As the old saying goes: “to finish first, first you must finish”. If there’s one team within the Lamborghini Squadra Corse family which appreciates that adage more than any other, it’s Barwell Motorsport. After years of disappointment and final-round near-misses, the team finally secured its first British GT title with Sandy Mitchell and Rob Collard, as well as the Teams’ title.
And if that wasn’t enough, the team also added the Silver Cup title win in the Endurance Cup element of GT World Challenge Europe thanks to a superb season from Frederik Schandorff, Patrick Kujala and Alex MacDowall.
The key to this success was the consistency of the #78 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo in both championships. Mitchell and Collard not only finished every race of the disrupted 2020 British season but did so inside without being outside the top five. For Frederik Schandorff, Patrick Kujala and Alex MacDowall, three podiums in four races – including two wins – helped the trio secure the title in the final round at Paul Ricard.
But for team boss Mark Lemmer, the ebb and flow nature of motorsport and the total ecstasy at season’s end with two titles heading back to the shop is what dreams are made of.
“It feels great for us to deliver this major international GT World Challenge Europe title, especially as it was only one week after Barwell and Lamborghini lifted the coveted British GT Championship crown,” says Lemmer.
“We are also really proud to have guided two former Super Trofeo champions, Patrick Kujala and Frederik Schandorff, to their first international GT3 drivers title with Lamborghini.”
The latter trio know the importance of finishing races; they arguably could have wrapped up the Silver Cup crown a round early during the Spa 24 Hours before an unavoidable accident in the early hours of Sunday morning while leading, taking them out of the race.
It was, according to Barwell’s Commercial Director Chris Needell, a “bittersweet moment at Spa” as the sister #77 of Mitchell, Collard, Ricky Collard and Leo Machitski secured a third successive class win for the team, with victory in Pro-Am.
“It was an incredible performance from Sandy, Leo, Rob and Ricky, and the whole #77 team actually, to come back from that first lap spin and the puncture was very impressive and to take another win at Spa – this is our third in a row because we won the Am class in 2018 – is a great achievement,” Needell said.
Bouncing back from the agonising disappointment of Spa, Lemmer was mightily impressed by the reaction of his drivers at Paul Ricard, with the squad’s newest member MacDowall also playing a crucial role.
“Together with Alex, all three of them have driven superbly all season and have put us in contention to win every race. To seal the championship with a victory at the season closing Paul Ricard 6-Hour race was the icing on the cake to an amazing season for Barwell and for Lamborghini Squadra Corse. We’d like to extend our thanks to Black Bull and everyone that has supported us and worked so hard this year”
The trio recorded two class wins, at the opening round in Imola and the season-finale at Paul Ricard, with a second-place finish in the Six Hours of the Nürburgring to boot,” says Schandorff.
“There’s no such thing as perfection in motorsport, but the fact that the team still has regrets over their missed win at Spa in Silver Cup goes some way to understanding just how much success means to them.
“Of course, it would have been nice to win the title at Spa, we were in a great position in the race and I felt quite confident that we would go on to win the race, but unfortunately we got caught up in an accident which was not our fault. It’s racing sometimes but the important thing is that we won it at Paul Ricard.
“The impressive thing about this year was that between me, Patrick and Alex, we proved to be the fastest line-up all year and probably the most balanced in terms of pace. That’s not to say that the others were slow, but the pace of all three of us was really close so we were competitive the whole season and we had a chance to win every race.”
Schandorff won the Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Finals at Jerez de la Frontera last year and made the full-time graduation to GT3 in 2020. The Dane, who won the Pro-Am title in International GT Open in 2018, is understandably satisfied that he and his team-mates wrapped the GTWC title up in style in Paul Ricard.
“I’m also happy that we won the championship by winning the race too, it’s the best way to win a title, I think,” Schandorff says.
“And it also showed that we weren’t just the fastest at the start of the season, we were the best at the end of the year as well.
“And then of course, my best personal memory from the season, was being the highest placed Lamborghini on the grid at Imola, and then finishing 10th and winning Silver Cup on our first race together. That was the best start we could have had.”