Barwell Motorsport’s Adam Carroll has taken a magnificent win in the first British GT Championship race at Oulton Park with the PMW World Expo Racing team carrying on their fine form in GT4 to win by more than 20 seconds.
The race started typically hectically with the 27 strong field charging into Old Hall and surviving just about. The only change was the big Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3 of Rick Parfitt mugging Liam Griffin in the Barwell Lamborghini for second place.
In GT4, Graham Johnson kept his lead in the PMW Ginetta with the big mover being William Phillips in the RCIB Insurance Racing Ginetta moving from sixth on the grid up to second by the end of the first lap.
There wasn’t chance for much movement after that as Sean Byrne in the #40 Century Motorsport Ginetta got the line a bit wrong coming out of Knickerbrook and parked the G55 in the tyre wall. He was fine, but the race was neutralised with a safety car to collect the car and rebuild the tyre wall.
After the safety car’s ten minute stint there was a bit of calamity in the GT4 class as the Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse McLaren 570S braked a touch too late and hit the back of the Lanan Racing Ginetta, which then hit the back of Phillips’ Ginetta. The two cars at either end survived with minor bodywork damage but the Lanan car suffered badly and with chunks of the front-end missing and oil leaking out the front-right corner it came in and retired.
The restart also didn’t go brilliantly for Beechdean AMR’s Andrew Howard either who dropped from mid-top ten down to ninth and looked like he was going to be pressured for that position by Team ABBA’s Richard Neary.
At the front of the class Jon Minshaw was holding station in first position but Parfitt was closing in but 0.6s seemed seemed as close as the Bentley could get to the back of the Lamborghini.
As soon as the pit window opened with 25 minutes gone, the chaos started to begin as the narrow pitlane started to cause one or two comical incidents – mainly that cars were being pushed into the path of those coming in to the pits or departing into the path of someone else.
Making the most of the chaos though was the #6 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini which Liam Griffin had handed over to Adam Carroll. Staying out a touch longer, the pair combined for a mega in-lap and out-lap to beat the crowds and come out behind the #14 Optimum Motorsport Audi R8 LMS – which was yet to make a stop.
Also the recipients of a good stop was the AmDTuning.com BMW Z4 of Joe Osborne which came out and set position in second place, but they didn’t have the speed in the older GT3 machine to challenge Carroll’s Lamborghini which crossed the line more than 10 seconds in front.
That relative lack of pace meant Osborne had to show off some of his defensive prowess as Seb Morris in the Bentley picked off Jon Barnes’ #11 TF Sport Aston – who was in third for a time – and picked up the fight with Osborne. They would battle tooth and nail lap-after-lap and at points the gap would shrink to 0.02s but picking their way through traffic, and the tricks of the BMW, meant the order would stay Osborne from Morris as the chequered flag fell.
Indeed, Barnes was lucky to stay fourth as the flag fell with Jonny Adam in the sister TF Sport car setting up camp underneath Barnes’ rear-wing. The move never came from Adam though, probably through a sense of not wanting to wipe out his own team mate although, Barnes was taking the best lines round the track so didn’t provide many passing opportunities in the first place.
The same could be said in GT4, Mike Robinson had a handy lead in his #50 Ginetta with Jack Mitchell in the #42 Generation AMR MacMillan Racing Aston Martin all alone in second place. That was mainly because Jordan Stilp, who came out the pits in third, was seeing his RCIB Insurance Racing Ginetta coming under serious pressure from Nathan Freke in the Century Motorsport car. Freke was nearly touching the back of Stilp at points, but the former Clio Cup driver was too aware of his tricks and claimed a magnificent podium for Tony Gilham’s team.
The second British GT Championship race takes place at 2.30pm, with The Checkered Flag covering the series live!