Good Friday blast for Hill
Good Friday blast for Hill

In his first-ever race in an open-top sports-prototype, BRDC ‘Superstar’ Jake Hill once again demonstrated his pace and adaptability, taking Pole Position, fastest lap and leading his class in Masters Historic Sports Cars, driving Simon Watts striking 1973 Team Gunston Chevron B26.

John Danby Racing only recently acquired the car raced by former Grand Prix drivers John Watson and Ian Schecker, and ran it with Watts and his regular co-driver Roberto Giordanelli in testing, but mechanical niggles and numerous stoppages on the day meant no real meaningful running was had.

The decision was therefore made on Thursday to ask Hill to race with Giordanelli, which the 27 year-old from Kent accepted immediately.

“It’s such a stunning car, and I love racing these cars in this series. It’s going to be challenging jumping in for the first time in qualifying but I have every faith in the car and the team, and Donington is one of my favourite circuits so it will be fun.

After Giordanelli set a strong set of laps early on, Hill jumped on board the Orange machine, and instantly began setting quick laps, ultimately taking Pole Position in the ‘Stommelen’ class, and P4 overall, just 0.006 behind Beighton’s Lola T70.

“Wow, this car is incredible! So nimble, lovely engine, gearbox, brakes – the lot. The only thing is I am getting bashed about in the cockpit as I don’t have a seat – just some padding here and there! But I loved it despite that and can’t wait for the race.

Giordanelli started the 1 hour race, and immediately battled hard with the pack around him, running in the top-three in class throughout, handing the car over to Hill on lap 21, who blasted back into the race, now in 11th overall and P4 in class.

As the rest of the pack took their mandatory 90 second stops, the order settled with Hill now P4 overall, and leading his class, but determined to challenge for an overall podium.

With just under half the race remaining, Hill was just over 18 seconds behind Beighton’s Lola T70 who was in turn chasing down the Lola B19 of Mitchell. Scything past lapped cars, Hill began to edge closer, setting fastest lap in class (and third overall) on lap 37, now only four seconds behind Beighton.

As Beighton and Mitchell began battling, Hill’s Chevron caught the pair at the end of lap 39, crossing the line just 0.5 second behind, before blasting past the pair into Redgate and now into P2 overall.

However as Hill changed into 5th gear for the Craner Curves, the car instantly lost drive, and left him and the team frustrated as transmission failure caused the car’s retirement.

“That was so much fun! beamed Hill. “The car was just brilliant, and I was getting more and more confident with every lap. It was typical – I’d just got past into P2 when I just couldn’t get any gears, so that was that. Massive thanks to Simon Watts for the opportunity, and to Roberto (Giordanelli) for doing such a great job, plus of course John, Ben, Tom and the whole JDR Crew. I hope I get another chance, cos I absolutely love this car.

Hill will next be on track in just over a week at Croft, testing the MB Motorsport Ford Focus ST in preparation for the 2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship that starts at Thruxton in May.

“The BTCC car is fantastic, I love the fierceness of the competition, but this is so different, so relaxed and the cars are just the coolest ever.

Images courtesy of Jakob Ebrey