The 2017 British GT Championship was well and truly kick-started this weekend with Ginetta firmly making its mark at Oulton Park.
Mike Simpson and Anna Walewska kicked things off by setting a brand new British GT4 pole position lap record, putting them on the front row in the Pro qualifying. Simpson set the lap, posting a time six-tenths quicker than the previous lap record.
For the first race of the weekend, the track was slippery following an earlier shower. It didn’t deter the HHC Motorsport duo of William Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton however. Making their mark in the opening race, the pair finished second in class. Elsewhere in GT4, last year’s champions Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson completed the class top three in third.
In the first of the GT3’s, Harry Gottsacker was still getting to grips with the UK weather and completed his first wet laps along with teammate Nathan Freke. The Century Motorsport duo drove a solid race coming across the line in eighth place.
In race two, Simpson was looking forward to a strong race from pole position. However, contact from the Team Parker Racing’s Porsche sent the G55 GT4 into a spin and well down the order. The pair fought back, but were ultimately forced to settle for an unrepresentative 13th in class.
The pairing of David Pittard and Alex Reed took the second GT4 win of the weekend in the Lanan Racing G55 GT4. HHC Motorsport's Tregurtha and Middleton continued to prove they are a pairing to be taken seriously. A flawless drive from the teenagers resulted in them just missing out on a podium spot, but they managed to secure fourth in class overall come the chequered flag.
Sam Webster and Matt Chapman were driving a flawless race before getting caught up in accident damage which forced the G55 GT4 onto the grass to avoid the debris sending them spinning multiple times. Optimum Motorsport’s Graham Johnston and Mike Robinson must have been the luckiest duo on the grid inheriting third position of the weekend following a time penalty added to the winning McLaren.
Stuart Middleton, HHC Motorsport; “It is absolutely fantastic to be on the podium for the first race of the British GT. I couldn’t really ask for me considering it's my debut. I think the pace is there and we are definitely capable of challenging at the sharp end. I feel there is more to come, so hopefully next race we should have a bit more as well. Very happy with how the car has felt. Setup wise we seem to have cracked it pretty well!”
William Tregurtha, HHC Motorsport; “Really happy with that! The first stint was pretty interesting and as the track changed state it was pretty difficult to keep on top of that. We struggled a little at the start but we managed to get the pace back into the car about half way through and Stuart drove a really good second stint too so we are both really happy overall. The car feels good, I’m liking it a lot. The ABS was working really well. Our mid corner speed is so good compared to others so I’m incredibly pleased.”
Mike Robinson, Optimum Motorsport “I think it was staying out of trouble a lot of it! There was a coming together just ahead of me but thankfully I managed to avoid it all but I started off a little bit cautious but the car felt better than it did in qualifying. We knew we have to try to race well but we are delighted on the podium”
The next rounds of the 2017 British GT Championship take place on the weekend of 29th and 30th April.