The twin practice sessions for the Avon Tyres British GT Championship were largely Porsche dominated affairs as 997 GT3 R topped both of the hours session and all five examples finished the second session inside the top ten.
Nick Tandy set the fastest time in both sessions in the Motorbase Performance run Porsche he shares with Steve Parish. Tandy – who raced in the Porsche World Cup at the Nurburgring 24 Hours meeting last year – set the best time of the opening session (1:43.271) shortly before the mid-point of the hour long session and despite losing two tenths in the middle sector of the Nurburgring Grand Prix track – slightly shortened from its normal length as the configuration missed out the opening complex of corners and sues the faster of two profiles at the NGK chicane.
Another experienced Porsche racer – Richard Westbrook was second fastest (1:43.631). Trackspeed 's other two Porsches with flying laps from Joe Osborne and Tim Harvey respectively were fourth and fifth fastest with Allan Simonsen in the Rosso Verde Ferrari an interloper in the Porsche party.
The Beechdean Aston Martin relied on an early lap – set within the first quarter hour of running – to hold onto sixth place ahead of the entries from United Autosports, MTECH, RJN Motorsport and Scuderia Vittoria in the top ten.
MTECH – with regular drivers Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin – only appeared for the closing moments of the session delayed by a minor wiring problem, completing only a handful of laps before the checkered flag.
They did, however, take full part in the second practice session which started just 15 minutes later. Duncan Cameron took the car for the first part of the session, Griffin's move into the cockpit signalled when the Ferrari 458 started to move into the upper echelons of the times, peaking at sixth fastest (1:43.986) when he reach the times where the Porsches dominated.
Tandy was fastest again, taking nearly a second off his earlier time with lap of 1:42.311. He was nearly a second quicker than the Beechdean Aston. The team of Jonny Adam and Andrew Howard again relied on an lap early in session – set shortly before the half hour – but this time the marker held up to stay second fastest ahead of Westbrook in the Trackspeed Porsche.
Allan Simonsen was fourth fastest again for Rosso Verde in Hector Lester's 458 with Harvey – winner of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB class of the Porsche World Cup race year – enjoying his return to Germany in fifth fastest.
After being the only Porsche team to miss out on the top ten in the opening session Motorbase's second crew – Michael Caine and Daniel Perfetti – were eighth fastest behind United Autosports' Audi R8. Joe Osborne was ninth in the third Trackspeed Porsche with RJN's Nissan GT3 GT-R completing the top ten.
The top GT4 times where shared between Ginetta and Lotus teams. The Lotus Sport UK squad – scaled back to a single car effort for Phil Glew and Sailesh Bolisetti was fastest in the second session, though neither of the top two from the first session set a lap time in competition.
Team WFR, who won both races at Oulton Park with Warren Hughes and Jody Fannin, led the class times for almost all of the first session, initially with an advantage of several seconds before being gradually pegged back.
They were finally deposed from the top spot by the Optimum Motorsport Ginetta of Lee Mowle and Ryan Ratcliffe with three minutes of the session (1:53.085). The Optimum car was then stopped in the second session by a driveshaft problem, their rivals in the opening session – Team WFR – kept off the track in second session with a diff issue
Two GT4 teams making their British GT debuts this weekend acquitted themselves well. After engine failure at Oulton APO Sport's Ginetta G50 completed both sessions without a major problem James May and Alex Osbourne second fastest in the second session.
The Jota Mazda MX-5 also completed both sessions with little issue, closely matching the pace of the more established Ginettas and Lotuses around it to finish the first session fourth fastest, improving to third in the second session.
Of the Continental visitors to the British GT grid for the weekend the Marco Attard and Marcel Liepart Lamborghini was the fastest in both sessions 13th, then 14th to start their weekend.
The next track time for the British GT field is the two qualifying sessions starting at 6pm local time (5pm UK time) with the first of the races due off at 4:30pm local time tomorrow (Friday).