Mother Nature plays her part in the Silverstone 500 Qualifying

Sunday, May 07, 2023


Extra-ordinary scenes around the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit yesterday as the British GT Championship’s blue riband event ended being royally washed out during their later qualifying sessions.

With forty-three cars being listed upon the entry list for Sunday’s Silverstone, a massive leap from the thirty-six-capacity field that competed within the opening two sprint rounds from Oulton Park last month, it would end up being Mother Nature again having the final word on who starts whereas the race organisers were forced to go back to the times set during Free Practice 2.

Four Aston Martin Racing powered teams feature within the colossal grid – two being full season entries from the #97 Beechdean AMR and #23 R-Racing teams with the #19 Blackthorn Motorsport joining into the fray a round late with their AMR Vantage GT3 and with an individual event run out for the Century Motorsport prepared Vantage GT4.

Private testing on Friday had placed the #97 car of Andrew Howard and Ross Gunn firmly within the top 5 in the GT3 Pro-Am class with the #23 car of Josh Miller and Seb Hopkins finishing the day at the top of the GT4 running order. For the #19 Blackthorn and #21 century cars, this was their first meeting this year so unsurprisingly they found themselves a little way off the pace going into Saturdays officially timed sessions.

With Free Practice times already having been set upon a wet track, the out laps into the first Qualifying laps were very much a tippy-toe circulation around the track as the rain continued to hammer down. Unfortunately for Howard, hitting a cross track section of surface water placed the #97 into a spin to nose into the concrete wall, causing both damage to the car and bring out the red flag for a second time.

From that point forward, the Qualifying sessions did not continue such were the track conditions leaving race organisers no choice but to revert to the last session when all cars and drivers did run to determine the grid positions.

That left the #97 Beechdean again the front AMR runner starting Sundays race in fifth overall (P4 in class) with the #19 Blackthorn GT3 car starting its first British GT race from the back of the GT3 pack in P24 whilst the GT4 field sees the #23 R-Racing car starting the three-hour race third overall and third in class with the #21 Century car P14 in GT4 and P6 in their Pro-Am class.

With morning warm up now over without incident upon a drying track, we can now look forward to the start of the Silverstone 500 three-hour race at 12:20hrs local.

Photo credits – Jacob Ebrey
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