Ryan Ratcliffe 2018

Produced by Abbott Designs Ltd


Home advantage yields a class top-ten for Triple Eight

Customer BMW Motorsport team, Triple Eight Racing, took a ProAm class pole-position and secured a strong top-ten class finish today at the second round of the Blancpain Endurance Series, held at an overcast Silverstone Circuit.

After leading the ProAm class for the majority of the race, a late full-course caution and then a safety car period eroded the team’s lead and the BMW Z4 GT3 of Joe Osborne, Ryan Ratcliffe and Lee Mowle narrowly missed out on a truly amazing result, finishing P10 in class, P27 overall for their efforts.

Early morning at the Northamptonshire circuit provided mixed conditions, and Triple Eight’s Team Director, Keith Cheetham decided that emerging British ace, Osborne, the quickest of the three drivers in car #888 would take part in the final session. It was quite a gamble given the changeable weather due to arrive, but it was a decision that paid off when the 26-year-old from Olney lodged a 2:01.411 lap on his second run in the short qualifying session.

This guaranteed a top-five overall starting place, and the ProAm class pole-position, a first for the team in the top European GT series, which this weekend had 62-cars entered across its three classes.

Osborne started the race, and enabled the team to hold an overall top-ten position, running in the top eight for the majority of his 45-minute stint, frustrating the works drivers of manufacturers such as Bentley and Audi with his startling pace behind the wheel of the Groundhog-liveried BMW Z4 GT3.

Seizing the opportunity of pitting under a full-course-caution was a bold move for the team, that was sitting comfortably in the top-ten overall at the time, especially as it meant curtailing Osborne’s stint time by some 20-minutes.

It was a decision that paid dividends for the British team. After the first round of the mandatory pit stops were completed, the implications bore fruit as Ratcliffe’s nineteenth place overall (seventh in class) became third overall with a massive eleven place gap to second in the ProAm class. The decision was a masterstroke.

On-track and with a large performance required, Ratcliffe coped admirably against a field of pacey Pro drivers, holding out for almost thirty minutes before conceding third overall to the Von Ryan McLaren of Adrian Quaife Hobbs, at which point more of the 21-year-old’s rivals followed past.

Handing over to Mowle in tenth place overall, Ratcliffe had also managed to hang onto the ProAm class lead. With some 65 minutes left on the clock, Mowle settled into his stint, resuming from the pits in 21st place overall, sixth in ProAm.

No sooner had Mowle completed his first couple of racing laps of the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, and a yellow flag caution period was rolled out to pick up debris on-track. This, followed by a short safety car period, eliminated the earlier gains made by Cheetham’s initial yellow flag strategy, and destroyed any ambition the team had to take a class podium, by reducing the sizeable lead built up by Osborne.

Once the results had all shaken up, Mowle was fifth in Pro-Am (18th overall) with Nissan’s Le Man racer, Jann Mardenborough in hot pursuit of our striking orange and white BMW GT3.

Over the next 40 minutes Mowle tried in vain to stop the Triple Eight Z4 slip down the order, but up against the likes of experienced GT hands, Christophe Bouchut and Franck Perera, and young guns Jerome Mul, Yelmer Buurman and Marko Asmer, our bronze-ranked driver was unable to fight; dropping down to tenth in class at the flag, 27th overall on the track.

Ryan Ratcliffe, Triple Eight Racing Driver:

“I thoroughly enjoyed the race, and was really happy with the team performance this weekend. We came away with a lot better off than we did at Monza. It’s great to also have some good points for the championship and now it’s time to concentrate on Paul Ricard. It’s a circuit that’s relatively new to me, but in this championship its important because there are extra points on offer.”

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