Mitchell re-writes record books at Spa 24 | 07 | 2022

    FORMER CHAMP SANDY MITCHELL re-wrote the British GT Championship records when he stormed to a new fastest-ever lap time round the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit. And the 22-year-old from Forfar maximised his pole position to close the gap further in the battle for the 2022 title. (Related: Mitchell bags another British GT podium)

    Mitchell, partnered by Adam Balon in the No 72 (#72) Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo prepared by Barwell Motorsport, blitzed the 4.35-mile Belgian circuit to stop the clock in 2min 16.984s on his final run in an ultra-competitive qualifying. The time set a new qualifying lap record for a British GT car.

    Starting the two-hour race from pole position, Balon led for the opening 22 minutes before the race was impacted by the appearance of the Safety Car, bunching the field up and negating the lead advantage the #72 had established.

    On the restart after 12 minutes, and now on colder tyres, Balon slid back to fourth before handing the car over to Mitchell at the compulsory driver change. (Related: Mitchell's Silverstone masterclass)


    Rejoining in sixth place, having had to serve an extended 15-second success penalty, a result of the duo’s second place finish last time out at Snetterton, Mitchell set about reeling the leaders in with just 54 minutes remaining.

    Sixteen minutes later the Scot, a Lamborghini factory driver and member of the British Racing Drivers’ Club, was up to fifth and closing in on the fourth-placed Porsche at around a second a lap. (Related: Scot Sandy Mitchell wins 2020 British GT Championship)


    With 30 minutes remaining Mitchell was tucked under the rear wing of the Porsche. But stout defending, which at one stage saw the Scot eased on to the grass, delayed the Lamborghini’s progress for around 15 minutes as Mitchell hounded the Porsche before he completed an audacious overtake, moving him up to fourth.

    “Coming into this weekend it was all about damage limitation because we always knew we had the 15sec success penalty to serve at our pitstop,” Mitchell, personally backed by Upper Dysart Larder, Lamborghini Edinburgh and Tunnocks, explained.


    “Adam did a brilliant job in qualifying and throughout his race stint. I was quick in my stint but, having caught the #32 Porsche, I couldn’t find a way past him for quite a few laps. We’re still in the battle for the championship and I didn’t want to risk any contact.

    “I was losing around two seconds a lap stuck behind him and that eventually cost me any opportunity I had of getting close to a podium finish.” Once clear of the Porsche, Mitchell quickly opened an eight-second gap in the next two laps.

    “Again we showed we have a blisteringly fast car,” Mitchell continued. “My final lap in qualifying was one of the best laps I’ve ever done, and to be the quickest-ever British GT car round Spa is a real achievement.” (Related: Mitchell storms to Spa24H podium)


    The result moves Mitchell and Balon into third in the championship, just half-a-point off second, with two races remaining and a total of 75 points available for the race winners.

    The next round of the British GT Championship is another two-hour race, this time at Brands Hatch in September, a race in which Mitchell and Balon will be penalty-free. Before that, Mitchell is back in action this weekend (July 30/31) when he bids for another class win in the gruelling Spa 24-Hours.


    Related: Mitchell named Lamborghini factory driver

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    Jim McGill

    All photographs copyright of Chris Lazenby

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