Barwell Motorsport have improved on a mildly disappointing FP1 to dominate the second free practice session of the 2019 British GT Championship at Oulton Park. The shock fast lap came from Jonny Cocker in the final 15 minutes of the session when the car he shares with Sam De Haan slammed in a 1:34.827. Only Barwell Motorsport managed to get below the 1:35 mark in the second session.
The Barwell pair took 4th and 5th in the first session, with the Phil Keen and Adam Balon driven #72 heading the intra-team battle. This time round Keen put in a startling time just after the 45 minute mark, seconds after Andrew Howard improved to knock the Lamborghini entries out of the top 7. Instantly Keen responded, shooting to the top of the timing screens with a 1:35.078. His next lap bettered that and broke the 1:35 barrier by 0.010 of a second.
Keen then called it quits and headed for the pit lane with 9 minutes of the hour long session remaining. Cocker then took his chance and lapped with traffic in a 1:34.827, 0.083 seconds of a lap faster than his team mate.
No other car had the pace to match the Italian machines and the time stood until the end of the session.
As with the earlier track time, TF Sport were the early pace setters but there was more competition for the top spot in this session. Bentley came out fastest thanks to Seb Morris and JRM Racing. The former champion driver didn’t hold on for long though as Nicki Thiim went top with his first flying lap of the day.
The Lamborghini of Keen looked strong in individual sectors at the start of the hour but never managed to string a good lap together. Next up on the top of the pile was RAM Racing thanks to FP1 pace setter Callum Macleod. Minutes later Team ABBA made it a Mercedes-AMG 1-2 thanks to Adam Christodoulou, who would improve again shortly after but end the session with his 1:35.289 in 4th place overall.
TF Sport held on to third in class with Thiim’s best time, a 1:35.178 counter to the Mercedes-AMGs on his final lap of the hour.
GT3 Gremlins Strike
It wasn’t a session of exceptional mechanical reliability. Two cars, both brand new, failed to set a lap time from the senior class. The #22 McLaren 720S GT3 of Balfe Motorsport completed two installation laps during the session as the former GT Cup champions tried to locate an electrical fault.
Team Parker Racing had it even worse though as 9 installation laps were their work of the hour as they first found and cured a problem with the power steering system on their Bentley Continental GT3, then tried to fix a gearbox issue.
In GT4 it was McLaren decimation for much of the hour. With two thirds of the session remaining the highest placed 570S GT4 was in eighth. Late session advances improved the status of the Woking built machine slightly but still, fifth in GT4 was the best that Balfe Motorsport could turn out with the #20 machine.
It was a real chance for the front-engined cars to show their mettle and it was Seb Priaulx who took the challenge on. Early on it was Martin Plowman for Beechdean Motorsport who headed the running, but as the session wore on Multimatic finally joined the party.
The Ford factory team had been having difficulties in the morning session, now revealed to be an ABS issue which restricted them to just 3 laps in the first hour. Come session 2 and the car Priaulx shares with Scott Maxwell knocked in 29 laps, with the 13th tour proving to be the lucky one. The resulting 1:43.903 stood to the end of the session, the only GT4 machine to drop below 1:44.
Plowmans’ lap 6 effort, a 1:44.084, would stand as the second fastest time of the hour while Jade Buford took the Multimatic Mustang he shares with Chad McCumbee to third.
Next up for the British GT field is Qualifying which gets underway at 15:15. As is the norm for British GT, GT3 Pro drivers will qualify first, followed by sessions for GT3 Am, GT4 pro and GT4 Am. Full coverage of all the British GT sessions this weekend will be available here on TheCheckeredFlag.co.uk. Two 1 hour races, streamed live on the British GT Facebook Page, taking place on Easter Monday.
1st: Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO – Jonny Cocker – 1:34.827
2nd: Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO – Phil Keen – 1:34.910
3rd: TF Sport Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT3 – Nicki Thiim– 1:35.178
1st: WPI Motorsport Porsche 991 911 GT3 Cup – Michael Igoe– 1:38.908
1st: Multimatic Motorsport Ford Mustang GT4– Seb Priaulx– 1:43.903
2nd: Beechdean AMR Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4 – Martin Plowman– 1:44.084
3rd: Multimatic Motorsport Ford Mustang GT4 – Jade Buford – 1:44.110