With the coronavirus putting a temporary hold on the motorsport scene, we thought we would look back over the last 3 seasons we have been covering the British GT starting with the opening round at Oulton Park. Easter Monday is when we should be racing round the Cheshire countryside with 2x 1 hour races.
Race 1 started on a wet track under cloudy skies. Starting from pole the Team Parker Bentley with Rick Parfitt Jnr at the wheel tried to hold off a fast starting Jon Minshaw in his Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini but by the time they went into Old Hall Minshaw made his move and was off. By the time they crossed the line at the end of lap one the Lamborghini was five seconds in the lead of Parfitt and his Bentley. By the time the pit window opened 25 minutes later the lead was already nearly 20 seconds.
Phil Keen emerged from the pitstop with a great advantage but the battle for second still raged on but all much closer. Seb Morris rejoined in second, after taking over from Parfitt Jnr in the Bentley, but struggled and it wasn't long before Tordoff in the sister Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini overtook the Bentley and was off after his team-mate.
In GT4 Sandy Mitchell in his McLaren started on pole was off and soon built up a 10 second lead before the pitstop window opened. Unfortunately a seized wheel nut during the pit stop scuppered his and team-mate Ciaran Haggerty's chances.Matt Nicoll-Jones had to serve a 18s penalty after their pitstop as the team didn't adhere to the minimum pitstop time which scuppered the lead he had initially after the stops. The penalty to Nicoll-Jones meant that Mackay in his Track-Club McLaren was now in the lead but he too had a penalty for being too quick in the pitstops and had to serve a 1.5s penalty. Mackay had built up a lead such that even after his penalty he still emerged in the lead ahead of second placed Middleton in his HHC Motorsport Ginetta. After serving his penalty, Nicoll-Jones crossed the line in third, but their were excluded because of the driving standards of Will Moore prior to the pit stop. The exclusion promoted reigning GT4 champions of Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson in their PMW Expo Racing/Optimum Motorsport Ginetta to the podium.
Race 2 was on a dry track now all the rain had gone. The Team Parker Bentley was again on pole position, but a poor start from Seb Morris meant it was once again the Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini that went into Old Hall first. The sister Bentley of Callum Macleod also managed to get past Morris. The TF Sport drivers tried to get up to Phil Keen, but he had such a lead, 14 seconds, that when his team-mate emerged after serving the success 10s penalty as a result of winning race 1 they were still in the lead. Johnston who was now in the driving seat for TF Sport was gifted second place after Mark Farmer, who had taken over from Jon Barnes had a little excursion across the grass. Unfortunately the race ended behind the safety car as Ian Loggie in his Team Parker Bentley and Richard Neary driving the Team Abba with Rollcentre Racing Mercedes AMG made contact and debris was spread across the track and both cars in the barriers.
The GT4 race started with pole man Mike Simpson in his Century Motorsport Ginetta making contact with Ciaran Haggerty's Black Bull Garage 69 McLaren who in turn got hit by the UtraTek Nissan of Martin Plowman and finally by Joe Osborne in the Tolman Motorsport McLaren. A seven-car battle then ensured behind Simpson's scarred Ginetta but Martin Plowman in his UltraTek Nissan forced his way past. Team Parker Racing Porsche of Scott Malvern was now behind Simpson, but as he tried to force his way through the pair touched as the left Cascades and Simpson's Ginetta was sent spinning.Due to the safety car being out, Mitchell couldn't serve his team's penalty which because it wasn't taken, it ended up being a 30s post race penalty. This meant that Reed and team mate David Pittard were promoted.
Marcus Hoggarth and Matthew Graham finished fourth at the flag in the In2Racing McLaren behind the Macmillan AMR Aston Martin of William Philips and Jan Jonck but were promoted to second as the Macmillan AMR and the McLaren of Mitchell had penalties. The 2016 champions Mike Robinson and Graham Johnson got the final podium spot once all the penalties were sorted out.
2018 was the year of a little bit rain...! A cold wet race 1 was started behind the safety car as heavy rain started to fall. Flick Haigh was on pole in her Optimum Motorsport Aston Martin and once the safety car pulled in disappeared into the distance. Handing the car over to Jonny Adam, the Aston Martin continued in the lead. Challenging though after the pitstops was Phil Keen in the Barwell Lamborghini. Keen's team mate, Jon Minshaw had already hauled the Lamborghini up from seventh on the grid. Both cars continued to run together until they started lapping the GT4 field that Keen had contact with the #34 Team Hard Ginetta and suffered a broken wheel and a puncture. This left Adam a clear run to the flag. Behind the Aston Martin a great battle was raging between the Beechdean AMR Aston Martin of Darren Turner and ERC Sport's AMG Mercedes with Yelmer Buurman for the rest of the podium. Both AM drivers, Andrew Howard and Lee Mowle had a great first stint which enabled this great run for both factory drivers. At the flag, Turner claimed second by a mere 0.251s.
