BDC - Silverstone National Saturday 7th August 2021 - Silverstone
SCD Thrill on the Hill Sunday 8th August 2021 - Shelsley Walsh
The Quail Rally Monday 9th August 2021 to Wednesday 11th August 2021 - Monterey
The Quail - A Motorsports Gathering Friday 13th August 2021 - Quail Lodge & Golf Club, California
Gooding: Pebble Beach Auction Friday 13th August 2021 to Saturday 14th August 2021 - Pebble Beach Equestrian Center, California
RM Sotheby’s Monterey Auction Saturday 14th August 2021 - Monterey
Oldtimer Grand Prix Sunday 15th August 2021 to Sunday 15th August 2021 - Nurburgring, Germany
Masters: Historic Grand Prix Friday 20th August 2021 to Sunday 22nd August 2021 - Zolder, Belgium
Le Mans 24 Hours Saturday 21st August 2021 to Sunday 22nd August 2021 - Le Mans, France
RM Auctions - Auburn Fall Wednesday 1st September 2021 to Saturday 4th September 2021 - Auburn, Indiana
For the first two rounds of the 2021 Intelligent Money British GT Championship, James Cottingham partnered with RAM Racing, drove a Mercedes-AMG GT3 alongside Sam De Haan at Brands Hatch and Silverstone. This would be Cottingham’s first major appearance in modern sports car racing, aside from a brief stint in in a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 at a support race for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016.
The first race of the 2021 championship was held at Brands Hatch over the weekend of May 22-23. Having not had much time to accumulate to the Mercedes-AMG GT3, Cottingham and De Haan qualified in tenth position on the grid. With a super strong start in damp conditions, James in the early stages held fastest lap of the race and moved up to as high as fifth place during the race. Sadly minor contact with another driver resulted in an unfortunate DNF for the team. However, their performance and pace kept the team motivated for the next round of the championship.
On his performance at Brands Hatch, James commented: “It’s been a bit of an up and down debut, but I’ve enjoyed it massively, regardless of the result. Obviously, it’s a shame how it ended for us, but I loved the car and working with the team has been great. I learned so much with every lap and was very pleased with my pace and how the race was going. I made a silly mistake under braking at Surtees, which cost me, and then had the unfortunate incident with Adam. I had the highlight of passing him in the compression up Hawthorn Hill, but the lowlight of ending my race in the gravel next to him. Still, I’ve had a great time.”
With just one further test day prior to the Silverstone 500, hopes were high for a competitive race-day performance. Following qualifying, James’ performance in the Silver AM class saw him achieve a hugely impressive 4th fastest overall, giving the pairing a combined eleventh position on the grid in their RAM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. The pair raced to a very impressive 8th overall finish and a victory in the Silver AM class. The three hour race saw dry weather throughout and no safety cars, resulting in eighty-six laps completed, the most in the race’s ten-year history. Additionally, the team managed to secure the fastest lap in their class.
Sam De Haan said: “The race was good fun and I was just loving being out there at a great circuit in a great car. Our strategy was pretty strong and we got into some tight battles along the way. The team did a top job as always and James drove brilliantly on just his second British GT race. Getting the Silver-Am win is just a nice bonus.”
James Cottingham said: “I really enjoyed being back in the Mercedes-AMG GT3, and it was great to get to the end of the race, which is never a given in historic cars! I think I perhaps played things a bit too cautiously during my first stint, thinking it was a three-hour race and being careful not to make mistakes as per Brands Hatch. Once clear of a slower McLaren it took a few laps to get back up to my race pace but sadly, the gap had gotten too big for me to get back onto the main train. It was a shame as my qualifying pace showed I should have been able to get up to the front! There wasn’t much attrition to help us get too much higher so I think we got the maximum we could as our race was pretty faultless, and it’s always nice to go home with a trophy. I have learnt even more this weekend and am now very pleased with how close I am to the next step. I certainly have been bitten by the bug.”
RAM Racing team principal Dan Shufflebottom added: “Overall we’re pleased with the results from Silverstone. Obviously, everybody wants to win the showpiece race of the season and we gave it a good shot but it just wasn’t quite our day. We always planned to run both cars longer at the start because it leaves the window open to react to safety cars and such, but we didn’t have any interruptions to exploit this time. It was great to have Sam and James back, too. James did a brilliant job on just his second outing with us and Sam more than held his own up against professional career drivers to bring home the result. Overall it’s been a positive weekend”
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