British GT: Brands Hatch Report

Source: Ian Cutting Photography

Sunday saw the British GT Championship get back underway for the penultimate race of the season. The weather was the complete opposite to that of qualifying day with the track being dry, so fans were waiting in store for green flag racing.

The race got underway at 14:10 as planned, by the end of the first lap Barwell Motorsport’s Jon Minshaw retained his lead from pole position with Macmilan AMR’s James Littlejohn behind in second. Third place as they crossed the line for the first time was TF Sport’s Mark Farmer followed by Barwell Motorsport’s Griffin in fourth, TF Sport’s Derek Johnston in fifth and Team Parker Racing’s Rick Parfitt Jnr in sixth for the GT3 field.
Further down the order in the GT4 class it was Black Bull Garage 59’s Sandy Mitchell leading from Academy Motorsport’s Will Moore, Century Motorsport’s Niall Murray in third, HHC Motorsport’s Stuart Middleton in fourth and David Pittard in fifth.
Littlejohn closed the gap down to 0.3 seconds between he and Minshaw, the two began working together to make gap between the top two and third placed Farmer. Griffin held on to fourth whilst Parfitt Jnr had got through into fifth. In GT4 Mitchell began to open a gap to Will Moore in second whilst he had Murray, Middleton and Pittard queued up behind him trying to find their way past. The battle for third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh in the GT4 field was heating up massively with the drivers going three wide at times as they headed down Paddock Hill Bend and up Hailwoods Hill.
The GT3 battle heated up when Littlejohn passed Minshaw as they headed through Graham Hill Bend. Rick Parfitt Jnr also made his way through into third place. In GT4 Murray dropped from third to sixth in class. Back at the front of the field Parfitt Jnr managed to nip through into second place as he did a dummy move on Minshaw to trick him, leaving Parfitt Jnr able to take the advantage.
Will Moore in the Academy Motorsport Aston Martin GT4 class car had bad luck strike when he was forced to pull the car over at Hawthorn Hill before climbing out of the car in retirement. The safety car was deployed due to the location of the stricken Aston as it was deemed too dangerous.
Eighty-five minutes of the race was left to run when the safety car peeled into the pit lane. In the race for the GT3 lead and the overall race lead Parfitt had been catching Littlejohn prior to the safety car deployment but the Aston bolted at the restart of the race. In the GT4 class William Phillips was the man on the move prior to the safety car but Murray passed him to take fourth.
One car in the race would not be scoring points or affecting the championship as the GPRM Toyota GT86 was not part of the GT3 or GT4 field due to being an invitation entry. Nonetheless Richard Williams was mixing in with the front running GT4 cars.
Team Parker Racing’s Ian Loggie was handed a drive through penalty due to committing an infringement during the safety car period of the race. He served the penalty. Neary and Cameron enjoyed a fantastic battle for seventh in GT3, with the Team ABBA with Rollcentre Racing Mercedes taking the place with Neary at the wheel.
Barwell Motorsport’s Liam Griffin had a bit of a moment which dropped him back to fifth place behind Farmer, who was now all over the bumper of Minshaw’s Lamborghini to try and take third place. Farmer managed to pass Minshaw after using the tow around the circuit to draft past as they headed towards Surtees. This allowed Griffin to be all over the bumper of his teammate.
In GT4 Sandy Mitchell’s lead was down to 0.4 seconds from Lanan Racing’s David Pittard. Will Phillips was on a charge aboard the Macmillan AMR Aston which saw him pass Murray and Middleton. He then went one better and passed David Pittard. The latter seemed to be struggling out on the track as he dropped from second to seventh quickly.
Minshaw lost another place to his teammate Griffin in the GT3 fight. Another move taking place in the GT3 field was Parfitt Jnr passing Littlejohn for the lead of the race as the latter pulled into the pit lane before the window opened. The Aston was pushed into the garage…game over due to a throttle issue. Another car to drop out of the race for several laps was Lanan Racing’s David Pittard after suffering damaged steering.
The pit window then opened…the first of the cars to pit was Parfitt Jnr but TF Sport’s Derek Johnston had just passed Minshaw on track continued but now leading the race.
Seb Morris retained the lead of the race after the stops with a twenty-six second lead over Barwell Motorsport’s Sam Tordoff with TF Sport’s Jon Barnes 0.3 seconds behind. Barnes’ TF Sport teammate Jonny Adam was running in fourth just 1.4 seconds further back. Phill Keen was running in fifth, a further two seconds behind with Adam Christodolou in sixth.
Once all of the pit stops had taken place it was Morris in first, Tordoff in second, Barnes in third, Adam in fourth and Keen in fifth in GT3. In GT4 it was Haggerty leading, Jonck in second, Mathiassen in third, Mackay in fourth and Tregurtha in fifth. Class leader Haggerty was being chased down by Jonck, who was just 0.5 seconds behind. Before he knew it Jonck was on his tail trying every way possible to pass.
Lanan Racing repaired the steering on their Ginetta G55 and sent Alex Reed out back into the race, albeit several laps down. Joe Osborne managed to pass both Tregurtha and Mackay to be running in fourth place. Osborne seemed to have luck on his side as the third placed Century Motorsport run Ginetta had a twenty-second stop-go penalty for a pitstop infringement. Another two cars that had stop-go penalties for pit stop infringements were the second Century Motorsport run Ginetta #111 and In2Racing’s #29.
Jonck pulled alongside Haggerty as the two were passed by Manderson in the GT3 field. Seb Morris opened up a twenty-seven second lead over Sam Tordoff in second. Back in the fight for the GT4 class lead Osborne closed in on Jonck and Haggerty as the two battled and held one another up. Jonck finally managed to pass Haggerty to take the lead of the race as the two ran around Druids. Osborne and Tregurtha were just two and three seconds off of the back of Haggerty. Osborne managed to pass Haggerty to take second before Tregurtha began lining up his opportunity.
In GT3 Barnes was piling the pressure on to Sam Tordoff in second, the Aston running 0.2 seconds behind the Lamborghini. Phil Keen closed in on Jonny Adam in the closing stages of the race with both slowly closing in on Barnes.
In GT4 on the final lap of the race Will Tregurtha passed Ciaran Haggerty to take the final rostrum spot as the latter was off the track at Paddock Hill Bend.