Mitchell bags Spa 24-hours podium 29 | 07 | 2018

    SCOTS TEENAGER SANDY MITCHELL was narrowly edged out of a sensational Silver Cup win in the Blancpain GT Endurance Blue Riband race, the Total 24 Hours of Spa. The youngster missed out on victory by just two seconds after 504 laps of the iconic 4.35-mile Spa-Francorchamps circuit. (Related: Mitchell set for Spa24 with Black Bull)

    “It doesn’t get much closer than that,” the 18-year-old from Forfar admitted today. “It was a real nailbiter at the end, but it’s a great achievement to finish on the podium at Spa, and a proud day for the team.” (Related: Mitchell claims maiden Blancpain GT win)

    Driving his 190mph Lamborghini Huracan GT3, backed by Huntly-based Black Bull Whisky, Mitchell was partnered by Italian Michele Beretta, Croatian Martin Kodric and Dutchman Rik Breukers.

    Starting P6 in the Silver Cup, and P39 overall on the grid of 63 cars — in what is the biggest GT3 race in the world — Mitchell and his Barwell Motorsport team delivered a stunning performance.


    With two-and-a-half hours remaining, the Scot had fought his way through to within 20secs of the class-leading No12 Lamborghini. But after the intervention of a safety car, the gap increased to 95secs.

    “That was annoying,” Mitchell continued. “We’d really started to haul in the class leader, then when the safety car came out it picked up the overall leader who was sandwiched between the two of us.

    “That meant I got held up and the No12 car could accelerate away to join the back of the pack, essentially extending his lead by almost a lap on me.”


    Undeterred, Mitchell — a member of the prestigious British Racing Drivers’ Club Rising Star scheme, and part of the Lamborghini Squadra Corse GT3 Junior Program — again set about closing the gap.

    When he handed the car over to Kodric 30mins later for the final two hours, the gap had been slashed to 35secs, such was the talented young Scot’s searing pace.

    The Croatian then reeled in the lead Lambo, but despite the gap being less than a second and harassing the car for the final 30mins, he frustratingly couldn’t find a way passed.


    “Martin threw everything he had at the lead Lamborghini over the closing laps,” Mitchell, who won the previous round at Paul Ricard and is personally backed by Black Bull, continued. “He really put the leader under intense pressure. It was great racing.

    “Martin tried to pass a couple of times — at one stage getting right alongside at the Hairpin — and it nearly paid off. But he also knew how important it was to bring the car home to the finish to secure the podium and the championship points.

    “Of course it would have been fantastic to win my first 24-hours race, but we threw everything at it and just fell short in that final push.


    “All the guys at Barwell, and the three other drivers maxed-out their performance. We have to be really pleased with what we’ve achieved this weekend.”

    The result, and Mitchell’s performance, was praised by Euan Shand, chairman of main sponsors Black Bull Whisky.

    “Spa turned out to be a fantastic race for our Barwell Motorsport Team,” the Scot stated. “They showed grit and determination and when Sandy got behind the wheel it proved to be an exhilarating race.  

    “Time and time again, Sandy gives 100% and to come second, after his victorious win at Paul Ricard, makes us very proud sponsors. We definitely raised a dram of Black Bull in celebration.”


    The result eased Mitchell and his team-mates into second in the race for the Blancpain GT Endurance Silver Cup, and they head to the season finale in Barcelona in September determined to overhaul the 15-point gap.

    “We’ve got quicker and quicker as the season’s gone on,” Mitchell stated, and we’re determined to win the final race of the season, and hopefully lift the title.”

    Related: Mitchell gets Lamborghini global role

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    Jim McGill


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