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.