British GT: GT4 Qualifying – Mustang and Maxwell on pole for Race One, Malvern marvels for Race Two qualifying

Multimatic Motorsport made it pole positions in successive weekends as Scott Maxwell impressed once again at a previously never-before-seen Snetterton circuit.

The Canadian wasn’t quite as dominant as at Oulton Park, where the Mustangs were a second clear of the field, as he gained pole position by just over a tenth from Richard Williams in the new Steller Performance Audi and Josh Price’s TF Sport Aston Martin in third.

Callum Pointon continued HHC’s excellent start with McLaren to take fourth place ahead of Josh Smith’s Tolman McLaren, with Mark Kimber sixth for last season’s GT4 champions Century Motorsport.

Luke Williams will line up seventh in the other HHC McLaren for Race One, with the top seven cars covered by less than half a second.

Lewis Proctor will start eighth on Sunday morning in the second Tolman Motorsport McLaren ahead of local driver Mark Murfitt in the Fox Mercedes, with Aladair MacKinnon rounding off the top ten.

In GT4 Pro qualifying, the margins were just as tight throughout the field as top 12 drivers were separated by merely eight tenths of a second.

Tom Canning in the TF Sport Aston Martin was second, just a tenth away from pole and having looked for most of the session like the man to beat.

Dean Macdonald was third after winning at Oulton Park last time out, with Jordan Collard fourth and Dino Zamparelli debuting the new GT4 Porsche in fifth.

Michael O’Brien lines up in sixth for Tolman Motorsport on Sunday afternoon ahead of Michael Broadhurst in the Fox Mercedes AMG.

Tom JAckson completes row four in the second HHC McLaren, with Matt George and Seb Priaulx completing the top ten for Race Two,

 

IMAGE: Jakob Ebrey via MultiMatic Racing

British GT – GT3 Qualifying: Gamble cashes his chips in for Race One, Thiim takes top honours for Race Two

Tom Gamble took a stunning British GT GT3 Race One pole position despite not having ever sat in the Century Motorsport GT3 BMW until Saturday morning.

Gamble will start from pole after wrestling the fastest lap away from Oulton Park Race Two winner Sam De Haan, who had held the advantage for much of the session.

Graham Davidson and Adam Balon will go from third and fourth as Aston Martin and TF Sport showed signs of improvement from Oulton Park, while Balon has made a solid start to the British GT series in 2019.

Glynn Geddie in the Team Parker Bentley and Ollie Wilkinson in the Optimum Aston Martin make up row three ahead of Shaun Balfe’s McLaren and Dominic Paul in the other Century BMW. Balfe will be relieved to have seemingly resolved the McLaren’s electrical issue which ended their Oulton Park weekend before raceday.

Michael Igoe and Rick Parfitt Junior complete the top ten ahead of Andrew Howard, Mark Farmer and Richard Neary’s Mercedes.

For Race Two, Nicki Thiim certainly lived up to that famous Go Hard or Go Home motto by taking pole position by half a tenth to Phil Keen, with Oulton Park winner Jonny Cocker lining up third for tomorrow afternoon’s Race Two.

Seb Morris will be delighted with fourth in the Bentley he shares with Rick Parfitt, balance of performance regulations hampering the duo this weekend.

Adam Christodoulou and Rob Bell make up row three, Jonny Adam and Marco Sorensen complete an all Aston Martin V8 Vantage row four, while it’s a Noah’s Ark row five as Century Motorsport share ninth and tenth with Ben Green leading Jack Mitchell.

Adam Ellis, Ryan Ratcliffe and Adam Wilcox complete the GT3 grid for Race Two.

IMAGE: Jakob Ebrey via @Century_MSport

British GT – GT4: Priaulx and Maxwell take GT4 spoils

Multimatic Racing’s Seb Priaulx and Scott Maxwell took top honours in GT4 at an eventful Oulton Park.

After suffering in Race One, the Ford Mustang had no such problems in Race Two to lead well throughout the second 60 minutes, with an array of cars vying for second during the early part of the race.

Graham Johnson and Michael O’Brien in the Balfe McLaren were second overall to win a tightly contested GT4 Pro/Am category ahead of Steve McCulley and Matt George in the Invictus Jaguar Racing entry and Scott Malvern and Nick Jones’ Team Parker Racing Mercedes.

