Minshaw and Keen on pole in Rockingham British GT Race

The Championship continues this weekend at Rockingham with Barwell Motorsports Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen taking an early lead in the Championship standings. A clerks ruling after the Oulton Park round declared the extremely wet second red flagged race, which never got beyond four laps behind the safety car, to be defined as a race(as more than two laps were run) and therefore championship points were awarded.

Fastest in free practice one was the ERC Sport Mercedes AMG of Lee Mowle and Yelmer Buurman, who currently sit in second place in the standings, with Minshaw and Keen just points of a second behind them and TF Sports Mark Farmer and Nicki Thiim third fastest.

In GT4 it was a full house for Tolman Motorsport  with the #5 McLaren of Lewis Proctor and Jordan Albert  quickest just ahead of #56 sister car driven by Michael O’Brien and Charlie Fagg, just ahead of #56 David Pattison and Joe Osborne.

There were multiple red flags in free practice two as the wet weather worsened, but it was the #75 Optimum Motorsport of Flick Haigh and Jonny Adam that were quickest ahead of TF Sports Mark Farmer and Nicki Thiim with the sister #17 TF Sport of Derek Johnston and Marco Sorensen third fastest.

Top of class in GT4 was #50 HHC Motorsport of Mike Newbould and Will Burns, followed by Team Parker Racings Nick Jones and Scott Malvern just ahead of Adam Balon and Ben Barnicoat in the Track-Club McLaren 570S

As the afternoons qualifying got underway, in GT3 AM Flick Haigh had a storming session, completing with a fastest lap of 1.32:844, doing battle with Jon Minshaw, who was second fastest on 1.33:828. Haigh commented that “the first corner was a balancing act but you have to push on” Lee Mowle was unable to finish the session after plowing the ERC Sport Mercedes AMG into the wall on the first lap.

However when the Pro’s took to the wheel Phil Keen put in a blistering performance with a fastest lap of 1:29.318, despite Jonny Adams best efforts and reducing the difference between the Barwell car and the Aston Martin it will be Keen and Minshaw on pole position for the two hour race tomorrow with Flick Haigh and Jonny Adam second on the grid and Nicki Thiim and Mark Farmer third on the grid.

GT4 sees Tolman Motorsports Michael O Brien and Charlie Fagg at the front of the class grid with the #5 Tolman Motorsport of Lewis Proctor and Jordan Albert in second position and Ben Green and Ben Tuck in the Century Motorsport BMW M4 in third. 

The two hour Rockingham British GT race takes place on Sunday at 1.10.

Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick ©Allison Remzi

Season kicks off for VSCC Formula Vintage at Silverstone

The opening round of the 2018 Vintage Sports Car Club Formula Vintage series took place at Silverstone last weekend. Drawing a large crowd of spectators, with action on and off track and unparalleled pit access, the VSCC events popularity is well deserved.

Dating back to 1949, the spring opener is a showcase for the best in historic racing, Formula Vintage was re-launched last year having previously been VSCC Racing.

On track action included the AR Motorsport Morgan Challenge, the series runs 9 classes  and is open to all 4 wheeled, road going Morgans. Other races included the Freddie Giles Memorial Race for Frazer Nashes, the GP Itala and Lanchester Trophies race for Vintage Racing Cars and the Fox & Nicholl Trophy for pre-war sports cars.

In addition here were guest competitors from the Historic Grand Prix Cars Association, Morgan Aero Challenge and FISCAR(Fifties Sports Cars).

There was also a lunchtime Pre-War track parade accompanying the eighteen races across the weekend.

Off track there was the MSA British Autotest Championship, a low speed course run for five classes of cars from saloons to sports cars. While on the Sunday the VSCC’s Autotest took place, a series of all forward driving tests. For the family there was also a funfair, vintage entertainment as well as trade stands.

Some of the cars on display around the paddock as well as on track included a stunning Lorraine Dietrich 16.5. Originally built in 1909 the Edwardian marque was restored over ten years by Richard Scaldwell, who has competed in the Chateau Impney Hill Climb in it.

Another car attracting some attention was the beautiful 1959 Lotus 15 owned by Rod Spollon. In its the day the marque was driven by the likes of Graham Hill, Innes Ireland and Roy Salvadori.

Formula Vintage continues at Oulton Park on May 19th.

VSCC Formula Vintage Gallery all images ©Andy Fitzpatrick  & Allison Remzi

Britcar Endurance Championship 2018 Opens at Rockingham

As the Britcar Endurance Championship 2018 opened at Rockingham it was a double win for Richard Neary in the Sprint category. Neary who has competed the last few years in British GT in the stunning Team ABBA Mercedes AMG, alongside Martin Short, saw off challenges by the Ferrari 458 of David Mason and Ross Wylie in race one and the Ferrari 488 of John Seale in race two.

Neary finished more than a minute ahead of Mason and Wyle in the opening race, while in the second race just under 3 seconds ahead of John Seale.

