Jonny Adam and Beechdean AMR begun the 2013 Avon Tyres British GT Championship with the fastest time in first practice session on the opening weekend of the season at Oulton Park.
The Scot posted a best lap of 1:35.744 in the team’s Aston Martin Vantage that he shares with Andrew Howard. The lap was set in the first 15 minutes of the hour-long session when a majority of teams opted to run their pro driver first in the cold – but dry – conditions at the Cheshire track.
Also out in the early part of the session was Matt Griffin, who took the #21 MTECH Ferrari 458 to the fastest time in the earliest laps with a 1:36.595 that eventually ended the session fifth fastest. Between he and Adam were the United Autosports Audi R8 LMS ultra, Matt Bell ensuring the car best both of its McLaren stablemates that ended the session in 13th and 17th places.
While Bell was another to set his best time early Allan Simonsen and Richard Westbrook, second and third fastest respectively went out after the mid-session ten minute red flag brought out when the PE Group Blendini Audi spun on cold tyres, collecting Colin White’s Ginetta G55 GT3.
Both cars collected front end damage, keeping them out of the second half of the session, though both should be repaired for the afternoon’s second practice session.
Simonsen recorded a best lap of 1:35.857, the Dane – sharing with Hector Lestor for another season, bumping Westbrook – less than a tenth slower – down to third place in the #32 tartan liveried Trackspeed Porsche. The car, co-driven by British GT returnee Gregor Fisken (whose family tartan provides the livery) ended the session on the back of a recovery truck, however, after a late session driveshaft failure.
Nick Tandy was sixth fastest in another of Trackspeed’s three Porsches entered for the weekend with the Vita4One Team Italy car seventh, though surprisingly it was Jay Palmer and not former FIA GT champion Matteo Bobbi who set the best time for the #27. Rob Barff added a fourth Ferrari 458 Italia in the top ten in FF Corse’s example. John Gaw (for PGR–Kinfaun AMR) and Phil Keen, in the final Trackspeed machine completed the top ten.
Century Motorsport top the GT4 class with series newcomer Declan Jones posting the time of 1:47.067. However, teammate Zoe Wenham spun at Old Hall, taking the rear wing off the car. Just under a second slower on their best lap Optimum Motorsport were second fastest in class.