BTCC Support races Donington.

The BTCC support races were at Donington Park testing ahead of this weekends round, and we were trackside to catch the action.

In the F4 British Championship the combined classification of both practice sessions found Louis Foster topping the timings ahead of Carlin’s Zane Maloney, proving to be a taste of things to come with Foster taking the win in race one on Saturday, and making it to the podium in race two in third place behind Bart Horsten in first place and Joe Turney in second. Arden Motorsports Horsten made it his second visit to the podium across the weekend, after taking third place in race one with Josh Skelton taking second.

Race three compounded Fosters dominance at Donington as he took the win in an eventful race, where some great battles took place throughout. Foster is in his maiden season with Double R Racing and the F4 Championship, indeed his first season in single seater racing after a successful year in the Ginetta Junior Championship which saw him finishing his debut season as Vice-Champion and Rookie Champion.

Foster currently leads the Championship, seventeen points ahead of second place Sebastian Alvarez. Also joining the F4 British Championship this year alongside Louis Foster is Reema Juffali, the groundbreaking, female, Saudi Arabian driver who only made her racing debut in October 2018. The 27 year old faces a huge challenge very early on in her burgeoning career, taking her first steps into such a competitive championship, but Juffali is positive about her history making debut,  keen to represent her country and pave the way for other female racers.

In the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship, combined classification found Dan Harper leading the way ahead of the weekend, going on to take the win in race one, George Gamble in second place and Josh Webster completing the podium. Race two found Josh Webster in first place with Lewis Plato in second and Dan Harper in third place. All of which means that as things stand Dan Harper leads the Championship. Harper is in his second year in the Championship after winning the PCCGB scholarship in 2017, being awarded a full time drive for two years. He completed the 2018 season in fifth place in the Pro Class.

The Ginetta races as usual, were a great watch, in the GT4 Supercup there was lots of action  including an enormous, high speed crash involving multiple cars which brought the race to an early end. Miraculously no-one was seriously hurt and the rest of the programme resumed with minimum delay.

BTCC moves on to Thruxton on 18th-19th May.

Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick Full Gallery at: http://www.finishlinephotos.net/index.php/nggallery/page/6?p=13359