Kelvin Fletcher and Martin Plowman in the Beechdean Aston Martin Pro/Am GT4 entry were in contention for a podium until they spun during a frenetic end to the race caused in no small part by a lapped Ben Hurst electing to race the leaders.

Hurst would hold Maxwell, Jones, McCulley, Johnson and Fletcher up for two laps as the former British F3 man who would go on to finish 14th almost had a deciding role in the destiny of the winner’s trophies late on.

Michael Broadhurst and Will Moore would both go on to have shunts at Cascades, both playing a part in bringing about Safety Cars, with TF Sport’s Tom Canning receiving a 30s stop/go penalty for causing Broadhurst’s off and Moore’s off completing a bad afternoon for Matt Nicoll-Jones’ Academy Motorsport team.

British GT: GT3 De Haan’s first victory as Cocker and Barwell Celebrate

Sam De Haan took his first British GT victory in his second season with Barwell Motorsport in a dramatic Race Two at Oulton Park.

De Haan passed Abba Racing’s Richard Neary late on after applying enormous pressure on the Mercedes, who gamely hung on for long periods.

Neary, partnered with Adam Christodoulou held off Andrew Howard and Marco Sorensen’s improving Beechdean Aston Martin for second, with early pacesetters Adam Balon and Phil Keen eventually settling for fourth.

Dominic Paul was a solid fifth alongside Jack Mitchell in the Century run BMW with Bradley Ellis and Ollie Wilkinson’s Optimum Aston Martin V8 Vantage sixth.

The quick Iain Loggie and Callum Macleod RAM Racing Mercedes entry was seventh after an eventful race, the former having adventures and running wide at Cascades when running third. Race One winners Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Junior in the #31 JRM Bentley were tenth in GT3 after late contact dropped the 2017 Champions down the order, while a frustrated Nicki Thiim and Mark Farmer retired to bring about the Safety Car just after GT3 pit stops.

Keen made much of the early running for Barwell Motorsport in a first stint punctuated by an early Safety Car as a result of a GT4 Mercedes beaching itself in the gravel at Cascades.

The Reading-based driver again made hay by pulling out a four-second lead before being held up in the now customary British GT pitlane chaos, with Neary the winner of the pitlane battles.

Thiim had climbed to fifth for Aston Martin before Farmer, who spun in Race One, repeated the trick while battling with Iain Loggie at Island Bend.

De Haan then set about Neary in relentless fashion, hustling and harrying the Mercedes before finally prising the door open at Hislop’s, the bottleneck ensuring that Howard passed Balon for fourth before Loggie’s off.

British GT – GT4: HHC and Dean MacDonald/Callum Pointon take GT4 Opening Race Honours

HHC Motorsport made a dream start to life with McLaren by winning their first race as a partnership courtesy of Dean MacDonald and Callum Pointon.

The duo were a feature at the front for the entire race having managed to split the leading Multimatic Racing Ford Mustangs of Jade Buford and Scott Maxwell, the Mustangs having been dominant on Saturday during qualifying.

Maxwell and teammate Seb Priaulx would go on to have dramas that would drop the fast Ford back through the order during the second stint as Maxwell went through the gravel after contact and Priaulx spun into the wall while on a comeback trail.

Buford and Chad McCumbee also dropped back as Mustang dominance on Saturday gave way to all-conquering McLarens in Race One on Monday morning.

The Tolman McLaren of James Dorlin and Lewis Smith took second place after an eventful run that included contact with the sister car of Jordan Collard. Collard and Lewis Proctor would retire from second on the penultimate lap after catching fire while challenging for the lead.

The second HHC McLaren of Luke Williams and Tom Jackson was third ahead of McCumbee and Butford, while Josh Price and Patrick Kibble of TF Sport were the highest placed Aston Martin in fifth position.

Matt George and Steve McCulley were the Pro/Am category winners in the Invictus Racing Jaguar ahead of Martin Plowman and Kelvin Fletcher, the former passing Plowman’s Beechdean Aston Martin late on to steal victory in class.

British GT – Rick Parfitt Jr and Seb Morris Win GT3 Opening Race

Rick Parfitt Junior and Seb Morris took a popular victory in the opening round of the season after an eventful start to the race on JRM’s British GT debut.

Phil Keen and Adam Balon were second as the lead two cars were in a class of their own, before Bradley Ellis and Ollie Wilkinson held off Jonny Cocker and Sam De Haan.

