Late title push for Scuderia Vittoria as sensational enduro win sets up finale

26 09 2011

Lyons struggled with front end grip at Brands Hatch in a dramatic race

Lyons and Bateman are back in the title hunt after a stellar win at Donington

MICHAEL Lyons and Scuderia Vittoria teammate Charles Bateman stormed to a second race win of the season in a testing three-hour enduro at Donington Park to catapult them back into title contention.

The 20-year-old and Bateman took the GT500 by the scruff of the neck in the second half of the race and pulled out a lead over their closest rivals.

The fantastic result leaves Lyons with a shot at British GT glory in his debut season and the championship finale at Silverstone on October 9 is one not to be missed.

Lyons added: “The amazing thing is that this now leaves us firmly back in the championship chase with one round to go. After winning at Oulton Park earlier in the year which seems like such a long time ago, we now have a reasonable chance.

I will do my best to win at Silverstone the last race and just see what happens.”

Bateman started first on a damp and slippery surface and took the car from eighth to fourth before bringing it into the pits for Lyons to take over.

By this time, the circuit was bone dry and slicks were the only option. Lyons immediately set about setting fastest laps before the safety car was out again, this time for a beached Aston Martin.

As soon as the safety car came out Lyons pitted from an astonishing second place – in effect buying the team a free pit stop – a strategy that would pay big dividends at the chequered flag.

Bateman put the laps in and maintained the place and as the safety car came out for the third time, the team pitted on lap 62 to hand back over to Lyons for the last stint.

When Lyons rejoined the race he was in fifth place and a lap down, but the strategy was working well with a whole pit stop in hand to claw back the deficit to those in front.

By lap 85 Lyons was leading having passed cars on track and in the pits and the gap was 37 seconds. The biggest question at this point was whether a splash and dash for fuel would be needed.

Fortunately with some measured driving and fuel management they saw of the MTECH Ferrari 458 and ever present Trackspeed Porsche.

In the closing minutes though the #20 Ferrari spun off the circuit causing a safety car to come out one more time. This meant the lead was reduced to zero and when the safety car came back in, Lyons had to fight extremely hard to hold on to the flag.

Lyons said: “It was a mega race, those last twenty minutes just took forever, I never thought the race would finish. All the safety cars through the race both helped us and hindered us in equal amounts, so I suppose it just evened out really.

“The times in my last stint were great and against some really strong competition, so I’m really pleased with how it has all gone, this really is the race to win in British GT, and to beat the factory drivers too was very satisfying.

“The team have also done a great job all weekend, and the strategy and the way they spotted the opportunity to build a free pit stop was incredible, so I have to say thank you to the guys too.”

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Scuderia Vittoria duo claim twilight win as championship goes down to the wire

26 09 2011

Michael Lyons suffered a string of misfortunes at Spa in his Ferrari 458 © Jakob Ebrey

Lyons and Bateman took their second season win in the three hour twilight enduro © Jakob Ebrey

SCUDERIA Vittoria pairing Charles Bateman and Michael Lyons secured their second victory of the season after a dramatic three-hour race into darkness at Donington Park.

The duo had qualified in eighth place in their Ferrari 458 Italia but played the strategy game well to move into the lead heading into the final hour of the race.

Despite a third Safety Car period late on, Lyons was able to bring the Ferrari home to the finish to give the team its first win since the opening rounds of the campaign at Oulton Park.

In GT4, the Lotus Sport UK team stormed to victory, with Phil Glew and James Nash leading from start to finish to win ahead of the Ginetta of Josh Wakefield and Jake Rattenbury.

The race had started in the wet after earlier rain, which led to tricky conditions throughout the opening stint.

Early on, the Beechdean Motorsport Aston Martin proved the class of the field, with the team electing to put Jonathan Adam in for the first stint while most teams took the decision to start with their professional driver watching from the pit wall.

From sixth on the grid, Adam stormed through to lead by the end of the first lap and then pulled away at the margin of three seconds a lap before the gap between the Aston and the chasing pack eventually started to stabilise as conditions improved.

Behind Adam, Gregor Fisken had also got ahead of reigning champion David Ashburn and into second place, with the two Trackspeed Porsches running in tandem ahead of the MTECH Ferrari of Duncan Cameron, Bateman and Mike Guasch’s United Autosport Audi.

Bateman made a move on Cameron for fourth just before the 20-minute mark and that allowed Guasch also to close on the Ferrari, before contact between the two cars saw Cameron slip down to eighth and left the Audi to pit with bodywork damage which cost it two laps.

