Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse’s Sandy Mitchell made British GT history on Sunday by becoming the youngest race winner in series history.
The Scot, whose McLaren 570S GT4 he shared with fellow countryman Ciaran Haggerty, won the day’s opening 60-minute contest by less than 0.4s. However, the record books will also note that at 16 years and 169 days he bettered the mark previously held by Jamie Chadwick who was 179 days his senior when she claimed victory at Rockingham last season.
In doing so Mitchell became the championship’s youngest ever podium finisher, while he and Haggerty were also responsible for the all-new McLaren 570S GT4’s maiden victory in any series. Equally, it was the first ‘junior’ class win for Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse, adding to the legendary Scottish squad’s haul of seven previous British GT3 scalps.
Mitchell’s victory comes little more than two months after he became the youngest driver to notch up a British GT pole position, at Silverstone, and one month after becoming the youngest to record a lap record, at Spa.
“At the start of the race it was a case of knuckling down and picking the cars in front of me off one by one,” he recalled. “I was really happy because I made some good overtaking moves, and everything went to plan.
“When Ciaran went out after the pit-stop, he came under severe pressure towards the end, but he did a great job bringing the car home.
“I’ve got to thank the whole team, who have put in a huge effort throughout the season, and especially here, to put us in the position to get this win.
“Youngest-ever winner in the British GT Championship: yeah, it’s got a nice ring to it. It’s not sunk in yet, but I’m sure the reality will sink in on the way home tonight.
Fourth place in the second of the day’s races was, in some ways, even more impressive given Mitchell and Haggerty’s unscheduled early pit-stop and subsequent 10-second success penalty for winning the opener.
“I’m very happy with my drive in race two,” added Mitchell. “To come through from P16 to P4, just 13 seconds off a podium, was great fun: it was a real adrenaline rush with all the overtaking. It was brilliant.
“We were good on the brakes, so I was able to pull off a few good moves. The tyres were going off a bit towards the end of the race, but the car was excellent again.”
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Jamie Chadwick might have seen her ‘youngest ever’ victory, pole position and lap record accolades bettered by Mitchell, but for the time being she will at least remain the youngest driver to win a British GT crown. With Mitchell unable to clinch the GT4 title, her 17 years and 95 days cannot be beaten in 2016.
Meanwhile, the youngest driver to win a British GT race outright remains Jonny Cocker who was 17 years and 221 days old when he triumphed at Mondello Park on 8 May 2004.