24hr racing in the UK is back. Whilst this slightly overlooks the 2CV 24hr race at Snetterton which has been running over the last few years, the Britcar 24hr race marked its return to the calendar after a 3 year break this weekend. If that name rings a bell, its the 24 hour race Top Gear did in their 330d a few years ago.

The race had 29 entries, and 28 starters, after one of the Ferraris had a minor off in Qualifying. The event was very open, with a pitwalk and gridwalk open to the few thousand people who had turned out to watch. Sadly this open-ness did not extend to the grandstands, which closed at 8pm on saturday evening (great for a 24hour race) or in fact, half of the track, which was closed to spectators once it got dark. But hey, still a great race, with a lovely mix of competitors, from the new Ginetta LMP3, all the way down to a Fiesta MK6.

Pits & Paddock:

I’m sure there was a person attached to the legs sticking out the side...

Beautiful Radical RXC, I’m pretty sure this is road legal too...

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Norfolk Native (me) always happy to see a Lotus, and a Lotus Evora GT4 in JPS colours, yummy. Love the battle scars too. Well used race car.

The new Leon Cup Car seems to be a very popular replacement for the massively successful Seat Lean Supercopa cup car of which there are legion competing world wide in endurance racing.

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Ex Works Jag XF diesel, looking angry

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Blue sky!! that didnt last...

Sadly, the Rollcentre M3 got blackflagged after 8 laps for exceeding noise limits. A lot of preparation and time went into 8 laps.

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The Saxon M135i (diesel) which seemed to be constantly burning oil, but clearly not too much of a problem as it was doing it throughout the race.

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Chevron GR8 - comes with free helmet store.

Gridwalk:

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Public gridwalk was a nice bonus. One of the three GT4 spec Astons.

The all important twitter handles.

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Getting up close to the Lotus.

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MARC cars Focus V8. I think this is their first run in the UK.

Driver instructions nice and simple.

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How to keep the Audi R8 quiet enough to pass scrutineering.

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Just the bare essentials in the interior of the Radical.

More solutions to the noise problem. Worked well when you consider this was a full house GT2 spec Ferrari.

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Ginetta LMP3 Interior shot

Race:

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Running to turn 1, very aggressive but everyone being sensible, remembering you cant win it in turn 1, but can loose it.

Oops, cold rear tyres at Copse catching out the Seat. kept it out of the wall though.

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The mighty Fiesta, barreling through Copse. About 30s a lap slower than the leaders, but by their own admission, they were there to have fun and see the flag.

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Chucking the big Focus into turn 1.

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The sister Focus, running 6th. At one point this was running as high as 3rd.

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Diesel Jag, sadly lacking in pace, but still a mighty pretty car.

The big XJ, with none other than Freddie (son of James) Hunt driving it. The supercharger on this could be heard whining over just about every other car.

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The Ferrari seemed very down on pace compared to Qually, which was a shame. Still looked awesome.

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The LMP3 Ginetta was simply running away from the field, around 10/15s a lap faster. Not bad for a 2 week old car.

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Side by Side for second through Maggots and Becketts, BIG cajones on these boys.

Jaaaaaag, calmly making its way around. No Fuss.

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One of the handful of Porsches. Some had come from as far afield as Germany.

Thanks to these fellas (and all the guys & girls in orange). Proper legends, standing out rain or shine (mostly rain).

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Best of British. The two Astons spent about 2 hours this far apart, all for position.

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RXC looking glorious in the sun. Sadly lost lots of time to fuelling and electrical issues, but still running around setting good times when its working.

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The Seat is a properly smart looking car, never really paid them much attention, but really warmed to them.

Still running.

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Last time I saw the Jag, the gearbox developed a fault, so it spent the night in the garage being worked on.

More like a touring car than an endurance racer with rear wheel cocked,

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R8 running well in third.

The aforementioned German Porsche, running very well indeed.

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A smaller fuel tank on the Ginetta meant early on it dropped down the order through the pitstop cycle, but soon found its way back to the lead.

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Thundering V8 in the Focus, and huge corner speed, very impressive.

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yep, still running.

Speedworks runningly solidly in their first outing in their new Aston GT4.

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Marcos Mantis, the Top Cats team running a pair of them.

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even with only 30 cars on track, it got pretty busy at times.

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An odd glimpse of the sun was nice, but rare.

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Up on the Wing at the international straight means great shooting like this.

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The little Chevron, this must be smaller than a Lotus Elise, tiny little car.

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Yep, still going.

M3 GTR, always good.

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All 3 Astons in 1 shot, and half a Marcos.

Hmm, yep, diesel is clearly the environmentally friendly fuel.

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Getting towards dusk now.

FIRE!! oh wait nope, just overrun.

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Not sure if the Ginetta had enough lights...

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Flying onto the Hanger straight.

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Getting very dark now.

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Cant touch the car whilst fuelling, which brings about a strange scenario where the guys hover about an inch away from the car, waiting to start their work.

Proper dark now.

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Ah, thats why the Ginetta has all the lights then.

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Still going...

And then the rain came. Absolutely hurled it down, in the dark. Looked mighty hard work to keep the cars on the road.

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I hid in my car for the worst of it, so this is the light rain... I didnt fancy getting soaked.

Damp.

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Very very damp.

Yep, thats rain. God knows how the drivers could see.

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Seat now up to 9th, running solidly and without any problems.

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Some teams still had a good sense of humor, even as the clock approached midnight.

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little bit of Pitlane action to round it off.

happened to be next to Speedworks as they came in for a stop.

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Lots of wheelspin when the rear driver V8 left a pitbox that damp.

Marshalls still out working hard.

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The leader as I left the track.

The Ginetta had not enjoyed the rain (new car troubles) and spent the night tumbling down the order.

I had intended to be at the track overnight to do some long exposure shots, and then sleep in the car and get up early for sunrise. However track security had closed more than half the spectator areas, there were no grandstands open, and the commentary was only on MW so I had no way to keep track of the race. Clearly Silverstone didn’t want me there as a paying spectator, so I left in a pretty foul mood with the track.

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Shame, as the event was great, well run, and going well. The teams themselves were welcoming and friendly, just a shame the track was so unwelcoming. Don’t think ill be heading back in a hurry sadly.