The Aston Martin led through to the opening round of stops – at which point the field switched to slick tyres on the drying track – but that would be as good as is got for the Beechdean crew as Andrew Howard then suffered a spin at Redgate on his out lap.

Dropping down to fourth, Howard then lost further places among the quicker ‘pro’ drivers before a spin at the Esses saw the Aston beached in the gravel and led to the Safety Car being deployed.  Although he managed to get the car back to the pits, the Aston Martin was soon retired.

It would prove to be the moment when the race swung towards Scuderia Vittoria, as the team called Michael Lyons – who had taken over from Bateman – in for a second stop.

Keeping the car towards the front, Bateman then pitted when the Safety Car came out for a second time to remove the CRS Ferrari of Andrew Tate from the gravel, and this handed control back to Lyons as the three cars ahead all pitted.

Despite his final stint running to just over an hour, and with fuel needing to be saved, Lyons maintained a lead of more than 20 seconds before the Safety Car was called out for the third time with 16 minutes remaining when the MTECH Ferrari of David Back went off.

With three lapped cars to act as a buffer against the chasing pack, Lyons was able to hold on to his lead and take victory as a heated battle developed behind for second place.

Those boys behind at the finish were the MTECH Ferrari of Matt Griffin and Tim Bridgman’s Trackspeed Porsche, which had moved to the front of the field by the half-way stage – the former despite the earlier delay in Cameron’s first stint.

Bridgman had been the race leader when the second Safety Car period was called, ahead of Griffin. Both cars dived for the pits to complete what would be their second of three mandatory stops – with Gregor Fisken and Duncan Cameron maintaining position when they rejoined the circuit.

However, while still behind the Safety Car, the pair found themselves stuck behind the GT4 Aston Martin of Sergio Lagana, which was suffering from a gearbox issue and which they were unable under the Safety Car rules to pass. Having already been delayed, there was further drama for Fisken as he exited Goddards to take the restart when Lagana suddenly dived for the pits, forcing the Porsche man to jump on the brakes and allowing Cameron through into the lead.

The Ferrari would then lead the Porsche through to the final stops, where both were jumped by Lyons, with Griffin and Bridgman setting about chasing down the leader over the final 40 minutes.

The final Safety Car looked like setting up a grandstand finish but Griffin found himself stuck behind the lapped cars of both Gordon Shedden and Adam Wilcox and was unable to challenge Lyons for the lead, although any challenge would ultimately have been immaterial when stewards handed Cameron and Griffin a time penalty for the earlier pass on Fisken at the end of the second caution period.

With that time penalty applied, the MTECH car dropped back behind the Porsche, into third place, with Fisken and Bridgman securing the runner-up slot.

Outside the top three positions, the second Trackspeed Porsche of Ashburn and Stephen Jelley took the chequered flag in fourth place with its challenge having been hampered by a number of minor off-track excursions by Ashburn.

The CRS Ferrari of championship leaders Jim and Glynn Geddie was the final car to finish on the lead lap, in fifth place having lost time – and position – during the opening stint when the car was forced to serve a drive-through penalty for a starting procedure violation.

The all-new Rosso Verde Ferrari 458 Italia rounded out the top six after an encouraging debut, with touring car star Gordon Shedden quickly up to speed and matching the pace of the front-runners as he looked to lift the car back up the order after team-mate Hector Lester lost time during the wet opening stint.

Guasch and Bell lifted the delayed Audi – the only one in the race after the sister car was ruled out by a qualifying accident – back up to seventh at the finish, although the two laps lost early on would prove to be too much to make up. They regained one of the laps lost but seventh was the best the pair could have hoped for.

The 360 Vision Ferrari of Phil Burton and Adam Wilcox, the Speedworks Corvette of Ron and Piers Johnson and the Rollcentre Ginetta of Tom Sharp, Martin Short and Matt Nicoll-Jones rounded out the top 10 – the latter having been one of the stars of the early stages as Sharp fought his way up into the top five with a series of daring moves in the tricky conditions. For his sterling efforts at the wheel, Burton was awarded the Sunoco Driver of the Weekend trophy.

The GT4 category was dominated by the Lotus Sport UK Evora of Phil Glew and James Nash, which led throughout the three hours and claimed victory despite a late stop/go penalty. A strong first stint from Glew in the wet conditions saw the Lotus challenge a number of the quicker GT3 cars and the pair took the chequered flag a lap clear of the Ginetta of Josh Wakefield and Jake Rattenbury.

