Jerseyman Jack Butel encountered a mixed weekend at Silverstone in the Henderson Insurance UK LMP3 Cup. Butel and new teammate Andrew Bentley suffered a faulty pit lane speed limiter in the opening race forcing them to sixth. However, a solid fifth in the second race enabled the Speedworks Motorsport driver to leave the home of British motorsport third in the overall LMP3 standings.
After claiming back-to-back podiums last time out at Spa-Francorchamps with co-driver Scott Mansell, the Ligier JS P3 LMP3 driver headed to Silverstone – a circuit the St Saviour resident had impressive form at during his Formula 4 days. The 21-year-old had his third different teammate in 2017, this time Andrew Bentley would share the driving duties around the Northamptonshire venue.
Learning and developing the right set-up for the two drivers was the first challenge, but Butel and Bentley were on the pace from the off with Bentley qualifying the striking sports car prototype in third and fifth for the races ahead. The gentleman driver qualifies and starts the one hour-long race before the lead driver takes over in the second stint to complete the race.
Unfortunately for the Speedworks duo, the pitlane speed limiter got stuck on at the start of the opening race, which dropped the pair down the order and out of contention for a strong result. With the problem resolved by the third lap, the Englishman handed the reins to the Channel Islander at the half way milestone. Wrestling the five-litre V8 weapon around the British Formula One circuit, Jack crossed the line as the clock hit zero bringing home the powerful machine in a respectable sixth overall.
The second race on the Sunday was to bring greater rewards. Bentley made a great start considering his lack of seat time and put himself into the racing mix. Coming into the pits half way into the hour long race, the English driver handed over to Butel. The young-gun was chasing another podium but with the gap in front too large, Butel tried his best to claw back time with just less than 30 minutes remaining. Setting front-running pace, Jack took the chequered flag, claiming a fine fifth to bring the curtain down on the weekend.
“To stand on the podium in Belgium was amazing and it’s something which we wanted to repeat here at Silverstone,” explained Butel. “It was a weekend of highs and lows for us. Race one was disappointing and with the pit lane limiter coming on meant the car crawled around so slowly. We sadly had no chance of a result. A great job by the team all weekend meant we came back fighting in race two and to record a fifth was a positive way to end the meeting. It is also positive for me as I move up to third in the championship, which is a nice bonus.
“It was great to work with Andrew [Bentley] and having a third different teammate has its benefits as it’s a another driver to experience the car and share their knowledge. However we were on the back foot, as we had to find a set-up that suited us both in a short space of time. I think we did really well considering, and I am happy with my performance as I was very close to the front running pace and I feel more at one with the car after every race.
“I would like to thank Rockford IT for coming to watch me race this weekend as well. It was nice to have them as guests and join me over a race meeting to see these awesome machines in action. All of them left with a massive smile on their faces which was fantastic to see.”
The UK LMP3 Cup returns to action at Snetterton in Norfolk for a further two races on August 12/13. Butel and Speedworks will once again be in the hunt for further podiums as they look to climb the championship standings even further.