British GT 2020 finally underway at Oulton Park

Friday, July 31, 2020

We make it 111 days late but finally, the early race meeting test sessions ahead of the start of the 2020 Intelligent Money British GT Championship got underway from the Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire this afternoon for an overall entry of twenty two cars.

Since the Championship's Media Day at Snetterton way back in early March, the effective downturn in the UK markets caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic has seen a significant downturn in full season entries since the indicative capacity grid from earlier this year.

Fortunately some of those spaces have now been filled with some late race by race or new full season entries since, again raising the numbers to a respectable level for the two, one hour races this weekend. Only praise can be offered to all concerned for maintaining a grid of the highest order and calibre considering the extremely fluid situations at the time.

For the Aston Martin Racing Partner teams, that has meant a nett loss of both of the TF Sport V8 Vantage GT3 runners of Graham Davidson/Tom Canning and Jonny Adam/Ahmad Al Harthy as well as one full season Beechdean AMR GT3 for then Silver Cup hopefuls Valentin Hasse-Clot/Jack Mitchell although Andrew Howard has retained a part season GT3 entry for himself and Hasse-Clot for later in the year.

That leaves just the two bright yellow AMR Vantage GT4 entries from Tom Ferrier's TF Sport team as the sole AMR representation this weekend featuring Championship returnees Patrick Kibble and Connor O'Brien as well as single seater and Porsche convertees Jamie Caroline and Dan Vaughan respectively with both cars being entered again into the GT4 Silver Cup Class.

Plenty of post lockdown testing for them as well as glorious Friday weather in the north-west of the UK allowed both TF cars to hit the top of the timing screens today with the #97 Caroline/Vaughan stealing early bragging rights over the #95 O'Brien/Kibble car by nearly half a second to their closest rival behind with their first 1-2 finish!

Even at the conclusion of the days second test session, finishing positions with the team had been reversed with the #95 finishing in P2 and the #97 in P5 - all still within a quarter of a second to the pace setting car.

No prizes of course in testing or indeed in the Free Practice sessions that will take place tomorrow morning, but judging by the weather forecasts at least the warm and dry conditions should continue over the weekend albeit probably cooler than today. Individual Pro and Am and GT3 and GT4 Qualifying sessions will take place as usual at the end of the day tomorrow.

Still sadly CV-19 aware at the circuit as if you haven't already secured your admission tickets on-line before the end of play today you won't be getting into the circuit as owners MSV continue with their adopted CV-19 protocols meaning that NO admission tickets will be sold at the gate.

If, like us, you cannot be present at the circuit this weekend then please don't forget that you can watch both races live on Sunday via the British GT Championships social media channels/Youtube.

In other news only confirmed by Aston Martin Racing earlier today, all four of TF Sport's GT4 drivers have now been confirmed as being on the illustrious AMR Drivers Academy development programme for 2020 alongside just nine other hopefuls from around the world.

Photo credits - Jacob Ebrey / Eat My Pixels

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