British GT: Donington Park Race Report

Source: Ian Cutting Photography

Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jnr with Team Parker Racing British crowned GT3 Champions while Will Tregurtha, Stuart Middleton claim GT4 title with HHC Motorsport.

Team Parker Racing with pairing of Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jnr claimed their first British GT3 championship in their Bentley at the decider at Donington Park. The race win went to 2016 champions Derek Johnston and Jonny Adam who finished 6.9s ahead of their sister TF-Sport Aston Marin of Mark Farmer and Jon Barnes. Rounding out the podium were Barnwell Motorsport duo Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen – closest rivals to Parfitt Jnr and Morris – who finished just 4.1s behind after 2 hours of racing. However, post race they were excluded after it was found that they had overtaken under yellow flags.

At the start Mark Farmer made good of his pole position and was out in the lead, but behind Minshaw was already into second at the expense of Johnston. With the championship on his mind, Parfitt Jnr was keeping out of trouble but droped down to fifth behind the other Barwell Motorsport with Griffin piloting the Lamborghini.

Drama though on lap 2 struck the #33 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini as they came out of the Fogarty Esses and spun! This meant that they were now at the back of the GT3 field and handed back the championship advantge to the Bentley pairing. Even though it was advantge to Team Parker and Parfitt Jnr it didnt stop him passing the sister Lamborghini down the Craner Curves who was also dealing with the GT4 traffic.

Back at the front it was still Farmer in the #11 Aston out in the lead but the sister TF-Sport crew knew that Farmer would have to serve a 10 second success penalty at the pit-stops. When the pit stop window opened, the #1 Aston Martin duly went into the lead once the stops were all completed. From that moment it was all about controlling the pace to enable to 2016 champions sign off the 2017 campaign with a win.

Parfitt Jnr who by now was running P3 made his stop but had to serve a massive 20 second success penalty. When Morris rejoined they were now in P5 because of the stunning recovery drive from Minshaw in the #33 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini. During the final hour Morris passed Ben Green in the Nissan to move into P4 now one place behind their championship rivals.

There the order remained the same when the flag fell which meant the 2017 GT3 Championship went to #31 Bentley of Team Parker Racing pairing of Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jnr. Not only did they wrap up the overall title, they also claimed the GT3 Pro/Am title too.

Source: Ian Cutting Photography

HHC Motorsport’s young pairing Will Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton claim their first GT4 Championship title and also the Teams’ title, while 2016 GT4 Champions end their 2017 campaign by winning their first race of the current season. The HHC pair are in fact the youngest to ever win a British GT Championship. Closest rivals to HHC for the championship, Lanan Racing, suffered a DNF early into the race and that also ended their championship challenge. As the Optimum Motorsport team ended the last race on the top step, HHC Motorosport finished second and the last spot went to Century Motorsport’s Jacob Mathiassen and Niall Murray in their #43 Ginetta after starting the race P13!

Source: Ian Cutting Photography

The GT4 race got away cleanly but contact was made between the In2Racing McLaren and Black Bull Garage 59 McLaren at the Melbourne Hairpin which meant the latter was forced to retire only a lap later into the 2 hour race.

The #53 UltraTek Racing Nissan lost control on the next lap and ended up skatting across the gravell before finally settling into the barriers at Redgate.

Back with the championship battle, it was all about to change. GT4 pole sitter, Academy Motorsport Aston Martin with Will Moore at the wheel, was suffereing from a few technical issues and was falling down the order. The Aston Martin slowed as it exited the Old Haipin and Reed in the Lanan Racing had nowhere to go and ended up in the gravel and out with huge damage to the front-left of the Ginetta.

While all this was going on, HHC Motorsport Ginetta was slowing moving up the order and was now in a podium position with Johnson in the Optimum Motorsport McLaren in front and Andrew Watson in his Black Bull Garage 59 McLaren running second.

Just before the pitstop window opened it was all change at the front. The McLaren of Watson slow coming out of McLean’s and this allowed the Ginetta of Tregurtha to capitalise and move into second.

Success penalties for #56 McLaren and #55 Ginetta during the pitstops didn’t alter the order but Robinson, who was now at the wheel of Optimum Motorsport, was enjoying a huge 13 second lead once everything had played out.

Tolman Motorsport’s Joe Osbourne was setting very quick times and was past Middleton into third before getting past Mackay for second. As Osbourne was chasing down the McLaren suffered a brake issue and was off into the gravel. Middleton was closing in on Mackay and duly passed the McLaren and into second before Mitchell demoted Mackay further.

Just behind all this was Century Motorsport’s Ginettas Mike Simpson in the #111 machine and Niall Murray in the #43 were battling for fifth. When Mackay dropped out with engine problems and Mitchell with a puncture this battle became a fight for the last step on the podium. Third on the podium finally went the way of Murray as he passed Simpson.

At the flag after the end of 2 hours of racing it was 2016 GT4 Champions Jonson and Robinson who took the flag first, followed by newly crowned 2017 Champions Tregurtha and Middleton and taking that last step was Century Motorsport Mathiassen and Murray.

Thats it for the 2017 season, the British GT Championship is back at Oulton Park in 2018 over the Easter weekend.