A full set of 2024 Aston Martin Vantages hit the track ahead of tomorrows Silverstone 500

Saturday, April 27, 2024


An interesting day was had by all at Silverstone today as the British GT Championship rolled into its annual visit to the home of British motor racing for its Blue Ribband Silverstone 500 event.

Unfortunately, gone were the dry track and warm springtime temperatures of yesterday to be replaced with sullen skies with rain falling even before the cars hit the track for this morning’s Free Practice as well as absolutely freezing temperatures.

Despite this, the British racing fan is a hardy one and a healthy number of those were still seen walking over the bridge and into the heart of the Northampton Circuit for today’s Free Practice and Qualifying sessions.

Walking the pit lane this morning, all five Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT3’s and GT4’s were this time all ship shape and Bristol fashion as the Blackthorn AMR team showed off their new 2024 cars for the first time in anger. Looking at both, the #87 car of Giacomo Petrobelli and Jonny Adam was a converted 16A whilst the #10 car of Matt Topham and Josh Rowledge was a brand new 38A addition.

With the reduced grid of now forty-one cars having lost one McLaren GT3 during yesterdays private testing, full wets were the initial order of the day as the forecast remain ominous and drivers went out looking to see just where the grid laid. Soon seeing cars washing out at Copse as the track dried and the wets struggled, it was of no surprise that many went for slicks but those who did (like Jamie Day within the #7 Forsetti Motorsport GT4, soon came back in for wets as the rains returned for the end of the session.

Despite this, the #87 Blackthorn car was fourth quickest with the #97 Beechdean AMR of Andrew Howard and Jessica Hawkins in eighth (P3 within their own Silver-Am class) whilst the #10 car was just happy to sign off an FP1 session without incident!! The two Forsetti GT4’ meanwhile finished their mornings work fourth overall in GT4 and first within their Pro-Am class for the #47 Marc Warren/Will Orton combo whilst Mikey Porter and Day finished that session P7 in GT4 and P4 in their Silver Class.

Free Practice 2 (now called Pre-Qualifying) was a similar affair as all three GT3’s did a siting lap before returning to pit lane for adjustments, back out, more adjustments before the session was some minutes old before any of them had done a timed lap. A short break was later in order as the #61 Mustang ground to a halt down the Hanger Straight, eventually bringing out the red flag but within five or six minutes the remaining cars were back out again.

As that session drew to a close, the #97 Beechdean car of Howard was to go a little off piste with an unceremonious three-hundred-and-sixty-degree spin coming out of Maggots. It would have been a perfect ten for artistic impression had he been able to straighten the car up again to face the way he was going but another one eighty-degree spin put paid to that. Still, no damage and the session was nigh on done for them anyway, so they lived to fight another day.

At the end of that session, the #87 Blackthorn car was again the fastest Aston Martin in P6 overall but the two silver-am contesting Aston’s had traded places with the #10 pipping the #97 for honours by just over half a second whilst the two GT4’s from Forsetti continued much where they had left off this morning.

Going in Qualifying and with tomorrows race being a single three-hour affair, it was back to the Championships aggregated process with each driver running a ten-minute session before the sum of their times determined their starting order tomorrow. As usual, the GT3 Am’s started before the second driver and much the same in GT4.

Despite the preferences of some at the GT4 end of the pitlane, the track was now bone dry, so slicks were the only option as each session ran their turn. Again, the sessions ran incident free although Warren was the only AMR driver to have a lap time dropped due to exceeding track limits – other crews did that of course but the other nine drivers ran clean laps!!

The nett result was that in GT3, the #87 Blackthorn car remained the fastest Aston Martin and will start tomorrows race from P9 (P8 in Pro-Am), the #97 Beechdean next fastest in P12 (P3 in Silver-Am) and the #10 Blackthorn P19 overall (P7 in class).

Then in GT4, the #7 Forsetti was again fastest out the pair and will start from the second row in P3 whilst the #47 Pro-Am car will start P7 overall and P3 in class.

A three-hour race and mandatory minimum timed stops to be made in addition the success penalty stops earned by both Forsetti crews from the last race at Oulton Park. It will be entertaining!!



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