Optimum Motorsport‘s Flick Haigh and Jonny Adam have both made history today on the way to winning the 2018 British GT Championship.
Haigh became the first woman ever to win the British GT Championship outright, while her co-driver Adam took his third title, becoming the first driver ever to achieve this accolade in British GT history.
Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen both knew that they had a chance of winning the title themselves today, and so when the lights went green, the Barwell Lamborghini proceeded to disappear into the distance, as fellow Huracan driver and Barwell cohort Sam De Haan began to hold up the rest of the pack.
Haigh played the game and skillfully managed to keep De Haan honest, anticipating many of his blocking manoeuvres and keeping her Aston Martin out of trouble but entirely in contention.
With the pack backed up by De Haan, cars began to trip over each other with Graham Davidson‘s Jetstream Aston Martin and Derek Johnston‘s TF Vantage falling out of contention while fighting for position behind.
Minshaw’s 15-second advantage was neutralised when the safety car came onto the circuit to allow marshalls clean up an oil spill caused by Will Moore‘s GT4 Aston Martin V8 Vantage.
Mark Farmer soon took advantage of the re-start, passing De Haan and slipping into second place, with Rick Parfitt Jr also making the most of the chaos to take fourth place from Haigh, who had a 20-second pitlane penalty to serve courtesy of victory in the last round at Brands Hatch.
Nicki Thiim, meanwhile, was closing on Keen for the lead and showed sufficient pace to claim the Sunoco Fastest Lap Award in the process with a new British GT3 benchmark of 1m28.196s.
The Dane made his move heading out of Redgate and through the Craner Curves, which put him and Farmer on course for a third victory of the season.
That was until a 30-second penalty for track limits infringements was handed down in the final minutes, which, when added to #11’s final race time, gave Minshaw and Keen victory, as well as second in the standings for a third season running.
That late penalty didn’t alter the outcome of this year’s Teams’ championship, which was reclaimed by TF Sport after losing the title to Barwell in 2017.
Such was the advantage of the leading duo that the time penalty only dropped Thiim and Farmer to second ahead of ERC Sport duo Yelmer Buurman and Lee Mowle.
Haigh and Adam took fourth to secure a historic title with the Howard/Darren Turner Beechdean AMR Aston Martin placing fifth.
Sixth belonged to De Haan/Jonny Cocker, while Ratcliffe brought the #1 Bentley home in seventh.
The top-eight was rounded out by the sister Team Parker machine shared by Ian Loggie and Callum Macleod whose race was compromised by a stop/go penalty in the opening stint.