Onslow-Cole Fires Strata 21 to Top of Silverstone Practice Two


Onslow-Cole set the session's best lap between a pair of red flags (Credit: Will Belcher Photography)

Tom Onslow-Cole topped the second Avon Tyres British GT Championship practice session in preparation for the three hour race on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit.

The our long session was punctuated by a pair of red flag stoppages before being completed with waved yellows through the Arena section following a third incident out on track.

The first red flag brought the session to a halt before anyone had completed a single flying lap, as both the HorsePower Racing Aston Martin and CWS 4×4 Spares Ginetta G55 GT3 were left stranded at Stowe after a multi—car incident that also involved John Gaw in the PGF-Kinfaun AMR Vantage GT3.

Both The HorsePower Aston and Ginetta – which sustained heavy front end damage in the incident – though Gaw was able to continue, the car he shares with Phil Dryburgh showing little sign of damage for the remainder of the session.

Once the session restarted with 45 minutes still to go it was Onslow-Cole in another of the GT3 Vantages who set the pace, lapping the 3.66 mile track in 2:02.892 in the Strata 21 entry co-driven by Paul White. Further Aston teams slotted into the rest of the top four spots, Jonny Adam second in the Beechdean AMR example, Rory Butcher third in the #5 Oman Racing Team car with the PGF-Kinfaun entry closing out the quartet.

The Aston domination of the top of the times extended further later in the session after Richard Abra slotted the MP Motorsport car into second with a lap of 2:03.932.

That move came after a second red flag stoppage after the Invitation class Toyota GT86 blew an engine through the sweepers of Maggotts and Becketts dropping oil on the racing line, necessitating a clean-up operation by the track marshals.

There were several more minor incidents during the session. The MB Racing Aston, the car adding further to the already large Aston Martin contingent on the grid, limped back to the pits after the second restart with right-front puncture. Ryan Ratcliffe, returning to GT4 in a one-off for Optimum Motorsport, spun the Ginetta G55 GT4 at Brooklands before Steve Tandy suffered the most spectacular exit of the session as he bailed out of a flaming Generation Bentley Racing Continental GT3.

Steve Tandy exited his burning Bentley late in the session (Credit: Nicholas Smith)
Steve Tandy exited his burning Bentley late in the session (Credit: Nicholas Smith)

Though emitting a plume of smoke the car, even after the flames were extinguished the car was left at the side of the track between the Village and Loop hairpins the session was spared a third red flag. However, the session was completed with the sequence governed by waved yellow flags.

That – in theory – should have prevented any flying laps in the final minutes. Still, though Aaron Scott, Alex Buncombe and Matt Bell were able to break into the Aston dominated top five. Buncombe ended second fastest, the Nissan GT Academy Team RJN entry with a best lap of 2:03.035 with Bell’s United Autosports Audi a further half second back.

Scott’s AF Corse Ferrari ended the session seventh behind the Beechdean and Oman Racing Aston. Lee Mowle and Joe Osborne’s #8 Triple Eight Race Engineering BMW, the PGF-Kinfaun Aston and the championship leading Ecurie Ecosse car of Marco Attard and Alexander Sims completed the top ten.

The M-Sport Bentley that led the opening practice set the 14th fastest time of the second hour of practice running.

Dan Cammish set the best of the GT4 class laps with five minutes of the session remaining. The reigning British Formula Ford champion, now in the Team Parker Racing Porsche alongside Barrie Baxter, lapped the GP track in 2:15.131. In the process he pushed Tom Oliphant from the class summit where he stood since the early laps of the session.

Bradley Ellis pushed Oliphant, who is yet to finish a British GT race this year in the Century Motorsport car he shares with defending class champion Rick Parfitt Jr. further down the order to third in class. The Beechdean AMR pairing of Ross Wylie and Jake Giddings who lead the class points were fourth fastest in class.

Qualifying for the series is scheduled for 4:05pm this afternoon.