Nathan Kinch and Andrew Kirkaldy are British GT Champions! The Scottish duo won Round 10 of the British GT Championship at Mondello Park this afternoon and have now secured an unassailable lead with three races still remaining.
Nathan Kinch started the race from pole position, he and Kirkaldy continuing their unbroken run of starting from the top spot. The young Scot soon set about building up a good lead whilst Chris Niarchos in the sister Ferrari made a great move on the Cadena GTC Mosler and moved up into fifth place before setting about chasing the Embassy Porsche.
The Safety Car was deployed just after quarter distance whilst a stricken car was recovered. It was still out when the pit window opened prompting all the cars to pour into the pits for the mandatory driver change. At the restart Kirkaldy, now in car 35, got away well and Tim Mullen, in the 34 car, made light work of passing two cup class Porsches that had leapfrogged him in the pits. Clearly not happy to be running fifth Mullen passed Anthony Reid and Ben Collins in one move then headed off after Michael Caine's Porsche which he promptly passed for second place.
By the end of the race Mullen was ready to challenge Kirkaldy but the Scot had the Championship in his sights and cruised over the line to take the win. Returning to the pit lane with a Scottish flag waving from the window of the Ferrari, Kirkaldy was greeted by a delighted Nathan Kinch, and a very happy Scuderia Ecosse team.
Nathan Kinch (#35):
"What a fantastic day; we wanted to take the Championship with a win and we've done it so I'm over the moon! I'd like to pay tribute to my team-mate and of course the entire team for a job well done. We set out this year with this Championship as our no.1 priority so now it's in the bag it's a great feeling!"
Andrew Kirkaldy (#35):
"I'm a happy man! That was a great race although Tim had me worried towards the end! To have won all the races bar two and taken every single pole position makes me proud and I couldn't ask for more. Nathan has come a long way this year and the team has been there for us every step of the way, the Scuderia Ecosse guys and the Michelotto team. We're off now to paint the town red.Ferrari red!"
Chris Niarchos (#34):
"My plan was to take Gavan (Kershaw) in the Mosler at the first turn so I was pleased to be able to get a clean pass on him for fifth. It's incredibly tight here and even though the car is quick it's hard to make the break. I kept getting under Neil's (Cunningham) rear wing but when I got close enough to pass I lost aero at the front of the car. Big congratulations to Nathan and Andrew; I'm delighted for them both!"
Tim Mullen (#34):
"That was a belting race! It was great to be able to make those passes after the Safety Car went in and I was just getting into a great battle with Andrew at the end of the race. It was tricky as I had no radio so I had to just go flat out and hope all was ok. Fair play to Andrew and Nathan, they've done a good job this year. We're not letting them off the hook though; we'll be out to win tomorrow!"
Stewart Roden, Team Principal:
"This is amazing! Today's result, and of course the Team Championship win, is the culmination of two years of hard work and I want to pay tribute to the whole team who have put heart and soul into getting us here. Special mention of course has to go to Nathan and Andrew who have driven faultlessly this year. They have been a strong combination from the outset and I'm delighted they are Champions!"
SCUDERIA ECOSSE: A BRIEF HISTORY
9 November 2003 - Scuderia Ecosse embarks on its first ever GT race, the 1000kms of Le Mans. Drivers Marino Franchitti, Tim Mullen and Chris Niarchos finished the six-hour race in fourth place (NGT class)
24 March 2004 - Scuderia Ecosse officially launched - The new team, led by Stewart Roden, announces its plans to contest the 2004 British GT Championship at the British F3/GT Media Day at Brands Hatch. The team runs two Ferrari 360s: A GTC for Andrew Kirkaldy and Nathan Kinch and a GT for Tim Mullen and Chris Niarchos.
3 April 2004 - First British GT race - Kirkaldy and Kinch finish in 7th place.
4 April 2004 - First British GT Victory - Kirkaldy and Kinch take the win after a fantastic fight through the pack from 16th place on the grid.
27 June 2004 - Team takes part in Round Six of the FIA GT Championship - Scuderia Ecosse enters the 360 GTC into the FIA GT race and finishes an excellent fourth in class.
30 August 2004 - First British GT Victory for Mullen/Niarchos - Team victory tally reaches six - The Mullen/Niarchos Ferrari 360 GT takes victory at Thruxton, followed by a win for the Kirkaldy/Kinch car in the next round on the same day.
3 October 2004 - Team wins the final race of the 2004 British GT season - The final rain-soaked race of the year goes to Kirkaldy and Kinch in the Ferrari 360 GTC. The team finishes its debut season as Championship Runners-Up with a total of seven victories, seven pole positions and 13 fastest race laps.
13-16 January 2005 - New 2005 livery launched - Scuderia Ecosse appears at Autosport International in Birmingham to unveil the new red, white and blue livery for its Ferrari 360 GTCs.
16 February 2005 - Le Mans 24 Hours entry approved - It is announced that Scuderia Ecosse is entered into the 2005 Le Mans 24 Hours.
15 March 2005 - Team announces 2005 plans - In 2005 Scuderia Ecosse will contest the British GT Championship, the Le Mans Endurance Series and the Le Mans 24 Hours.
3 April 2005 - Kinch/Kirkaldy win opening round of British GT Championship - The Scottish duo took a dominant victory at Donington Park with a winning margin of over 40 seconds. Chris Niarchos and Tim Mullen put on a great show and joined them on the podium in third spot.
18-19 June 2005 - Scuderia Ecosse takes part in the 73rd running of the Le Mans 24 Hours, the greatest race of them all. Although the team doesn't complete the race they put on a great show and gain valuable experience for next time out!
10 July 2005 - Kinch and Kirkaldy finish on the podium at the Le Mans Endurance Series race at Monza with a superb second place against a competitive field of cars.
14 August 2005 - Scuderia Ecosse wins the British GT Team Championship - Kinch and Kirkaldy's second place finish in a two-hour race at Silverstone seals Championship victory for the team.
17 September 2005 - Nathan Kinch and Andrew Kirkaldy are crowned 2005 British GT Champions.
<pre> RACE RESULT (Round 10): 1. Kinch/Kirkaldy Ferrari 360 GTC Scuderia Ecosse GT2 1:00:47.946 2. Niarchos/Mullen Ferrari 360 GTC Scuderia Ecosse GT2 +0.200 3. Collins/Cunningham Porsche GT3 RSR Embassy Racing GT2 +28.574 4. Jordan/Caine Porsche GT3 RSR Eurotech GT2 +29.056 5. Bentwood/Reid Nissan 350 Z RJN Motorsport GT2 +42.707 6. Whight/Kershaw Mosler MT900R Cadena GTC GT2 +1:01.703
Fastest Lap: Mullen 1:41.172 on lap 29
Pole Position: Kinch 1:41.856