The two Century Motorsport BMWs driven Ben Green/Dominic Paul and Jack Mitchell/Adrian Willmott were next ahead of Jonny Adam/Graham Davidson and Adam Christodoulou/Richard Neary.

Rounding out the GT3 finishers were Marco Sorensen/Andrew Howard and Nicki Thiim/Mark Farmer, the latter spinning early on and unable to make inroads thereafter.

Drama found the British GT series as early as the second lap when Ryan Ratcliffe’s optimistic move on polesitter Iain Loggie had predictable consequences, the Scotsman spun around and both drivers left out of the race after just two minutes.

A lengthy clean up operation saw the Safety Car out for over ten minutes, and Parfitt was able to capitalise on his inherited lead having passed Sam De Haan at the start.

Parfitt was able to pull out a lead of over four seconds over De Haan, who had the attentions of both Century Motorsport BMWs of Paul and Willmott to contend with for much of the opening stint.

While almost all of the GT3 competitors pitted as soon as possible, Parfitt allowed an extra lap to avoid traffic in a tight Oulton Park pit lane. De Haan found out to his cost how tight the pit lane can be, as he lost several positions when handing over to teammate Cocker.

Cocker would pressurise the Aston Martin of Bradley Ellis for the duration of their second stint for third place to little avail at a narrow and twisty Oulton Park, with third place through to ninth covered by five seconds.

British GT – GT4 Qualifying – Multimatic Motorsports Dominate in GT4 qualifying

Scott Maxwell and Sebastian Priaulx took an unusual qualifying clean sweep in GT4 as the Multimatic Ford Mustangs dominated proceedings at a baking Oulton Park.

Canadian Maxwell, having previously never visited Oulton Park, took pole for the morning race on Monday ahead of teammate Jade Buford, with the HHC McLaren duo Dean MacDonald and Tom Jackson very much the best of the rest.

The TF Sport #95 entry of 16-year-old Patrick Kibble was the highest placed Aston Martin of the early session for TF Sport ahead of Tolman’s Jordan Collard and defending GT4 champions Century Motorsport with Mark Kimber.

Alex Toth-Jones in the Academy Motorsport Aston Martin was eighth, while James Dorlin was ninth for Tolman having graduated from the Renault Clio Cup last year ahead of Pro/Am category Championship contender Kelvin Fletcher in the Beechdean Aston Martin.

In Race Two qualifying, Priaulx was over a second clear of the field as he annihilated his GT4 counterparts.

Scott Malvern’s Team Parker Racing Mercedes was the next best, 1.1s behind the Ford Mustang with Michael Broadhurst third to make it an AMG 2-3.

Martin Plowman backed up teammate Fletcher’s earlier top ten starting position with fourth for Beechdean Aston Martin, with Tom Canning’s TF Sport Aston rounding out a competitive top five.

Matt George was sixth in the Invictus Racing Jaguar ahead of Luke Williams in the HHC McLaren and Lewis Proctor’s Tolman McLaren, with defending champions Century Motorsport ninth on the grid with Angus Fender and Josh Smith in the second Tolman completing the top ten.

Elsewhere, it wasn’t all plain sailing for the three Ford Mustang entries, as Sam Smelt and Aron Taylor-Smith hit strife in the Race Performance #23 to start from the back of the field on Bank Holiday Monday.

 

British GT – GT3 Qualifying: Loggie and Keen take qualifying spoils.

Iain Loggie will start from pole position for the first race of the British GT 2019 season after an impressive display during AM qualifying.

Loggie was over half a second clear in his first race since switching from Bentley to a Mercedes for this season at a hot Oulton Park.

The Scotsman will lead Ryan Ratcliffe’s Bentley away from the lights on Monday morning after a strong showing from the Welshman, with Sam De Haan’s Lamborghini completing the top three.

Rick Parfitt Junior will go from fourth after again teaming up with Bentley and Seb Morris, ahead of Dominic PAul and Adam Balon.

Callum Willmott and Mark Farmer complete row four as Aston Martin still try to find their feet with the new V8 Vantage ahead of Richard Neary and Graham Davidson, with the troubled Shaun Balfe McLaren and Ollie Wilkinson’s Aston Martin on the penultimate row ahead of Andrew Howard’s Beechdean Aston Martin.