The endurance category was dominated by the two Black Mamba Racing Ginetta GT4’s, #22 driven by Andy Demetriou and Luke Williams, and Chris Papageorgiou and Jayde Kruger in #6. Demetriou/Williams took the endurance win in race one and third overall, with the #6 car taking second in class, barely seconds behind.

Taking third and fourth in class was the Team Hard Ginetta pairings of Simon Rudd and Tom Barley in #24 and #285 of Darron Lewis and Adam Hatfield.

In the second Endurance race it was another great show for Demetriou/Williams who took first overall and first in class, with the Track Focused KTM X Bow of Mike McCollum and Sean Cooper taking second and Team Hards Rudd/Barley completing the podium in third place.

Also out on track was Stewart Lines who currently competes in the newly launched TCR UK series. Alongside him in the Maximum Motorsport SEAT Cupra was BTCC competitor Adam Morgan.

From the TCR UK series was Darrelle Wilson in the beautiful Porscheshop 911 alongside Ian Heward. While it was also great to see  BTCC Rob Austins old Audi A4 “Sherman” in the hands of Alex and Robert Day.

The Championship continues at Silverstone on May 12th.

Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick

2018 Blancpain GT Series kicks off at Zolder

Last years champions Christian Engelhart and Mirko Bortolotti took the win in the first race of the opening round of the 2018 Blancpain GT Series at Zolder. The duo in the GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan, took a comfortable win just over 3 seconds ahead of the #2 Audi R8 of Belgian Audi Club Team WRT.

The first time Audi have been beaten at Zolder since 2014. The Audi had started the race on pole and looked to continue their dominant performance at the Belgian track, however a barnstorming performance by Engelhart and Borlotti brought the Huracan home, the first time at Zolder for Lamborghini since 2013.

Race two saw Robin Frijns in the #17 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT lose his pole place after having his fastest lap deleted when he hit a cone outside track limits and caused a red flag in qualifying.

Handed the pole place was Borlotti and Engelhart however a poor pit stop time caused by a seatbelt problem cost the race one winners their race.

The #2 Team WRT Audi was looking set to succeed however a drive through penalty for leaving the pit lane in an inappropriate manner handed pole and the win to the #66 Attempto-Audi of Steijn Schothorst and Kelvin van der Linde.

 

The Championship continues at Monza on 21st-22nd April

 

Images courtesy of Blancpain GT Series     www.blancpain-gt-series.com

 

WEC Prologue 2018

The 30 hour WEC Prologue 2018 test at Paul Ricard took place last weekend allowing a first glimpse of some new entrants and a taste of what the 2018 Super Season has in store.

Toyota led the way early on while testing their new cooling system and aero package unrestricted. But once the cars returned to LMP1 Equivalence of Technology regulations after Friday, their times dropped closer to the LMP1 privateer times.

After TVR teased its return to motorsport in the days prior to the test it was revealed they had teamed up with Rebellion racing for the Super Season, the Rebellion R-13 carrying the TVR branding on its stunning new livery, the #1 car finishing 4th overall in the weekends testing with Andre Lotterer at the wheel.

#1 Rebellion Racing (CHE) Rebellion R13-Gibson LMP1 – Andre Lotterer (DEU), Neel Jani (CHE), Bruno Senna (BRA), Mathias Beche (CHE), Gustavo Menezes (USA), Thomas Laurent (FRA) WEC Prologue , Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, Var, France

Former F1 driver Pastor Maldonado made his WEC debut in LMP2 with DragonSpeed and set the fastest time in the class of 1:40.771, with Nicolas Lapierre being second in class in the Signatech Alpine A470.

#36 Signatech Alpine (FRA) Alpine A470-Gibson LMP2 – Nicolas Lapierre (FRA), Andre Negrao (BRA), Pierre Thiriet (FRA) WEC Prologue , Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, Var, France

In GTE Pro it was the Porsche Motorsport GT team that topped the timings with Gianmaria Bruni setting the fastest time in the #91 911, with the sister #92 car second in class ahead of the two Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK cars.

GTE Am the #88 Dempsey Proton Porsche led the timings, meanwhile in the ELMS test the teams #77 car sustained serious damage early on meaning the #77 WEC car ran in its place.

There are several new drivers including Fernando Alonso, Antonio Felix da Costa on board, as well as up and coming young drivers such as Jazeman Jaafar and Oliver Rowland. And with new cars in the WEC Super Season such as the Ginetta Mecachrome there is much for endurance fans to look forward to over the next year.

The season begins in Spa on May 3rd/5th.

Images ©Paul Foster www.fozzyimages.co.uk

British GT Oulton Park Haigh and Adams make history but rain stops play

Mixed fortunes in difficult wet conditions at Oulton Park kicked off the 2018 British GT season. But it was a storming, historic win for Flick Haigh and Jonny Adam in race one. The race started with four Aston Martins in the top six, with the #17 TF Sport on the second row and #11 TF Sport Aston on the third row next to the #99 Beechdean Aston of Darren Turner and Andrew Howard.

