British GT again delivers on the excitement at Brands Hatch

Sunday, May 23, 2021


The opening race of the British GT Championship again didn’t fail to disappoint in terms of excitement around the Grand Prix circuit of Brands Hatch earlier today with two fine performances from each of the two Aston Martin Racing teams bringing home a podium finish for one of them.

With the excitement building before the cars had even left for the grid as the heavens opened up, it was a late call for all to decide whether to venture out on slicks or go for the full wets. That drama was further compounded with the untimely exit from the race proceedings of one of the McLaren GT3’s, spinning out and hitting the barriers coming out of Druids on the first warm up lap.

Due to that, the race started behind the Safety Car for a further couple of laps before the grid was released for the start of the opening two-hour race.

Confirming their pole position start, the #7 AMR Vantage GT3 of Andrew Howard held the line going into Paddock Hill bend for the first time proper to lead his first GT3 race for some time but was hounded almost immediately by the #18 Lamborghini of Michael Igoe. That race lead lasted just a further lap for Howard before a move by the #18 car going into Druids sealed the task for Igoe.

Mike Brown in his #26 Ultimate Speed Racing AMR Vantage GT3 meanwhile was doing his level best to keep up with the faster drivers ahead of him and away from the class leading GT4 cars right behind but was still struggling with the cars handling after damage incurred earlier in the meeting.

A second Safety Car for a beached GT4 car quickly restored a nose to tail running order for the near ten minutes it took to clear the car and the gravel from the circuit before going back to green.

With the rain now stopped and the track slowly drying, lap times soon began to tumble giving many the extra encouragement they needed to hound others for track position. Trouble is that that lead to some over-encouragement for others and a third Safety Car was ultimately needed after 40 minutes to release the then P3 and P4 GT3’s from the Paddock Hill gravel trap.

With the Brands Hatch track being much more to the liking of the Lamborghini’s than the Aston’s, Howard soon lost his P2 place on that restart to the #63 Barwell car and nearly lost more as he battled tyre degradation towards the end of his stint.

Both Aston’s pitted just after the hour mark as new driver regulations required – Howard would hand over to Jonny Adam from P3 whilst Brown would hand over to Matt Manderson from their then P10 position.

With all the stops then completed, that left a fifty-minute sprint to the flag for the now twenty-one runners. Whilst Manderson would race comfortably in the knowledge that his next rival on track was a whole lap behind, the same wasn’t for Adam as again the #7 car’s tyres began to fail as each lap ticked by and the #63 Barwell car ever reeled him in.

From over nine seconds to just 0.3 of a second was the finishing gap as Adam held on long enough to claim a worthy P2 finish in their first race back in the Championship for over a year with the Ultimate Speed crew narrowly missing out on a Silver Am podium position with the class P3 Lamborghini in front of them being awarded a post-race 30 second penalty.

A highly entertaining and thrilling Championship opener from Brands Hatch – next stop is the annual three-hour affair from Silverstone where the AMR ranks will be joined by the Newbridge Vantage GT4 car of Matt Topham and Darren Turner.


How nice it was to actually see a crowd around a UK race track enjoying something in person for the first time in over a year!!!

Photo credits - Jacob Ebrey / Teams
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