Valentine is shown some Silverstone love as he finishes epic 24-hour race

Chris Valentine (Pic: Gary Harman)
Chris Valentine (Pic: Gary Harman)
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Chris Valentine showed plenty of endurance as he competed, and indeed completed, his first ever 24-hour race at Silverstone.

The Leighton Buzzard racer was behind the wheel of a Toyota GT86 and crossed the line a remarkable fourth in class after a day and night of racing.

On top of his job at the Open University, Chris is a freelance sports writer and photographer.

Now in his fifth season of racing, he had maintained an ambition to take part in this prestigious event and when offered the opportunity to race with Rogue Motorsport, a team he had already worked with before, in a Toyota GT86, he jumped at the chance.

“The offer was too good to miss. Porsches [Chris’ usual cars] are very expensive to run in endurance racing so it was going to have to be something cheaper.

“These Toyotas were a virtual unknown over this distance: just normal production sports cars that the team would have to transform into FIA-spec endurance racers at minimal cost - while at the same time retaining their road-legality with the intention of being driven to the circuit, competing, finishing, then driving home again afterwards.

“Rogue wanted to prove to Toyota and to the world that it was possible.”

And that’s exactly what happened. Considered by many as underdogs, and starting from the back of the grid - Chris’ car from the pit lane, due to last-minute mechanical issues - having completed 432 laps, some in truly horrendous rain at night, the team brought the car across the line an amazing fourth in class and 26th out of 41 starters.

Re-fitting number plates and road tyres, the team then drove both cars back to the team’s base in Southam near Coventry.

He added: “Its the highlight of my racing career - the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced, both physically and mentally, and I’ve done it on the first attempt.

“Where do I go from here? It’s difficult to say. But this is an event I will never forget.”