British GT3 Donington - Ready player 1

British GT3 Donington - Ready player 1

11.08.2020: Intelligent Money British GT Championship Donington Park 15-16 August 2020 Few would have picked an esports champion and GT4 graduate to be leading the championship after round one. But thatís exactly the situation atop the early GT3 standings

Intelligent Money British GT Championship
Donington Park
15-16 August 2020



 
Few would have picked an esports champion and GT4 graduate to be leading the championship after round one. But that’s exactly the situation atop the early GT3 standings thanks to James Baldwin and Michael O’Brien who belied their inexperience to win Race 1 and score useful points in the second.



What’s more, Jenson Team Rocket RJN also enter Sunday’s first race without a Pitstop Success Penalty, which rise to 20, 15 and 10 seconds for British GT’s endurance format.


The same can’t be said for either of Barwell Motorsport’s Lamborghinis, which lie second and third after scoring a one-two in Oulton’s second race. Adam Balon and Phil Keen – also the leading Pro/Am contenders – and their team-mates Rob Collard and Sandy Mitchell must therefore remain stationary for an additional 20 and 15 seconds at half distance.



There’s also the small matter of Barwell’s supposed Donington curse, which has afflicted its championship challenges in the past. The team will be hoping a change of date and the addition of a sprint race – a format Barwell has traditionally excelled in – can break the spell this weekend.



Two more crews lie within eight points of the early championship leaders thanks to podium visits at Oulton. Lewis Proctor’s pole position helped the Optimum McLaren he shares with Ollie Wilkinson to finish second in Race 1, while RAM Racing’s Mercedes-AMG featuring Sam De Haan and Patrick Kujala took third in the second. The latter must therefore serve a 10-second Success Penalty this Sunday morning.



Elsewhere, both 2 Seas Motorsport entries would have scored more heavily at Oulton without separate incidents scuppering their chances. An unfortunate case of wrong place, wrong time ended Angus Fender and Dean Macdonald’s chances of adding to their Race 1 podium, while a penalty denied Jack Mitchell and Jordan Witt an almost-certain victory earlier in the day.



It was a similar story for Ian Loggie and Yelmer Buurman who left Oulton seventh in the standings. However, the combination of a longer endurance race and no Success Penalty marks out RAM Racing’s Pro/Am Mercedes-AMG as a serious overall contender this weekend.


‘What-ifs’ also apply to AF Corse’s Ferrari, which would have been somewhere near the podium places were it not for an errant GT4 car, and WPI Motorsport whose weekend was compromised by a suspension issue in qualifying. This weekend sees Michael Igoe joined by Lamborghini Squadra Corse factory driver Andrea Caldarelli.


Elsewhere, while standout results eluded them, both Richard and Sam Neary (Team ABBA Racing), and Nick Jones and Scott Malvern (Team Parker Racing) showed plenty of promise in round one. Indeed, 18-year-old Neary Jnr – up against experienced factory Pro drivers – was particularly impressive during his first British GT weekend.



GT3’s entry is also boosted by the return of Balfe Motorsport’s McLaren, which makes the first of three scheduled appearances in the hands of Stewart Proctor and Joe Osborne.


Meanwhile, the four Silver Cup-entered McLaren crews will serve longer pitstops this weekend as part of British GT’s performance balancing measures. Rather than carrying excessive ballast, their mandatory pitstop times will increase by eight and four seconds in Race 1 and 2, respectively. Similar measures have been used to successfully balance GT4’s Pro/Am and Silver Cup classes in recent years.
 





-Lauren Granville, Tom Hornsby  - photo Jakob Ebrey


Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/british-gt3-donington-park-player-1---210600.html

11.08.2020 / MaP

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