On Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd July, Atkins Motorsport – sponsored by Snows BMW – spent a glorious weekend at Thruxton Motorsport Centre, which hosts a variety of race meetings at its circuit throughout the year. During the summer weekend in question, the weather was ideal for two Production GT sprint races on the Saturday and a two hour endurance race on the Sunday, thanks to an expected thunderstorm which actually passed several miles to the west.
The Snows BMW M3 GTR looking impressive as it takes on the track at Thruxton circuit.
Originally, the Atkins Motorsport team were only going to race on the Sunday, but it was decided to see how the purpose built BMW M3 GTR would fare on the circuit by testing it out on Saturday, so that it could be set up for maximum grip. During qualifying, Sam Allpass (set to drive in the first Saturday race, whilst Lee Atkins would compete in the second race) achieved 2nd in class and 8th overall.
When it came to the time to race, Sam trailed the class leader up until a mandatory pit stop two thirds of the way through. Coming out of the pits, Sam diminished the distance between the M3 and the class leader with each lap, taking the lead on emerging from the chicane at lap 27 of 37. He pulled away to consolidate his position with the class win, coming in 5th overall at the chequered flag.
Getting ready to go at Thruxton.
At the second Saturday race, Lee had to start from the back of the grid because he hadn’t co-driven in the first section. However, he raced through the pack and was up to 2nd in class within just two laps. He soon closed on the class leader and raced ahead, achieving a lead of approximately ten seconds by half distance. However, the tyres had now been used in practice, qualifying, and in the first 50 minute race, so they were degrading on Thruxton’s abrasive surface. The team, worried that the tyres might suffer a puncture, decided to inspect them at the pit stop. They held off until just 20 minutes before the chequered flag, and then changed all four wheels in a speedy one minute forty-five seconds. Although not quite Formula 1 standard, the team were pleased considering there are five nuts per wheel! When Lee exited the pits, the second place car was immediately behind him – however he upped his pace and managed to retain his class lead. Even more impressively, he ensured that the Snows BMW finished 3rd overall, behind two Ferrari 458 GT cars.
The Snows BMW M3 approaches corners at Thruxton circuit
The following day, the team were confident for the two hour endurance race thanks to Saturday’s success and none of the promised rain making an appearance. Unfortunately, the entries for the event were rather depleted, with only eleven of the original twenty vehicles entered in attendance, due to mechanical issues and other commitments. Nonetheless, there were some good battles in the field. Lee started the race, with the Snows BMW set up in an identical manner to Saturday. However, it was more difficult to drive with both air and track temperatures higher than the previous day. Driving for an hour, Lee managed to move up from a qualifying position of 9th, to 7th overall and 1st in class. At the pit stop, he was very dehydrated and claimed he wouldn’t have been able to race another lap longer, such was the temperature in the cockpit!
It was a lovely weekend to watch this beauty on the racetrack. For more information on the BMW M3, click the photo or follow the link here
Sam took over as planned, and became embroiled in a battle with an Aston Martin Vantage and yet another Ferrari 458. He gradually reeled in both cars, managing to pass them both, moving up to 5th place overall and ending the race with a class win at 84 laps.
This rounded the weekend off wonderfully, with Atkins Motorsport and Snows BMW having great results on both days.
Drivers Lee Atkins (left) and Sam Allpass (right) stand with the purpose built Snows BMW M3 GTR, with engineers Geoff Steel Racing visible behind
Stay tuned for more information about Atkins Motorsport and future races. In the meantime, you can discover everything you need to know about Snows BMW by clicking here.
Snows BMW prides itself on its reputation and dedication to delivering excellent customer service, and is rewarded by the fact that over half of its business comes from returning customers. Atkins Motorsport demonstrates that with Snows BMW, driving becomes an experience rather than a chore.
Author: Charlotte Saunders
Please contact Charlotte Saunders using Charlotte.Saunders@snowsgroup.co.uk or 02380 707750 with all press enquiries.
Posted on 18/07/2016 by Snows in BMW with no comments