This weekend (1-2 August) at Kent’s Brands Hatch Circuit, Joe Osborne and Lee Mowle return to the Avon Tyres British GT Championship, with the pacey Triple Eight duo looking to get their title ambitions back on track after their consistent points scoring run came to a halt three weeks ago in Belgium.
Having had their best start to date, the all-British pairing are still fourth in the driver’s standings, despite the failure to finish at Spa-Francorchamps, caused by a fuel-pump issue. While several rivals gained ground, others ahead of them failed to maximise the advantage, and just 37 points separate the Triple Eight racers from fellow BMW crew, Alexander Sims and Marco Attard (Ecurie Ecosse). With 37.5 points on offer for a victory in Kent this weekend, and a further two weekends of the series left to run, the title is very much still there for the taking.
Brands Hatch has been the scene of several good weekends for Triple Eight in past seasons, with the team taking pole-position in 2013 courtesy of Dan Brown, which was duly followed up with a pair of top-ten finishes. Last season was a trickier affair due to the balance of performance imposed on the BMW Z4 GT3, but the team still took a top-ten result courtesy of Lee Mowle and Ryan Ratcliffe, which marked the latter’s GT3 race debut.
Earlier this year, Osborne and Mowle competed in the Blancpain Sprint Series races at the Kent track to give Triple Eight co-owner Mowle, further experience on the extended Grand Prix loop, with race opportunities and test days limited on the 2.43-mile circuit due to local noise constraints.
While they competed on alternative rubber that weekend, it did provide Mowle with the insight and experience required, and he now approaches the weekend in high spirits. Rising European star, Osborne, excelled in a field that included multiple sportscar and single-seat champions and international touring car front-runners too, taking the Pro-Am pole-position (seventh overall) in qualifying.
With a brace of podiums already achieved in British GT this season, the next step for the Seven IM-backed pairing of Osborne and Mowle is an outright race victory, which is at the front of both driver’s minds as they prepare for their next encounter in the British GT Championship on Sunday lunchtime.
Quotes from the Triple Eight Racing drivers prior to Brands Hatch:
Lee Mowle: “This is a race weekend I’ve been looking forward to for some time after the Sprint weekend, as I think we’ll be really competitive and able to challenge for pole and the win. The team has a good understanding of the track from past seasons, but it’s important that our current engineers and mechanics have had a chance to prepare for it once already. It’s abundantly clear too that Joe is a dab-hand round here, and even if we can’t secure pole, he will ensure we’re a force in the race after an attention-grabbing performance here a few months ago. Right now we need a win, and this weekend couldn’t come at a better time for us.”
Joe Osborne: “We’ve had a really decent run this year, and if the DNF at Spa is the only non-finish we suffer this season, we’ll have done well. It’s rare for a team to score in every single British GT round, even those who end up claiming the title, so we’re very much focused on getting the most from the next three weekends. I enjoy Brands Hatch, it’s a classic circuit, but qualifying is so very crucial to getting a good race result; screw up Saturday and you might as well spend Sunday in the Kentagon. We’ll be doing everything we can to avoid that fate.”
You can follow the action from Brands Hatch this weekend courtesy of live television coverage on Sunday from 13:10 via Motors TV (available on Sky, Freeview, FreeSat and Virgin Media), or in-person, where race day admission is available on the day for £23 or online (until 12pm on Wednesday 29th July) for £18 – children under 13 years of age are eligible for free entry.
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2015 British GT Driver’s Championship
1) Sims / Attard – 101 pts
=2) Adam / Howard – 86.5 pts
=2) Butcher / Griffin – 86.5 pts
3) Osborne / Mowle – 64 pts
2015 British GT Team’s Championship
1) Oman Racing Team – 144 pts
2) Barwell Motorsport – 134 pts
3) Beechdean-AMR – 86.5 pts
4) Triple Eight Racing – 64 pts
Brands Hatch – Weekend Schedule
Saturday 1 August
10:00 – 10:40: Free Practice 1
10:40 – 11:00: Bronze Practice
12:45 – 13:35: Free Practice 2
16:25 – 16:35: GT3 Am Qualifying
16:38 – 16:48 GT3 Pro Qualifying
16:51 – 17:01: GT4 Am Qualifying
17:06 – 17:16: GT4 Pro Qualifying
Sunday 2 August
10:00 – 10:10: Warm-up
13:30 – 15:30: Race