This weekend will see the British GT roll into Silverstone circuit, located in Towcester, Northamptonshire. This weekend’s race will have one of the biggest number of entries for the Silverstone 500 race. The reason its named 500 is because the race distance will be 500 kilometres long and will last for three hours. This weekend will see the whole entire grid paying a tribute to the late Neil Cunningham, all teams, drivers and championship organisers will be invited to the front of the grid prior to the race start to have photos taken with a Racing4MND banner, Sunday would have been Neil’s 54th birthday.
There will be fifty-one cars entering the three-hour race with both GT3 and GT4s having additional entries to the normal grid as well as the European GT4s joining to race on the GP circuit. This race could be quite crucial to the title fighters this year as there is a maximum of 37.5 points on offer to each of the races class winners.
Two weeks ago Oulton Park hosted two one hour races, the two races threw in some unexpected twists and turns for teams and drivers. With their being a huge number of entrants for the weekend there is no doubt about it, there will very likely be some incidents around the circuit as they all battle for the honours. In total there is eighteen GT3s, sixteen GT4s and seventeen GT4 European Series entries. The European GT4s will not be counting towards the British GT championship but they will be enjoying their own race whilst on track at the same time as the British GT GT3s and GT4s.
The question upon many lips is: Can anybody beat the Team Parker duo of Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jnr during this weekend?
TF Sport have been the team to have the most dominant start to the 2016 British GT season, but that domination ended at Oulton Park two weeks ago. Team Parker Racing are the team who ended their win streak after Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jnr charged through in the second race after having the first race ruined after a McLaren blocking them in the pits. So far this season the Team Parker Racing drivers have been on the podium three times out of the four races. This weekend they will have to overcome a pit stop success penalty of twenty seconds to achieve a win.
Barwell Motorsport are running two Lamborghini Huracans this year, the exact model of car that claimed pole position during the Blancpain GT Series round at Silverstone in the middle of May. The Barwell team scored their maiden win during Oulton Park’s race one two weeks ago. This weekend Liam Griffin is partnered with Alexander Sims for the first time this year after the latter had previous commitments which clashed with the opening three race weekends. The team have no pit stop success penalty to overcome, this could help to see the #6 car at the sharp end of the field challenging for a podium. Also expected to be at the high end of the grid is the sister Lamborghini in the hands of Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen after they secured pole position at Oulton Park.
TF Sport had been on a winning streak which had begun at Donington Park during last season’s finale. The winning streak was ended at Oulton Park, the team did score some consistent points to keep their title fight alive. The championship leaders now lead by twenty-one and a half points over Griffin as they head to the Northamptonshire circuit, no doubt the team will be looking to return to winning. If they do succeed and become victorious Jonny Adam will equal the current record for the most number of British GT GT3 wins, the record currently stands at eleven.
Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse’s Alasdair McCaig and Rob Bell were able to enjoy a trouble free outing at Oulton Park to secure their first podium of the season. They will therefore have to endure a fifteen second success penalty added onto their pit stop time. McLaren 650S GT3 cars have already been successful around Silverstone in the past including an overall win in the British GT last year.
Current reigning champion Andrew Howard and co-driver Ross Gunn are sititng sixth in the championship standings after a consistent points scoring start to the season in their Aston Martin V12 Vantage. Silverstone provides ample opportunity for the Beachdean AMR duo to make progress and score some vital points towards their championship fight. Gunn previously dominated around the circuit in the GT4 class with Jamie Chadwick.
AmDTuning.com driver’s Lee Mowle and Joe Osborne drove a very defensive race last time out at Oulton Park which saw the duo get their first podium of the season. Their BMW Z4 has always been good on brakes but lacks in straight line speed which is vital for the weekend coming up. This could cause big issues for the AmD team as they will be looking to be on the podium again.
There are quite a few new entries to the GT3 field such as experienced racers Marco Attard and Adam Carroll in their FF Corse run Ferrari 488 during its debut race in the championhip. Team Parker and Barwell Motorsport are both running additional cars, Team Parker will be running a second Bentley for Ian Loggie and Callum MacLeod whilst Barwell are running an extra Lamborghini for Richard Abra and Mark Poole. MB Motorsport are also going to be an additional entry in an Aston Martin V12 Vantage.
Only nine and a half points separate the Teams’ championship leaders TF Sport from reigning GT3 Teams champions Barwell Motorsport. Meanwhile Team Parker Racing’s second entry could help them close the gap to the two above so help bump Morris and Parfitt Jnr up the order from third.
Make sure you tune in to Motors TV on Sunday 12th June at 12:30 BST to see the live coverage of the British GT Championship race from Silverstone.
The current lap records for the British GT Championship around the GP circuit are:
GT3 ~ 2:03.599 ~ Jonny Adam ~ Beachdean AMR ~ Aston Martin V12 Vantage ~ 2015.
GT4 ~ 2:16.016 ~ Ricardo van der Ende ~ Ekris ~ BMW M3 ~ 2013.
The timetable for the upcoming weekend of British GT is as follows:
Saturday 11th June:
09:30 – 10:30 ~ Free Practice One
12:10 – 13:00 ~ Free Practice Two
15:40 – 15:50 ~ Qualifying GT3 Am
15:54 – 16:04 ~ Qualifying GT3 Pro
16:08 – 16:18 ~ Qualifying GT4 Am
16:23 – 16:33 ~ Qualifying GT4 Pro
Sunday 12th June
09:35 – 09:45 ~ Warm Up
12:50 – 15:50 ~ Race (Live on Motors TV)
The drivers and teams facing pit stop success penalties are:
GT3: 20 seconds – Rick Parfitt Jnr and Seb Morris – Team Parker Racing (#31)
15 seconds – Alasdair McCaig and Rob Bell – Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse (#79)
10 seconds – Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen – Barwell Motorsport (#33)
GT4: 20 seconds – Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson – Optimum Motorsport/PMW Expo Racing (#50)
15 seconds – Marcus Hoggarth and Abbie Eaton – Ebor GT (#60)
10 seconds – Aaron Mason and Robert Barrable – RCIB Insurance Racing (#75)
©Fay Tilley 10th June 2016.