Ecurie EcosseEcurie Ecosse netted a well-deserved second place finish in this weekend’s three-hour British GT race at Silverstone thanks to strong performances from Alasdair McCaig and team newcomer Ollie Hancock. The former Lotus Motorsport factory driver deputised for Olly Bryant at the British Grand Prix venue as the Ecosse regular continues to recover from an injury suffered in July.

Heading into qualifying with very limited running in the team’s Barwell Motorsport-run BMW Z4 GT3, Hancock recorded a lap good enough for 13th on the bumper 33-car grid. Team-mate McCaig took the start of Sunday’s race, making a smooth getaway but subsequently losing ground in the frenetic opening stages. However, the Scotsman soon found clean air and began to up his pace, making a number of assertive overtaking moves to regain lost ground.

The Barwell crew capitalised on the BMW’s ability to run long on both tyres and fuel by leaving McCaig on-track until shortly before the hour mark. Hancock then took the controls following a swift pit stop and rejoined in third spot.

The ensuing stint saw Hancock battle with the factory Ginetta of Mike Simpson, a scrap that would soon be for the lead of the race. Following a faultless shift Hancock pitted from the lead and another excellent stop by the Barwell crew saw McCaig rejoin in fourth.

When the order settled again the United Autosports McLaren enjoyed a comfortable advantage at the head of the field with Ecurie Ecosse’s BMW in a fighting second spot.

The McLaren pitted early, allowing McCaig to resume the lead late in his second stint. Hancock took over for the closing stages 20 seconds behind the McLaren and quickly set about eroding this margin. Unfortunately, after quickly cutting the gap to 14 seconds, the BMW’s differential began to smoke heavily, increasing heart rates throughout the Ecurie Ecosse pit. Hancock managed to nurse the car home over the final two laps to ensure it made the finish, crossing the line just 20 seconds adrift after three hours of hard fought racing, much to the delight of the Ecurie Ecosse team.

Mark Lemmer, Barwell Motorsport Team Principal: “It’s been a difficult time for the team with Olly Bryant having to sit out another crucial round, but Ollie Hancock did a great job coming in at the last minute. This result is testament to a fantastic all-round effort by the whole team.”

Alasdair McCaig, Ecurie Ecosse driver: “I’m delighted to come away from the penultimate round at Silverstone half a point away from the championship leaders. Ollie Hancock did a fantastic job partnering me this weekend and did not put a foot wrong. The Barwell crew yet again provided a fantastic car and strategy to gain us a second place finish and a strong points haul.”

Ollie Hancock, Ecurie Ecosse driver: “I am so chuffed with the way this weekend turned out. It was such a late decision – 5pm on Friday night in fact – so to come away with a podium is fantastic! The idea was to help Alasdair get as many points as possible to keep him firmly in contention for the drivers’ championship and we have done just that. Before Saturday morning I’d never sat in a GT3 car, so it took a little understanding of the electronics in the BMW to really get the best out of it. Our race strategy was absolutely spot on as were our pit stops, so a big thank you to the guys at Barwell Motorsport for bolting together a superb BMW Z4 GT3 and not putting a foot wrong all weekend.”

The result sees McCaig leave Silverstone just half a point shy of the championship lead ahead of the final round at Donington. The Scotsman and the Ecurie Ecosse squad will be hoping for a similar result at the Leicestershire venue as they go in search of British GT championship glory.

2012 Avon Tyres British GT Championship Standings

1. Matt Griffin/Duncan Cameron (Mtech-Ferrari) 113
2. Alasdair McCaig (Ecurie Ecosse-BMW) 112.5
3. Jann Mardenborough/Alex Buncombe (RJN-Nissan) 108.5
4. David Ashburn (Trackspeed-Porsche) 104.5

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.