Alexander Sims and Marco Attard put their race one gearbox woes behind them to take a strong but fortuitous win in the #79 Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 whilst TF Sport took their maiden British GT victory in GT4 with Andrew Jarman and Devon Modell to cap off an impressive season opener for the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Oulton Park.
Attard crossed the line in front of a hard-charging Jon Minshaw in the #12 Trackspeed Porsche 997 after a seven-minute sprint to the chequered flag following the hour-long race’s second safety car period, brought about by a clash taking out the post pit stop race leaders.
The #18 FF Corse Ferrari of Gary Eastwood had been pressurising the #23 United Autosport Audi for the lead following the round of compulsory pit stops, but Eastwood proved to be too late on the brakes, collecting Mark Patterson in the Audi ahead. The impact broke the driveshaft of the R8 and lead to the retirement of the Ferrari too, as Patterson parked the car.
It was a lengthy wait for all as the two cars were cleared from the track, whilst Eastwood was left to muse over two penalty points on his competitors licence, and six for the team, to add to the same tally accrued by team-mate Rob Barff in the day’s earlier race.
Oulton Park’s second race saw two safety car periods amidst great racing through the field on the undulating constraints of the 2.69 mile International circuit.
The action was flat-out from the go, with the start taken by the professional drivers, but seemingly no-one was able to touch polesitter Sims for pace as he pushed the BMW out of the clutches of most of the pursuing pack whilst Jonny Adam in the #1 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT3 led the pursuit. The duo gradually dropped the #13 Aaron Scott AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia, which soon came into the clutches of the hard charging Steven Kane in M-Sport’s #17 Bentley Continental GT3, with Kane not to be denied for third place.
The first lap action was fast but not too furious, but it wasn’t long before the first retirement of the race as TrackSpeed’s #12 Porsche drove into the pits and into retirement with Warren Hughes, the experienced peddler having an immediate trip to the Race Director’s office for making contact with the #22 Preci-Spark McLaren of the Jones brothers.
It wasn’t all plain-sailing meanwhile for Sims as traffic soon came into play and Adam was right on his tail again, but the race soon took another turn after the safety car was out for the first of two appearances in the afternoon.
The safety car cause was the same car as the first race, albeit with a different driver behind the wheel as the #42 Century Motorsport Ginetta had speared into the tyres on the outside of turn one. Driver Tom Oliphant emerged unscathed, but the car needed removal before racing could continue. It was the end of a tough day for the #42 car, as Rick Parfitt Jnr had been challenging for class lead in race one, before his fuel pump ignored its raison d’être at a most inopportune moment and brought about the morning’s safety car.
Unlike the timing of the morning’s safety car, the first caution period of the afternoon came before the compulsory pit stop window opened, meaning a waiting game. The window did open whilst the safety car still circulated, so the stops started for the changeover from professional to amateur drivers whilst under yellows. An attempt at a canny call from the #38 MP Motorsport AMR with Richard Abra at the wheel, saw the #38 Aston linger at the pit entry but the plan didn’t work out and a ten second stop/go penalty was the result for the black and red car.
As the safety car returned to the pits, several cars followed it into the pit lane while the green flag was waved to the field.
Those on the pit wall were made to earn their money for their pit calls and it was the #23 Audi and #18 Ferrari who won the pit stop calls, with Matt Bell handing the Audi to Mark Patterson and Rob Barff the Ferrari to Gary Eastwood such that #23 would lead #18 at the top of the field.
As Patterson led so he came under pressure from Eastwood’s desire for the lead of the race. Ambition took the better of Eastwood as he out-braked himself, collecting the Audi and bringing out the second safety car on the 22nd lap.
Removal of the two ahead from race duties mean Attard resumed team-mate Sims’ place at the front of the order with an opportunistic Jon Minshaw and Rembert Berg of TrackSpeed’s #12 Porsche 977 GT3 R and M-Sport’s #17 Bentley Continental GT3 respectively move into second
and third position.
The safety car left the race in the 27th lap with just over five minutes remaining, Minshaw pressurised Attard as best he could, whilst Berg asked too much of his cold tyres and spun, dropping the M-Sport Bentley from third to 17th.
In the busy midfield there was action aplenty too. Chris Hoy was improving his in the #80 Nissan GT Academy Team RJN’s Nissan GT-R, as he took Oman Racing Team’s #5 Aston Martin Vantage GT3, much to the annoyance of driver John Hartshorne.
In one move, Hoy demonstrated the remarkable straight line speed of the Japanese car.
It was one of the last significant moves of the GT3 pack, as Marco Attard maintained the gap to finish first, just 0.4 seconds ahead of Jon Minshaw’s Porsche in second. Beechdean AMR’s #1 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 rounded off the top three in GT3.
