Great start to the British GT Championship for the two AMR Vantage GT4 crews today

Monday, April 18, 2022


Another opening weekend of the British GT Championship and another two great rounds of GT3 and GT4 racing around the beautiful circuit of Oulton Park today.

Again split across the Saturday and Monday of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, we had to wait another day to see how the earlier performances of the two Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT4 crews from both the Newbridge Motorsport and R Racing teams faired from Qualifying on Saturday afternoon to the first one-hour race on Monday morning.

Having benefitted from a somewhat ‘unexpected’ Balance of Performance change to the Vantage GT4 platform ahead of the first formal session of Saturday, that change in the car certainly moved it in the right direction as far as Matt Topham was concerned after he qualified his #27 in P5 for the opening race.

New to the Championship and indeed their AMR Vantage, was the R-Racing duo of Josh Miller and Jamie Day proved their immediate worth together by going quickest in class during the first Free Practice session and later transposed that into a P7 in class in their first GT race together.

Under clear blue skies and sunshine this morning saw the thirty-one-car combined grid make a relatively clean start to this season’s racing proceedings with both Topham and Day running a clean, consistent race between them during their opening thirty minute or so stint.

First race of the year and their first error for the Newbridge team came when they released Turner from the pits after their stop a whole one second too quick for their mandated minimum and that cost the car the GT4 race lead after the then leading Audi GT4 car was awarded a similar but longer revisit to the pit lane for the same offence.

Whilst the #27 car suffered, the debuting #23 car profited as Miller moved up to third in class with Turner recovering to a P5 position. 

Seeing out the hour-long opening race, the #23 R-Racing crew earned themselves a dream start to their GT4 career claiming a P2 overall (and in their allotted Silver Cup class) podium finish for their efforts whilst the #27 crew did hang on to a GT4 Pro-Am class win of their own too after their P5 overall finish.

Monday’s later second race of the weekend would have Turner this time starting from the GT4 pole position and the #23 car sixth on grid behind them just as the first signs of rain falling was detected on track.

Making no difference to the start, the cars again thundered off into the opening corners as the Stellar Audi again showed just how quick it was nicking first from Turner in the process and with Miller caught in the middle of a seven-car pack just behind just as two other GT4’s took themselves off at the Shell hairpin to bring out the Safety Car for the first time.

Losing a quarter of the race to that, the next problem was quickly to be the rain that was now falling heavily around parts of the circuit. With all the cars of slicks, it wasn’t too long before some were falling off the racetrack and onto the wet grass and barriers beyond to bring out first the Safety Car again and then a red flag.

After a long delay to allow stranded cars to be recovered and damaged barriers to be replaced, the grid was reformed with the cars second drivers aboard and an appropriate tyre choice being made available to the teams. The necessary pit stop penalties and success penalties would be left and added to the respective cars final race times at the end!

That all meant that Topham would emerge P2 in GT4, still behind the Stellar Audi and with Miller in fifth at the restart for what would be a final twenty-minute dash to the flag.

Although Miller would initially lose three places on the restart, the #27 car of Topham would finish second on track but with the Audi’s 15 second silver pit stop penalty applied, that would mean that Topham and Turner would this time take an overall GT4 win as well as another GT4 Pro-Am Class win to go with that from Race 1 earlier.

A further elevated up to P5 finishing position for the #23 R-Racing crew of Miller and Day saw them secure P3 in the overall GT4 table after these two races just behind that of Topham and Turner as the Championship heads to Silverstone at the end of the month.

A great start by these two teams!!

Photo credits – Teams / Jacob Ebrey
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