It was another victory for TF Sports Mark Farmer and Nicki Thiim as they took the GT3 win in the British GT Silverstone 500, the championships Blue Riband event. The duo also took the RAC trophy previously held by Rick Parfitt Jnr and Seb Morris. In an action packed race which saw multiple position changes at the front of the pack it was Barwell’s Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen that took second place after a great drive that saw them move up from twelfth place. In third place was Optimum Motorsports Jonny Adam and Flick Haigh in their first visit to the podium since their win at Oulton Park in April.
Riccardo Sanchez and Struan Moore who had began the race in pole position after a dominant qualifying run, looked set to repeat that performance holding a 16 second lead before the first round of pit stops, however when Struan Moore took over, the RJN Motorsport duo started to lose places.
Moore pitted again after completing just a few laps as his seat had come unclipped, slipped back in the Nissan GT-R Nismo and left Moore struggling to reach the pedals. Sanchez was duly sent back out and the pair eventually finished in fifth place.
Rick Parfitt Jnr had started the race in fourteenth place, was paired with former team mate Seb Morris who was drafted in at the very last minute when Ryan Radcliff was taken ill overnight. Parfitt Jnr set a great pace getting past Jon Minshaw then Andrew Howard before spinning out after over steering, dropping Parfitt Jnr down to 13th place.
Morris took the seat and the Team Parker Racing #1 Bentley went on to finish in P6, they were set for P4 but a two place penalty was awarded post race due to Morris committing a yellow flag infringement.
Mark Farmer held pole position until the first pit stop when Marco Sorensen in the #17 TF Sport Aston Martin moved ahead, multiple order changes occurred, Beechdeans #99 Aston Martin with Darren Turner at the wheel also taking P1 for a while, but the pair struggled throughout with the performance of the Vantage eventually finishing in ninth place. While Flick Haigh also fought her way up the order before handing the wheel to Jonny Adam in the final stint who consolidated their position.
Team ABBA’s Richard Neary made a return appearance at Silverstone alongside Adam Christadoulou, the team are currently entrants in the Britcar Endurance series, but just at over the half way point two bolts sheered from the front of the suspension mounting bringing the Mercedes AMG to a halt near the International pit straight and out of the race.
But it was Thiim and Farmer who remained unstoppable even despite losing places after a spin with Farmer at the wheel due to taking a hit from the #47Jetstream Motorsport Aston Martin. Thiim fought back hard after serving success penalties, with just a one second gap ahead of Phil Keen which he widened to 3 seconds, bringing the #11 Aston Martin home in first place for the second time this season.
Mark commented: “The team played a master stroke(with strategy) and Nicki drove the car like he stole it and the team executed the pit stops flawlessly. Nicki stated: It was a great weekend, we started off really good, it was perfect I am so happy to win this race”
GT4 found the #43 Century Motorsport BMW of Alex Schjerpen and Jack Mitchell take the win after some hard fought racing right down to the drop of the flag, securing a second back to back win for the Century Motorsport squad.
Equipe Verschuur’s Finlay Hutchison and Daniel McKay who had started the race on pole suffered with front suspension failure in the final hour forcing their retirement and handing the lead to #42 Century Motorsports Ben Green and Ben Tuck, however after serving their success penalty the duo dropped back towards the end of the race.
The Tolman Motorsport McLarens had mixed fortunes with two of the three having to retire but Lewis Proctor and Jordan Albert had a faultless drive moving from seventh into first place before being dropped back to second which they held for the remainder of the race. Ben Tuck did battle for third place with Academy Motorsports Matt Nicoll-Jones, with Tuck managing to hold Nicoll-Jones off initially but as Patrick Matthiesen also went into the fray however contact with the Academy Motorsport Aston Martin although giving a clear run to the finish line, also resulted in the positions being reversed post race.
While Matt George who was competing in two cars found himself without the drive in the Invictus Games Racing #44 when it was retired early on in the race. However the Aston Martin shared with James Holder faired better finishing seventh in class.
At the post race press conference Alex Schjerpen had this to say: “The BMW was flying and Century did a brilliant job of the pit stops, Jack went fastest and was flying as well! we knew the BMW would be good but didn’t know how good.”
The next British GT round takes place at Spa on July 21st-22nd.
Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick ©Allison Remzi