In GT4, the race one winning #407 Beechdean Aston Martin wilted on the formation lap with Jake Giddings at the wheel, requiring a reset to the ECU and a fight back from dead last to finish just shy of the class podium. Class honours went the way of TF Sport pairing Andrew Jarman and Devon Modell in their Aston, with international duo Morden Dons and Alexsander Schjerpen taking second spot in the #43 Ginetta to mitigate against the tough day for the sister #42 car. The Lotus Evora of ISSY Racing and Oz Yusuf and Gavan Kershaw completed a double podium return for the marque to British GT.
Results: 2014 Round 1 – Oulton Park
|Race 2 Result|
|1||79||GT3||Ecurie Ecosse:||BMW Z4 GT3||1:00:06.568||32||100.17|
|2||33||GT3||Trackspeed:||Porsche 997 GT3 R||1:00:07.024||32||0.456||98.91|
|3||1||GT3||Beechdean AMR:||Aston Martin Vantage GT3||1:00:10.843||32||4.275||99.91|
|4||6||GT3||PGF – Kinfaun AMR:||Aston Martin Vantage GT3||1:00:11.349||32||4.781||98.92|
|5||888||GT3||Triple 8:||BMW Z4 GT3||1:00:11.889||32||5.321||98.93|
|6||29||GT3||AF Corse:||Ferrari 458 Italia||1:00:16.763||32||10.195||98.79|
|7||4||GT3||Oman Racing Team:||Aston Martin Vantage GT3||1:00:17.194||32||10.626||99.4|
|8||38||GT3||MP Motorsport AMR:||Aston Martin Vantage GT3||1:00:23.455||32||16.887||99.52|
|9||2||GT3||Generation Bentley Racing:||Bentley Continental GT3||1:00:29.266||32||22.698||98.63|
|10||40||GT3||CWS 4×4 Spares:||G55 Ginetta GT3||1:00:29.736||32||23.168||98.44|
|11||22||GT3||Preci -Spark:||McLaren MP4 12C||1:00:30.447||32||23.879||95.94|
|12||28||GT3||HorsePower Racing:||Aston Martin Vantage GT3||1:00:33.586||32||27.018||98.71|
|13||80||GT3||Nissan GT Academy Team RJN:||Nissan GT-R GT3||1:00:39.386||32||32.818||98.52|
|14||3||GT3||Rosso Verde / Hector Lester:||Ferrari 458 Italia||1:00:42.008||32||35.44||98.79|
|15||5||GT3||Oman Racing Team:||Aston Martin Vantage GT3||1:00:51.098||32||44.53||99.68|
|16||21||GT3||Strata 21:||Nissan GT-R||1:00:58.872||32||52.304||98.15|
|17||17||GT3||M-Sport:||Bentley Continental GT3||1:00:58.914||32||52.346||99.68|
|18||13||GT3||AF Corse:||Ferrari 458 Italia||1:00:23.144||31||1 Lap||99.67|
|19||49||GT4||TF Sport:||Aston Martin GT4 Challenge||1:00:58.378||31||1 Lap||90.86|
|20||43||GT4||Century Motorsport:||G55 Ginetta GT4||1:01:03.062||31||1 Lap||89.9|
|21||77||GT4||ISSY Racing / Oz Yusuf:||Lotus Evora GT4||1:01:05.459||31||1 Lap||91.76|
|22||407||GT4||Beechdean AMR:||Aston Martin GT4 Challenge||1:01:05.767||31||1 Lap||91.09|
|23||45||GT4||ABG Motorsport:||BMW M3 GT4||1:01:36.857||31||1 Lap||90.62|
|24||41||GT4||Optimum:||G55 Ginetta GT4||1:00:53.987||30||2 Laps||90.16|
|25||46||GT4||Twisted Team Parker:||Ginetta G55||1:00:54.484||30||2 Laps||90.58|
|26||48||GT4||Fox Motorsport / Paul McNeilly:||G55 Ginetta GT4||1:00:56.292||30||2 Laps||90.45|
|27||44||GT4||Team Parker Racing:||Porsche 911 GT4||1:01:37.552||30||2 Laps||91.38|
|—||12||GT3||Trackspeed:||Porsche 997 GT3 R||0:05:27.238||3||29 Laps||97.55|
|—||18||GT3||FF Corse:||Ferrari 458 Italia||0:38:12.787||21||11 Laps||98.66|
|—||23||GT3||United Autosports:||Audi R8 LMS Ultra||0:38:12.305||21||11 Laps||98.99|
|—||42||GT4||Century Motorsport:||G55 Ginetta GT4||0:16:15.607||9||23 Laps||90.4|
|—||55||GT4||Academy Motorsport:||G55 Ginetta GT4||0:32:11.206||16||16 Laps||90.35|