In the first Avon Tyres British GT outing of the season Team LNT finished fourth at Silverstone, narrowly missing out on a podium place in the longest race of the championship’s season.
After two wins in British Endurance Championship races of the same duration earlier in the season Lawrence Tomlinson and Mike Simpson shared the orange Ginetta G55 GT3 car. With strategy potentially crucial, especially with the threat of the safety car period that, ultimately, never came the team opted to start the race with a pair of long stints. Ginetta chairman Tomlinson started the car, rising to third place before Simpson took over at the first of three mandatory stops to be made throughout the race.
Another long stint from Simpson propelled the #16 car briefly into the lead for another stopped re-installed Tomlinson in the driving seat. Unlike his opening stint the second stint for Tomlinson was not trouble free as he became just one of several drivers penalised five seconds for straying outside of the track limits around the Silverstone Grand Prix track.
Tomlinson and the team – unsuccessfully – protested the penalty and it was that and a gearbox problem on downshift that almost certainly kept he and Simpson off the podium.
Late in the race Simpson was chasing down Michael Caine for third place on the track. However, with the gearbox troubles Simpson consistently lost ground through several corners, including the overtaking spot at Brooklands, allowing the Porsche driver to keep the position on the lowest step of the podium.
“We achieved exactly what we wanted to do here this weekend, in showing that a Ginetta G55 GT3 is a capable of holding its own on such a highly competitive grid,” said Simpson. “Team LNT did an exceptional job of prepping the car and we had the slickest of all pit stops, and we leave here having demonstrated the potential of the GT3 in this highly regarded race series and looking forward to returning in two weeks for the Britcar 24 hours.”
Despite the late problems it was strong weekend not just for Team LNT, but for Ginetta in general. Another GT3 G55 – in the hands of Team WFR – led for much of the first half of the race before mechanical problems knocked them out of contention, However, the team’s GT4 charges Jody Fannin and Warren Hughes completed a dominant season in the lower class, taking the title with a perfect race of pole position, fastest lap and race victory.