Chris Goodwin put the new McLaren MP4-12C GT3 on pole position for its first international race, easily setting the fastest time in qualifying for the first of two Avon Tyres British GT Championship race at Spa-Francorchamps.
Goodwin, part of the team that has developed the car through the year in preparation for racing lapped the 7km Belgian track in 2:23.479, over a second faster that Michael Lyons could muster in the Scuderia Vittoria Ferrari 458 GT3 he shares with Charles Bateman. The front row slot has the pair as the best of the points scoring British GT runners, the McLaren running as an invitational entry.
In the second session Andrew Kirkarldy could only put the McLaren eighth fastest, incidentally behind both of the Ferrari's run by his CRS Racing outfit.
“Although we have covered around 4500km in testing this is the first time we have had any opportunity to go up against any other cars, so before today it was something of an unknown quantity,” said Kirkaldy. “We are very pleased with the way things have gone: the McLaren is reasonably on the pace straight out of the box, it feels great to drive and technically everything has gone as planned.”
Pole position for the second of the weekend's 60-minute races went to Richard Westbrook – returning to the Trackspeed fold to partner David Ashburn for the first time since the Oulton Park opener.
His time (2:22.648) eclipsed what Goodwin had done in the first and put the no.1 Porsche on pole from The Rosso Verde entrered Ferrari, Allan Simonsen unsurprisingly the man behind the wheel. Glynn Geddie claimed third on the race two grid, ahead of Matt Griffin filling the second row with Ferraris.
Griffin's co-driver Duncan Cameron had earlier finished fifth fastest in the first qualifying session, behind Ashburn (third) and David Jones in fourth in the brutish Mercedes SLS.
Championship leaders Matt Bell and Michael Guasch ended their respective session seventh fastest for United Autosports.
In the GT4 class Scuderia Vittoria scored pole both races with their Ginetta G50. Dan Denis was up in the first session, beating Ollie Jackson in the no.48 Lotus Evora by over two seconds. For the second part of qualifying David McDonald took control of the Ginetta, Phil Glew making his second race start in for Jackson in the red and gold Lotus.
The change of driver did little to change the order, McDonald on pole by 1.5 seconds. The no.49 Lotus of Leyton Clarke and Freddy Nordstrom was third fastest in both sessions, Marcus Clutton and Peter Belshaw's class leading KTM X-Bow fourth fastest among the GT4 runners.