Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Racing driver reveals hopes of emulating rally hero Colin McRae as he prepares to battle for British GT glory

© Andrew CawleySandy Mitchell.
Sandy Mitchell.

Ten years ago, Sandy Mitchell was tearing up a field behind the wheel of a battered, mud-splattered banger, dreaming of following his racing hero Colin McRae in the pantheon of Scotland’s motorsport legends.

Today, racing a £350,000 Lamborghini at the famous Silverstone track, that dream might come true. The rising star from Angus is competing for his first British GT Championship at the ­legendary motor-racing circuit.

In the race of a lifetime, Sandy will drive a Lamborghini Huracan Evo GT3, hitting speeds of up to 190mph. And victory for the 20-year-old, who is part of the prestigious Lamborghini Squadra Corse GT3 Junior Program, will make him the youngest Scot to win the British GT Championship.

“This is the biggest race of my career. We’ve had a great season and are one of the favourites. If we win this race, I would win my very first championship,” said Sandy ahead of the three-hour race he will contest with his teammate, Rob Collard. “There’s a bit of pressure. I’m nervous but very excited as I’m right on the edge of becoming a pro racer.”

Sandy admits driving a new, state-of-the-art Lamborghini is a far cry from the second-hand Subaru Forester he learned to drive in his early teens, topping out at 30mph on a dirt-track course in his grandad’s field near his home in Forfar.

Sandy with his Lamborghini

“Going from a little off-road buggy, to a go-kart, to an old Subaru then to the slightly more glamorous Lamborghini on a top Formula 1 racetrack, is quite a contrast and incredible to look back on.

“It all started as a bit of fun in a field with my dad and now I’m on the verge of racing professionally.”

In their sixth and final race of this year’s championship, Sandy and Rob will begin just six points behind the race leaders. They recently topped the podium at the Spa 24 Hours endurance racing event in Belgium, one of the biggest GT3 races in Europe.

The stakes could not be higher, and the competition is fierce. Among Sandy’s competitors is British Formula 1 star Jenson Button, who makes a one-off guest appearance at the British GT Championship at Silverstone, racing in a McLaren 720S GT3.

Sandy as a 4 year old with his go kart buggy.

The pandemic means Sandy’s ­parents, Steve and Julia, can’t cheer him on in person. “It’s a shame there won’t be any fans there but Silverstone is always an incredible and iconic place to race.

“My family will be watching the race on the TV at home. Well, maybe not mum, she’s no good at ­watching my races, which is only natural, but she’s still very supportive.”

Sandy has been racing in GT ­competitions for four years. In 2016, he became the youngest ­winner in a GT4 race. He then quickly progressed to the quicker GT3 category, aided by his long-time sponsor, Black Bull Whisky.

However, his first time on four wheels was when Sandy was just four years old and his motorsports-mad dad, Steve, wanted to help him emulate his racing hero at the time, top Scottish rally driver, Colin McRae. “As a toddler I was always playing with cars and loved to sit with my dad watching old tapes of Colin McRae. When the on-board camera came up, I always pretended I was driving,” Sandy recalled.

“Dad bought me an old off-road buggy when I was four. I actually have a few clear memories of driving it. It certainly instilled a love of driving in me and was key to my early success.”

Sandy showed a natural talent for racing at a young age and competed in karting competitions across Scotland from age nine. He was lured by the rush of adrenaline, top speeds and the buzz of maintaining his impressive winning-streak that continued when, at 16, he progressed to Formula 4 motorsport racing.

He learned to drive a car by taking an old Subaru Forester SUV, made in the late-1990s, around a dirt track in his grandad’s field. Gradually, Sandy climbed the ranks and started breaking British GT4 lap records before he moved from driving a McLaren to GT3 and the Lamborghini.

“I was racing on the track long before I could legally drive on the road,” added Sandy. “When I was 11, I was hoping for an Xbox for my birthday but my dad instead bought me a second-hand Subaru for around £300. Looking back it was a lot more fun. It was like a bigger version of the buggy. I would go around the field to make a track and get my speed up.

“The Lamborghini definitely has a lot more power, looks nicer and handles better but the Subaru is four-wheel drive, which means it can get around the field. I’m not sure the Lamborghinis would manage that. They are both good fun, in different ways.”

A victory in today’s ­championship race will edge Sandy closer to his career goal of becoming a factory driver for Lamborghini, which would see him race professionally for the brand in the world’s most prestigious GT championships.

“Le Mans 24 Hours is one of the biggest races in the world outside Formula 1 and tops my bucket list,” added Sandy. “Nothing compares to the adrenaline of crossing the finish line with a chequered flag in first place after 24 hours of racing, especially when the difference between winning and losing is down to seconds.”