Gilbert and Modell lift drivers' laurels in internecine Speedworks duel
03-Nov-2015John Gilbert and Devon
Modell were left celebrating at the end of the 12 Hours of Brno in the Czech
Republic, after seeing off Speedworks Motorsport team-mate Tony Hughes in a
gripping internecine duel to decide the destiny of the 2015 FIA International
24H Series drivers’ crown.
Going into the weekend, the pressure was off to a degree in that whatever
happened, it was guaranteed that either Gilbert and Modell or Hughes would lift
the laurels – Speedworks having already wrapped up the teams’ title just over a
month earlier in Barcelona. That said, all three men were determined to win,
meaning any notions of taking it easy were firmly off the agenda.
In the red corner, team sponsor and Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship
(BTCC) points-scorer Hughes was partnered in the Hughes Safety Showers-backed
Ginetta G50 by British GT regular Piers Johnson and European Le Mans Series
podium visitor George Richardson.
In the blue corner, meanwhile, Global Insurance Management MD and track day
enthusiast Gilbert and promising young gun Modell teamed up alongside
ex-Formula Renault BARC Champion Ollie Hancock in the Global Racing-branded
Aston Martin Vantage GT4.
With both cars competing in the SP3 division – for GT4-spec machinery – blows
were traded right from the ‘off’ as they lined up second and third in-class in
qualifying, separated by a mere three tenths-of-a-second.
Maintaining that momentum, the two Speedworks entries continued to feature up
towards the sharp end in the race, the Ginetta leading the class and the Aston
Martin running as high as second, although the former would subsequently be
plagued by differential woes and the latter encountered a rare gearbox problem.
Once everything had shaken out, it was Gilbert and Modell that narrowly pipped
Hughes to the championship spoils by just five points. Not only that, but they
respectively placed an impressive 13th and 16th out of 91
protagonists outright, marking a fitting conclusion to Speedworks’ maiden full
campaign in the fiercely-disputed pan-European endurance racing championship.
“We’re thrilled with the outcome,” reflected Team Manager Amy Dick, with the
Northwich, Cheshire-based outfit going on to claim its second rostrum finish in
the immensely popular, ITV4 live-televised BTCC with Tom Ingram the following
day. “It’s fantastic and very rewarding to have won both the drivers’ and
teams’ titles at the first time of asking.
“All of our drivers performed brilliantly and the boys worked ridiculously hard
in Brno in conditions that alternated between cold, foggy, dark and wet – and sometimes
all four! The pit crew changed the Aston’s gearbox in under two hours, which
was a tremendous achievement and as ever, we really can’t praise them enough.
“Congratulations to John and Devon as well as to Tony for putting up such a
superb fight – having each played a vital role in the Speedworks success story
this year, as far as we’re concerned, they’re all champions!”