Topham and Turner tough it out at #Doningtondecider to bring home the GT4 Pro-Am Drivers Championship

Monday, October 18, 2021


The weekend turned out to be another very successful one for two Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT4 teams, each on either side of ‘the pond’ as both finally secured at the death both an Am Class Championship win and a Pro-Am Championship in two SRO sanctioned series.

Closer to home this time and the Newbridge Motorsport AMR team with drivers Matt Topham and Darren Turner did exactly what was needed to do at the final round of the 2021 British GT Championship at Donington Park to claim the GT4 Pro-Am Drivers Championship by the slenderest of margins after finally taking a class second at the final race of the season yesterday.

For the #27 crew, their preparations for Sunday’s two hour didn’t exactly get off to a flying start on Saturday when a mistake from Turner at the start of the days second Free Practice session saw their #27 car consigned to the garage for the session with front end repairs after contact with one of the Bentley GT3’s.

After many hands made light work of the repairs, the team had the car back out (in something of a raw state) in time for Qualifying and each driver was able to post lap times good enough to keep the car towards the front of the GT4 pack whilst their nearest championship rivals also struggled towards the rear.

Of course, the #27 Newbridge car was not the only Aston Martin Racing car present as the #7 AMR Vantage GT3 of Andrew Howard (and Jonny Adam) also had a slight possibility of a GT3 Drivers Championship as well as Century Motorsport bringing David Holloway and his AMR Vantage GT4 along to the finale with co-driver Bradley Ellis.

Having just finished their GT Cup Championship in the gold and black liveried car, Holloway was here to sample just what the British GT Championship had to offer prior to any 2022 commitment and the 2019 British GT GT3 Silver Cup Champion was just the person to show him after a season’s worth of driver coaching behind them.

Howard meanwhile, was having yet another year’s partnership with his previous co-champion conclude a the end of the race and despite their spirit and commitment to the cause – perhaps the kind of points deficit that they faced was all a bit much for the Anglo-Scott crew to challenge other than just doing well in the final race.

The #Doningtondecider soon threw some more spice into the works as the teams were greeted by a wet track from overnight rain and with more on the way, certainly over morning warm up and into the start of the race itself. Whilst this would help some, the deteriorating track conditions would also take their toll on others.

With most cars starting on wets, it wasn’t long before the first GT3 championship candidate threw it all away into the gravel, reinforcing the fact to the race starting Topham that he had to be in it to win it! As the laps passed by, the track developed a clear dry line meaning that conservation of the tyres was paramount as any additional tyre stop would see off any championship aspirations.

A cracking opening stint from Topham maintained their top end of class race position despite the championship contesting Fox McLaren stealthily moving up through the pack from their starting position. Eventually handing the #27 car over to the multiple Le Mans winner, it was all down to Turner to bring it home for the team inside the final hour of the race despite now being behind the Fox car on track

The weather had played its part in the opening phase of the day and the race would be concluded under rising, broken cloud with the sun even peeking out at times to see just what was going on and second in class was always going to be good enough mathematically for the #27 crew despite the points differential between P1 and P2.

Bring it home they did, claiming P2 overall in class at the chequered flag to land yet another podium of the season and, more importantly the GT4 Drivers Championship by just four points for their efforts. What is more outstanding is the fact the team did not even attend the first race of the season at Brands Hatch in mid-May!!

Joining the delights of a decent finish were also the #71 Century AMR crew of Holloway and Ellis who claimed P3 in class by the end of their first British GT race together as they finished just six seconds behind the #27 car!

Another P7 finish for the #7 Beechdean AMR crew would cement them into fifth (and sixth for Adam) place in the GT3 Drivers Championship – frustrating to them we are sure, but we would like to think that had it not been for Covid, mistakes at Spa and accident at Oulton Park then they may have been in for a better shout than what they actually were at the end.

But that’s motor racing.

Photo credit (podium) – Jacob Ebrey
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