Defending Avon Tyres British GT champions Beechdean AMR started the 2014 season by setting the fastest time in the first of two 60 minute practice sessions for the Oulton Park opener.
Jonny Adam, who shares the newly #1 stickered Vantage GT3 with Andrew Howard lapped the 2.7 mile International layout at the Cheshire circuit in 1:35.596 shortly before the half way point in the session before handing over drivers’ champion Howard for the rest of the session.
The top times at the end of the session were dominated by Aston Martin, the brand the best represented in the GT3 class that fights for overall victory in the series. Four of the top five places were occupied by Aston, Rory Butcher taking second fastest late on in the Oman Racing Team entry co-driven by John Hartshorne.
Andy Schulz and John Gaw were fourth and fifth fastest for GT3 debutants HorsePower Racing and returnees PGF-Kinfaun AMR respectively.
In between all the Astons was the AF Corse Ferrari of Pasin Lathouras and Richard Lyons, the latter responsible for the 1:35.746.
Matt Bell was sixth fastest for United Autosports, despite the Audi R8 LMS ultra suffering with an electrical problem that limited it to just eight laps during the session.
Trackspeed’s #33 Porsche – that of Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw – was seventh fastest, Tom Sharp eighth fastest in the lone Ginetta G55 GT3 with the second of the Motorbase run Oman Racing Team Aston in ninth, AF Corse’s other Ferrari – driven by John Dhillon and Aaron Scott – completing the top ten.
The Chris Hoy and Alex Buncombe crewed Nissan GT Academy Team RJN GT-R were fifteenth fastest, a little over a second off the ultimate pace and one place behind Strata 21’s example driven by Paul White and Tom Onslow-Cole.
The weight-slowed Trackspeed Porsche of Jody Firth and Warren Hughes was only 18th fastest, placing it between the two Bentley Continental GT3, which ended the session 17th and 20th fastest, the Generation Bentley Racing run car faster than the M-Sport entry.
TF Sport’s GT4 duo added the positives for Aston Martin teams by topping GT4 with a lap with ten minutes of the session remaining. The pairing of Devon Modell and Andrew Jarman deposed Dan Cammish and Team Parker Racing from the lead of the class.
The Formula Ford champion’s time remained good enough for second fastest ahead of Jake Giddings in Beechdean’s entry into a dozen strong GT4 field.
The second practice session is scheduled for 12:05pm.