Barwell Motorsport’s Alexander Sims showed exactly what he is capable of during the first free practice session of the British GT race weekend at Silverstone after he topped the timing screens. At the same time Generation AMR Macmillan Racing driver Matty Graham topped the times for the GT4 classes of both British GT and the European GT4 entrants.
Sims is making his return to the championship this weekend after being forced to miss the previous three meetings of the season due to commitments with BMW Motorsport. Despite missing the first four races he got to grips with the Lamborghini he shares with Liam Griffin very quickly. The Lamborghini is very different to the BMW M6 GT3 he has been driving during the beginning of the season, however it showed just how good of a driver Sims is. During the session Sims set a fastest lap time of 2:01.991 which was set in the early stages of the first hour long free practice session. At the end of the session the Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini was still top of the times, just 0.175 seconds quicker than the AmDTuning.com run BMW Z4 in the hands of Joe Osborne, which finished second in the race at Silverstone in 2015.
Team Parker Racing’s Seb Morris was another driver to lap very quick during the beginning of the session, ending the session in third place on the timing screens. Jonny Adam, the current championship leader, finished the first session in fourth aboard his TF Sport run Aston Martin Vantage. He was 0.447 seconds slower than Alexander Sims fastest lap time. Phil Keen aboard the second Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini finished the session in fifth place. Next up on the timing screens was Jody Fanin in his PFL Motorsport run Aston Martin finished sixth with just two hundredths of a seconds between him and seventh placed Jon Barnes in the second of the TF Sport Astons. Adam Carroll aboard the FF Corse’s Ferrari 488 finished eighth, just 0.010 seconds behind Barnes. Carroll is partnering Marco Attard this weekend making the Ferrari 488’s debut in the British GT championship.
In the GT4 class there is thirty-three cars, a mix of both British GT competitors and GT4 European Series competitors. Topping all of the GT4 times was Matty Graham aboard the Generation AMR Macmillan Racing Aston Martin. Graham set the best time of GT4 which was 2:13.503 in the early stages of the session. Next in GT4 was Beachdean AMR’s drivers Jack Bartholomew and Jordan Albert just 0.162 seconds behind. Third place was JWBird Motorsport’s Jake Hiddings. Optimum Motorsport’s Mike Robinson finished the session fifth, but fourth in the British GT competitors. Meanwhile Academy Motorsport, who are making their return to the series this weekend, showed how competitive they can be with Dennis Strandberg and Matt Nicoll-Jones at the wheel taking fifth in the British GT competitors but sixth overall in GT4. Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse’s Sandy Mitchell and Ciaran Haggerty were only half of a tenth behind the reigning teams champions Academy Motorsport. Fox Motorsport’s Jamie Stanley in the Ginetta and Abbie Eaton in the Ebor GT run Maserati were both less than a tenth behind.
Most of the GT4 European Series teams and drivers were still trying to find their feet around the Silverstone GP circuit but this allowed the British GT GT4 competitors to steal eleven of the first thirteen positions during the first free practice session.
©Fay Tilley 11th June 2016.