The Scuderia Vittoria Ginetta of Dan Denis and David McDonald had been well placed for third before a misfire in the final half hour saw the pair drop well off the pace. It allowed the KTM X-Bow of Marcus Clutton and Peter Belshaw to claim the final place on the podium, despite the car being forced to serve two stop/go penalties.

Elsewhere among the GT4 brigade, the second Lotus of Leyton Clarke and Freddy Nordstrom stopped on track, while the Barwell-run Secure Racing Aston Martin was hampered by its gearbox issues but did return to action late on, albeit 29 laps down.

Just 18.5 points separates the top nine drivers as the Avon Tyres British GT Championship heads for a grand finale at Silverstone on 8 October. The GT4 class is still open, too, with Belshaw and Clutton taking a 26.5-point lead into the last two-hour race of the season.

Round 9 Race Results

GT3

1  Scuderia Vittoria Ferrari  Michael Lyons/Charles Bateman  3h 0m 43.609s / 86.70mph

2  Trackspeed Porsche  Gregor Fisken/Tim Bridgman  +6.054s

3  MTECH Ferrari  Duncan Cameron/Matt Griffin (IRL)  +6.100s

4  Trackspeed Porsche  David Ashburn/Stephen Jelley  +9.029s

5  CRS Racing Ferrari  Jim Geddie/Glynn Geddie  +33.549s

6  Rosso Verde Ferrari  Hector Lester/Gordon Shedden  104 laps

7  United Autosports Audi  Mike Guasch (USA)/Matt Bell  104 laps

8  360 Vision Ferrari  Phil Burton/Adam Wilcox  102 laps

9  Speedworks Motorsport Corvette  Ron Johnson/Piers Johnson  102 laps

10  Rollcentre Ginetta  Martin Short/Matt Nicoll-Jones/Tom Sharp  102 laps etc

GT4

1  Lotus Sport UK Lotus  James Nash/Phil Glew  100 laps

2  Century Motorsport Ginetta  Josh Wakefield/Jake Rattenbury  99 laps

3  ABG Motorsport KTM  Peter Belshaw/Marcus Clutton  98 laps etc

Fastest lap: Bridgman 1m 31.205s / 98.17mph (record)





Trackspeed take Donington Park pole as three-hour enduro tests title contenders

25 09 2011

Westbrook produced a phenomenal lap to take pole position in Race Two at Spa (www.britishgt.com)

Defending champions Trackspeed stole Donington pole after a close-fought qualifying session

DEFENDING champions Trackspeed will start the three-hour Donington Park enduro from pole after edging out rivals MTECH during an absorbing qualifying session for the penultimate event of the season.

In a red-flag affected session which featured a near half-hour stoppage, Stephen Jelley emerged with the quickest time at the wheel of the #1 Porsche 997 GT3 R; a lap of 1m 30.315s being the fastest seen over the course of the day and enough to secure his position at the head of the field.

The Porsche Carrera Cup racer, called into the Trackspeed line-up this weekend in the absence of Richard Westbrook, had just seen team-mate Tim Bridgman take provisional pole in the sister car when he produced a storming final sector to edge ahead and eventually took pole by just 0.005s.

Jelley said: “I’ll take that. The key to the lap was the chicane heading onto the Melbourne Loop as it’s very easy to get it wrong and overdrive the car, which is what I did on my first lap.

“The corner is deceptively quick and you can either slow down too much and cost yourself time, or you can try to go into the corner too quickly and end up braking too late.

“As it was, I managed to thread the needle and nail the lap to get pole. We’ve worked hard today and the car felt great, but it is a long race ahead. However, being on pole and starting at the front is the safest place to be.”

Matt Griffin would emerge as the closest challenger to the Porsche driver at the wheel of the #21 MTech Ferrari, having earlier admitted during free practice that he expected a close-run battle for pole.

Griffin had held provisional pole early in the session before the red-flag stoppage but when the session resumed, he fell agonisingly short of pipping Jelley to pole. However, he was as least able to split the Trackspeed Porsches with Bridgman left to settle for third place in the #2 997 GT3 R; albeit only 0.035s further back at the top three were split by just 0.040s.

Fourth quickest was the #23 Audi of Matt Bell, a tenth of a second away from pole, although it was a mixed session for the United Autosports team after John Bintcliffe went off into the gravel at McLeans inside the first ten minutes.

