Barwell Motorsport’s Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen managed to battle through the horrendous weather conditions during the three hour long British GT race at Silverstone on Sunday to take the victory. The team pulled off a well thought through pit stop strategy to assist in the duo taking the win, they pitted early on as the race was started under safety car conditions. This was the second podium the Lamborghini Huracan drivers have achieved so far in 2016 but their first overall win since 2014s season finale at Donington Park.
AmDTuning.com’s Joe Osborne and Lee Mowle managed to finish in second place, this made it two second place finished at the same circuit within twelve months. FF Corse’s Adam Carroll and Marco Attard took the maiden podium for the Ferrari 488 GT3 during the debut for the new car in the British GT championship. The top seven of the GT3 cars were filled by seven different manufacturers.
Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen’s victory proved the skills both drivers possess as they battled through the rain and poor visibility to claim the victory but it also showed how much of a part the team play in making sure the pit stops happen at the right time and run smooth without any hiccups. Due to the amount of water on the surface of the track the organisers of the British GT championship made the decision to start the 500 kilometre race behind a safety car as they felt it was the safest option. After just two laps of the race Barwell Motorsport brought both of their Lamborghinis into the pit lane for the mandatory driver change to get the pro class drivers out in the session whilst most teams stayed out and let the am class drivers battle the weather. The race was started one lap after as the organisers deemed it to be safe enough to go green to race.
There was a clear show that the pace of the cars was down in the wet as most noticed that the difference between pro class driver’s times and am class driver’s times were about ten seconds apart. During the race each team had to make three mandatory pit stops and driver changes. Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen’s advantage was not visible until they had done their last pit stop and were onto their last stint of the race.
Tolman Motorsport’s pair of Ginettas lead the middle part of the race after a second safety car was deployed with just thirty-four minutes of the race having been completed. Mike Simpson, who had jumped on board the Ginetta after three laps, was now in the lead of the race with teammate Luke Davenport in second. After brilliant driving by Simpson and Davenport the am drivers from the team, Ian Stinton and David Pattison, were able to come out leading the race with a Tolman one-two after the third and final caution period of the race after their last pit stop with fifty-five minutes of the race remaining. Unfortunately for the Tolman team their Ginettas on wet tyres were no competition for Phil Keen, who was now running on slick tyres after the weather conditions improved significantly.
AmDTuning.com’s Lee Mowle showed good pace during the early stages of the race, this was followed by Joe Osborne driving fantastically in the final part of the race which helped bring the BMW Z4 home in second place, earning the duo a well-deserved podium. The duo had to make two pit stops quickly after one another after they wrongly switched to rain tyres instead of slicks for the final part of the race. After managing to pass the pair of Tolman Ginettas the BMW driver headed off to catch up with Adam Carroll’s Ferrari and Rob Bell’s McLaren, who were too busy battling eachother. This let Osborne pass the two and start his chase of the Optimum Motorsport run Audi in the hands of Welshman Ryan Ratcliffe. Osborne had just fourteen minutes and twenty-seven seconds to chase down the Audi, at first it looked unlikely but his pace proved otherwise. The AmDTuning.com driver set a lap time of 2:04.374 during his pursuit which earned him the Sunoco Fastest Lap of the Race. He caught and overtook Ratcliffe with two laps of the race remaining. Adam Carroll and Rob Bell, who were still in a tight competitive battle both managed to pass Ratcliffe on the last lap of the race with just over a second covering the two at the flag. Ratcliffe’s co-driver Will Moore showed his pace and determination when he overtook over ten cars during the opening part of the race, Ratcliffe brought the stunning Audi home in fifth place.
After driving excellently in the first stint Motorbase’s Phil Dryburgh earnt himself the Blancpain Gentleman Driver of the Weekend Award. His co-driver Ross Wylie drove well during the race to bring the car home in sixth place.
Tolman driver pairing of Mike Simpson and Ian Stinton finished in seventh ahead of Mark Farmer and Jon Barnes in the TF Sport Aston Martin taking eighth. Next up was the Beechdean AMR V12 in the hands of Andrew Howard and Ross Gunn in ninth with the second Tolman Ginetta with David Pattison and Luke Davenport at the wheel in tenth.
Quite a few of the GT3 competitors were forced to retire from the race, one of which being the sister Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini in the hands of Liam Griffin and Alexander Sims. The duo had been running well through the difficult conditions before Griffin was hit by a GT4 European Series entry causing the team to have to retire the car after it broke the steering. The GT4 competitor was excluded from the results after the contact.
The Team Parker Racing Bentley in the hands of Rick Parfitt Jnr and Seb Morris started the race from pole position drove well in the beginning of the race during the horrific conditions. Unfortunately, Parfitt Jnr began stopping backwards before Seb Morris took over the driving duties. Morris got up to third before he was forced wide when trying to pass back markers on the Wellington Straight, after going across the rough grass the front splitter broke and pierced the radiator meaning the team had no other option than to retire.
TF Sport’s Derek Johnston entered the race weekend leading the GT3 class points with teammate Jonny Adam. The duo started the race in third place before suffering an accident at the Maggotts/Becketts section of the track which unfortunately side-lined the TF Sport pair. Despite not scoring any points from Silverstone due to the DNF the TF Sport driver pairing are still leading the standings but now only have 11.5 points in front of Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw. Liam Griffin is ten points back equal with former teammate Carroll in third.
Team Parker didn’t leave the weekend without anything as they won the PMW Expo Team of the Weekend Award after their amazing effort to repair both the #31 Bentley and the #24 Bentley after both sustained damage and were looking doubtful for the race.
The next round of the British GT Championship will take place at Spa-Francorchamps located in Belgium on July 8th/9th.
©Fay Tilley 17th June 2016.