TF Sport Takes British GT Pole At Rockingham

TF Sport, first round winners at Brands Hatch at the start of the season, took pole in qualifying for Round Two of the British GT Championship at Rockingham Motor Speedway.

Jonny Adam put in a best lap of 1:16.075 to build on the 1:17.440 of team-mate Derek Johnston to put the #17 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 at the front of the grid. The #70 Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse McLaren 650S GT3, driven by Alasdair McCaig and Rob Bell, completed the front row with a cumulative time of 2:33.553. McCaig was pleased with the result:

“It doesn’t get much tighter than that,” said McCaig. “We knew coming to Rockingham that the car was quick, and we’ve proved that today. Now we need to make sure we deliver tomorrow.”

2015 Drivers Champion Andrew Howard and Ross Gunn qualified third in the #1 Beechdean Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 with a cumulative time of 2:34.213.

Absent from GT3 qualifying, which took place in cool but dry conditions, was the #31 Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3. The team took pole in Round One at Brands Hatch and led for much of the race before the lengthy Code 80. The car sustained damage in FP1 too severe to repair in time for qualifying. Team Parker Racing is focusing its efforts on getting the pace-setting Bentley Continental GT3 on the grid for the race on Sunday.

In GT4 Ginettas enjoyed a second front row lock-out but this time Century Motorsport and PMW World Expo / Optimum Motorsport switched positions from the round one grid. The #50 Ginetta G55 GT4 of Wakefield-based PMW World Expo / Optimum Motorsport took pole with Mike Robinson putting in a 1:22.210, 7 tenths quicker than his team-mate Graham Johnson. The #40 Century Motorsport Ginetta of Sean Byrne and Aleksander Schjerpen was second, 1.1 seconds, on cumulative time, behind the #50 car.

Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse was delighted with Sandy Mitchell and Ciaran Haggerty’s pace in the GT4 qualifying sessions. The #59 Mclaren 570s GT4 will start from third on the grid in class, complimenting the second place in qualifying of their GT3 team-mates.

Century Motorsport was frustrated with the #73 Ginetta G55 GT4 which stopped on the circuit while Anna Walewska was qualifying. Despite being recovered to the garage, the team was unable to get the car back on track in time to allow Nathan Freke to set a time. As the pace-setting car in FP1 and 2, the team will be looking to move quickly through the pack during the race.

The lights go out for the start of two-hour Round Two of the British GT Championship at 13:00 on May 1.

Onroak Automotive Expands Presence In Asia

Le Mans-based Onroak Automotive, manufacturer of Ligier prototypes, has announced that it will open a branch in Asia to support teams racing its cars in Asian series.

Onroak has been expanding its global reach over the past two years and opened Onroak Automotive North America in 2015. Earlier this month it announced that it had appointed United Autosports as official, exclusive agent for its CN and LM P3 sports prototypes in Great Britain. Sepang, Malaysia has been chosen a base for Asia as it is seen as the centre of motor sport activities in the region.

“While continuing the promotion of the Asian Le Mans Series that has undergone a real revival since last year, the ACO is also organising a new series, the Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup, which compliments the first one and is in total harmony with the coming development of endurance racing in Asia,” said Onroak Automotive President Jacques Nicolet. “Thus, it’s important for us to be present on the spot, not only as a constructor which supplies cars for the two series, but also to be able to support this project and to become involved with the local teams and players.”

“Opening this branch at Sepang means that we’ll have a human and technical presence in situ,” continued Nicolet. “And by setting up a supply system of spare parts, we’ll make it easier for our clients to organise things while we continue our ongoing quest to give them the greatest possible satisfaction.”

Of the 19 LMP3 cars on the grid for the first round of the European Le Mans Series, all but one were Ligier JS P3s. United Autosports brought home its Ligier JS P3s to a 1 – 2 finish in class.

Motorbase Performance Ready For British GT Round Two At Rockingham

Following a huge accident at Brands Hatch during the season opener for the 2016 British GT Championship, Motorbase Performance has worked hard to ensure that its #8 Aston Martin V12 Vantage will be on the grid for the second round at Rockingham on May 1.

Phil Dryburgh, who partners Ross Wylie, in the #8 car, was involved in a massive shunt at Pilgrim’s Drop that saw the Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 pitched in the barriers. Thankfully injuries no worse than bruising were sustained by the driver.

“It’s certainly been a busy couple of weeks for Motorbase,” said Team Principal David Bartrum. “Obviously after the disappointment of round one with the car being so heavily damaged, as has been so well documented on TV and social media, it was very important that we rose to the challenge of getting Ross and Phil out at Rockingham.”

“After a lot of hard work from everyone behind the scenes I’m very glad to say that the car will be on track this weekend and we can hopefully get our British GT season off to a more positive start”.

Both Wylie and Dryburgh are excited at the prospect of kick-starting the team’s 2016 British GT season.

“Brands Hatch was a bitter pill for us all to swallow at the season’s opener,” said Wylie. “The team had put together a great race car over the winter which was sadly written off in race one of the season. We were all relieved to see Phil step out of the car with minor injuries and it’s a real testament to Aston Martin Racing and Motorbase Performance for providing us with a safe race car.”

“After the disappointment of Brands I’m looking forward to Rockingham this weekend and getting our 2016 season off the ground,” said Dryburgh. “Even though on paper the Aston isn’t best suited to the circuit, Motorbase took a double podium here last year so we know that it has the pace to perform well if we can stay out of trouble.”

Round two of the British GT Championship, a two-hour race, takes place at Rockingham Motor Speedway on May 1, starting at 13:00.

Carroll Joins Barwell Motorsport For British GT At Rockingham And Oulton Park

Adam Carroll has joined Barwell Motorsport for Rounds 2 and 3 of the British GT Championship at Rockingham and Oulton Park. He will partner Liam Griffin in the #6 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 which finished third in the first round at Brands Hatch.