In GT4 Pro qualifying, it was another strong RAM Racing showing as Adam Christodoulou was able to qualify third behind a stunning lap from Phil Keen in the Barwell Lamborghini and Callum Macleod’s excellent showing for Bentley.

Seb Morris’ fourth place to back the earlier result up of his teammate Parfitt suggests that Bentley are back on song after a difficult 2018 campaign for the 2017 champions.

Jonny Cocker was fifth for Barwell ahead of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen in the Aston Martins, while the Century Motorsport BMW duo of Jack Mitchell and Ben Green were eighth and ninth.

Defending champion Jonny Adam was only 10th in the TF Sport Aston Martin V8 Vantage, with Bradley Ellis and Glynn Geddie rounding off the GT3 class after Rob Bell’s McLaren failed to set a time.

IMAGE: Xynamic via @RAMRacing

Rolex 24 at Daytona Report: #10 takes the glory in rain-interrupted long haul

The #10 Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR) has done what many expected it to do before the race, take the victory in relatively dominant fashion. However, that win looked less than certain at times with the team avoiding disaster on more than one occasion. Daytona Prototype international (DPi) stole most of the headlines, but it was an intense race throughout the field with three other worthy winners in addition to the #10.

The 24-hour race lived up to the common IndyCar and NASCAR saying of ‘cautions breed cautions’ with 16 yellow periods, many of which came in quick succession of the previous caution. The rain was as bigger factor as any in deciding the race; forecasts predicted it would hit the track at 5 am local time and it arrived pretty punctually, starting to fall in the fourteenth hour of the race and then relentlessly falling for the remainder of it. The two red flags were both caused by excessive amounts of water on the track, with the second red flag eventually bringing an end to the race, ten minutes short of the scheduled time.

Qualifying is never the most important thing in a 24-hour race, and this was proven by the fact that only one of the four polesitters made it onto the class podiums. Despite this, the #77 Mazda DPi polesitter was a strong front-runner, leading on multiple occasions and fighting hard with the #10 WTR, #31 Whelen Engineering and the two Penskes; that was until the car caught fire in the night and was forced to retire.

The #55 Mazda didn’t exactly fare much better… after showing strong pace in the first half of the race, the #55 stopped out on track, disappeared behind the wall and was eventually retired from the race, just short of the seventeenth hour. Mazda had the pace, but they lacked the reliability, and that’s a problem in a 24-hour race.

Fortune was much more in favour of the victorious #10 with Fernando Alonso delivering an incredible overnight performance, and then another masterclass in the torrential rain, to help the team to the win. Jordan Taylor, Kamui Kobayashi and Renger Van Der Zande all also delivered admirable performances with teamwork well and truly making the dream work.

Towards the end of the race, the #31 looked to be in prime position for the win, but, like so many others, Felipe Nasr fell victim to the very slippery Turn 1, running wide and conceding the lead to Alonso shortly before the final red flag was flown. Second was clearly a bit of a disappointment for the Whelen Engineering team as they were so close to the victory, yet came away just one place short. Like most the other non-winners, they’ll be leaving Daytona thinking ‘what if…’.

Penske went into Daytona almost expecting a win, so coming away with only one of their cars on the podium is obviously going to be a bit of a let-down for them. Both the #6 and #7 were contenders for the win, but it all went wrong for the #6 when, not long after the race resumed from the first red flag, Simon Pagenaud pulled into the pits with white smoke billowing from the engine. The #6 went behind the wall and lost seventeen laps to the leader, re-emerging to finish the race in sixth place. The #7 had a better race, finishing third as the last car on the lead lap in DPi but there were certainly points, especially when Alexander Rossi was at the wheel, when it looked like they could’ve won.

With only four LMP2s in the race, there was always a risk that there wouldn’t actually be enough finishers to fill the podium; this was the reality when polesitter and eventual third-place finisher #81 stopped on track with three hours left on the clock and failed to get going again.

The #18 was nearly another casualty in LMP2 as it found itself in the barriers shortly before the final red flag. Despite the late incident, it was the #18 DragonSpeed that took the class win at the hands of Roberto Gonzalez, Pastor Maldonado, Sebastian Saavedra and Ryan Cullen. Saavedra summed up the situation under the second red flag better than anyone else stating that “these cars are not meant to be boats” when the Daytona track was more like a river.

GTLM was the only class where all entries were still running by the time the second red flag came out, but that’s not to say that the class didn’t have its share of drama.

