Triple Eight BMW Heads Second Practice Before Late Crash


Joe Osborne was fastest, co-driver Lee Mowle hit problems (Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography)

Joe Osborne set the fastest lap of the second practice session for the Avon Tyres British GT Championship. However, the 60 minute session ended under a red flag after Lee Mowle spun and crashed the #8 BMW Z4 GT3 they share.

After the opening session ran relatively trouble free the action was halted by two red flags, the first of which was brought out when the Jones brothers’ McLaren had to be towed back after stopping just before Lodge corner.

That froze the order with Jonny Adam sitting atop the times in the Beechdean AMR Vantage GT3 in which he had paced the opening session, but one the session restarted shortly before the half way mark it was only ten minutes until Osborne moved ahead on a lap of 1.35.346 which he subsequently improved upon taking the best time of the session – and the day thus far – down to 1:35.248.

Alexander Sims briefly made it a 1-2 for BMW, putting Ecurie Ecosse’s #79 behind Osborne and Mowle’s Triple Eight Race Engineering run machine. A late improvement from Rory Butcher split the pair, the Scot again taking the second fastest time from the session (1:35.551) in the Oman Racing Team #5 Aston.

Phil Keen also improved late on, as did Richard Abra to take fourth and fifth fastest respectively, Abra in the MP Motorsport Aston ahead of the Beechdean team, which relied on Adam’s early lap for sixth fastest.

There may have been further improvements in the final minutes if not for the red flag which flew a minute before the checkered flag. Having taken over the #8 car from Osborne Mowle spun. On its own it may have been a relatively minor off, but instead Mowle’s trajectory found the already stricken Trackspeed Porsche of Jody Firth who had made a similar initial error earlier in the session.

The result was heavy damage to the right side of the BMW that will rule them out of qualifying later this afternoon, while the extensive damage to the front of the Porsche – the car having stopped against the tyres facing into traffic – is likely to bring Firth and co-driver Warren Hughes’ participation in the weekend to a untimely end.

M-Sport’s Bentley Continental GT3 enjoyed much improved pace in the session, Steven Kane having the car as high up the order as second shortly after restarted before other drivers shuffled him back to seventh fastest.

The PGF-Kinfaun Aston, AF Corse’s #13 Ferrari and the #888 BMW of Derek Johnston and Luke Hines completed the top ten.

Dan Cammish again proved himself capable on his GT racing debut, setting the best lap (1:44.170) of the GT4 class in the Team Parker Racing Porsche 911 he shares with Barrie Baxter. Gavan Kershaw moved ISSY Racing’s Lotus Evora up to second in class late in the session, while an early lap from former series champion Bradley Ellis made Twisted Team Parker the best of the Ginetta G55 GT4 in the class.

Qualifying, which takes the form of two 15 minute sessions, is scheduled to begin at 4:20pm.