Lamborghini-factory driver Fabio Babini had been scheduled to complete the first three rounds with co-driver Griffin. However a busy schedule, which includes the Blancpain GT Series and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, has meant that Babini has had to re-plan his commitments for the early part of the season. Alexander Sims will partner Griffin, as previously announced, from Round 4 at Silverstone and for the rest of season.

A highly experienced driver, Carroll last competed in the British GT Championship in 2015 at Snetterton where he partnered Gary Eastwood in the FF Corse Ferrari 458.

Carroll is competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship this season in the #86 Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR with co-drivers Michael Wainwright and Ban Barker.

“I’m really looking forward to racing with Barwell for the first time in their new Lamborghini,” said Carroll. “Liam and I will make a strong pairing and we should have a good chance of some top results in the next two rounds.”

Rockingham will not be Carroll’s first encounter with the Lamborghini Huracán GT3. With co-driver Darren Nelson, Carroll competed in the first round of the GT Cup Championship at Donington Park, claiming fastest lap and second place.

Round 2 of the British GT Championship takes place at Rockingham Motor Speedway on May 1.

British GT Returns To Rockingham For Round two

Following the first round of the 2016 British GT Championship at Brands Hatch, attention now turns to Rockingham Motor Speedway near Corby for Round 2.

The opening round saw a race which was interrupted by a lengthy Full Course Yellow and eventually red-flagged with twenty minutes to go. All competitors will be hoping for a caution-free run to the flag when the lights go out at 13:00 on Sunday May 1.

The entry list for Rockingham is largely unchanged from two weeks ago. However success handicaps will influence the outcome, meaning that Sunday’s race is likely to produce some interesting results. The TF Sport #17 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of Brands Hatch-winners Jonny Adam and Derek Johnston have a 20-second success handicap which means a repeat of their result in Round 1 will be a challenge.

The #31 Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3 was the car to beat in both qualifying and the early part of the first race and carries a 15-second handicap as a result. Seb Morris and, in particular, Rick Parfitt will be looking for a good result, given their frustration with the Code 80 period the first time out.

Beechdean AMR, in  GT3, will be looking forward to a more straightforward weekend than two weeks ago. For Brands Hatch, team owner Andrew Howard had to divide his time between the Kent circuit and Silverstone where he was competing in the opening round of the European Le Mans Series. This meant he was unable to qualify in the #1 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 with the result that he and co-driver Ross Gunn started from the back of the GT3 grid.

Barwell Motorsport returns to Rockingham with its pair of Lamborghini Huracán GT3s. The #6 car will be driven by Liam Griffin and Adam Carroll, the latter replacing Fabio Babini. A packed schedule has meant the Italian driver has had to make some difficult choices for the early part of the season. Griffin and Carroll carry a 10-second success handicap into Round 2 as a result of the car’s podium finish at Brands. Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen will certainly be looking for good result, given the strong performance of the #33 car before it withdrew after damage sustained lapping GT4 traffic.

AmDTuning.com’s #7 BMW Z4 GT3 will be favourite for a podium. Lee Mowle and Joe Osbourne finished second at Brands before a post-race penalty dropped them to fourth.

Ginetta G55 GT4s dominated GT4 in Round 1 with PMW Expo Racing / Optimum Motorsport, Century Motorsport and RCIB Insurance Racing taking the podium places. However success penalties may mean that Ginettas are not as dominant at Rockingham.

The recently-launched #59 McLaren 570S GT4 campaigned by Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse and driven by Sandy Mitchell and Ciaran Haggerty may well be one to watch, given that the car is at the start of its development cycle. Mitchell and Haggerty drove to a sixth place finish in class at Brands, suggesting that there is more to come from the new package.

Another entry at the start of its development is the #60 Ebor GT Motorsport Maserati GT MC GT4 with its driver line-up of Marcus Hoggarth and Abbie Eaton. The car has certainly not shown its full potential yet.

Qualifying for the two hour event takes place on April 30 starting at 15:35 and follows the standard format for a two-hour event of ten minutes qualifying each for GT3 Am and Pro and the same for GT4. Cumulative times across both Am and Pro sessions determines grid positions for Sunday. Timing can be followed at www.tsl-timing.com.

The second round of the British GT Championship starts at 13:00 on May 1.

Lanan Racing Switches To Ginetta For British GT

Cranfield, Bedfordshire-based Lanan Racing has announced that it will switch to a Ginetta G55 GT4 for the rest of the 2016 British GT Championship.

Delays in delivery of its Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport were first revealed at the Media Day for the launch of the British GT season. As a result, Lanan Racing chose the Ginetta as its entry for the first round of the championship at Brands Hatch on April 17. The team, with its driver pairing of Joey Foster and Alex Reed, finished 7th in class in a race which was interrupted by a lengthy Full Course Yellow.

Further prospective delays to the delivery of its new car has now forced the team to re-think its plans for 2016 and it has decided to commit to the Ginetta G55 GT4 for the rest of the season.

“After seeing the Ginetta’s performance at first hand at Brands Hatch we felt it was the obvious choice,” said Team Manager Graham Johnson. “We know Laurence Tomlinson and the rest of his team well after our ELMS campaign and believe it will be right for us in GT4. There isn’t a huge amount of time before round two but I have complete confidence in Ginetta to ensure we’re ready for it.”

“The start to the season hasn’t been ideal,” continued Johnson. “But this finally gives us some stability and takes away all of the uncertainty. It’s a great car, and Joey and Alex both found the car to their liking at Brands. We’ll be pushing up towards the front of the class, I’m sure.”

The second round of the British GT Championship takes place at Rockingham Motor Speedway on Sunday May 1.