14 June, 2016
McLaren GT Factory Driver Rob Bell and teammate Alasdair McCaig in the #79 McLaren 650S GT3 run by Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse finished fourth in the Silverstone 500, the three-hour blue riband event of the British GT Championship, held at the famed British Grand Prix circuit in Northamptonshire.
The weekend kicked off with a strong start for the McLaren duo with the #79 posting fourth quickest lap overall in practice and taking a third row grid position for the race with fifth fastest time overall after qualifying.
The race started in very wet conditions, with Alasdair taking the start, which due to the dire weather, started under the safety car. The green flag flew on lap two and with torrential rain and limited visibility making up one place, but then dropping back to seventh position in closely fought battles for position. He recovered and moved forwards, back up to fifth place,before another safety car period. The team opted to use this to make on of the three mandatory stops, with Alasdair handing over the car to Rob.
Rob drove for five laps during the safety car period, handing it back to Alasdair just before the race was green flagged. The move had dropped the car to 18th position, but Alasdair quickly made up ground, moving up to 12th after three laps, then continued to improve over the course of his stint, finally regaining his grid position just as another safety car was deployed. and the field were back up to full speed. Rob returned to the car on lap 43, just before another safety car period, driving the final hour of the race. Throughout the hour Rob battled hard with Adam Carroll in the Ferrari 488 GT3, with the duo trading places on numerous laps as the race reached the closing stages. On the final lap the Ferrari just pipped Rob to the final podium place, less than a second ahead of him at the chequered flag.
Rob said after the race, “That was a tough one. The weather was shocking and made it a very challenging race. Alasdair coped really well with the conditions and kept us in the fight for the podium. When I took over for the final hour the weather was easing, but there was still plenty of standing water around. I spent much of the time scrapping with Adam Carroll in a very closely matched Ferrari. We both made up places in the last few laps, but I just wasn’t able to get a podium place, despite hounding Adam until the end.”
Rob now lies sixth in the Drivers Championship with the Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse fifth in the Teams Standings after five of the nine rounds in this year’s British GT championship.
The Lancashire driver has jetted off to Le Mans to prepare for this year’s 24 hour race, with Rob joining Clearwater Racing to take on this ultimate racing endurance challenge.