage on track at full, SEND IT, pace.
Overall, the team gave a sterling performance, with every driver leaving absolutely everything on the track. In the pits, the team reacted as expected, ready to react to any given situation that may have been thrown at them. The Birkett Relay brings out the very best in their teams, this 6 hour endurance race encourages discipline, hard work and total concentration at a level no other club sport event does. This year was no exception, every team knew their role and came together to place 2nd in the inter-services race and placing in the top 50 overall, an outstanding result considering the events leading to the race.
To see the full event head over to our YouTube Channel @armysportscarracing