Adam / Johnston Win At Donington. Parfitt / Morris Clinch GT3 Crown (24.09.17

Jonny Adam and Derek Johnston, driving the #1 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GT3, won the final round of the 2017 British GT Championship, heading a TF Sport 1 -2 after Jon Barnes, driving the sister #11 Vantage which took pole for the season finale, crossed the in second place.

Taking the final podium spot was Phil Keen, driving the #33 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 he shared with Jon Minshaw.

Seb Morris brought the #31 Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3 home in fourth place after team-mate Rick Parfitt had handed the car over in third.

The fourth place finish was sufficient for Morris and Parfitt to secure their first GT3 Drivers Championship with Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen finishing second in the standings.

The HHC Motorsport pairing of Stuart Middleton and William Tregurtha, driving the #55 Ginetta G55 GT4 secured the GT4 Drivers Championship after twenty minutes of the start when title rivals Alex Reed and David Pittard went out after Reed spun the #55 entry.

The GT3 battle was hard-fought after pole-sitter Mark Farmer, in the #11 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GT3, was pushed hard by Derek Johnston in the sister #1 car, with brief contact between the TF Sport entries allowing Jon Minshaw in the #33 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán to briefly move into second place.

A spin by Minshaw, however, relegated the #33 Barwell Motorsport entry down to eighth place before Minshaw brought the bright green Lamborghini back up to fifth place at the driver changes.

Parfitt took third place from Liam Griffin in the #6 Barwell Motorsport entry with an opportune move after a yellow flag. An aggrieved Parfitt admitted that the move had been the best of the year for him.

“At the beginning it seemed like I was hit by every single Lamborghini,” said an exhausted Parfitt “(Liam) Griffin seemed to be attempting to drive me off the circuit. He wasn’t even turning into the corners. it was absolutely the most amateurish move I’ve seen all year and it was a real shame. Luckily M-Sport build the Bentley strongly and it’s a bit of a tank. Liam was holding me up and doing a very good job of that. He was using the strength of the Lamborghini to park it on the apex and the used their superior traction.”

I timed the move (for third place) absolutely perfectly. It was very opportunistic. I saw the yellow and saw the green and just as we hit the green I was alongside. I was absolutely bang on that move and it was probably my best move if the year. After that, it was just about keeping my head together and driving consistently.”

After the pit stops had cycled through it was 2016 British GT Drivers champion Jonny Adam, now at the wheel of the #1 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GT3, who held the lead, ahead of Jon Barnes in the sister #11 car.

Phil Keen, now piloting the #33 Barwell Motorsports Lamborghini pushed hard but was unable to mount a serious challenge for second place.

Seb Morris, meanwhile, in the #31 Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3 held station in fourth place knowing that it would be sufficient to secure his and Rick Parfitt’s first GT3 drivers title.

Rick Parfitt is the first driver to win both the GT4 and GT3 drivers titles.

The GT4 class was won by 2016 GT4 Drivers Champions Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson in the #501 PMW Expo Racing / Optimum Motorsport McLaren 570S GT4.

Full race report to follow.

Middleton and Parfitt Lead Sunoco Challenge Standings (24.09.17)

British GT Championship drivers Stuart Middleton and Rick Parfitt are currently leading the Sunoco Challenge standings as the competition draws to a close for 2017.

Middleton, driving partner of William Tregurtha in the #55 HHC Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4 , currently leads the British GT GT4 driver standings by 25 points and heads the Sunoco Whelan Challenge points table with 76.39 points.

Previous winners of the Sunoco Whelen Challenge include Derek Johnston and Seb Morris. The prize is a fully-funded drive in the #31 Whelan Engineering Cadillac DPi at the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, including flights, accommodation and food, worth $250,000.

Rick Parfitt, driver of the #31 Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3 and who currently leads the GT3 Drivers Championship in the 2017 British GT Championship with previous Sunoco Whelan Challenge-winning driver Seb Morris, leads the Sunoco 240 Challenge by 5.5 points ahead of Jon Minshaw.

Sunoco_challenge_240_final

The prize for winning the Sunoco 240 Challenge is a race seat in a GT4 car, run by Racers Edge, in the 4-hour endurance race on the Friday before the Rolex 24 at Daytona, a package worth $50,000.

The Sunoco Whelan Challenge was launched in 2009 as a concept to promote the Rolex 24 at Daytoan and was a joint initiative between NASCAR chairman Jim France and Anders Hilderbrand, Managing Director of Anglo American Oil Company.

The Sunoco 240 Challenge was first introduced in 2011 as a competition for drivers who were not ready to race a Daytona Prototype.

 

TF Sport Locks Out Front Row For British GT Final Round. #31 Bentley / #33 Lamborghini On Second Row. (23.09.17)

Photo: BritishGT.com / Jakob Ebrey

TF Sport will occupy the front row of the grid for Sunday September 24’s final round of the 2017 British GT Championship after Mark Farmer and Jon Barnes lapped in a cumulative 2:55.337 to take pole in the #11 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

2016 Champions Derek Johnston and Jonny Adam, driving the #1 Aston, will join the sister car on the front row when they lapped in a cumulative 2:55.821.

2017 GT3 protagonists Barwell Motorsport and Team Parker Racing will start September 24’s 120-minute race alongside each other on the second row. Phil Keen, in the #33 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3, put in a 1:27.376 in the dying seconds of the 10-minute GT3 Pro session to snatch third on the grid with a cumulative 2:56.109 with driving partner Jon Minshaw.

The #31 Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3 of Rick Parfitt and Seb Morris will start from fourth on the grid with a cumulative 2:56.170.

Jon Barnes brought the #11 TF Sport entry into the pits with minutes left to go in the GT3 Pro qualifying session, so confident was he that his 1:27.125 could not be improved upon.

