Ginetta’s GT3 teams showed strong pace at Silverstone in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship, but left the grand prix venue unrewarded.
Mike Simpson proved the pace of the G55 GT3 in making sure that the Team LNT entered car ended both 60-minute free practice sessions in the top ten of the near 50 car field. However, a throttle problem in qualifying limited him to just 18th fastest.
The problem – solved for the start of the three hour race – and the lowly starting spot put Richard Sykes in the midst of the pack for the start. Though he managed to pick up two places in the early laps he was left with nowhere to go when Mark Blundell spun a damaged McLaren MP4-12C GT3 exiting The Loop.
The damage to the McLaren had actually been picked up when Blundell tried to pass Sykes, pushing the Ginetta driver to the edge of the track, with the two cars making side to side contact as Sykes tried to resist.
“A disappointing end to the weekend – we had the pace and could have almost certainly challenged for a decent finish,” said Sykes. “Watching both the television and in car footage of the incident, it’s clear I gave Blundell plenty of room to pass into the Hairpin but he didn’t use it, which caused further problems going into the next left-hander; the result was contact and race over. Apart from that, the car was going great – it’s a shame Mike Simpson hasn’t had a chance to drive it yet!”
The safety car period needed to clear the track of debris from the clash, which also took out the MTECH Ferrari of Derek Johnston, helped Tom Sharp move into the top five in the G55 GT3 he shared with Colin White.
Sharp held third overall before pitting for the first time to hand over to White. However, the stop came fractionally too soon with the safety car called out again soon after allowing rivals to pit under the neutralised conditions and keeping White down the order. Their race was further complicated later in the day as they were given a drive through penalty.
The extra time in the pits pushed them from the lead lap, leaving them to finish 15th overall.