A day that belonged to Newbridge Motorsport by the end of the Silverstone 500

Monday, June 28, 2021


The second round of the 2021 British GT Championship again didn’t fail to entertain as a combined GT3 and GT4 grid of thirty cars embarked on what was the 10th anniversary of the #Silverstone500 around the home of British motor racing.

For this round only (or at least so far announced) we were blessed with the attendance of four Aston Martin Racing Partner team cars – the full season #7 Beechdean AMR Vantage GT3 entry for Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam and the first appearance of the now full season #27 Newbridge Motorsport Vantage GT4 entry for drivers Matt Topham and Darren Turner. These two cars were then supported by a pair of guesting TF Sport Vantage GT3’s for drivers Giacomo Petrobelli/Charlie Eastwood (#38) and Bonamy Grimes/Marco Sorensen (#95).

After Saturday’s Qualifying, the #38 car was dropped down two places from its original P2 slot to P4 for apparently crossing the blend line on pit out during the session. Also a change from the Saturday and into Sunday was the weather!! Gone was the warmth of the sun, to be replaced on Sunday morning with a damp track, low grey misty cloud despite a fresh wind blowing down the Hanger Straight with rain looking decidedly possible.

Without any dramas in morning warm up, all four cars had their Am drivers aboard for the first hour(ish) of the race, during which three minimum time pit stops had to be made with no driver driving for more than 100 minutes. The #7 Beechdean car also had an additional ten seconds of stop time to take at their final stop as ‘reward’ for their P2 finish at the first round of the Championship at Brands Hatch.

A good start was had by all the Aston’s as all quickly started the chase behind the already gapping Mercedes AMG at the front. Petrobelli maintained his position in P4 whilst Howard wasn’t too far behind on track in P8 but such was the pace of the lead car that there was already a thirteen second gap by the end of the first half hour.

It was a similar story in GT4 as the two lead cars put a large gap to the pack behind, but Topham was doing a great job in the #27 car by keeping himself out of trouble and proving his potential by staying up with those with more experience around him. They would pit ahead of most in their class (after 45 minutes) and that gave AMR factory driver Turner some space on track to work some of his magic.

Just ahead of the first scheduled round of stops for the GT3 cars, Petrobelli was now up to P2 whilst Howard was up to P4 and Grimes P9 after some earlier contact before each pitted just after the hour mark. Time was lost in pit lane for the #95 car as the Dane struggled to opening the driver’s door to let Grimes out – almost ripping it off its hinges before members of the pit crew managed to use more subtler means to the same effect.

Eastwood soon got back to P5 and Adam P7 at the start of their opening stints but a quick spin for the #7 car at the Loop lost the Scotsman both time and positions whilst Sorensen was making up for lost time in the #95 car moving up to P14 whilst Turner was steadily moving up the order in class, passing the #57 BMW for the lead just before the end of his stint.

Moving into the final hour of the race all three AMR GT3 crew had still two stops to take, one being imminent, and each would place the Pro’s back into the cars for the final push to the flag. Turner had handed over to Topham for a shorter second stint for him before he handed the #27 car back to him for the final half hour.

A late track limits warning for Adam in the #7 car adjusted his line through Copse whilst Eastwood went for a final push to progress up from their fourth place whilst Sorensen came out just inside the top ten. The only chance for the #38 car was for the two battling Lamborghini’s to take each other out as they battled each other for second but for a change – that inadvertent ‘tap’ between them never came and Eastwood and Petrobelli had to make do with a P4 finish.

The great news came from the GT4 field as Turner brought the #27 Newbridge AMR Vantage GT4 home in the lead of not just their Pro-Am class but also at the head of the GT4 field for not just the team’s first win but also his own in British GT. Being close to Topham on the pit wall as the car crossed the line – what that meant for Topham was obvious!!

These results leave the #7 Beechdean crew in second in the GT3 Pro-Am Championship just 4.5 points behind the #63 Barwell Lamborghini and places the #27 Newbridge team into fourth having only competed at the Silverstone round so far.

It was a great day and was certainly great to be trackside again.

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