Sandy Mitchell became the youngest driver ever to win a British GT race when he helped the Ecurie Ecosse Mclaren team to its maiden GT4 win at Snetterton. Mitchell and teammate Ciaran Haggerty won race one, and with Mitchell being aged just 16 years and 169 days he surpasses Jamie Chadwick’s record of 16 years and 348 days old when she won at Rockingham last season. “Youngestever winner in British GT: yeah, it’s got a nice ring to it,” he said. “It’s not sunk in yet, but I’m sure it will over the next few days. I’m just chuffed we got not only our first podium of the season but we’ve done it with a win!”
Talk about trial by public: the social media reaction to the multiple accidents that happened during Snetterton’s British Touring Car Championship meeting were disappointing and infuriating in equal measure.
Hunter Abbott’s Power Maxed Chevrolet Cruze barrel rolled and smashed in to an ITV camera tower, which left a shaken, uninjured and fortunate camera operator laying on the grass. That was after there had been a huge shunt in the second race of the day, where multiple cars collided on the Bentley Straight and it brought about a red flag. It left Dan Welch with a severely battered car.
Those were the two big talking points after the sixth meeting of the season, but there were more instances where drivers were in the firing line.
Irritatingly, there were a swarm of ill-informed people passing judgement on a subject about which they clearly knew nothing on social media forums. Some of the keyboard warriors need to think twice before putting fingers to keyboard.
Some were suggesting that Abbott himself should be stopped from racing in the BTCC or, at the very least, banned for a while.
What utter tosh: he was a victim of circumstance when two cars touched side-by-side while he was trying to avoid a collision ahead. What else was he supposed to do? Disappear?
And as for Welch’s accident, AMD Tuning.com Audi S3 driver Ollie Jackson was fined £500 and was given three penalty points on his licence for his part in the clash with the Proton man.
That censure was handed out because there is a very robust judicial system in the British Touring Car Championship and it is one of the most proactive series out there when it comes to driver discipline. There are spy in the cab cameras, data and steering traces and several angles of ITV footage that can all be taken in to account when assessing who is to blame. The officials don’t simply ignore this stuff. They look in depth at every incident – even some that they aren’t asked to – to make sure that standards do remain high.
The argument is that the BTCC is just smash and bash. That is nonsense. There is some touching and rubbing, but the fact that there was such outrage following Snetterton, after two sizeable accidents, shows just how unusual it is.
I wish some onlookers would just leave the judgements to the people who have access to all of the factors, rather than serving up their own version of rough justice.