Starting from seventh on the GT4 grid the Track-Club McLaren seemed to have a tall order ahead of them. Once all the stops had been completed though it was the Track-Club McLaren that now was out in front. The early stop paid of for the Pro/Am pairing. By the flag the lead Barnicoat had over Ben Green in the Century Motorsport BMW was a just over 7s. Unfortunately for Green there was a penalty and this promoted Tolman Motorsport's O'Brien and Charlie Fagg to second in class and first in the Silver Cup. Completing the top three was the sister Century Motorsport BMW of Ricky Collard and Jack Mitchell.
Race 2 was abandoned on safety grounds as heavy rain continued to pour down.
Race 1, starting from pole position, the RAM Racing Mercedes AMG of Ian Loggie led the rolling start of 34 various GT machines. Unfortunately the lead only lasted a lap and a half as Ryan Ratcliffe in the Team Parker Racing Bentley hit the Mercedes at Hislops retiring Loggie on the spot, yet the Bentley crawled on only as far as Warwick Bridge. Leading the race behind the safety car was the JRM Group Bentley of Rick Parfitt Jnr. Parfitt had already dispensed of the Sam De Haan's Barwell run Lamborghini at the start of the race. Barely had racing began the GT3 pit window opened. Parfitt had managed to extend his advantage over De Haan before handing over to Seb Morris who rejoined ahead of the other Barwell Lamborghini of Phil Keen. This is how it ended with the gab between the pair. Behind, the final podium spot went to the Optimum Motorsport Aston Martin V8 Vantage of Wilkinson and Ellis. Wilkinson managed to pick off 5 places before handing over to Ellis who then turned maintained this to claim that last spot on the podium.
GT4 newcomers Multimatic and their Ford Mustangs shared the front row, but it was Jade Buford who managed to overtake team mate and pole sitter Scott Maxwell for the lead. Maxwell was soon down to third as Dean Macdonald managed to hustle his HHC Motorsport McLaren past before the safety car was deployed. Macdonald then proceeded to hustle Buford for the rest of his time at the wheel.
Just before the pitstops, Macdonald managed to squeeze his McLaren down the inside of the Mustang at Lodge. They then managed to run side by side up Deer Leap and along the start/finish line before Buford yielded at Old Hall. The three-way scrap for the lead soon became a four-way battle as the other HHC McLaren joined the fight. Unfortunately contact between Luke Williams in his HHC McLaren and Lewis Proctor in his Tolman McLaren mean that Proctor's race was over.
At the flag it finished with a victory for the #57 HHC Motorsport McLaren with the Tolman McLaren of Dorlin / Smith and final spot was the sister HHC McLaren of Tom Jackson / Williams.
Phil Keen in his Lamborghini managed to maintain the lead from pole position ahead of a fast starting Adam Christodoulou, Seb Morris and Callum Macleod. Once the pitstops had all been played out, it was Richard Neary in the Team ABBA Racing Mercedes AMG was out in the lead. De Haan was now at the wheel of the #69 Lamborghini emerged second courtesy of pitstop success penalties and running so close to those in front prior to the pitstops. Third was the RAM Racing Mercedes of Ian Loggie, again benefiting from the success penalties. Neary was holding the challenge of De Haan, but succumbed to the pressure and ran wide at Hislops. The Lamborghini made a move and was now out in front and opened up a gap and finished two seconds ahead of the Mercedes AMG.
In GT4 pole sitter Seb Priaulx managed maintain the lead ahead of Scott Malvern in the Team Parker Racing Mercedes AMG and the fast starting Matthew George in the Jaguar. They were able to enjoy being out in front of the rest because of the scrap for fourth place was raging. Pitstop success penalties and additional time for the Silver Cup teams threw the order all over the place. Once the stops had been served and safety car period had finished, Nick Jones in the Team Parker Mercedes, was out in front followed by the Jaguar of Steve McCulley and Scott Maxwell in the Mustang. Jones had brake issues and fell behind while Maxwell now enjoyed the lead and fending off the challenge by the Balfe Motorsport McLaren. Completing the podium was the Invictus Racing Jaguar of McCulley.