Ginetta officially got their 2016 season underway yesterday (22nd March) with the stars and cars from their trio of championships in action during the annual Media Day at Brands Hatch.
Drivers from across the Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship, Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup and Protyre Ginetta GT5 Challenge were on track to get some crucial testing mileage around the circuit ahead of their respective season openers in Kent next month.
On top of that, the selected media and guests were treated to the chance to tackle the 1.2 mile track in Ginetta G40’s, whilst also getting high-speed passenger laps on board Ginetta G55’s driven by factory drivers Mike Simpson and Charlie Robertson.
Those two drivers were both in action last weekend as the new-for-2016 Ginetta G57 prototype made its race debut in the V de V Championship at Catalunya, and the #57 machine was on show through the afternoon.
Perez, Wrigley And Chapman Head Timed Tests
A total of 21 drivers from the Ginetta Juniors took to the track over the course of the day, with the spring sunshine providing perfect conditions in Kent as Seb Perez stormed to the top of the timesheets with the fastest time of the day.
The JHR Developments man lapped the Indy circuit in 56.357 seconds, edging out Dave Wooder to top spot by just seven hundredths of a second. Reigning Winter Series champion Stuart Middleton was third fastest, with his predecessor to the Scholarship crown Dan Harper hot on his heels.
Harper was the quickest of the rookie drivers on the day, but only just, with HHC Motorsport’s Tom Gamble only nine thousandths of a second slower on a competitive day, which saw twelve drivers break the 57 second barrier.
JHR trio Cameron Roberts, Geri Nicosia and Kyle Hornby were next up, with Enzo Fittipaldi the third fastest rookie. Will Tregurtha rounded out the overall top ten, with the fastest dozen completed by rookie contenders Seb Priaulx and Max Bird.
Like their Junior counterparts, the Supercup drivers got three sessions on track over the course of the day and emerging fastest from those was Tom Wrigley, the double race-winner from 2015 posting a best effort of 48.195s in his Rob Boston Racing G55.
That was over two tenths of a second faster than his closest challenger, Douglas Motorsport’s Will Burns, while the only other driver within half a second of the top spot was Carl Boardley, who recorded a 48.600s effort.
Privateer entrant Tom Hibbert was next up ahead of the leading AM class competitor Grahame Tilley and Callum Pointon, the final three drivers to break the 49 second barrier ahead of Rob Gaffney and John Wall.
In the GT5 Challenge, the timesheet topper across all three sessions was Matt Chapman in his Total Control Racing G40, the Junior graduate’s best time of 53.150s in the second outing putting him nearly two tenths of a second clear of Matt Flowers.
Ian Robinson was third quickest, over a second off his team-mate Chapman’s pace, while Reflex Racing pairing Mark Davenport and Jose Ledesema rounded out the five GT5 Challenge drivers in attendance.
In the GRDC+ category, it was Richard Evans who led the way with a best time of 55.969s for Quattro Motorsport, with his team-mate Colin Plumb in third sandwiched between Want2Race pairing Mike Jarvis and Paul Garstang.
Full timing from the test sessions can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/event/161239