Barwell Motorsport’s Phil Keen broke his own lap record on the Rockingham International Super Sportscar Circuit to finish first after Free Practice One for the British GT Championship.
The Lamborghini Huracan GT3 racer set the pace early doors, with teams looking to make the most of the dry conditions ahead of what could be somewhat mixed conditions for Sunday’s race.
Keen set his 1:17.255 before the halfway mark of the hour-long session, putting himself almost half-a-second ahead of Matt Griffin in the Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3 who is taking part in his first full weekend of the season after WEC and ELMS commitments led to him having a rather disjointed time at Oulton Park.
The Irishman’s 1:17.662 placed himself a tenth ahead of another Griffin, the second Barwell Lamborghini driver Liam Griffin who set a 1:17.776.
Jonny Adam was the only other racer within the 1:17s as he squeezed in a 1:17.949 in the TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GT3. That put him a tenth ahead of both the Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3s with Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt finishing ahead of the hastily rebuilt car of Ian Loggie and Callum Macleod after their Oulton crash.
The session would end on a low note for Keen and team-mate Jon Minshaw as they stopped with an engine problem just after the chequered flag came out. They would stop on the grass at the inside of turn one, having to get the marshals to push them back into pit lane.
GT4 also saw a lap record smashed as Mike Robinson clocked a 1:23.480 in the PMW Expo Racing Ginetta G55 GT4 to head the session from Joe Osborne and David Pattison in the Tolman Motorsport McLaren 570S – they could “only” manage a 1:23.811, but that was still below the lap record.
Adding variety to the standings, it was a Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport in third as Scott Malvern finished with a 1:23.884 – within a whisker of the top two.
Of note elsewhere in the class, the highest UltraTek Racing Team RJN Nissan 370Z recorded a seventh place finish at the hands of Martin Plowman.