Classic Endurance Race at Silverstone – Results and Photo Gallery

Story by Ed McDonough and photos by author and Simon Wright

The Classic Endurance Series again provided a superb entry and race to accompany the 1000 Kilometer Le Mans Series event at Silverstone on Saturday, September 12. 56 entries practiced and qualified over two days, with Rob Hall in Abba Kogan’s Matra 670C taking pole position from Ludovic Caron’s 1973 Chevron B21-BDG. The three sessions saw a number of incidents and mechanical woes meant 44 cars took the starter’s flag on a brilliant sunny Saturday afternoon.

Notable non-starters included the Prototype 1 Lola T210 FVC of Gareth Burnett and Geoff Lister which had topped the class qualifying. An oil leak in the final session made them decide not to risk the engine. Noted drummer Neil Primrose had a rod go through the block on Friday in his quick Lola T212 which had been 3rd fastest in the class.

Though Rob Hall headed the field on the race warm-up lap, having gotten the ‘no down-force’ Matra into the 1 minute 49 second bracket, it was a very quick starting Paul Knapfield who came charging round in front on the first lap, his new tires and some adjustments having given him an edge. Knapfield was driving the ex-Mario Andretti Ferrari 712P Can-Am car, something of a handful with no wing and rather ‘tall’ ride height, but it was flying. Hall followed, with David Gathercole having moved the ex-Gitanes Lola T290-BMW onto the Matra’s tail.

As the famed Howmet TX Turbine car steamed by near the back with a very interesting mix of cars, there was real fighting at the front. After three laps of the Grand Prix circuit, Knapfield had two seconds on the Matra and another two to Gathercole. A few seconds further back, the tussle of the race was beginning to take shape. Caron’s Chevron held 4th as the famed Porsche 936, Ickx’s ex-Le Mans winner, driven by Jean-Marc Luco moved up into 5th, with a fierce scrap going on between Bobby Rahal and John Burton. The Indy winner was driving the Lola T290-BDG which he had driven many years ago and had bought back for historic events. Burton, one the top Chevron drivers in the 1970s, was in a B26. Da Rocha in a Lola T298-BMW the Busst/Freeman Chevron B31 were right behind, and the 2-liter cars were never more than a few inches apart. Philippe Brunn had the Sauber-BMW in this group as well, all sliding through the Abbey Chicane every lap. Marc Devis had started the Mirage further down the field but was making up ground in spite of brakes that needed to be pumped on every corner.

One of BMW M1s only lasted a lap, and the fast March of Hart/Caton only made three tours. Rob Hall eased past Knapfield on lap five, as did Gathercole, and then the Ferrari stopped after 11 laps. The Howmet made a few stops, and then the Brunn Sauber was gone on lap 17. On the same lap, Rob hall came round with a puncture and went into the pits, not to return. Gathercole in the Lola had one glorious lap in front and he too was out. Though many cars only had a single driver, there was a mandatory pit stop. After the stop, the advantage went to the flying Rahal, chased very hard by John Burton. Two great stars were having a superb race through traffic.

At the one hour finish, at 30 laps, Rahal won by less than five seconds from Burton. Da Rocha took third near the end after some very robust driving from Busst/Freeman. Lafargue’s Lola T298 was next from the similar car of Cazalieres and Luco’s Porsche.

Rahal took Class P2, John Sheldon’s Chevron B16 P1, the McInerney BMW M1 GT2 and Ostmann’s Mangusta GT1. Ten cars, including the three original leaders, retired with Rob Hall taking fastest lap. It was generally agreed that the modern prototypes would be hard pressed to put on such a good show the next day.

Classic Endurance Race at Silverstone Results and Photo Gallery (click on image for larger picture)

