Podium Joy for Apex – Jaguar third at Spa
Apex Motorsport received a lift at the weekend when the Jaguar XKR of Stuart Scott, Chris Ryan and Mark Sumpter claimed third overall in the 1,000k Britcar race at Spa Francorchamps on Saturday.
The V8 supercharged XKR performed flawlessly during testing, achieving 3rd fastest from a field of 40 cars. Qualification put the Jaguar in 5th place, but following a rule infringement of a vehicle closer to the front of the grid, the XKR moved up to 4th place, and another non-starter put Scott's Jaguar in 3rd place to start the 4 hour race, behind a TVR Sagaris and a Mosler, both lighter and with more bhp than the Jaguar.Chris Ryan was first into the seat, retaining 3rd position through to driver changeover after 50 minutes. Mark Sumpter, the 2000 British GTO Champion, and currently competing in the International Group C Historic Championship, was driving the XKR for the first time, in 8th place after pitting. After 50 minutes on the track, and back in 3rd place, he brought the Jaguar into the pits declaring that he "adored" the XKR. Stuart Scott took over, and kept the car in 3rd place, despite pressure from the competition.
Early in Mark's second session, the weather closed in, and the team faced the decision of whether to lose crucial time for a tyre change. Despite the rain, Mark was achieving remarkable lap times on slicks, so based on Mark's extensive international experience and the performance of the XKR, the decision was made to run the full 50 minutes on slicks. The rain lasted just 8 minutes, and the decision not to change tyres had ensured that the Jaguar went into the last session with driver Chris Ryan still in 3rd place.
Chris was catching the 2nd position Porsche at a rate of 3 seconds per lap, and the team had calculated that a coveted 2nd position was within grasp, when Chris lost the Jaguar in a spin at Les Combes just 8 laps from finish. No damage was incurred, but it cost the team 30 seconds, and 2nd place was out of reach.
Finishing 3rd, 20 seconds behind second place, the three drivers were delighted with the car's performance. "The car just ran like clockwork, with no issues," said a delighted Stuart Scott; "Many thanks were due to the Apex Motorsport Team for their slick and professional pit-work and the opportunity to honour Richard Lloyd with the first Apex Motorsport podium since Bentley at Le Mans." The next Britcar event is at Brands Hatch on 14th June.