British GT – Igoe and Keen steal a march in GT3, while Century Motorsport have a day to remember in GT4

Michael Igoe and Phil Keen started their season with the victory as fans were welcomed back to the British GT Championship for the first time in over a year.

The series returned with another revised calendar following the impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic, with the traditional Easter opener at Oulton Park not scheduled until the penultimate weekend of the season.

The WPI Lamborghini duo of Igoe and Keen dominated at Brands Hatch to take the lead of the GT3 and overall lead of the series at this early stage.

Beachdean Aston Martin duo Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam were second having started on pole ahead of Barwell’s Lamborghini driven by Leo Machitski and Dennis Lind, who kept Adam more than honest for large parts of the race.

Defending champions Pro-Am Yelmer Buurman and Iain Loggie were fourth in RAM Racing’s Mercedes ahead of Richard and Sam Neary, who topped the Bronze-Am class.

Gus Burton and Will Burns picked up the GT4 spoils after Charlie Robertson hit strife late on to give perennial challengers Century Motorsport victory in the BMW M4, Century helping themselves to a 1-2 finish courtesy of Pro-Am class winners Chris Salked and Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke.

Burton and Burns had led the first stint, but being a Silver Crew instead of a Pro-Am pairing they had an extra 20s added to their pit stop time, which ended any chance of them leading after the stops when the second safety car period bunched the field up.

Burton picked his way through the field in the competitive BMW and was given a huge slice of luck when the leading Ginetta had to pit.

James Kell and Jordan Collard took third behind Ginetta ranks graduate Salkeld and Gordon Colebrooke, in Team Rocket RJN’s McLaren.

Salkeld was himself involved in one of the early Safety Car incidents, contact with a Toyota terminally ending Scott McKenna’s and John Ferguson’s race.

The result means that Century take an already significant lead in the GT4 teams championship, 42 points clear of any other team after the opening weekend of 2021.

Next up, the championship heads to Silverstone in 5 weeks time to take on the crown jewel of the British GT season, the 3-hour Silverstone 500 race.

*Image courtesy of Dan Buckel, via the British GT Gallery

British GT: Kelvin Fletcher -I defended for half an hour!

Kelvin Fletcher feels that the podium he and Martin Plowman earned in the British GT GT4 Pro/Am category was hard-earned on Sunday afternoon.

Speaking before the disqualification of Sennan Fielding and Richard Williams of Steller Motorsport for a technical infringement, Fletcher and Plowman both feel that there is more to come from the Beechdean Aston Martin GT4 package, but Fletcher still considers it a big step up from last year’s Nissan 370Z.

“We made some small changes to the set-up this morning and so we had two laps to feel the setup and we went with that. I defended for half an hour, spent the whole race driving with my mirrors,” Fletcher began.

“The Aston Martin is night and day compared to the Nissan. The Nissan was a good car but it was seven or eight years old, these new GT4 cars are all so much more advanced. The AMs say that is an easier drive, the disparity between the Pro and the Am has come down a lot and that shows that how much easier to drive they are.”

Fletcher was pleasantly surprised at the result and says there’s still more to come from the duo and their car.

“It’s been a nice step forward to be in a car that is more balanced, more current and more competitive.”

“Me and Martin are as well, we’re only two weekends into the Championship, still five more to go and hopefully if this is one of our more disappointing weekends then we can build from here.”

Like Plowman, Fletcher felt that the body contact strayed close to the limit and he was mindful to avoid that for the two shorter races this weekend.

“It was a bit too much elbows out this weekend, I started Race One and it was just carnage. We had some unfortunate contact in Race Two at Oulton Park so we were mindful of that damage because it affects your budget for the year, we knew we had two races today so we kept out of trouble and raced clean. It’s easier said than done because when everyone thinks it’s a Touring Car race meeting, it is absolute carnage.”

IMAGE – CRAIG WHEELDON