1st Place - Bobby Rahal in his Lola T290. Photo: Simon Wright
1st Place - Bobby Rahal in his Lola T290. Photo: Simon Wright
<strong>2nd place -  John Burton Chevron B26. Photo: Simon Wright</strong>
2nd place - John Burton Chevron B26. Photo: Simon Wright
3rd place - Frederic Da Rocha Lola BMW T298. Photo: Simon Wright
3rd place - Frederic Da Rocha Lola BMW T298. Photo: Simon Wright
Much of the interest focussed on the 2-liter cars: this is Caron’s Chevron B-21 leading John Burton and Rahal, with the Sauber, March and Lafargue’s Lola T298 right behind. Photo: Ed McDonough
Much of the interest focussed on the 2-liter cars: this is Caron’s Chevron B-21 leading John Burton and Rahal, with the Sauber, March and Lafargue’s Lola T298 right behind. Photo: Ed McDonough
Pole position Matra 670C of Rob Hall. Photo: Simon Wright
Pole position Matra 670C of Rob Hall. Photo: Simon Wright
The first lap of the race and Paul Knapfield has slotted the Ferrari 712 in front of pole-sitter Rob Hall in the Matra, as David Gathercole slipped into 3rd in the Lola T290. Photo: Ed McDonough
The first lap of the race and Paul Knapfield has slotted the Ferrari 712 in front of pole-sitter Rob Hall in the Matra, as David Gathercole slipped into 3rd in the Lola T290. Photo: Ed McDonough
Ian Gijzen Ferrari 275 GTB4. Photo: Simon Wright
Ian Gijzen's good-looking Ferrari 275 GTB4. Photo: Simon Wright
GT2 BMW 3.5 CSL of Ian Guest and Sean Walker. Photo: Simon Wright
BMW 3.5 CSL of Ian Guest and Sean Walker. Photo: Simon Wright
At one point, long time Chevron expert John Burton was ahead of Bobby Rahal’s Lola. Photo: Ed McDonough
At one point, long time Chevron expert John Burton was ahead of Bobby Rahal’s Lola. Photo: Ed McDonough
David Gathercole Lola T290 takes 2nd place early in the race. Photo: Simon Wright
David Gathercole Lola T290 takes 2nd place early in the race. Photo: Simon Wright
The mid-field group in the opening laps: Da Rocha’s Lola T298 heads the David Ferrar Lola T280-DFV, as Devis catches him in the Gulf-Mirage. Porsches and other Lolas try to hang on. Photo: Ed McDonough
The mid-field group in the opening laps: Da Rocha’s Lola T298 heads the David Ferrar Lola T280-DFV, as Devis catches him in the Gulf-Mirage. Porsches and other Lolas try to hang on. Photo: Ed McDonough
Typical of the Classic Endurance series, nimble sports cars have to fight their way past the heavier BMW M1 and Porsches. Photo: Ed McDonough
Typical of the Classic Endurance series, nimble sports cars have to fight their way past the heavier BMW M1 and Porsches. Photo: Ed McDonough
Bobby Rahal’s Lola T290 had a hard tussle in the opening laps with the March 75S which soon retired. Photo: Ed McDonough
Bobby Rahal’s Lola T290 had a hard tussle in the opening laps with the March 75S which soon retired. Photo: Ed McDonough
Ralf Huber Gutierrez in his Chevrolet Corvette. Photo: Simon Wright
Ralf Huber Gutierrez in his Chevrolet Corvette. Photo: Simon Wright
First lap in front of the BRDC centre. Photo: Simon Wright
First lap in front of the BRDC centre. Photo: Simon Wright
Chevron B16 being prepared in the paddock. Photo: Simon Wright
Chevron B16 being prepared in the paddock. Photo: Simon Wright
Sauber BMW C5 of Siegfried and Philipp Brunn. Photo: Simon Wright
Sauber BMW C5 of Siegfried and Philipp Brunn. Photo: Simon Wright
CER Class Champion Jean Marc Luco Martini Porsche 936. Photo: Simon Wright
CER Class Champion Jean Marc Luco Martini Porsche 936. Photo: Simon Wright
Howmet TX gas turbine racer. Photo: Simon Wright
Howmet TX gas turbine racer. Photo: Simon Wright
The Howmet TX Turbine makes a classic sculpture in the collection area before the race. Photo: Ed McDonough
The Howmet TX Turbine makes a classic sculpture in the collection area before the race. Photo: Ed McDonough
Further down the field, the heat haze rises from the Howmet TX which holds off the Oliver Bryant Lola T70 which retired at the very end. Photo: Ed McDonough
Further down the field, the heat haze rises from the Howmet TX which holds off the Oliver Bryant Lola T70 which retired at the very end. Photo: Ed McDonough
Xavier Micheron managed to spin the Howmet turbine off twice at Luffied. Photo: Simon Wright
Xavier Micheron managed to spin the Howmet turbine off twice at Luffied. Photo: Simon Wright
Knapfield drove superbly in spite of the challenging aerodynamics of the Ferrari 712. Photo: Ed McDonough
Knapfield drove superbly in spite of the challenging aerodynamics of the Ferrari 712. Photo: Ed McDonough
