The ‘Donington Decider’ served up the usual season-ending thriller with plenty of close racing and overtaking. Seb Priaulx in particular drove his heart out in the closing laps as he attempted to catch the leading Audi but the chequered flag fell just a couple of laps too soon.
Heading into Donington 12 points adrift of the leaders, the Multimatic squad knew that it would need every piece of luck it could get to take the GT4 title. In order to take a clear championship win the #15 Multimatic Mustang needed to finish not just ahead of its closest rival, the #97 TF Sport Aston Martin, but at least 12 points clear of it. The #57 HHC McLaren was also ahead of the Mustang on points so that couldn’t be discounted.
Scott Maxwell was at the wheel of the #15 Ford Mustang for the start of the two-hour race. Along with Priaulx he had qualified in fifth place, behind the two main championship protagonists but crucially pit-stop penalty free, unlike the cars in front.
After 20 minutes of racing Maxwell had got past the #57 McLaren but the #97 Aston Martin, the car that was the biggest threat to the championship was pulling away after taking the lead.
When Maxwell pitted there was a 13 second gap to the #97 Aston Martin, which then had to serve a 10-second penalty and when Priaulx joined the race he had his work cut out. In order to win the championship he needed to finish well ahead of the #97 Aston Martin.
Before he could even get to the #97 Aston Martin he had to get past the sister Aston Martin, the #95 rear gunner! Priaulx made light work of this and, after a brief interlude when the Safety Car came out, Priaulx went on the attack again and passed the #97 Aston Martin for second place.
At the head of the pack was an Audi. If Priaulx could pass the Audi it would put enough points between the Mustang and the Aston Martin for Priaulx and Maxwell to lift the title.
Unfortunately the race was almost over and he just didn’t have time to launch a successful attack and had to settle for taking the chequered flag in second place, as championship runner-up.
“That was close. Too close,” said Priaulx. “The car felt great through every corner and I was able to really push hard but we just ran out of laps when it came to the hunt for the title. This has been an incredible season though. I’ve enjoyed every single lap of this championship.”
The #19 Mustang suffered a very early retirement when Ashley Davies had an accident on the warm up lap and was unable to take the start. Along with his team mate Marco Signoretti he had been making steady improvements so it was a shame for the duo to miss out on the race.
“It’s pretty hard to accept finishing just 1.5 seconds shy of glory,” said Multimatic chief technical officer, Larry Holt. “We had a mountain to climb and we almost made it. We threw everything we had at it and Seb’s driving in those closing laps was just phenomenal.
“We came into this race 12 points adrift so to overhaul that would have been a monumental task. What we have done though is proved during our debut season that the Ford Mustang GT4 can hold its own against the best of the best.”