Igoe and Keen take the opening round win at Brands Hatch

Ginetta loses GT4 overall honours as a late puncture hands Century Motorsport a 1-2 to start the season perfectly.

WPI Motorsport have started the season in perfect fashion, Barwell Defacto Phil Keen joined Michael Igoe and has instantly shown how strong WPI Motorsport have become. This was Igoe’s second win in British GT after last Years Donington round in wet conditions, where as this was a record breaking 18th win for British GT Stalwart Phil Keen.

The start was under challenging conditions as a heavy shower passed over the back side of the Grand Prix circuit, with the race declared wet the field was told to run 2 green flag laps behind the safety car, the second to be the start of the race with the clock starting to signify the start of the race. The first casualty came during the first laps behind the safety car, #77 Enduro Motorsport’s Mclaren lost control on the damp surface and spun into the barrier damaging too much to start the race.

Once the clean up was compete the race finally got under way with brighter conditions on the horizon.
Beechdean Aston Martin took pole position but couldn’t convert the pace in the race, Michael Igoe behind the wheel of the WPI Motorsport Lamborghini was catching up to the back of the Beechdean machine in the hands of Andrew Howard.

An early incident between Chris Sakeld in the Century BMW and John Ferguson in the Toyota Supra brought out the safety car once again. Sakeld made an half hearted attempt to go up the inside of of Ferguson at Hawthorn Bend tipping the Toyota into a spin and beaching the supra in the gravel trap on the outside.

Igoe managed the first restart perfectly and received a slice of luck with the second when a lapped GT4 car acted as a buffer between himself, Howard, Leo Machitski and Richard Neary. The subsequent scrap that saw Barwell’s Lamborghini relieve Beechdean’s Aston of second at Surtees only further enhanced Igoe’s advantage, which stood at four seconds when the pitstop window opened after 62 minutes.

Phil Keen, emerged with a familiar foe for company after a broken GPS unit delayed Barwell’s pitstop, dropping Dennis Lind two places and handing second to Jonny Adam. The championship’s two most successful drivers traded times for the best part of 40 minutes – the gap fluctuating between 2.5s and 3.5s throughout – before Beechdean’s Aston began to fade.

Adam’s attention switched to Lind who claimed the Sunoco Fastest Lap before also dispatching Yelmer Buurman with a brilliantly opportunistic three-wide move in traffic while approaching Westfield with 28 minutes remaining. The Dane rapidly closed in but caught the Vantage too late to suss out a potential passing place. Just three tenths separated them at the finish.

Buurman and Ian Loggie came home fourth thanks to a solid performance from RAM’s reigning Pro-Am champions. Their Mercedes-AMG lacked the pace of either the Lamborghini or Aston Martin but executed a fault-free race after starting seventh. Team Abba Racing’s Mercedes-AMG was in the thick of the action throughout an opening stint in which Richard Neary climbed from sixth to fourth and then slid back down the order before the pit window opened. His son, Sam, was particularly eye-catching in the second hour when he chased down Buurman, while Silver-Am victory and fifth overall was a just reward for an encouraging weekend.

Nick Jones and Scott Malvern (Team Parker Racing) also avoided the pitfalls of others to make up five places from where they qualified en route to sixth, but JRM will be left ruing what might have been after a drive-through penalty dropped Kelvin Fletcher and Martin Plowman out of podium contention. Their Bentley finished seventh, while Proctors Stewart and Lewis completed the top-eight for Balfe.

Simon Green Motorsport took the chequered flag in ninth but received a post-race 30s penalty in lieu of a drive-through for making avoidable contact with G-Cat Racing’s Porsche. Greg Caton and Shamus Jennings therefore moved up one place at the expense of the Lamborghini, which collected the final point in 10th.

GT4: Century Motorsport take 1-2 after late race drama drops Assetto from the Lead

Will Burns and Gus Burton enjoyed a stellar Intelligent Money British GT4 Championship season opener by securing a well-deserved victory at Brands Hatch, even if it took a late dose of drama to get the job done.

The pair – 2020 Ginetta GT4 Supercup title rivals – only inherited the lead inside the final minutes after Charlie Robertson was forced to pit to change a puncture on his Assetto Motorsport Ginetta. However, it was perhaps the result Burns and Burton truly deserved after suffering their own dose of misfortune in the early stages.

Starting from pole, Burns shot into a clear lead ahead of the Academy Motorsport Ford Mustang of Will Moore, even managing to pass a GT3 car to add a buffer between the two for good measure. Burns needed to push to try and make up for the additional 26s the car would have to spend in the pits due to it being a Silver Cup entry, but every time he built a comfortable gap one of the two Safety Car periods reset it.

Regardless, Burns led from Moore and Richard Williams’ Steller Motorsport Audi by the time the pit window opened, but the interruptions meant the BMW only held a cushion of a few seconds and faced a fight to get back to the front after its longer stop. The Safety Car delays brought the Pro-Am cars into the mix, and when the order shook out it was the second Century BMW of Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke that re-joined in the lead after Chris Salkeld had kept the car comfortably in the top-five at half distance. His lead wouldn’t last long though, as Charlie Robertson wasted little time in diving past, having taken the Ginetta over from Mark Sansom.

Robertson then proceeded to charge clear, and things looked done and dusted right until the car was forced to dive back into the pits with just five minutes remaining to change a left-rear puncture. That dropped it out of contention and opened the door for the BMWs.

Burton had re-joined in third and then pulled off a brilliant pass on Gordon-Colebrooke around the outside of Paddock to snare second, which then became the win after the Ginetta’s issues. Gordon-Colebrooke made it a Century one-two and secured the Pro-Am class laurels for himself and Salkeld, as James Kell and Jordan Collard kept themselves out of trouble to snatch the final podium place in their Team Rocket RJN McLaren.

The recovering Robertson was fourth, ahead of Williams/Sennan Fielding’s Audi, which had been firmly in the mix until it copped a 10s stop-go penalty for an unsafe release from its pitstop. Nick Halstead/Jamie Stanley were sixth in their Fox Motorsport McLaren, ahead of the similar Balfe car shared by Ashley Marshall/Jack Brown.

Likewise, it was a nightmare weekend for the #3 Team Rocket RJN McLaren of Alain Valente/Michael Benyahia. The car lost most of Saturday after an engine issue that required an all-nighter from the team to change the unit, only to then suffer an electrical fault on the green flag lap.