The BMW M1 flames as it brakes for the daunting Bridge Corner at Silverstone. Photo: Ed McDonough
The BMW M1 flames as it brakes for the daunting Bridge Corner at Silverstone. Photo: Ed McDonough
GT1 class winner Heiko Ostmann in the De Tomaso Mangusta. Photo: Simon Wright
GT1 class winner Heiko Ostmann in the De Tomaso Mangusta. Photo: Simon Wright
Brumos Porsche 911 RSR 3L of Jean Louise Bonnet and Francois Luc Brossel. Photo: Simon Wright
Brumos Porsche 911 RSR 3L of Jean Louise Bonnet and Francois Luc Brossel. Photo: Simon Wright
Varied field BMW M1, Chevron B21 and Lola T70 battle it out. Photo: Simon Wright
Varied field BMW M1, Chevron B21 and Lola T70 battle it out. Photo: Simon Wright
John Sheldon Chevron B16 1st in class P1. Photo: Simon Wright
John Sheldon Chevron B16 1st in class P1. Photo: Simon Wright
Michael and Sean McInerney 1st in GT2 with BMW M1. Photo: Simon Wright
Michael and Sean McInerney 1st in GT2 with BMW M1. Photo: Simon Wright
March 75S of Doug Hart and Greg Canton retired on lap 3. Photo: Simon Wright
March 75S of Doug Hart and Greg Canton retired on lap 3. Photo: Simon Wright
Lola T70 Mk III GT of Oliver Bryant. Photo: Simon Wright
Lola T70 Mk III GT of Oliver Bryant. Photo: Simon Wright
Chevron trio. Photo: Simon Wright
Chevron B31 leads trio of Chevrons. Photo: Simon Wright
Chevron B31 of Russel Busst and David Freeman. Photo: Simon Wright
Chevron B31 of Russel Busst and David Freeman. Photo: Simon Wright
Lola T70 Mk IIIB of Pierre Alain France. Photo: Simon Wright
Lola T70 Mk IIIB of Pierre Alain France. Photo: Simon Wright
Class Champion Jean Marc Luco in his Porsche 936. Photo: Simon Wright
Class Champion Jean Marc Luco in his Porsche 936. Photo: Simon Wright
Rob Hall Matra 670 takes the lead. Photo: Simon Wright
Rob Hall Matra 670 takes the lead early in the race. Photo: Simon Wright
As the cars go out for final qualifying, Siggi Brunn pedals his bicycle alongside son Philippe in the Sauber-BMW to make sure everything is working! Photo: Ed McDonough
As the cars go out for final qualifying, Siggi Brunn pedals his bicycle alongside son Philippe in the Sauber-BMW to make sure everything is working! Photo: Ed McDonough
The shapely Mirage heads into Bridge Corner. Marc Devis had to pump the brakes at every corner. Photo: Ed McDonough
The shapely Mirage heads into Bridge Corner. Marc Devis had to pump the brakes at every corner. Photo: Ed McDonough
The Nahum/Thuner Ford GT40, #48, has a long history back to 1968. Photo: Ed McDonough
The Nahum/Thuner Ford GT40, #48, has a long history back to 1968. Photo: Ed McDonough
Devis in the Mirage gets by the Lola T280 DFV at the Abbey Chicane. Photo: Ed McDonough
Devis in the Mirage gets by the Lola T280 DFV at the Abbey Chicane. Photo: Ed McDonough
David Gathercole Lola BMW T290. Photo: Simon Wright
David Gathercole Lola BMW T290. Photo: Simon Wright
Early leader Paul Knapfield Ferrari 712. Photo: Simon Wright
Early leader Paul Knapfield Ferrari 712. Photo: Simon Wright
Porsche 935 of Michael Foveny and Stefan Roytmayer 3rd in GT2. Photo: Simon Wright
Porsche 935 of Michael Foveny and Stefan Roytmayer 3rd in GT2. Photo: Simon Wright

[Source: Story by Ed McDonough; photos, Ed McDonough and Simon Wright]

Show Comments (6)

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  1. Ed and Simon’s images combined with Ed’s words made for a very nice article. Looking forward to more of their work. Dennis

  2. Hi,
    I`m watching the this site

    Lola T70 Mk III GT of Red number 52
    this Lola is TAKIRACING is it
    1968 Grand champion in Japan wining Lola right
    maybe SL73/116 or SL73/130? whitchi model ?

    please let me know

    Seigo

    1. Hi Seigo.
      This is chassis numbet SL73/130. We have just finished a full chassis-up restoration back to it’s original ’68 spec. It had been crashed in the early 70’s and sent to the US for repair, but never returned to Japan. It was bought by a well known Lola collector and converted to a road car with spider bodywork for a chap in the states in the 80’s. Then sold to NZ and on the the UK. Now fully restored as one of the original 16 Mk 3 coupes and this was it’s racing debut.
      Will be at the Spa 6 hour meey next week.
      Hope this helps, oh and it’s for sale….

      Darren R

  3. Great article and photos. I am jealous that Ed gets to go to all these great events while I am stuck here in Florida watching weeds grow in my garden. Not fair.