Pandamonium Racing’s Hamish Brandon continues to go from strength-to strength in thePower Maxed MINI Challenge after narrowly missing out on a podium finish at Britain’s home of motorsport, Silverstone (16-17 August).
Opening the weekend’s action was Saturday (16 August) morning’s 15-minute qualifying session, where Brandon put in a best time of 2m29.365s to position his Excelr8 Motorsport-run MINI JCW an impressive fifth.
With a near full-capacity 31-car field lining up for the first of the weekend’s three races, Brandon, who was making his Silverstone debut, was quick to generate heat into his Pirelli tyres and latched onto the the front-runners.
Brandon was lapping several tenths quicker than much of the field and was poised to finish on the podium, only for an accident ahead of him caused him to take evasive action and dropped down to 11th.
Looking to make up lost ground, Brandon kept a cool head and quickly dispatched of his rivals and as the chequered flag waved, crossed the line a very impressive fifth after climbing six places.
A pre-event downpour on Sunday (17 August) washed away any rubber laid down by the weekend’s previous events, leaving behind a green track.
With a rolling start, Brandon was squeezed on the inside of Copse, which demoted him to seventh, but determined to not relinquish his position easily, Brandon set about reclaiming his starting position and set several personal best lap times.
With Lawrence Davey and Chris Russell vying for sixth position ahead, it in turn allowed Brandon to close the gap as the trio ran nose-to-tail for the duration of the 20-minute session.
Brandon continued to apply the pressure, but was unable to make a pass stick and settled for a seventh place finish, before Davey was handed a five-second penalty, promoting Brandon to sixth.
With the top six reversed for the final race of the weekend, Brandon sat on pole for the second time this season and led the field through Copse for the first time, as contact behind saw several drivers spin off the track and into retirement.
Brandon unfortunately lost his lead on the third lap, but continued to race comfortably in a podium position for the final four laps, before being pushed wide at the exit of Brooklands on the penultimate lap, dropping the Pandamonium Racing driver to fourth and out of a podium finish.
“It’s been a weekend of what could have been,” said Brandon. “We qualified very strong in fifth, which was great considering I’d never raced at Silverstone before. Race one was ok, as we were sitting fifth halfway round the first lap, but then there was an accident in front of me and I had to take to the gravel in order to miss it. When I rejoined in 11th, I passed six cars and was lapping quicker than the drivers in front of me and began to pull them in, but there was no chance of climbing any higher due to lack of time.
“The second race wasn’t great, as I felt I was maybe over driving trying to stick with the lead group, which I was doing, but didn’t have the luck in the last little bit of the race. With the reverse grid, I started pole and made a really good start and was leading for quite a while, but having pushed a little too hard in race two took some life out of the tyres, so then I had to start defending.”
Brandon continued: “Overall, I’ve come away with a good haul of points, but am left wondering what could have been in races two and three. The pace was certainly there, but now we are going to dust ourselves down and head to Brands Hatch and see where we end up.”
The Power Maxed MINI Challenge will now conclude at Kent’s Brands Hatch next month (13-14 September).