British GT season 2019 gets underway at Oulton Park

Race one at Oulton Park found 2017 British GT champs Rick Parfitt Jnr and Seb Morris on the top step of the podium after an eventful race. Ian Loggie behind the wheel of the RAM Racing Mercedes AMG, made a great start from pole, further back Rick Parfitt Jnr made his way into third place, while Ryan Ratcliff in the #7 Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental was showing some very racey form. Meanwhile Mark Farmer in the #2 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage, ran out into the gravel, rejoined but had lost places.
On the approach to Hislops chicane disaster struck for Ian Loggie when Ryan Ratcliff locked up after wrongly anticipating where Loggie would brake on the downhill stretch, became airborne alongside hammering into him, taking both cars out of the race and bringing the safety car out. Ratcliff was later handed a 15 second penalty and  went onto apologise to all involved: “ A huge sorry to RAM, Ian and Callum(Macleod) I was under immense pressure, I braked where I braked previously, but I was going too fast. This is a non contact sport, Ian and Callum are going to be pretty angry, but things can happen in a split second”. Rick Parfitt Jnr inherited first place before handing the drive to Seb Morris when the pit window opened, just behind Morris was Phil Keen in the #72 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan. Keen was on fresh tyres while Morris remained on old, Keen clocked the fastest lap and began extending his lead from third place Bradley Ellis in the #96 Optimum Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage. The #4 Tolman Motorsport Mclaren of James Dorlin and Josh Smith, took the lead in GT4 after pitting, while the Ford Mustangs began falling back. Jonny Cocker in the other Barwell Motorsport car fought hard with #96 for third place, at one point Bradley Ellis hit a curb hard trying to hold third place.
By now in GT4 #57 HHC Mclaren of Callum Pointon was holding the lead while the #32 Track Focused KTM X-Bow was off track and was knocked back into last place. There was more drama still as the race drew towards its conclusion with the #15 Mustang of Seb Priaulx made contact with the #77 Fox Motorsport Mercedes AMG of Michael Broadhurst, the duo both losing places, the promising start of the Ford Mustang over in that race at least as it finished second to last. While there was an engine fire for #5 Tolman Motorsport Mclaren of Lewis Proctor after contact hitting the exhaust.
So as the chequered flag fell on a breathless opening race in British GT, it was victory for Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jnr, with Adam Balon and Phil Keen in second place and third place going to Olver Wilkinson and Bradley Ellis.
In GT4 the win went to Callum Pointon and Dean Macdonald, second place to James Dorlin and Josh Smith, with third place going to Tom Jackson and Luke Williams, a 3 for 3 for Mclaren.
Race two found Sam De Haan and Jonny Cocker taking the win, giving Barwell Motorsport their second podium place of the weekend, success penalties made little difference to race pace, Phil Keen holding pole, however the safety car was called upon making an impact on Keens lead,  when on the first lap #77 Fox Motorsport of Michael Broadhurst was buried deep in the gravel at Cascades after contact with the #97 TF Sport of Tom Canning, earning him a 30 second penalty.
There was misfortune too for Jacob Mathiassen in the #42 Century Motorsport BMW who crashed out on lap 8 and out out of the race. While there was a frightening moment for Will Moore in the #62 Academy Motorsport Aston Martin, after making contact with one of the HHC Motorsport Mclarens, Moore became a passenger as the Aston travelled sideways for a good distance before hitting a tyrewall side on, ending the wayward Aston and the race for the Academy Motorsport duo. After the pit window opened Richard Neary took the lead in the #8 Team ABBA Racing Mercedes, while Mark Farmer suffered his second incident of the day, when he span off beaching the Aston Martin on the edge of the track bringing the safety car out with just 15 mins left on the clock. Rick Parfitt Jnr went off the track losing multiple places, while Sam De Haan was fighting hard with Richard Neary for first place, eventually snatching the lead and the race win, second place going to Neary and Adam Christadoulou with third going to Beechdeans Andrew Howard and Marco Sorensen.
The #3 Century Motorsport BMW of Dominic Paul raced on with his rear bumper hanging off eventually discarding it as the race began to close.  The #66 Team Parker Racing Mercedes of Nick Jones which had been running at the front of the GT4 pack span off losing places, eventually finishing in fourth place. With the #15 Mustang of Scott Maxwell and Seb Priaulx taking the GT4 win, Balfe Motorsports Graham Johnson and Michael O Brien in second and Invictus Games Racings Steve Mcculley and Matthew George making their maiden podium visit in third place.
The paddock moves to Snetterton on May 18th/19th.

Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick 


Bennetts British Superbikes season launch

Bennetts British Superbikes gave a taster of the season ahead at the recent final test day ahead of the opening round at Silverstone this  weekend.

All eyes were on ex Moto GP rider Scott Redding as he prepared to make his BSB debut on the Be Wiser Ducati. However it was Jason O’Halloran who topped the combined timings at a cold and in the morning, wet Silverstone. Sitting just behind him in the timings was former team mate Dan Linfoot on the Santander Salt TAG Yamaha.

Scott Redding stayed in the top ten just ahead of Glenn Irwin.

With the weather set to be warm and dry across the Bank Holiday weekend, Silverstone should be in for a treat in the first major event of the season.

Combined test times:

  1. 22 Jason O’HALLORAN – McAMS Yamaha
  2. 4 Dan LINFOOT – Santander Salt TAG Yamaha
  3. 25 Josh BROOKES – Be Wiser Ducati
  4. 12 Luke MOSSEY – OMG Racing Suzuki
  5. 81 Luke STAPLEFORD – Buildbase Suzuki
  6. 18 Andrew IRWIN – Honda Racing
  7. 10 Josh ELLIOTT – OMG Racing Suzuki
  8. 95 Tarran MACKENZIE – McAMS Yamaha
  9. 6 Xavi FORÉS – Honda Racing
  10. 45 Scott REDDING – Be Wiser Ducati
  11. 83 Danny BUCHAN – FS-3 Racing Kawasaki
  12. 2 Glenn IRWIN – Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki
  13. 28 Bradley RAY – Buildbase Suzuki
  14. 46 Tommy BRIDEWELL – Oxford Racing
  15. 61 Ben CURRIE – Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki
  16. 71 Claudio CORTI – Team WD-40
  17. 59 Matt TRUELOVE – Raceways Yamaha
  18. 8 Shaun WINFIELD – Santander Salt TAG Yamaha
  19. 20 Sylvain BARRIER  – Brixx Ducati
  20. 40 Martin JESSOPP – Ridersmotorcycles.com
  21. 7 Ryan VICKERS – RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki
  22. 89 Fraser ROGERS – Gearlink Kawasaki
  23. 23 David ALLINGHAM – EHA Yamaha
  24. 37 James HILLIER – Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki
  25. 5 Dean HARRISON – Silicone Engineering Racing
  26. 40 Joe FRANCIS – Lloyd & Jones Bowker Motorrad
  27. 90 Sam COVENTRY – Team 64
  28. 17 Gary JOHNSON – RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki
  29. 74 Dean HIPWELL – CDH Racing
  30. 11 Conor CUMMINS  – Milenco by Padgetts Motorcycles 

Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick ©Allison Remzi full image gallery available at: http://www.finishlinephotos.net/?p=13157

 

Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup Monza, win for Dinamic Motorsport

The Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup kicked off the season this weekend at a very wet Monza and a win for Dinamic Motorsport, in their debut race in the Championship. Andrea Rizzoli, Zaid Ashkanani and Klaus Bachler at the helm of their #54 Porsche 911, gave the marque their first endurance win since 2012.

The weather caused havoc for many and the safety car was deployed multiple times across the three hour race, however the Dinamic Motorsport trio suffered no such problems scoring a faultless win. Second place on the podium was the Orange 1 FFF Racing Team Lamborghini of Andrea Caldarelli, Dennis Lind and Marco Mapelli, who were also making their Blancpain Europe debut after previously competing in the Blancpain Asia series.

Third place went to 2018 champions, #4 Black Falcon Mercedes AMG of Yelmer Buurman, Luca Stolz and Maro Engel. The team fought back despite contact early on looking like it might have hampered their chances of a podium place.

The AM Cup win went to #77 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini of Adrian Amstutz, Leo Machitski and Miguel Ramos, while the Pro-Am class victors was the  #93 Tempesta Racing Ferrari 488 of Chris Buncombe, Jonathan Hui and Chris Froggatt.

It was a fantastic start to the new season, with new teams dominating the race. The series continues in the UK with the Blancpain GT Sprint Cup round at Brands Hatch on May 4th/5th and Endurance at Silverstone on May 11th/12th.

Image ©Andy Fitzpatrick

On the countdown to British GT Season Opener…..

The British GT season kicks off next weekend at Oulton Park with a huge 38 car entry list. The SRO Motorsport Group championship continues to go from strength to strength, consistently attracting some of the best drivers in the UK and an ever growing crowd of followers. This year the record breaking grid sees the return of 2017 Champions Rick Parfitt Jnr and Seb Morris. Parfitt Jnr announced his retirement from racing at the end of last season, however it seems the lure of being aboard the JRM Racing Bentley Continental and once again paired with Morris was too good an opportunity to miss.

Other returnees include  Beechdeans Andrew Howard who this year joins forces with Marco Sorensen as Darren Turner continues his role with Aston Martin competing in various worldwide events.

Last years champ Jonny Adam will be behind the wheel of the TF sport Aston Martin Vantage alongside Graham Davidson, after Flick Haigh decided not to contest the championship but potentially return to racing in Europe.

Team ABBA Racing make a full time return to the Championship with Richard Neary sharing driving duties with Adam Christadoulou. A fan favourite, the unmissable metallic green Mercedes AMG competed last year in a few rounds due to also competing in Britcar Endurance. However Neary will be dovetailing commitments in both series this year, news that was widely well received. As was the return of Nicki Thiim alongside Mark Farmer aboard TF Sports #2 Aston Martin Vantage.

GT4 sees Seb Priaulx teaming up with Scott Maxwell in the #15 Ford Mustang of Multimatic Motorsport while the sister car #19 has Billy Johnson on board with co-driver to be confirmed.

Another exciting addition is the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 of GT Marques driven by Chris Car and former Porsche Carrera Cup GB entrant Dino Zamparelli.

Many of this seasons British GT cars  broke cover at last months media day, a chance for teams to clock some track time and keen fans to take advantage of the free entry to Donington Park, a venue that will see 2 British GT rounds this year.

British GT returns to Oulton Park Easter weekend with qualifying on Saturday and race day on Bank Holiday Monday the 22nd April.

Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick full gallery available here:  http://www.finishlinephotos.net/?p=12418

Britcar Endurance Championship launches 2019 season at Silverstone

Britcar Endurance Championship kicked off the season at Silverstone last weekend with wins for Tim Gray in the VR Motorsport Praga R1T and John Seale and Marcus Clutton in the JMH Automotive Lamborghini Huracan.

Race one got under way, with Gray taking an immediate lead, but in the opening lap the safety car was brought out after Team ABBAs BMW M3 had ended up in the gravel, finishing the race for father and son duo Richard and Sam Neary and bringing the safety car out. After the safety car period was lifted, Gray in the VR Motorsport Praga immediately began to extend the lead ahead of Ross Wylie in the FF Corse Ferrari 488.

There was misfortune later on when MIke Moss suffered an engine failure which took him into the gravel at Club Corner and out of the race. It was also unlucky for #13 Mclaren of Stuart Willson and Will Alterman who retired from the race 27 laps in after contact with Paul Calladine in his Ginetta G40 an incident that also ended his race.

At the front Gray continued to do battle this time with second place Marcus Clutton, who had made headway into Gray’s lead, but as the chequered flag fell it was Gray who was triumphant, Clutton and Seale in second place with Jonny MacGregor and Ben Sharich in third place in the Taranis.

Late afternoon saw the second of the 2 hour races get underway with Tim Gray initially taking the lead, however at 20 minutes in, the Praga pitted suffering an electric failure that sadly took Gray out of the race.

The lead passed to Ross Wylie until during pit stops Sam Neary inherited the lead before handing over the BMW to Richard Neary, Neary had to serve a penalty for a regulation infringement incurred on Sam’s stint, but that didn’t alter the pace held by Neary at the front of the race, until giving way to the Lamborghini Huracan of John Seale and Marcus Clutton who went on to take the race win a lap ahead of the McLaren of Lucky Khera and Lee Frost with the ING Sport BMW of Kevin Clarke and Ryan Lindsay taking third place.

 

The grid boasted more than 30 entries ranging from the Praga R1T to Seat Cupras to three Ferrari 488’s. This season Bitcar has adopted a single championship format run over two one hour races, dispensing with the previous sprint and endurance arrangement. This new format is popular with drivers and continues to attract entries to the championship.

The next round is on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit on April 27th.

Images ©Allison Remzi

Full gallery available at www.finishlinephotos.net

Motorsport UK British Rallycross Championship returns to Silverstone for 2019 opener

Julian Godfrey had a storming round at Silverstone for the opening of the 2019 Motorsport UK British Rallycross season, taking the fastest time in qualifying and leading from the front in the final. Taking second place was three time Irish Rallycross Champion and two times European Rallycross Champion Derek Tohill aboard his Ford Fiesta. Completing the podium was Patrick Doran who fought hard with Steve Hill throughout the event.

There was some misfortune for Mike Manning who took a retirement in Q1 and missed Q2, but was back out in Q3. While Liam Manning also retired early on in the final, Ollie O’Donovan and Oliver Bennett both retiring after the mornings practice.

The Junior Rallycross Championship found Luke Constantine taking the win after losing his pole position early on,

but fought back crossing the line just ahead of Patrick O’Donovan with Robert Vitols in third place.

In the Supernational class current Champ Tristan Ovenden took a dominant win with Jack Thorne in the Renault Twingo taking second place and Peter McGarry taking the third step of the podium after some close racing with Thorne.

In the support races Steve Harris in his Ford RS200 took the win in the Retro Rallycross Championship just ahead of Derrick Jobb in his Ford Escort Cosworth. In the Swift Sport Rallycross Championship Dominic Flitney was victorious after doing battle with current Junior Rallycross Champion Tom Constantine who eventually finished in second place ahead of Max Weatherley.

The BMW Mini Rallycross Championship was dominated by reigning champ David Bell, with Drew Bellerby in second place. Third place went to Martin Hawkes just ahead of brother Andrew Hawkes.

In the RX150 Championship Marc Scott took the win when Brett Harris, who had crossed the line first, was penalised for not taking his joker lap. Second place went to Stephen Jones with Chrissy Palmer in third place.

The Championship continues at Lydden Hill on April 22nd( Easter Bank Holiday Monday)

Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick 

Full gallery available at www.finishlinephotos.net