Jordan Witt and Jack Mitchell continued the the remarkable record of seven different winners from seven races in the 2020 Intelligent Money British GT season as they took 2Seas Motorsport‘s first victory at Snetterton.
The 2Seas Motorsports team was only formed at the beginning of the year but their two Silver entry McLaren 720Ss were instantly on the pace and arguably should have won on their debut race.
Yet the team had lacked the luck to match the pace but that changed today thanks to a storming drive in the first stint from Witt who jumped up from third to the lead on the first lap.
Predictions of poor wet weather performance from the McLaren cars proved unfounded as the race was dominated by the 2Seas and the #96 Optimum Motorsport example who held 1-2 for most of the race.
The front row was occupied by the top two in the championship with points leader Sam de Haan #69 RAM Racing Mercedes starting on pole with their closest challengers Rob Collard #78 Barwell Motorsports Lamborghini lining up alongside them.
The race started with three laps under the safety car on a wet track but the rain which caused havoc in the Formula 3 race had significantly eased.
de Haan lead away from the start but Collard initially struggled at the start as he lost second to Witt and third to #96 McLaren of Lewis Proctor in close succession.
It was a disappointing opening lap for Barwell as the #72 Lamborghini of Adam Balon spun off and dropped to the back of the field.
Witt was the man of the move though and he was able to jump de Haan at the final corner to take the race lead. de Haan’s attempted to fight back on the Senna straight but he made contact with the McLaren and ran wide onto the grass and dropped him to third.
This allowed two McLarens raced away from the chasing pack building up a big gap of around 2 seconds a lap between them and de Haan, with Proctor initially shadowing Witt but Witt got faster and faster as the stint progressed and pulled away.
The Championship top two pitted as soon as the GT3 pit window opened to handover to co-drivers Patrick Kujala and Sandy Mitchell respectively but the Mercedes 10 second success penalty from their victory at Donington last time out, saw Mitchell exit the pits 5 seconds ahead.
Proctor was the first of the leading McLarens to pit and handed over to Ollie Wilkinson, with Witt following in a lap later to hand over to Jack Mitchell who rejoined 2.7 seconds ahead of the Optimum car but 20 seconds clear of their closest rival Sandy Mitchell in the #78 Lamborghini in third.
Wilkinson was unable to match the rapid Jack Mitchell’s times and saw the healthy 20 second margin eaten away by Sandy Mitchell as the #10 McLaren had an untroubled run to the flag.
Kujala rejoined the field in fourth place but he was unable to match Mitchell’s pace and soon had his rapid Pro RAM Racing team-mate Yelmer Buurman in the #6 Mercedes right up behind him.
After spending several laps trapped behind his team-mate Buurman eventually made his way past and quickly pulled away in an attempt to catch up with Mitchell.
Kujala soon came under pressure from Andrea Caldarelli in the #18 WPI Lamborghini who quickly filled the Mercedes mirrors with 10 minutes to run.
An optimistic dive into the Wilson hairpin resulted in slight contact, as Kujala had no intention of losing any more ground to the title rivals, especially as Buurman was unable to catch Mitchell.
Caldarelli attempted several times to get the run of the Mercedes at inside of Oggies to the exit of Williams, but the superior torque and power of the Mercedes allowed the Finnish driver to hold his Italian rival at bay and keep the vital fifth place.
Despite the reduced margin between second and third Wilkinson was set for second but a loss of time on the final lap which allowed the black Lamborghini to get enough momentum on the start finish straight to vault past and snatch second place by 0.081 seconds.
This timely overtake allowed Collard/Mitchell to significantly boost their championship chances and reduced the gap to just one point.
Balon’s spin at the start had restricted the #72 Lamborghini to a seventh place finish and although they remain third in the points, Balon and co-driver Phil Keen are now 21 points behind the leader.
Despite the victory 2Seas Motorsport had not completely changed their luck as the sister #9 McLaren of Dean MacDonald grounded to a halt on its outlap from fourth place on the gird.
They managed to get the car restarted to join at the back of the field on the lead lap but he and team-mate Angus Fender eventually finished 11th after several off-track excursions when Fender was behind the wheel.
In GT4 the #97 TF Sport Aston Martin of Jamie Caroline/Daniel Vaughn took their first victory of the season in dominant fashion after the previously dominant HHC Motorsport McLarens dropped back after the pitstops.
The two HHC McLarens had locked out the front row as Jordan Collard, who had put the #58 McLaren on pole by 1.1 seconds, stormed away to build up a gap of 4 seconds, while team-mate Gus Bowers in the #57 McLaren was occupied by holding off Vaughn.
The places remained the same until the pit window opened and the race descended into a battle of different strategies.
TF Sport repeated their normal strategy of pitting both of their cars as soon as the pit window opens but the two HHC Motorsport McLarens were the last to pit, hoping that by staying out long enough would dilute the impact of success penalties on both of the cars.
The gamble did not work as both cars were easily jumped by the joint championship leading #97 Aston of Caroline, who held a 8 second lead once the McLarens exited the pits.
Collard’s co-driver Patrik Matthiesen was unable to match his co-driver’s pace and he soon came under pressure from team-mate Chris Wesemael in the fight for second place.
The squabbling between the McLarens allowed them to be reeled in by the other joint championship leader Patrick Kibble in the #95 TF Aston Martin who was desperate not to allow Caroline to build a big points buffer.
With a few minutes remaining Kibble took third from Wesemael, who subsequently endured a series of off track excursions, and subjected Matthiesen to significant pressure, yet the Dane was to resist the pressure and hold on to second.
This gave the advantage in the title battle to Caroline and Vaughn who were able to open up a 10 point gap between themselves and their team-mates, who are now level on points with Collard/Matthiesen.