Gregor Fisken and Richard Westbrook rounded off a dominant weekend in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship for the Trackspeed team by taking victory in the two hour race at Rockingham.
Fisken started third, the caboose on the Trackspeed train that swept to the top three places in qualifying covered by only a tenth but four tenths clear of the next best time, set by Alvaro Parente in the United Autosports McLaren MP4-12C.
All three of the Trackspeed cars – started by David Ashburn, Jon Minshaw and Fisken – had to deal with Parente’s co-driver Zak Brown in the opening corners, though the American proved to be an early casualty of the race being spun out after running wide as he sought the lead at the Deene hairpin. Once the safety car had returned to the pits after Brown’s car was recovered the three Trackspeed cars re-arranged themselves, Minshaw taking the lead and pulling away from a struggling Ashburn before Fisken got by into second to keep the lead margin under control.
Trackspeed’s top three domination finally ended when John Gaw in the PGR-Kinfaun Aston Martin passed Ashburn for third as he dropped back in the #31 car. As he slipped down the order he was pushed into a spin by Ecurie Ecosse’s Marco Attard at Gracelands under yellow flags. The contact caused damage to the Porsche that would eventually end in retirement for Ashburn and co-driver Nick Tandy. For their role in the incident Attard and the Ecurie Ecosse squad would be excluded from the race.
“The positive thing is we lose the pit-stop penalty for the next race. When we start again at Silverstone, we won’t have any extra time in the pits.” Tandy found the positives in the disappointing result. “There was a vast amount of body damage, exhaust damage and subsequent suspension damage as a result of David getting hit. There was a huge vibration in the car, so even down the main straight, the car was vibrating itself to pieces. So we thought it was better to just stop and not do any more damage to it.”
At the front of the race the battle between Trackspeed’s other two cars continued after the mid-race pitstops. The two teams pitted on the same lap early in the 20 minute pitstop window; Minshaw handing the car to Phil Keen, Fisken giving way to Richard Westbrook, the latter pairing appearing to lose time in the pits that Westbrook was able to make up once back on track with a succession of fastest laps. The rest of the job of catching Keen was done under the safety car scrambled to aid the recovery of a stranded GT4 car and on the first lap after the restarted Westbrook moved the #32 car into the lead and quickly pulled away from a Keen increasingly shackled by a throttle issue.
Keen kept second place with a car consistently stuttering under acceleration away from corners lasting until 20 minutes to go when the problem became terminal with Keen pulling off the track, leaving Westbrook in the sole surviving Trackspeed Porsche to take maximum points from the race and move themselves into third in the championship standings despite not taking a point away from the Oulton Park weekend in April