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British GT Silverstone 500 round-up

Victories for Century Motorsport Darren Leung and Dan Harper in GT3 while Optimum Motorsport's Charles Clark and Jack Brown claimed GT4 honours in the Championship's blue riband event, the three hour Silverstone 500.


GT3

After qualifying was washed out, the grid was set by combining the times set in FP2 which meant that pole went the way of Team Abba Racing's father and son Richard and Sam Neary. As the lights went out Neary Snr made into Copse first ahead of the chasing pack made up of Inception's McLaren, 2 Seas Motorsport Mercerdes-AMGs and the Beechdean AMR Aston Martin.


Neary Snr was enjoying the empty and a gap behind but an early safety car triggered a raft of pitstops. The cause of the early stops was courtesy of debris scattered across the circuit after Nick Jones was caught by Alex West and collected the unfortunate RACE LAB McLaren.


At the restart Andrey Borodin led the field, courtesy of not pitting, but with the pro drivers now behind the wheel of their respective wheel he was soon overhauled by Jonny Adam and Neary Jnr. Adam and 2 Seas managed to pass the Team Abba in the pitstops. The sister 2 Seas of Ian Loggie and Jules Gounon suffered in the stops as they were blocked, plus had issues with the wheel gun.

Adam was starting to build a gap over the chasing Neary but he then lost that place to Ben Barnicoat and soon lost places again to Ross Gunn and Harper within a space of a couple of corners. Soon after this, Neary pitted to hand driving duties back to Neary Snr.

Barnicoat was making grounds on Adam and along the Hangar Straight with Adam boxed in, Barnicoat was into the lead. Adam, who was struggling, soon dropped back to fourth by the end of the lap.


As Beechdean, 2 Seas and Century all pitted around the same time, Barnicoat kept circulating round to help build a gap. Brendan Iribe finally took over driving duties just before a second safety car period to clear debris. Once action got back underway again, Iribe went and took Morgan Tilbrook with him while Andrew Howard, James Cottingham, Leung and Mark Radcliffe were left fitting their way past the GT4 cars.

A big crash involving a recovering Team BRIT and Orange Racing by JMH resulted in a lengthy Safety car and turned the race.


Barwell Motorsport who were down in P11, had just entered their pitstop window so could make the most of the fact that while everyone was slowly trundling behind the safety car they could stop and Sandy Mitchell take over. Mitchell rejoined a long way down, but while the Am's were completing their minimum driving times and completing their stops he was slowly moving up.


When racing finally resumes with only 28 minutes left on the clock it was Mitchell who was out in front. Adam was second but soon was demoted by a strong move by Harper. Adam soon though had to serve a stop-go as a result of team mate Cottingham making contact with a GT4 car and was out of contention.

Harper's BMW was soon looming large in the mirrors of Mitchell's Lamborghini and with just 12 minutes left on the clock made his move. At Brooklands Adam just kept Harper behind, but the switchback at Luffield by Harper proved decisive and was alongside Adam down the straight and finally got the BMW into the lead at Copse.


With the penalty for Adam, it was Rob Bell in his Optimum Motorsport McLaren who benefited and claimed the final podium position with team mate Mark Radcliffe finishing only 0.5s behind Mitchell.

GT3 winner #91 Century Motorsport BMW

GT4

Lining up behind the Team Parker Porsche, Clark passed the Porsche early and led the GT4 pack before the safety car was deployed. Stuart Middleton stayed out in his Raceway Ginetta to assume the lead once racing resumed as most of the field pitted. This meant that they were out of sync with the rest of the field as they gambled on another appearance of the safety car.

They duly got that wish and when Middleton tried to rejoin he went past the red light at the end of the pitlane and got out on track just before the safety car. The Stewards though didn't like what they saw and handed the team a 131 second stop-go penalty (this is the time of a GT4 lap and a penalty to go against the lap they had gained).


Even though Middleton / Tomlinson led they had this penalty hanging over them. When the safety car made and another appearance this time due to a crash involving the Team BRIT McLaren of Aaron Morgan and GT3 McLaren of Simon Orange it closed the field up just before the GT4 field made their last stops.


The long safety car period didn't help the Silver Cup teams as they would have to stop longer to server their mandatory times against their Pro-Am competitors. With the penalty overhanging the Raceway Ginetta they dropped out of contention and later the race after being black flagged for not serving the penalty.


Once racing resumed Brown found himself out in front with Michael Broadhurst / Ed McDermott Motus One Mercedes-AMG in P2 despite a spin early in the race. Pro Broadhurst held off the Ford Mustang of Matt Cowley / Erik Evans to claim second overall.

GT4 winner #90 Optimum Motorsport McLaren

The Championship next outing is at Donington Park May 27 / 28.



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