The Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO of Ian Loggie and Yelmer Buurman has claimed the top spot in the final free practice session ahead of qualifying for the Intelligent Money British GT Championship at Oulton Park. The Dutch professional driver set the quickest lap while team mates Kevin Tse and Tom Onslow-Cole placed third. The Aston Martin V8 Vantage AMR of Beechdean AMR split the Benzes at the top.
In the GT4 class it was a return to the top spot for Jamie Caroline, drafted into Toyota Gazoo Racing to share the GR Supra GT4 with John Ferguson. Caroline makes his return to the championship for the first time since claiming the GT4 Overall and Silver Cup titles in 2020 with TF Sport.
GT3: Late Lap by Adam Denies RAM 1-2 in Practice.
As with the first practice session, the early pace in free practice 2 was set by the McLaren 720S GT3 of Marcus Clutton. The news wasn’t exactly earth shattering, Clutton has worked at Oulton Park as the circuits resident professional driver so knows the International layout of the Cheshire venue like the back of his hand. Enduro Motorsport‘s pairing, with Morgan Tillbrook completing the lineup, couldn’t hold on to the top spot indefinitely as a rotation of other brands found pace as the hour continued on.
First to displace the McLaren was Scott Malvern. The Team Parker Racing driver ended the session just under a third of a second faster than the Enduro machine in the Porsche 911 GT3 R he shares with longtime co-driver Nick Jones. Then Team ABBA Racing moved to the fore thanks to a rapid lap from Sam Neary before returning GT3 and Touring Car ace Tom Onslow-Cole rose to the top, only to be displaced by the team mate car of Yelmer Buurman.
Phil Keen showed his pace later on by popping up in fourth place for WPI Motorsport, relegating the Team ABBA Mercedes-AMG to fifth place and the Bentley Continental GT3 of Paddock Motorsport to sixth, who slotted in ahead of the erstwhile pace setters in the Porsche.
Championship contenders Barwell Motorsport had a session to forget as they laboured on their pair of Lamboreghini Huracan GT3 EVOs. The #63 machine suffered damage after an accident in FP1 and wouldn’t make it out during the second hour long session. The #1 machine of Adam Balon and Sandy Mitchell did manage a couple of laps late in the hour after a rapid fire engine change.
Balon drove the car and as you would expect in the pro dominated session, didn’t trouble the top of the time sheets.
GT4: ‘Supra’ Performance Puts Outgoing Champion Ahead.
Oulton Park is a circuit which favours a well balanced traditional GT car rather than a mid-engined supercar. GT3 bore this truth out with five of the top six cars having the power unit in front of the driver. It was equally true in GT4 where the final classification shows three front engined racers leading the pack.
The first car to hit the front was also a front engined beast, but the Academy Motorsport Ford Mustang GT4 would eventually fall back from the top spot to eleventh place by the end of the hour. Will Moore set the time in the Mustang but couldn’t improve on his 1:45.657 and ended the session 1.548 seconds off the pace.
Richard Williams‘ Audi R8 LMS GT4 from Steller Motorsport took the next turn at the top of the order, only to lose out to AMR’s very own Darren Turner to displace him the Newbridge Motorsport entry.
Then followed a period of stability until three quarters of the session had elapsed. Toyota Gazoo Racing then sent out Caroline to do his best and a blistering 1:44.109. While many tried to knock the Supra down, the closest was 0.165 seconds clear, that effort courtesy of Will Burns‘ Century Motorsport run BMW M4 GT4. Burns and team mate Gus Burton are hunting an unbeatable mathematical advantage in the title race out of the two races tomorrow.
Newbridge’s Aston Martin held out for third place ahead of the first of three Team Rocket RJN McLarens. Michael Benyahia set the lap time in the #3 entry with Fox Motorsport‘s Jamie Stanley splitting up a solid bank of RJN run 570S GT4. Of course Fox Motorsport also run the Woking built GT4 weapon, so a solid block of four McLarens fill out fourth to 7th in the order.
The only 570S to not get into this group was the Balfe Motorsport entry where Jack Brown‘s best managed 10th in GT4, 6th in GT4 Silver Cup.
Chris Salkeld and Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke, statistically the only drivers capable of denying their team mates the title, struggled in the session. AGC’s off at the Britten’s Chicane resulted in minor bodywork damage and the team quickly got busy with the race tape. Second place was lost as a result, the #9 M4 GT4 tumbling to 8th in class ahead of the Assetto Motorsport Ginetta G56.
Next came the erstwhile session leaders from Academy and Steller, and Jake Giddings‘ Mercedes-AMG GT4 which has failed to find prominence all year.
Qualifying for the two one hour races comes next with GT3 Ams hitting the track first at 16:15 this afternoon. Audio commentary and live timing can be found at http://www.tsl-timing.com while full sound and vision coverage is available for tomorrows races from BritishGT.com.