Mike Simpson sets early pace in British GT practice

The Team LNT Ginetta G55 GT3 of Mike Simpson and Steve Tandy has set the early pace at Rockingham in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship, with the fastest lap in the first practice session.

Under overcast skies, the session got underway and was near enough immediately red flagged as the #56 Tolman Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4 ground to a halt at Piff-Paff and had to be recovered off the racing line.

The damage can’t have been too terminal as the car managed to complete the session and set a respectable time in the GT4 class.

At the top of the time sheets, Simpson wasted no time in throwing his Ginetta to the top with a time of 1:24.522 to leap ahead of Daniel Lloyd in the #2 Oman Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage. That car would eventually finish the session – including the 15 minute bronze rated only session tagged onto the end of Free Practice One – in fourth place.

That bronze session would be of benefit to Derek Johnston in the #17 TF Sport Aston Martin as he managed to break into the 1:24s in the bronze-only session to be within spitting distance of the Ginetta, only 0.018s behind.

Third place went to the VonRyan Racing McLaren 650S of Salih Yoluc, the third and final driver to break into the 1:24s with a 1:24.800.

Fourth was the previously mentioned Oman Aston that can be found ahead of the #1 Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 piloted by Alexander Sims and later on in the session Marco Attard who couldn’t better Sims’ 1:25.211.

Behind him was the second Z4 in the field – the Team Russia By Barwell Racing with Demon Tweeks car – which saw Jon Minshaw put in a good number of laps to finish in sixth.

Seventh in GT3 was the sister Ginetta GT3 of Rick Parfitt Jr. who recorded a time of 1:25.441 to keep within one second of the fastest time.

Into GT4 and it was Jamie Chadwick who set the early pace in the ‘baby’ Beechdean AMR entry, and it was a time that kept them at the top of the class for quite a while, until the bronze only session saw Richard Williams in the GPRM Toyota GT86 pip the Aston by 0.4 seconds clocking a time of 1:30.431 to sneak the fastest time late on.

Third place, and looking to keep up the good pace of the Issy Racing Lotus Evora, was Oz Yusuf who set a time of 1:31.035 to keep him ahead of Adrian Barwick in the Twisted Team Parker Ginetta.

Fifth place was another Ginetta, this time the PMW Expo Racing/Optimum Motorsport #50 of Graham Johnson & Mike Robinson who missed out on fourth by less than one-tenth.

One GT4 didn’t end up setting a time in this session, the Porsche 911 of AmDTuning.com. They did one out lap and then swiftly pulled back into the pits with a destroyed radiator cap – a mechanic has apparently gone on a wild goose chase to find a replacement but couldn’t find one in time to get the car back out.