British GT4 Silverstone: Centruy score overdue victory, Vaughan and Caroline claim the crown

British GT4 Silverstone: Centruy score overdue victory, Vaughan and Caroline claim the crown

09.11.2020: Intelligent Money British GT Championship Silverstone 500 Sunday, November 8th 2020 Century Motorsport called its strategy perfectly to secure a victory few would have predicted at the start of the weekend as Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke and Rob Wh


Intelligent Money British GT Championship
Silverstone 500
Sunday, November 8th 2020




Century Motorsport called its strategy perfectly to secure a victory few would have predicted at the start of the weekend as Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke and Rob Wheldon produced the perfect race to claim the glory. However, it was TF Sport’s Aston Martin crew of Dan Vaughan and Jamie Caroline who celebrated becoming GT4 champions after a stunning fightback from a pitstop penalty.



Heading into the season finale, any one of five crews could seal the title in an ultra-tight GT4 contest, and the destination of the crown duly swung a number of ways before only being decided in the closing minutes.



A turbulent opening half-hour kept everybody guessing and presented Century with its chance to strike. When the Safety Car was called at the end of the first lap, TF Sport took the chance to pit both of its Astons early to get one of its stops out of the way while the race was at reduced speed. It’s a tactic that has worked well in the past but one that was scuppered by both cars collecting stop-go penalties.



That left TF on the back foot, and both cars would run in formation for the remainder of the race, chipping away at the deficit with each stint.



In contrast, Century opted to keep Wheldon out until much later in the Safety Car period before pitting him, thus finding a window where the BMW M4 could be serviced, Gordon-Colebrooke installed, and re-join before the Safety Car could complete the next lap.



It worked perfectly, and Gordon-Colebrooke came back into the race with a near half-lap advantage, even if it wasn’t immediately apparent.



James Dorlin and Alex Toth-Jones stole much of the limelight early on, with Dorlin not pitting at all during the caution and thus holding a lead of around 1m40s for most of the race. When he finally did stop to hand to Toth-Jones after 28 laps, the car was so far out of sync with the rest of the field that it enjoyed a huge advantage after each pit cycle. However, the two long opening stints meant the MSL Powered by Newbridge Motorsport Aston would have to serve its last two stops within the final hour, and with no Safety Car it dropped the duo out of contention.



All the time Gordon-Colebrooke/Wheldon flew under the radar to emerge with a half-minute lead when the order worked through in the final hour, and from then the hard work was done.



But behind the winner the title battle exploded into life. Jordan Collard had made superb early progress to catapult the HHC McLaren he shares with Patrik Matthiesen into the championship hot seat to run second as the race entered its closing stages. But the duo of TF Astons weren’t far behind.



Caroline took over from Vaughan for a rapid final stint, followed closely by Kibble in the sister car, and Matthiesen could do nothing to deny the two flying Vantages, which both passed him inside the final minutes.



Second place was enough to put the title beyond doubt for Caroline and Vaughan.



Matthiesen came fourth, ahead of the sister HHC McLaren of Gus Bowers/Chris Wesemael. Toth-Jones brought the MSL/Newbridge Aston home in sixth ahead of Century’s second BMW shared by Adam Hatfield/Ben Hurst.



Charlie Hollings/Lars Dahmann were eighth ahead of the troubled Speedworks Toyota of James Kell/Sam Smelt, which lost a heap of time early on after sustaining door damage in a clash with the Academy Motorsport Ford Mustang, which was then compounded by a stop-go penalty for a pit infringement when fixing the issue. Smelt at least set Sunoco fastest lap en route to ninth ahead of the Will Moore/Matt Cowley Mustang, which had to stop for suspension repairs.



All of that also allowed TF Sport to retain its Teams’ crown ahead of HHC Motorsport, while Caroline and Vaughan added the Silver Cup championship to their Overall class success. Balfe Motorsport’s Mia Flewitt and Euan Hankey were early retirees today but had already won the Pro-Am title.


Oulton Park hosts the opening round of 2021’s Intelligent Money British GT Championship on April 3 & 5. Entries open in early January.
 





- Tom Hornsby - photo SRO
 
 

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09.11.2020 / MaP

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