Most of the media hype was centred around the car that ended up finishing last in class – the #24 BMW with a certain Alex Zanardi on the team. Trouble started for the team before even the second hour of the race when Zanardi got in for his first stint and the car failed to get away. It turned out to be a problem with the steering rack and its response to Zanardi’s specially adapted wheel and, after a bit of toing and froing, the #24 was back on track. During his stint, Zanardi was setting fastest laps for the class but it wasn’t long before trouble struck the team again and they eventually trundled home eighteen laps off the lead.

The other BMW, the #25, had a much better race as they took the class win after a relatively clean race where they only really had two dramas: one was a broken windscreen wiper and the other was some damage caused by puncture debris from another car. The successful crew were Connor De Phillippi, Philipp Eng, Colton Herta and Augusto Farfus, the latter of whom was a last-minute replacement for Tom Blomqvist who was ruled out of the race due to visa issues.

GTD was the largest class and proved to be where a lot of the action was at. There were various crashes, spins and breakdowns in the 23-car GTD field, but it was the #11 Grasser Racing run Lamborghini that took the victory after long-time leaders, #33 Mercedes, spun out just minutes before the red flag was flown. Three different manufacturers occupied the podium with Lamborghini winning, the Montasplast run Audi second and the AIM Vasser Sullivan run Lexus third – showing just how competitive the field was throughout the race.

That concludes what was a brilliantly eventful Rolex 24 at Daytona, packed full of action for every minute of the green flag running, and even for some of the yellow and red running! The IMSA season continues at Sebring on the 14th-16th March.

Results:

DPi

1)      #10 Wayne Taylor Racing – Van Der Zande / J. Taylor / Alonso / Kobayashi

2)      #31 Whelen Engineering Racing – Nasr / Curran / Derani

3)      #7 Acura Team Penske – Montoya / Cameron / Pagenaud

LMP2

1)      #18 DragonSpeed – Gonzalez / Maldonado / Saavedra / Cullen

2)      #38 Performance Tech Motorsports – K. Masson / R. Masson / Cassels / Wright

3)      #81 DragonSpeed – Hedman / Hanley / Lapierre / Allen

GTLM

1)      #25 BMW Team RLL – Farfus / De Phillippi / Eng / Herta

2)      #62 Risi Competizione – Rigon / Molina / Pier Guidi / Calado

3)      #912 Porsche GT Team – Bamber / L. Vanthoor / Jaminet

GTD

1)      #11 Grasser Racing Team – Ineichen / Bortolotti / Engelhart / Breukers

2)      #29 Montaplast by Land Motorsport – Morad / Mies / D. Vanthoor / Feller

3)      #12 AIM Vasser Sullivan – Montecalvo / Bell / Telitz / Segal

To view the full race results click here

 

(Featured image credit: IMSA)

British GT – Mitchell hangs on to GT4 championship

Jack Mitchell was crowned British GT4 champion after a nail-biting finale at the Donington Decider.

Along with Dean MacDonald, eighth place meant he beat Century Motorsport BMW teammates Ben Green and Ben Tuck, who were fifth, by a single point, and with the Tolman McLaren duo of Michael O’Brien a further point behind after a second place finish.

Finlay Hutchison and Daniel McKay took Equipe Verschuur McLaren’s first victory of the British GT season after plenty of near misses in 2018, with Tolman’s Joe Osborne and David Pattison completing an all McLaren 570s podium.

HHC’s Patrik Matthiesen suffered early trouble when he went off on the first lap and had to pit to clear his car of grass and debris, but that was one of few flashpoints in the GT4 class in the early throes of the race.

A serene opening stint was brought to life when the Academy Motorsport Aston Martin of Tom Wood suffered an engine failure and dropped oil all over the circuit, meaning that McKay took a detour at Redgate when he lost grip.

That brought the safety car out for the only time in the race, shortly before pitstops.

Pit stops were to prove a key part of this race, as the #4 McLaren gained plenty to climb to second while the lead, while both Century Motorsport BMWs now driven by Tuck and Mitchell were among those to be given a 10s stop/go as a result of pit infringements.

Tuck was able to recover to fifth after leaving the pits seventh, while Mitchell was ninth at after his penalty. He managed to pass the Invictus Jaguar of Jsson Wolfe to secure the title by a solitary point.