Silverstone which describes itself as “The Home of British Motor Racing” was built on the site of a former Royal Air Force bomber base. After the end of World War Two, the Royal Automobile Club took a lease on the property with the aim of running a Grand Prix and other motoring events. Indeed the 1950 British Grand Prix held at the track was the first ever World Championship Grand Prix.
Since that time the ownership has transferred to the British Racing Drivers Club and the track has been developed and modernised extensively to become one of the leading motor sport facilities in the world. It has been a major factor in the establishment of a significant motor sport industry in that area of the UK.
After the exertions of the first half of the season the team, though overjoyed with victory in Italy, were glad of the two month gap before the next round at their home track, Silverstone. A period of rest and rebuilding were in order, the objective now was not just to win races, but to seal a Championship.
Early September at Silverstone can see changeable weather. Tricky conditions was the forecast for the weekend. The Zytek chassis has always gone well at Silverstone, starting from pole in the corresponding race in 2004 and on the front row the following year. There was a new face at Greaves Motorsport, Alan Mugglestone, ready to engineer the car to attempt to continue this record. Paul Thomas had accepted another opportunity and had felt that with victory at Le Mans finally achieved, he had realised all his ambitions with the team. A fresh challenge was required.
Evidence that it was business as usual for the team despite the changes came in the first session of practice with Tom recording a 1:53.800, good enough for third place. This spot was confirmed in the second session with a 1:53.292. Saturday morning saw another improvement, this time to 1:50.949 which topped the LM P2 time-sheets. In Qualifying Tom improved once more and his lap of 1:50.922 was rewarded with second place on the grid and there was a feeling in the box that the momentum was with the team.
The sun was shining on the 48 car grid at the start. Tom further improved the mood by jumping into the lead on the opening lap and, after a brief skirmish, established his place at the head of the class during his stints. Oliver and Karim both maintained this advantage during their spells at the wheel, leaving Tom to bring the Zytek-Nissan home to the Chequered Flag – win number four!
Once the points were added up the team realised that they were just one short of securing the title, pole position would have made the difference, so near so far. The title celebrations would have to be put on hold till Estoril, first there was a victory at Silverstone to be savoured, a home win.
“I found the race very tough with traffic always creating problems and the weather making the race very hard. We saw our main opposition hit problems and this made us double our efforts but I am very happy with the result.”
“The race was not easy, the weather and the constant traffic made the job very hard, a mistake could have happened at any time. The car was fantastic; the team did a great job, so we had to do ours. I am happy with my results at Greaves Motorsport, three races and three wins; it does not get any better.”
“The victory at Le Mans this year was obviously the most important for us but this result comes close, being our home race. We deserved the win, as we had good pace all weekend, the result of a fantastic team effort. The race was difficult, particularly during my final stint, with the strong winds creating tricky driving conditions. It was really great to win at Silverstone”
“It was very exciting to finish so well at our home track but the points’ position is frankly nerve-racking. However in Portugal we will be racing for the win and not cruising for points. We want to be Champions in the way that we have raced all season.”