Lamborghini shines at Brands Hatch
Michael Igoe and Phil Keen began their Intelligent Money British GT Championship challenge in fine style by securing a dominant win for WPI Motorsport and Lamborghini in two-hour season opener at Brands Hatch where Gus Burton and Will Burns headed a Century BMW one-two in the GT4 class.
Beechdean AMR’s Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam couldn’t convert their pole position into victory but still came away with a handy points haul after holding off Barwell Motorsport’s Lamborghini shared by Leo Machitski and a charging Dennis Lind. Team Abba Racing’s Richard and Sam Neary collected Silver-Am honours in fifth overall.
Having just missed out on pole yesterday, Igoe made the most of his front row grid slot by initially tracking and then passing Andrew Howard who had converted Beechdean AMR’s pole position into an early lead.
But any hopes of establishing a significant advantage were dashed by two Safety Car periods that punctuated the opening stint. The first involved contact between Chris Salkeld and John Ferguson, which sent Toyota Gazoo Racing UK’s Supra into the Hawthorns gravel trap, and the other a clash between James Cottingham and Adam Balon that resulted in both cars beached at Paddock Hill.
Igoe managed the first restart perfectly and received a slice of luck with the second when a lapped GT4 car acted as a buffer between himself, Howard, Leo Machitski and Richard Neary. The subsequent scrap that saw Barwell’s Lamborghini relieve Beechdean’s Aston of second at Surtees only further enhanced Igoe’s advantage, which stood at four seconds when the pitstop window opened after 62 minutes.
His co-driver, Phil Keen, emerged with a familiar foe for company after a broken GPS unit delayed Barwell’s pitstop, dropping Dennis Lind two places and handing second to Jonny Adam. The championship’s two most successful drivers traded times for the best part of 40 minutes – the gap fluctuating between 2.5s and 3.5s throughout – before Beechdean’s Aston began to fade.
Instead, Adam’s attention switched to Lind who claimed the Sunoco Fastest Lap before also dispatching Yelmer Buurman with a brilliantly opportunistic three-wide move in traffic while approaching Westfield with 28 minutes remaining. The Dane rapidly closed in but caught the Vantage too late to suss out a potential passing place. Just three tenths separated them at the finish.
Buurman and Ian Loggie came home fourth thanks to a solid performance from RAM’s reigning Pro-Am champions. Their Mercedes-AMG lacked the pace of either the Lamborghini or Aston Martin but executed a fault-free race after starting seventh.
Team Abba Racing’s Mercedes-AMG was in the thick of the action throughout an opening stint in which Richard Neary climbed from sixth to fourth and then slid back down the order before the pit window opened. His son, Sam, was particularly eye-catching in the second hour when he chased down Buurman, while Silver-Am victory and fifth overall was a just reward for an encouraging weekend.
Nick Jones and Scott Malvern (Team Parker Racing) also avoided the pitfalls of others to make up five places from where they qualified en route to sixth, but JRM will be left ruing what might have been after a drive-through penalty dropped Kelvin Fletcher and Martin Plowman out of podium contention. Their Bentley finished seventh, while Proctors Stewart and Lewis completed the top-eight for Balfe.
GT3 debutants Simon Green Motorsport took the chequered flag in ninth but received a post-race 30s penalty in lieu of a drive-through for making avoidable contact with G-Cat Racing’s Porsche. Greg Caton and Shamus Jennings therefore moved up one place at the expense of the Lamborghini, which collected the final point in 10th.
Barwell and RAM’s second entries also appeared on course for decent finishes before Cottingham and Balon’s collision at Paddock Hill ended their fantastic scrap over sixth.
Next up it’s British GT’s big one: the three-hour Silverstone 500, which takes place on June 26/27.
Brands Hatch, 23 May 2021
1. Michael Igoe – Phil Keen (Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo / WPI Motorsport) 77 laps 2:01:21.444
2. Jonny Adam – Andrew Howard (Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 / Beechdean AMR) +9.614
3. Dennis Lind – Leo Machitski (Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo / Barwell Motorsport) +9.949
4. Yelmer Buurman – Ian Loggie (Mercedes-AMG GT3 / RAM Racing) +14.818
5. Richard Neary – Sam Neary (Mercedes-AMG GT3 / Team ABBA Racing) +16.346
6. Nick Jones – Scott Malvern (Porsche 911 GT3 R / Team Parker Racing) +51.459
7. Kelvin Fletcher – Martin Plowman (Bentley Continental GT3 / JRM Racing) +1:09.000
8. Lewis Proctor – Stewart Proctor (McLaren 720S GT3 / Balfe Motorsport) +1:18.931
9. Greg Caton – Shamus Jennings (Porsche 911 GT3 R / G-Cat Racing) +1 lap
10. Lucky Khera – Ross Wylie (Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo / Simon Green Motorsport) +1 lap
11. Michael Brown – Matt Manderson (Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 / Ultimate Speed) +2 laps
12. Adam Balon – Sandy Mitchell (Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo / Barwell Motorsport) +4 laps
13. Gus Burton – Will Burns (BMW M4 GT4 / Century Motorsport) +4 laps
14. Andrew Gordon-Colebooke – Chris Salked (BMW M4 GT4 / Century Motorsport) +4 laps
15. Jordan Collard – James Kell (McLaren 570S GT4 / Team Rocket RJN) +4 laps
16. Charlie Robertson – Mark Sansom (Ginetta G56 / Assetto Motorsport) +4 laps
17. Sennan Fielding – Richard Williams (Audi R8 LMS GT4 / Steller Motorsport) +4 laps
18. Nick Halstead – Jamie Stanley (McLaren 570S GT4 / Fox Motorsport) +5 laps
19. Jack Brown – Ashley Marshall (McLaren 570S GT4 / Balfe Motorsport) +5 laps
20. Harry Hayek – Katie Milner (McLaren 570S GT4 / Team Rocket RJN) +5 laps
21. Jake Giddings – David Whitemore (Mercedes-AMG GT4 / Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport) +6 laps
Matt Cowley – Will Moore (Ford Mustang GT4 / Academy Motorsport) 28 laps
James Cottingham – Sam De Haan (Mercedes-AMG GT4 / RAM Racing) 24 laps
John Ferguson – Scott McKenna (Toyota GR Supra GT4 / Toyota Gazoo Racing Uk) 7 laps
Marcus Clutton – Morgan Tillbrook (McLaren 720S GT3 / Enduro Motorsport) –
Michal Benyahia – Alain Valente (McLaren 570S GT4 / Team Rocket RJN) –
Fastest lap: Dennis Lind (Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo / Barwell Motorsport) 41 lap 1:24.964