L&T Motorsport

Barwell Dominate British GT Opener

For the first race of the 2017 British GT season, Lamborghini made a dominant start taking a competitive one-two with Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen taking victory. A rain-affected race saw drama throughout the hour endurance, with only two cars failing to complete the race. The #72 Track-Club crew of Adam Balon and Adam Mackay took first place in the GT4 class.

Before the race had begun, it was over for third-placed #24 Macmillan AMR. Smoke plumed from the bonnet and the car leaked coolant as the field set off. The team pushed the car back into the pits and managed to get it out to do a handful of laps during the race but it was completely out of contention, finishing 22 laps behind the leaders.

Minshaw was uncatchable after throwing a move up the inside of Rick Parfitt Jr at the start of the race to take the lead. He had a 30-second lead on the Bentley when he handed the car over to Keen for the second half of the race. The two Lamborghinis disappeared after the pit stops as Sam Tordoff pulled out a rapid pace from the Barwell Motorsport car. Keen and Tordoff exchanged fastest laps for most of the closing stages of the race, but there was nothing the #6 could do to close down the near 40-second lead that Keen finished with.

Matthew Griffin took the fastest lap of the race, an impressive 1:42. 761. In the closing stages of the race, Griffin was on a mission to take P6 in class and threw his Ferrari 488 GTE around the track chasing down #7 Team Parker Racing Ltd. With four consecutive fastest laps, Griffin took sixth in the GT3 class by 0.063 seconds.

Off the start, the pole-sitting #100 Black Bull Garage 59 entrant was the car to beat. Sandy Mitchell managed to hold onto the lead competitively up until the pit stops. Unfortunately for the team, an issue with the front wheels caused them to have a very long pit stop, dropping them right down the field and out of the points. It was the #62 Academy Motorsport and the #72 Track-Club that were battling for the lead as the chequered flag approached.

The #62 had a bizarre start to the race as, for an unknown reason, the bonnet flew off the car. The car continued to run at a competitive pace and looked good even if a major part of the bodywork was missing. After the pit stops, Will Moore handed over to Matt Nicoll-Jones who inherited the lead of the class. Mackay was pushing hard to try and take the first class win from the Aston Martin but it looked like Nicoll-Jones had the edge.

Both cars were called to the stewards and handed stop/go penalties for taking short pit stops. The #62 was hit with a much longer penalty of 18 seconds whilst #72 got away with a very short 1.5 seconds stop. The penalty lengths were worked out by being the length of time that was left of the allotted pit stop time. As their stop was so much longer, the #62 car fell to third in class, whilst #72 were able to retain their lead as they went through the pits. #55 HHC Motorsport did well out of those penalties as it jumped the #62 to take second.

(image: Racephotography.net)

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