Trackspeed’s three Porsche 997 GT3R ended the opening practice session of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship in the top three places, Richard Westbrook the fastest man in the #32 car.
For Westbrook it was successful return to the Rockingham track he has not raced at since 2003 as he lapped the longer layout at the Northamptonshire track in 1:23.185 to take to the lead of the session with 45 minutes of the hour long session remaining.
Though at the time it was the #8 888Optimum BMW Z4 he deposed from the top spot the Z4 pairing Lee Mowle and Joe Osborne ended the session as the best of the rest behind the Trackspeed fleet as their best effort of 1:23.703 was shuffled back during the second half of the session as first Phil Keen then Nick Tandy moved into the top three in the #33 and #31 cars respectively. Both men, in turn, went second fastest Tandy’s 1:23.212 ending up just 0.027 behind Westbrook’s marker.
M-Sport Racing – now running for points in the 2013-spec Audi R8 LMS ultra – were an impressive fifth fastest with drivers Warren Hughes and Rembert Berg while sixth fastest was the Fortec Motorsports Mercedes SLS of Benji Hetherington and Jason Minshaw that began the session with the fastest time. However, the duo failed to better their early marker (1:24.831).
Making their British GT debut Mark Poole and Richard Abra were seventh fastest in their Barwell Motorsport run Aston Martin Vantage.
Optimum Motorsport were the fastest in GT4 in their Ginetta G50 shared by Rick Parfitt Jr and Ryan Ratcliffe. Redgate/Lifetime Racing were second fastest despite their session ending early after Matt Smith spun the car on the exit of Gracelands to bring out the second red flag of the session in the final minutes of the session.
The running had earlier been brought to a temporary halt by the #8 BMW after Lee Mowle spun to the inside of the track at the start of the pit straight.
More serious problems stuck both the Complete Racing GT4 Aston Martin, which was limited to just 7 laps by a gearbox problem, and the PE Group Blendini Moto Audi which only completed a single lap before a loose screw punctured the car’s oil tank.
The second practice for the series is scheduled for 12:25pm, with the half hour qualifying session starting at 4:20pm