As the race got underway under the safety car due to wet weather conditions, it was an unstoppable Flick Haigh who led the way in the Optimum Motorsport Aston with the #1 Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental of Rick Parfitt just behind. 

Early on there was contact between #11 TF Sports Mark Farmer and #33 Jon Minshaw, spinning Farmer round on the track but Minshaw continued on, hacking his way through to make second place. Shortly after #17 TF Sport of Derek Johnston also span off but rejoined the track, as Minshaw safely passed. Parfitt Jnr continued to spar with Ian Loggie, Loggie eventually making his way past in the 4th lap.

Further back the #62 Academy Motorsport Aston Martin of Will Moore slid off into the barriers after contact on track. The #53 Ultratek Racing Nissan of Kelvin Fletcher also took a spin off but rejoined, all the while Flick Haigh retained her lead.

20 mins into the hour race, Callum Pointon in the #55 HHC Motorsport Ginetta continued to hold the GT4 lead. As the pit window opened Loggie and Parfitt pitted at the same time while Minshaw stayed out until more pit traffic had cleared.

#11 TF Sport now with Nicki Thiim behind the wheel forged on to try and make the places lost earlier on. Jonny Adam continued to hold the lead after the driver change, while Phil Keen held second place closing the gap on Adam.

Half a minute back #99 Darren Turner had a fight on his hands with Yelmer Buurman in the ERC Sport Mercedes AMG.

Jonny Adam made a gap between himself and Keen but shortly after Keen pitted with wheel damage, handing second place to Turner. Further down the field Ryan Ratcliffe sat in 19th place. As the #116 Mercedes and #99 Aston Martin continued their fight over second place, Ben Barnicoat in the #72 Track-Club McLaren took the lead in GT4. while there was a McLaren battle going on further back in GT3 between  #5 & #56 Tolman Motorsport and #501 Balfe Motorsport.

With 14 minutes to go Buurman began to close the gap on Turner as the duo got tangled in traffic. After the earlier wheel incident Keen held fourth place, while Adam had more than a second lead on Darren Turner.

The #50 Ginetta of Will Burns was off the track and out of the race, while at the front of the pack in the dying minutes the racing was fiercer between Turner and Buurman in the battle for second place. But it was an Aston Martin 1-2 with Adam and Haigh taking first place, the first outright win by a woman in British GT and Darren Turner and Andrew Howard taking second place with Yelmer Buurman and Lee Mowle taking third place.

In GT4 Ben Barnicoat and Adam Balon took the win while the Century Motorsport BMW of Ben Green and Ben Tuck was originally in P2 until a post race 30 second penalty for a short pitstop dropped them further down the order moving Tolman Motorsports Charlie Fagg and Michael O Brien up to 2nd place while Ricky Collard, who had been drafted in to partner Jack Mitchell in the #43 Century Motorsport BMW, made the third step of the podium.

Race Two began unceremoniously for Optimum Motorsport when Jonny Adam tried to join the grid but aquaplaned on standing water and made contact with a barrier doing damage to the left rear of the Aston Martin Vantage, putting it back into the garage.  Such were the conditions that the field only managed four laps under the safety car before the race and rest of the event was red flagged.

The Championship continues at Rockingham on 28th/29th April.

Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick

Daniel Lloyd takes double win in first TCR UK round at Silverstone

West Coast Racing’s Daniel Lloyd made a clean sweep in the debut round of the TCR UK round at Silverstone.

The 25 year old had a fight on his hands from Aiden Moffatt in race one but Lloyd’s experience shone through. Moffatt had been given a 5 second time penalty for exceeding track limits but this was overturned post race shifting the podium order, putting Moffatt back into second place,

Oli Taylor in third place and bumping West Coast Racings Andreas Backman back into 4th place. Further back down the order there was a fight for 5th place between Howard Fuller and Finlay Crocker with contact being made between the two, but Fuller eventually securing 5th position.

Stewart Lines and Carl Swift had their own battle with Lines being able to take advantage when Swift had a spin, also giving Lines the race one DSG Trophy honours. Meanwhile Lewis Kent and Darelle Wilson had contact which took Wilson into the gravel and out of the race and Kent into last place. Unfortunately Derek Wilson again suffered mechanical issues meaning he had to retire half way through.

In race two it had looked like Moffatt again was going to be on the podium however in the last few laps fuel shortage meant the Laser Tools Racing driver had to pull out handing second place to Andreas Backman, with Daniel Lloyd again dominating the field.

Lines again took the DSG Trophy honours, while Darelle Wilson back on track after his incident in race one finished in 7th place just behind the rapid Jessica Backman.

The weekend confirms how much potential the championship has with close, exciting racing. The series is sure to attract a larger field and following very quickly, with the kind of spectacle sure to thrill any motorsport fan.

Images ©Allison Remzi  ©Andy Fitzpatrick