The #11 driving partnership of Barnes and Farmer was delighted at their pole position.

“We’re really pleased. Mark came here on his own last Thursday and had a really good test and he’ll have to come and test on his own again because he’s obviously quick when I’m not here!” joked Jon Barnes. “It’s just fantastic. Mark pulled a really good time out of the bag – a low 1:28 as an Am round here is really awesome. I’m pleased from my own point of view because I haven’t been in the car for seven weeks so both of us can be really pleased with our day’s work and hopefully we can continue it into tomorrow.”

2016 Champion Derek Johnston is looking forward to some competitive racing for Sunday September 24’s season finale and doesn’t expect any team orders from TF Sport.

“No, not at all,” said Johnston. “We’re all ready to race. If there’s an opportunity for me to pass, for sure that’s what ‘m going to do. I’m not going to do anything stupid, obviously.”

The lights go out for the final round at 13:30 local time on Sunday September 24.

TF Sport 1 – 2 In British GT FP2 (23.09.17)

Photo: BritishGT.com / Jakob Ebrey

Jonny Adam, behind the wheel the #1 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GT3, topped the time-sheets in FP2 of the final round of the 2017 British GT Championship, with a 1:27.884 on his last lap of the 60-minute session.

TF Sport made it a 1-2 in FP2 after Jon Barnes had set a 1:27.897 in the #11 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 he shares with Derek Johnston.

If Aston martin were 1 – 2 at the top of the time-sheets, then Lamborghini were 3-4 after Sam Tordoff went third quickest in the #6 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 with a 1:28.187. The sister #33 championship contender Barwell Motorsport entry was fourth quickest with a 1:28.197 set by Phil Keen.

The competing GT3 championship contender, the #31 Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3, set a 1:28.884 in the hands of Rick Parfitt to make it seventh quickest in the second of the two morning sessions.

Quickest of the GT4 field was the #55 HH Motorsport Ginetta G55 Gt4 in which William Tregurtha set a 1:36.344 in the car he shares with Stuart Middleton.

Conditions at Donington Park continue to improve although the sky remains grey and overcast. No rain is forecast until the evening.

The first of the four qualifying sessions gets underway at 16:25 later in the afternoon.

TF Sport Tops Time-Sheets in British GT FP1 (23.09.17)

Photo: BritishGT.com / Jakob Ebrey

In a session that saw many teams waiting for improving track conditions, TF Sport put its cars first and second on the time-sheets in GT3.

Jon Barnes, behind the wheel of the #11 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GT3, put in a 1:27.928 on his 19th lap of the 2.481 mile (3.992 kms) Donington Park circuit to go quickest in a time that was only .3 seconds behind Jonny Adam’s pole position time of 1.27.602 set in 2016.

Second quickest in the 60-minute session was 2016 GT3 champion Jonny Adam in the #1 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GT3 he shares with Derek Johnston. Adam set a 1:28.359

GT3 championship contenders Barwell Motorsport and Team Parker Racing vied for third and fourth quickest with the #33 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 setting a 1:28.846 in the hands of Jon Minshaw who came out late in the session in the car he shares with Phil keen.

Rick Parfitt was fourth quickest with a 1:29. 266 in the #31 Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3.

Both Barwell Motorsport and Team Parker Racing have been increasing the psychological pressure on each other by saying that they are relaxed coming into the final round as all the pressure is on opposing team. Parfitt in the #31 Team Parker Racing entry has been quick to point out that the 20-second success penalty incurred by the team will make it virtually impossible to beat the Lamborghini. Barwell Motorsport, however, has been suggesting that the grip and pace of the Bentley Continental GT3 means that, barring something unforeseen (or wet conditions, which are not forecast for the weekend), the championship is out of reach for them.

Post-practice, Rick Parfitt reiterated the challenge that lay ahead for he and Morris.

“To everybody who’s here and watching, I would say ‘Don’t believe anything that Barwell are saying’ because, the fact is, they’ve got a 20-second advantage,” said Parfitt. “We are as chilled as can be because, you know, it’s like saying ‘go off and have a 20-second advantage’. It’s one of things. It’s highly unlikely we can make that up. The fact is, all we can do is go as hard as we can and that’s it. There is no other way.

“The pressure’s absolutely on Jon (Minshaw),” continued the Bentley driver. “We can just tonk around and finish second, third, fourth. They have to win – it’s as simple as that. And so that’s our strategy. We’re going to go as quick as we can. We’re going to take our 20 seconds and we’ll see where it ends up.”

As an amateur driver combing his racing with his day-job of performing with his band, the RPJ Band, the last few days have been demanding.

“I’ve gigged the last two nights and have had less than six hours sleep so I haven’t got the energy to be nervous or anxious. To be honest, the team are so brilliant the car feels absolutely joyous. I’m just enjoying it.”

Quickest of the GT4 field was the #51 Lanan Racing Ginetta G55 GT4 of David Pittard and Alex Reed, with Reed setting a 1:37.323.

In a packed programme at Donington Park, the British GT field goes out for FP2 12:30 with qualifying beginning at 16:25.

2017 British GT Championship Reaches Season Finale At Donington (19.09.17)

Photo: BritishGT.com

The 2017 British GT Championship enters its final round with a two-hour race for Round Ten at Donington Park, Castle Donington, Derby on Sunday September 24.

The British GT season has witnessed some great racing across both classes with the championship visiting iconic circuits such as Brands Hatch GP, Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Silverstone and Snetterton.

The entry list for the final round has some changes from the grid we saw last time out at Brands Hatch.

JRM Advanced Engineering Ltd joins the GT3 grid with the its #08 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 driven by Spa GT4 winner Charlie Fagg and Ben Green.

Continue reading 2017 British GT Championship Reaches Season Finale At Donington (19.09.17)