Just as balmy as the Bank Holiday sunshine - the BGT race at Donington is set up nicely for tomorrow

Saturday, May 27, 2023


It’s another Bank Holiday weekend but this time the sun is shining for the third round but fourth race of the 2012 British GT Championship from Donington Park.

It’s also a return to just the ‘two’s company’ situation for Aston Martin Racing powered contingent having had two Vantage GT3’s and two Vantage GT4’s at the last round at Silverstone at the start of the month to just one of each as both Beechdean AMR and R-Racing fly the AMR flag this time around.

Having had time and the weather conditions to dial themselves back into the characteristics of the Leicestershire circuit last Thursday with private testing, it was the #97 Beechdean AMR of Andrew Howard and Ross Gunn who come out tops during today’s earlier Free Practice sessions as they come home to take top slot in the earlier session and second in the next.

For the Vantage GT4 crew of Josh Miller and Seb Hopkins, it would be a mid-table finish for them at the end of FP1 before coming back to claim second in class by the end of the second as this young duo looks to recover what was lost at Silverstone as they struggled with track limits and the penalties that is associated with that transgression at the Silverstone 500.

This afternoon’s Qualifying sessions were again split two ways with each driver having their turn before both times were combined to determine the starting order for tomorrows two-hour race.

Howard was out first in his #97 car as one of the later GT3 Am’s to tack to the track during his ten-minute session to slowly climb the timing screen to take the top slot again with just one minute to go. Unfortunately for him, his efforts were surpassed by late charges from both the #78 Barwell Lamborghini and #4 2 Seas Mercedes for him to finally finish in third.

Gunn was next up, and it was straight down to business for the factory driver before again being passed on the timing screen by the #78 Barwell car that had suddenly found its feet in terms of performance. By the end of the session, the #97 would claim a second row start in P3 just 0.495 second off the ultimate pace.

Josh Miller again started the qualifying process for the R-Racing team and set an early mid table banker lap as he looked to eke out any residual levels of performance left within their #23 car as the McLarens and Ginetta’s again went quicker ahead of him.

Hopkins dutifully completed the task within the final Qualifying session to suffer the same problems as Miller had ahead of him with the pace of the new and evolved platforms ahead of him. Eventually finishing down in sixth and 1.191 seconds off the class pace, tomorrows race will of course be another matter as many drivers within both classes race the Donington circuit in their present machinery for the first time.

The expected fine weather will also bring its own issues – this time with tyre management within what is customary expected to be just a one stop race. With how lap times have been going so far, this opening two-hour race of the season is by no means over – it’s not even begun!!

Photo credits – Jacob Ebrey


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