Balfe Motorsport set the pace of their return to the Intelligent Money British GT Championship with a record fastest time in FP1 at Donington, despite a spin.
The McLaren team, who finished third in the standings last year, missed the first round at Oulton Park but they made up for lost time as the Pro-Am pairing of Joe Osbourne/Stewart Procter, were instantly on the pace.
Despite Procter causing the only session stoppage with a harmless spin at the Fogarty Esses, Osbourne, who is competing in his first British GT race meeting since 2016, set the quickest time of 1minute 27.183.
His scintillating time was 0.7 seconds quicker than the current Donington lap record and put the #36 McLaren 720S 0.451 seconds clear of Oulton Park race 2 winners Phil Keen/Adam Balon in the #72 Barwell Lamborghini Huracan.
The top three was rounded out by Yelmer Buurman/Ian Loggie #6 RAM Racing Mercedes who were three tenths up on the quickest of the silver pairing, the #78 Barwell Lamborghini of Rob Collard/Sandy Mitchell in fourth place.
Championship leaders the #2 Jenson Team Rocket RJN McLaren of Michael O’Brien/James Baldwin finished the session 12th fastest and the penultimate of the GT3 runners.
In GT4 Speedworks continued to show the promise of the brand new Toyota Supra as Sam Smelt went quickest.
Smelt, who shares the #23 Toyota with James Kell, set a time of 1 min 36.208 to go 0.127 seconds quicker than joint championship leaders HHC Motorsports.
The McLaren 540S of Patrik Matthiesen and Jordan Collard was nearly two tenths quicker than the first of the TF Aston Martin Vantage of Connor O’Brien and Patrick Kibble in third.
The other TF Aston Martin of joint championship leaders Jamie Caroline and Daniel Vaughan finished the session fifth fastest.
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