Team owner Andrew Howard and four-time British GT champion Jonny Adam put the #7 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 on pole for the opening round of the 2021 Intelligent Money British GT Championship, lapping the 2.433 mile (3.92 kms) Brands Hatch GP circuit in a combined time of 2:49.147. Joining the #7 entry on the front row of the 26-car grid will be the #18 WPI Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Michael Igoe and Dennis Lind which finished the two ten-minute GT3 qualifying sessions with a combined time of 2:50.147.
Competing the top three was the #63 Barwell Motorsport of Leo Machitski and Dennis Lind which lapped in a cumulative time of 2:50.244.
Pole position in the GT4 category went to the #9 Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 of Will Moore and Gus Burton which set a combined time of 3:03.874 with the #56 Assetto Motorsport Ginetta G56 of Mark Sansom and Charlie Robertson second quickest.
The damp and cool conditions of the morning practice sessions had passed by the time qualifying began in the late afternoon. The circuit was dry and a track temperature of 23 degrees meant that the slick-shod grid could push with confidence.
Michael Igoe in the #18 WPI Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 set the first competitive time with a 1:26.019 while Andrew Howard in the Beechdean AMR Aston Martin was just under a second behind. Leo Machitski in the #63 Lamborghini got closest to Igoe’s time with a 1:26.072 but as the session drew to a close, the WPI Motorsport pilot’s time remained at the top of the timing screens.
Quickest of the Silver-Am crews of the first session was the #8 Mercedes of Richard Neary with a 1:26.556
A four-minute turnaround time gave crews very little time to make adjustments before the second session got underway and, with two Lamborghini factory drivers starting Q2 1 – 2 followed by Jonny Adam in third on the timing screens, spectators, back at Brands Hatch for the first time in 2021, were in for a qualifying treat.
Phil Keen set the quickest time of the day to that point which was immediately bettered by Jonny Adam who broke into the 1:23s with a 1:23.763, putting the Scot in provisional pole. Adam’s time remained quickest, securing Beechdean AMR’s first pole of the 2021 season.
Jonny Adam was delighted to have returned to the British GT Championship with a pole position on the opening weekend.
“The car was superb,” said the double Le Mans winner. “We’ve been tinkering way in the background in the off-season in order to get the Aston a bit more consistent and working on the performance of Andrew over one lap. We haven’t done a lot at Brands Hatch before this weekend and his lap was pretty stunning in the first session. He pulled it out of nowhere and that put us in a really good position. The guys have really been working hard in testing to get the car as it is”
GT4 qualifying got underway with black clouds looming and temperatures starting to drop. The #3 Team Rocket RJN McLaren which suffered an oil leak in practice did not make it out for qualifying as repairs continued.
Will Burns set the early pace, lapping in 1:32.064 in the #57 Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 with Mark Sansom leading the times in the Silver category with a 1:32.759. The Century Motorsport pilot’s time stood as provisional pole as the session drew to a close.
Century Motorsport teammate Gus Burton put in a 1:31.810 to remain in provisional pole. Meanwhile, Charlie Robertson in the new-for-2021 Ginetta G56 enjoyed a dramatic session with two lap-times being deleted for track limit abuse. It was third time lucky for the Ginetta factory driver, however, as he set the quickest time of the session, moving the #56 car to second on the GT4 grid.
Commenting on his driving partnership with Will Moore, Century Motorsport’s Gus Burton was happy at how their first race weekend was progressing.
“It’s not bad, is it?” said Burton. “Last year we were rivals – this year we’re teammates but it works brilliantly. (The car) was a bit bouncy in qualifying and we need to fix that and I’ve had a chat with Will and we both agree it’s a bit bouncy but, other than that, the car was very well balanced and it was a great job from Will to be so close together for the race tomorrow.”
The opening two-hour race of the 2021 Intelligent Money British GT Championship gets underway at Brands Hatch at 13:20 on Sunday May 23.