Six bumper grids, bustling paddocks, glorious Formula One demos and one exciting race after another – those were the ingredients that had the 2023 edition of the Silverstone Festival bursting with brilliant Masters racing action. In the mixed conditions, Ken Tyrrell and Michael Lyons shared the Masters Racing Legends 3-litre F1 wins, with Steve Brooks doing the double in Masters Endurance Legends. Gary Pearson and Alex Brundle brought the Ferrari name back on top in historic sportscar racing while Sam Tordoff, Craig Wilkins and the ever-consistent Julian Thomas/Calum Lockie combo also climbed the top step of our podiums.
Series leader Craig Wilkins stormed to a convincing win in the Masters GT Trophy race at the Silverstone Classic, as his Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo quickly moved up from third on the grid to win by 35 seconds and cement his position at the top of the standings.
A massively entertaining fight between the invitational Aston Martin Vantage GT2 of Paul Whight / Alistair MacKinnon and Jason McInulty in another Super Trofeo Evo resulted in McInulty succumbing on the final lap to hand second place to the Aston. Behind them, Michael Lyons charged up to fourth in the Lambo started by Neil Glover, ahead of Keith Frieser’s non-Evo Super Trofeo.
Coming home in sixth overall in his Porsche 991.1, Miles Griffiths dominated the Cup class ahead of Dallas Carroll’s 991.2 Cup, with the Nathan Luckey/David Harrison 991.1 Cup taking third in class. In his Aston Martin Vantage GT4, Dave Albutt led the GT4 class from start to finish, while Martin Addison almost turned it into an Aston 1-2 in class before the George Haynes/Adam Sharpe BMW M3 GT4 made it past right at the end.
As the second afternoon race on Saturday, the 30 cars of the Masters GT Trophy got away without any real hiccups. Chris Milner led away from pole, but he was soon overtaken by series leader Craig Wilkins, with Jason McInulty also moving ahead before the end of lap 2. Craig Davies was fourth, before a storming few opening laps by Miles Griffiths in the Porsche 991.1 broke the string of Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evos at the front.
Davies got ahead of Milner into lap 3, while Paul Whight in the invitational Aston Martin Vantage GT2 got up to sixth, at the cost of Neil Glover’s Super Trofeo Evo. Dallas Carroll was next in the second of the Porsches, leading Keith Frieser in another Super Trofeo. In tenth, John Pearson’s invitational Ferrari 430 was soon passed by Wayne Marrs in the Mercedes Ferrari 488 Challenge – finally something other than a Lambo in the Corse class.
In 15th overall, Nathan Luckey’s 991.1 GT3 Cup was third in the Cup class while Dale Albutt led the GT4 class in 19th, his Aston Martin Vantage GT4 ahead of Peter Reynolds in the Ginetta G55, with George Haynes (BMW M3 GT4) and Martin Addison (Aston Martin Vantage GT4) up next.
At the front, Wilkins continued to power away, now eight seconds clear of McInulty, with Davies a further eight ticks adrift. Griffiths held his own in fourth, hounding Davies, but Whight was now making some strong process, passing both Griffiths and Davies on lap 6. Frieser was on a march too, as the Canadian stole sixth from Neil Glover, with Marrs up next, followed by Rob Fenn in the Motosport Elise. In GT4, Addison proved to be the man on the move, as the Aston stormed up into second place in class to make it a Vantage 1-2 in class for the moment. At the front, however, Milner was in trouble, preventing Nigel Greensall from doing his stint.
The pit window opened on lap 8, and McInulty was the first one to blink – with Whight and Carroll also coming in. Meanwhile, Nathan Luckey handed over to David Harrison, while Griffiths was in as well, as was the leader, but Davies was staying out for another bit, but eventually came in to hand over to Ron Maydon. Along with Frieser, Fenn was among the last at the front to make his stop, but the GT4 top-three remained out until lap 10, with two minutes remaining in the pit window. Meanwhile, Michael Lyons – having taken over from Neil Glover – set a blistering fastest lap of the race in 14th overall, but despite his 15-second elite-driver penalty he would soon move up the order.
When all the stops were over, Wilkins led McInulty by a massive 25 seconds, with Alistair MacKinnon in the GT2 Aston started by Whight in third, Maydon in fourth and Griffiths in fifth. Frieser was up next but Lyons about to take the Canadian’s place. Marrs, Fenn and Carroll completed the top ten for now. Further back, Reynolds in the Ginetta G55 had spun to give away his third place in class to Adam Sharpe who had taken over the BMW M3 GT4 from George Haynes. Meanwhile, Tim Mogridge in the second M3 GT4 and Tim Kuijl in a E46 320i fought over fifth in class, with Michiel Campagne further back in the Ford Mustang FR500C that the Dutchman also campaigned in period.
With five minutes still remaining, Wilkins had increased his margin over McInulty to half a minute, who was chased by MacKinnon, while Lyons was up into fourth and an effective third in the Corse class. Behind Lyons, Griffiths maintained his Cup class domination as he chased Ron Maydon for fourth, with Frieser, Marrs, Fenn and Carroll all giving chase at close quarters from Maydon and Griffiths. In GT4, Albutt and Addison continued their Aston 1-2 but Sharpe was closing down the gap, with Richard Dougal in the Maserati Gran Turismo GT4 started by Vance Kearney now on a pace similar to Sharpe and also narrowing the gap to the leading Aston pair.
As the clock ticked down, Wilkins ran home a strong win to increase his title chances, with McInulty eventually giving up second place to MacKinnon after a hugely entertaining fight all the way to the line. Lyons was fourth, a mere four seconds behind the battle for second and 36 seconds clear of Frieser, with Miles Griffiths taking a dominant Cup class win from Dallas Carroll in sixth and seventh. A late misfire took care of Maydon’s Lambo, so Fenn, Marrs and Christopher Goddard’s Ferrari 430 GT3 completed the top ten. In GT4, Dave Albutt hung on to win but Sharpe demoted Addison to third with a last-gasp effort.