CALUM Lockie was denied the chance of victory in the Silverstone Britcar 24-hours despite the Mosler MT900R of Paul White leading the early stages and showing clear race-winning form.
For his 16th 24-hour race, Lockie and White teamed up with regular Mosler racers Javier Morcillo and Manuel Cintrano for the round-the-clock race at Silverstone and led by around half a minute in the early stages.
But a series of car problems thwarted their bid for victory, but not before an incredible effort by the team to keep the car running strongly.
Morcillo and Cintrano arrived in the UK in time for a first run in White’s Mosler.
“They are both top-notch guys and very quick,” said Lockie, having regularly raced against them this season when they have been racing their own Mosler.
On the Thursday morning, Calum went out first but the Mosler’s engine temperature was soon giving cause for concern. “It was puzzling and the guys worked hard on it, but it became apparent that the new engine had terminal problems,” said Calum.
A replacement engine was fitted, but that meant they missed the rest of Thursday’s testing and further engine problems restricted their running in qualifying on Friday.
“Javier got one flying lap in and that got us P3 overall; he did a really good job,” said Calum.
With very limited running in night qualifying on Friday night, Calum prepared for the opening race stint without having run a flying lap.
“The atmosphere on the grid was electric. The ambient temperature was very high and there was a really strong front to the grid,” said Calum. “It turned out to be one of the quietest race starts I’ve ever had,” he added.
He was quickly through to second behind the Aquila prototype and was in a clear second place at the end of the opening lap.
“I just drove gently on the engine and stroked it around, going clear in P2.” When the Aquila headed for the pits, Calum took over the lead and was ahead after 65 minutes when a misfire set-in and the team called him into the pits.
Morcillo took over, after the team had worked on the misfire, but it soon all started to go badly wrong. Fuel pick-up problems developed and the team worked heroically trying to re-engineer the system.
One pit-stop lasted 50 minutes, but they never gave up and rejoined the race despite having to run shorter stints as the system was only picking up 60 of the 75 litres in the tank. “The team was superb. The guys worked so hard,” said Lockie.
By around 4am, Calum was back in the car and going well. “The car was working beautifully, but it was cutting out in the corners,” he said.
But then disaster struck when the throttle stuck wide open on the approach to Brooklands as he started to brake from 155mph.
“I braked as usual and the fronts locked up. I went for the ignition switch, but I really thought I was going into the wall very hard. It finally stopped two inches from the barriers!”
The car was towed out of the gravel and back to the pits where the team set about cleaning the Mosler up to rejoin the race.
Incredibly, shortly after rejoining, Morcillo had to return to the pits when 12 out of 20 spokes on a wheel sheared. Then, engine overheating returned, the probable legacy of the issue that caused the throttle to jam and the car was finally retired at 6am.
“Massive thanks are due to Paul and to Javier and Manuel for being such great team mates,” said Calum.
“Huge credit is also due to the entire team. They all worked so hard for no reward. Paul’s wife Angie did a superb job on the catering and Melindi was brilliant on the pit wall.”
Calum’s next stop was the Hungaroring as a guest of the Lotus Renault F1 team for his ‘Formula 1 debut’