The championship drew to a spectacular close at Donington this weekend with Bentley’s Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jnr taking the 2017 title in GT3 after outgoing Champs Jonny Adam and Derek Johnston passed the mantle in grand style by taking the final race win of the season.
The TF Sport Duo led from the front during free practice 2 and qualifying on Saturday and were unstoppable on Sunday finishing just under 7 seconds ahead of the sister car helmed by Jon Barnes and Mark Farmer.
But the day belonged to Parfitt Jr and Morris, perceiving themselves as the underdogs for the title fight between them and Barwells Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen. The much discussed 20 second success penalty for Morris and Parfitt from Brands became irrelevant in the end as the tide had already turned in their favour before the pit window opened.
But the outcome was not as straightforward as anyone may have thought, with the two TF Sport cars in first and second place, Barwells Phil Keen in third place and with the Team Parker Racing Duo already having more than a ten point lead on Minshaw and Keen, finishing fourth under the flag was enough to secure the Championship. However the results were amended post race excluding Minshaw and Keen due to overtaking under a yellow flag.
Early on Jon Minshaw took second place from Johnston but a spin out at Esses dropped the #33 Huracan way down the order, not recovering until Phil Keen’s drive which included one of his fastest laps of the season, and putting him right on Jon Barnes tail. But despite a sterling job by Keen to recover lost ground it was a popular and some would say fairytale ending for Rick Parfitt Jr and Seb Morris closing the season Bentley style.
In GT4 it was no surprise that the title went to HHC’s Will Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton. They maintained a twenty-five point lead moving from Brands Hatch, so a second place finish was all they needed to secure the GT4 Championship. With both drivers aged only 17 they become the youngest pairing to win a British GT title.
The race win went to Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson in their first top step of the podium visit of the season.
The GT4 class was not without incident with a few DNF’s including Red Bull Garage 59’s Mclaren driven by Akhil Rabindra after contact with In2Racings Will Phillips, the UltraTek Racing Nissan #53 of Richard Taffinder which span out after sliding on oil, the sister car also retiring later and GT4 polesitter Will Moore in the Academy Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage which slowed with technical problems then was hit by Lanan Racings Alex Reed, causing retirement for him, and the Aston Martin retiring seven laps later.
It was a different story for Niall Murray who finished his first season in British GT with third place on the podium alongside Jacob Matthiessen in the Century Motorsport Ginetta. Murray fought hard after the duo started 12th row on the grid, taking third place from team mate Mike Simpson in the closing stages.
GT3 Teams Championship-Barwell Motorsport
GT3 Drivers Championship-Seb Morris & Rick Parfitt Jr
GT3 Pro-Am Drivers-Seb Morris & Rick Parfitt Jr
GT3 Silver Driver- Jack Mitchell
Gentlemans Trophy-Rick Parfitt
GT4 Teams Championship– HHC Motorsport
GT4 Drivers Championship– Will Tregurtha & Stuart Middleton
GT4 Pro-Am Drivers- Graham Johnson & Mike Robinson
GT Silver- Stuart Middleton & Will Tregurtha
The British GT season returns with the first round at Oulton Park on March 31st-April 2nd 2018
Allison Remzi Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick ©Allison Remzi