British GT4 at Brands Hatch - Topham and Turner turn the screw

British GT4 at Brands Hatch - Topham and Turner turn the screw

12.09.2022: Newbridge Motorsport’s Topham and Turner scored what could prove to be a huge result in the context of this year’s ultra-tight GT4 title battle by collecting their second win of the season in a typically fraught encounter at Brands. Just two points

Newbridge Motorsport’s Topham and Turner scored what could prove to be a huge result in the context of this year’s ultra-tight GT4 title battle by collecting their second win of the season in a typically fraught encounter at Brands.

Just two points separated the top three crews coming into the penultimate race of the year, which – even by GT4 standards – was action packed throughout.

Three Safety Car periods before the pitstops meant nobody could forge a meaningful advantage initially. However, those interruptions also ensured the race played into the hands of the Pro-Am crews, who serve less time in the pits compared to their Silver Cup counterparts.

Initially the race looked to be heading the way of Steller Motorsport’s Audi, with Williams getting a great start from pole to establish a clear lead as the battles raged in the pack behind him. It was headed by Orton’s Porsche, which led a train of five cars that traded places throughout.

But Williams’ hard work was undone by the first caution period, which was called to recover Ed McDermott’s stranded Mercedes-AMG from the exit of Druids. And when racing resumed, he set about building the gap all over again as Moh Ritson’s Paddock McLaren, Tom Edgar’s Toyota GR Supra, Marco Signoretti’s Academy Ford Mustang and Jamie Day’s R Racing Aston Martin queued up to try and find a way past Orton.

The Safety Car was once again required to clean up Fox’s stranded McLaren from the Surtees gravel after a three-car GT3 clash. GT4’s pack was then thinned at the restart when Signoretti had to pit with a puncture, and Ritson was elbowed wide at Sheene after contact with Edgar’s Toyota at the apex. The resulting puncture eventually stranded Paddock’s McLaren, necessitating the third Safety Car period.

The net result of all this was Williams leading from Orton, Day, Edgar, Freddie Tomlinson’s Assetto Motorsport Ginetta and Topham. However, with racing resuming for a third time right before the pit window, it would be bad news for all of the Silver crews out front as, without any Success Penalty and with a shorter mandatory stop being a Pro-Am pairing, Turner took the Vantage over from Topham and vaulted into the lead.

With a healthy gap back to the now-second-placed Pro-Am Team BRIT McLaren that Aaron Morgan had kept in seventh before handing to Bobby Trundley, the race for the win was essentially over.

But the fight for the remaining podium spots was far from settled, as Fielding took over the Audi from Williams and rejoined right behind Trundley. Fielding found a way past and set about chasing Turner, successfully managing to erode a 20-second gap to seven at the flag despite losing time in a scary brush with a lapping GT3 car at Westfield.
Hopkins was the next on the move.

He took over from Orton and charged onto the tail of Trundley, eventually finding a way past with a slick move up the inside into Paddock Hill. Josh Miller then dived past the McLaren on the brakes into Druids to complete the top four in the R Racing Aston Martin he took over from Day.

Trundley came home fifth – and second in Pro-Am – with Jordan Collard/Edgar’s Toyota finishing sixth. Joe Wheeler/Tomlinson’s Ginetta was seventh, despite serving a drive-through for a short pitstop.

It leaves three crews – Topham/Turner, Williams/Fielding and Day/Miller – still in GT4 championship contention with a round remaining. The Newbridge Aston Martin starts 12.5 points clear of Steller’s Audi, both of which will serve Success Penalties, while R Racing’s handicap-less Vantage is 20.5 points off top spot.

The final race of this year’s campaign takes place on October 15/16.


- Tom Hornsby -  photo SRO


12.09.2022 / MaP

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