Gunn/Chadwick Aston Martin overcomes Quantamatic and ISSY Racing

Ross Gunn and Jamie Chadwick claimed their second consecutive Avon Tyres British GT Championship victory after coming through to win a rain effected and Safety Car interrupted fourth round of the season at Silverstone this afternoon.

The Beechdean AMR youngsters were made to work for it this time around at the series’ blue riband three-hour event after a number of teams spent time at the front.

Indeed, the second placed Quantamatic Racing Aston Martin pairing of Mike Hart and Terry Langley were seldom out of the top-three, while the pole-winning ISSY Racing Lotus Evora of Oz Yusuf and Gavan Kershaw was also there or thereabouts all afternoon despite suffering from a rev limiter glitch.

But it was none of the above that made the early running as Academy Motorsport’s Will Moore charged through from 12th on the class grid to take the lead in wet conditions. He and Langley were able to break clear of Richard Williams in the GPRM Toyota GT86 that had started second, with Chadwick – who’d recovered to fourth after being spun around on lap two – and Yusuf in pursuit.

Team strategy then came to the fore after 30 minutes when the Safety Car was scrambled following a collision in GT3. With the track tantalisingly dry enough for slicks a number of teams opted to switch, but in the end it made little difference as Moore’s co-driver Dennis Strandberg emerged still leading from Hart.

The drier conditions appeared to favour others though and it wasn’t long before the Toyota – now piloted by Stefan Hodgetts – had moved from third to first. Jake Hill had also brought the Porsche into the mix as he and JWB Bird Motorsport’s Jake Giddings disputed second place. The three were rarely more than five seconds apart before their second driver changes.

But further back Beechdean’s speed and strategy was beginning to tell, and soon the squad was up to second behind GPRM. In truth their path to victory was eased by the Toyota’s retirement with 50 minutes remaining, a blown engine doing for Williams and Hodgetts.

Such was Gunn’s pace that he’d established a sizeable lead over Hart by the time of the afternoon’s second Safety Car period. And although that helped the Quantamatic Aston initially reduce its arrears, there was nothing it could do over the final 20 minutes. Indeed, Gunn would eventually come home more than 20 seconds clear of Hart.

Kershaw held off a late challenge from Strandberg, who brought the #61 Academy Motorsport Aston home fourth ahead of the Bradley Ellis/Adrian Barwick Twisted Team Parker Ginetta G55. Fox Motorsport’s Jamie Stanley and Paul McNeilly were vying for fourth at the final restart but eventually finished sixth.

Having demonstrated front-running pace early on in the day, Kieran Griffin and Giddings could manage no better than seventh, while a late pit-stop relegated Graham Coomes and Hill’s Porsche from third to eighth.

Two maximum scores in a row have helped Beechdean, Gunn and Chadwick open up a huge advantage in both the Teams’ and Drivers’ standings, with 31.5 points the difference between them and ISSY Racing and Yusuf/Kershaw. PMW Expo Racing/Optimum Motorsport duo Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson’s first non-score of the season sees them slip to third.

Ross Gunn, Beechdean AMR #407 Aston Martin Challenge: “It was a bit surprising to come back from where we were to be honest! Jamie unfortunately got in a bit of a tangle through no fault of her own but the team had a fantastic strategy, did a great job with the car and we can’t ask for much more. I’m chuffed to bits!”

Jamie Chadwick, Beechdean AMR #407 Aston Martin Challenge: “Unfortunately I was hit at the beginning which dropped us right back to last, but really good pace in the wet meant we could fight back into a reasonable position. We managed to get the pit-stops right and Ross and I were both pretty consistent. It was a great job from all the guys at Beechdean and AMR, too.”

Terry Langley, Quantamatic Racing #71 Aston Martin Challenge: “We’re massively pleased, especially after Rockingham. The first stint for me was great, pretty quick and consistent. Then Mike drew the short straw with the second stint getting caught up with the Safety Car.”

Gavan Kershaw, ISSY Racing #77 Lotus Evora GT4: “It was hard work! I had a big problem in the middle of the race and we couldn’t accelerate properly; turns out the rev limiter had got stuck so that held us back. We were even going to retire the car until I wiggled the wheel a bit and hey presto! It worked again!”

British GT now takes a six-week break before returning for its annual away day at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on July 10/11.