Team AMR - winners and looses at Brands Hatch

Tuesday, August 08, 2017


After the heavy rain showers across Saturday's Free Practice and Qualifying sessions, Sunday's race would at least be completed under more stable weather conditions leading to the expectation of another great GT3 and GT4 race and that was exactly what we got.

The #24 MacMillan GT3 of Jack Mitchell and James Littlejohn again took top honours for the AMR marque with a front row start alongside the then championship leading Barwell Lamborghini with the #11 TF Sport of Mark Farer and Jon Barnes just behind.

A revitalised #1 TF Sport line up of Derek Johnston and Jonny Adam was obvious having finally got to the bottom and had resolved the understeer issue that has blighted them for most of the season. Both drivers confirmed that very minor structural damage to the front end alignment was to blame and that has now been remedied at the Prodrive factory - they would be starting P7.

In GT4, the #62 Academy crew of Will Moore and Matt Nichol-Jones claimed their first class pole position of the season having benefitting from a perfect call to switch to slicks during Qualifying just as the track had dried sufficiently to gain from them. The last full season GT4 entry of Jan Jonck and Will Phillips appeared to have it all to do starting from P12.

With Littlejohn taking the start for the #24 he was very quickly stating his intentions to Jon Minshaw in the #33 Lambo by taking the lead coming out of Paddock Hill bend on lap 1 before having to settle for P2 again for just the next ten minutes or so. Just behind Farmer held station in P3 whilst Johnston followed suit. Moore started in the #62 but was soon overtaken by the #100 McLaren for the class lead but there was still just under two hours to go!!!

First trouble came after only about half an hour of racing when Moore's #62 car suddenly slowed on track before a disconsolate Moore parked the car just onto the start of the Grand Prix loop. Such bad luck for him considering their recent run of bad luck in the championship but for the spectator however, the resulting Safety Car at least back the pack back together for the restart. 

Just before the mandatory stops around the hour mark disaster was then to befall the then race leading #24 MacMillan GT3 car with a sticking throttle that put them out of the race and thus ending any remote possibility of them winning any further GT3 Championship.

One car very noticeably making steady progress up the leader board was the #42 MacMillan GT4 of Will Phillips. Given the ability this time to stay out of trouble in the mid pack this time (its the team joke to rib him about the number of bumpers he has been through this season) Phillips had soon progressed to P5 by the time of his stop.

With the pits stops now over each of the remaining AMR cars had their Pro drivers on board. Jon Barnes headed the bunch in third with Adam close behind in fourth. Indeed that situation would continue until till the end of the race with Barnes doing enough to deter any move from Adam beating the AMR works driver to the final step on the podium by just 2.5 seconds.

Jan Jonck now in the #42 GT4 was having a similar race to Adam, sitting for lap after lap behind the long term race leading #100 McLaren before a final 'elbows out' manoeuvre going into Druids forced his V8 Vantage passed on the inside into the slow right hander - he would never look back taking the class win from the slowly catching Toleman McLaren.

Whilst it was commiserations to the #24 and #62 crews it was congratulations to the #11 and #42 cars earning themselves the third and first step of the podium respectively. Having just missed out on a podium, todays performance had at least left a smile of Johnston's face - he was happy to be back!

With all chance of any further championships being won, the final round of the 2017 British GT Championship form Donington Park in September will be a more relaxed affair than before with only personal and team pride at stake.

Podium photo credits - Jacob Ebrey

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