Looking forward at British GT at Brands Hatch

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

After the thrills and spills of Spa Francorchamps the week before last comes this weekend's penultimate round of the 2019 British GT Championship around the full Grand Prix circuit of Brands Hatch in Kent.

For a quarter of the Aston Martin Racing customer team contingent, Spa was a silverware winning success with Optimum Motorsport's Ollie Wilkinson and Bradley Ellis taking a convincing lights to flag overall win in their AMR Vantage GT3 which was backed up over in the GT4 class with the top and third placed steps of that podium being occupied by the two TF Sport AMR Vantage GT4's of Tom Canning/Ashley Hand and Patrick Kibble/Josh Price respectively.

For many of the usual AMR runners, last weekend also included their participation in the Blancpain GT's 24 Hours of Spa where TF Sport came away with a Pro-Am overall win in the car that Jonny Adam and Graham Davidson normally race in British GT. For those two individuals, Spa was extremely painful in two ways as Adam's Garage 59 AMR was forced into early retirement with mechanical issues whilst Davidson ended up in the local hospital following an accident in the Lamborghini that he was sharing. Thankfully, Davidson has already confirmed that he will be fully fit to race again at Brands Hatch after observation and treatment to his elbow following a side on impact with the crash barrier at Spa.

As for their Vantage GT3, the short travelling distance between Spa to base and then base to Brands Hatch will give TF Sport sufficient time to re-fettle the car back into its BGT guise from the Oman Racing colours it was called up to race in last weekend. Nicki Thiim should be 'full of beans' after his part in the teams class win at Spa!!!

Also being busy before the event has been the Academy Motorsport team who have needed to re-shell their #61 car that Micah Stanley and Ben Hurst race in the Championship after the car suffered extensive front end damage in the previous GT4 European race at Zandvoort after a recklessly instigated crash took out six other cars even before the cars had passed the start line on the opening lap for that series driver Fiona James. For Spa, team boss Matt Nicol Jones moved mountains to allow both Stanley and Hurst to race in a borrowed McLaren 570s GT4 but that duo suffered the misfortune of yet another DNF.

Beechdean AMR are back in the news again for this weekend after having skipped the Spa round of the Championship due to their commitments in the Michelin Le Mans Cup down in Barcelona last weekend. We had hoped that the speed merchant Marco Sorensen would be back in the hot seat of the #99 car alongside Andrew Howard having missed also missed the previous round at Donington Park in late June following his heavy accident at Le Mans in the AMR factory GTE.

Despite the Dane testing for the factory at Barcelona only last week (for reasons soon to be made clear) Sorensen will again miss this round for his place to be taken by former Prosport Performance ADAC GT Masters drive Valentin Hasse Clot.

In terms of Championships stakes - some classes could be determined this weekend whilst the remainder will go on to continue the hashtag #DoningtonDecider for yet another year, all clearly demonstrating just how competitive and open this GT Championship remains.

Ahead the head in GT3 Silver Cup and third overall in GT3 is the #96 Optimum crew of Wilkinson and Ellis now just 16 points behind the Championship leading Lamborghini with the TF Sport crew of Adam and Davidson just behind the #96 P4 overall and P3 in GT3 Pro-Am. In GT4, Canning and Hand moved themselves up to P3 in the overall GT4 stakes nw just 7.5 points behind the leaders whilst they now take the Championship lead in the GT4 Silver Cup from the Multimatic Ford.

In GT4 Pro-Am, a technical issue at Spa cost the #11 Beechdean AMR GT4 crew of Martin Plowman and Kelvin Fletcher some additional points that now sees their class lead now cut to just half a point with the two rounds remaining.

For the others, Brands Hatch will become a question of boosting pride and potential for a return to the series next year rather than Championship standings. Certainly, the twisting and turning characteristics of the Brands circuit will help for some more nose to tail racing with plenty of incident and action (hopefully not accident) as each of the #96, #95 and #97 cars get hit with success pit penalties in the midst of Sundays 2 hour race.

Looking forward to it!!

Photo credits - Jacob Ebrey / PROsport Performance

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