Having just set his quickest lap, Bintcliffe went backwards into the tyres at the right-hander and was ruled out for the remainder of the session; the car eventually being recovered to the pits when the red flag was thrown after the KTM X-Bow also went off track at the Esses.

Damage to the wall and the need to delicately lift the Audi onto a flat-bed truck before it could be returned to the paddock meant the stoppage eventually ran to more than 25 minutes.

Outside the top four, the #11 CRS Racing Ferrari of Alex Mortimer was fifth fastest having been the car to beat at the time the session was halted, with the top six completed by the Beechdean Aston Martin in the hands of Jonathan Adam.

The car, winner last time out at Rockingham, spent much of the early part of the session in the pits but Adam was than able to steadily climb up the field to secure a place on the third row of the grid.

Showing the close nature of the times, the top ten on the grid were covered by just eight tenths of a second when the 40 minutes came of running drew to a close.

Although the new Rosso Verde Ferrari 458 Italia successfully came through its first qualifying session to secure eleventh on the grid thanks to joint BTCC points leader Gordon Shedden.

There was trouble for other GT3 teams with Preci-Spark and Century Motorsport both forced to miss the session with engine problems. The Stark Racing Ginetta also hit trouble after stopping on track without setting a representative time.

In GT4, the battle for pole wasn’t quite as close as in GT3 but was still a tightly-fought affair, which eventually went the way of the #48 Lotus of Phil Glew and another debutant from the BTCC, James Nash.

Glew’s time of 1m 37.678s saw the Evora take pole ahead of the Scuderia Vittoria Ginetta G50 by just a tenth of a second, marking the first class pole for the Lotus Sport UK team.

Glew added: “That was really good for us. We’ve had our first win and now the team has told me that is our first pole, so it’s been a good day.

“As well as getting pole, we think we’ve got good race pace three hours is a long time tomorrow. We have to make sure we keep our noses clean at the start and hopefully the result will come.”

The KTM was third in class ahead of the second Lotus, despite the #49 car hitting problems which saw it return to the pits with damage to the front end. The Century Motorsport G50 and the Barwell-run Aston Martin Vantage rounded out the GT4 field.

Away from the two main classes, the Invitational Class Nissan GTR – making its British GT debut and competing for only the second time – bounced back from problems in the earlier practice sessions to set its quickest time of the day and will start the race from just outside the top ten in twelfth overall in the hands of Alex Buncombe and FIA GT1 World Championship racer Nick Catsburg.

Three places behind the Nissan on the times was the GT3B Ferrari 430 of Aaron Scott and John Dhillon in 14th, with the GTC class Chevron GR8 qualifying 16th on the grid in the hands of Jordan Witt and Anthony Reid.

Qualifying Results

GT3

1  Trackspeed Porsche  David Ashburn/Stephen Jelley  1m 30.315s

2  MTECH Ferrari  Duncan Cameron/Matt Griffin (IRL)  1m 30.320s

3  Trackspeed Porsche  Gregor Fisken/Tim Bridgman  1m 30.355s

4  United Autosports Audi  Mike Guasch (USA)/Matt Bell  1m 30.448s

5  CRS Racing Ferrari  Andrew Tate/Alex Mortimer  1m 30.698s etc

GT4

1  Lotus Sport UK Lotus  James Nash/Phil Glew  1m 37.678s

2  Scuderia Vittoria Ginetta  Dan Denis/David McDonald  1m 37.784s

3  ABG Motorsport KTM  Peter Belshaw/Marcus Clutton  1m 38.440s etc





Maiden British GT win for MTECH Racing’s Griffin and Cameron in Race Two at Spa

9 07 2011

Griffin and Cameron took their maiden 2011 British GT win at Spa (www.britishgt.com)

Griffin and Cameron took their maiden 2011 British GT win at Spa (www.britishgt.com)

MATT Griffin and Duncan Cameron finally fulfilled their Ferrari 458s promise with a maiden 2011 British GT win at Spa in the second race.

The MTECH Racing pair have shown flashes of brilliance all season but could not hook up a full race weekend but after a second place in Race One, they followed it up with victory in Race Two.

Richard Westbrook had again led from pole and looked set to take his second race win of the weekend but a puncture forced him out on lap nine paving the way for Griffin and Cameron.

Griffin led from lap nine onward until the driving changes and then Cameron took over to maintain the lead and eventually take the flag by 0.9 seconds from Gregor Fisken.

Griffin was full of praise for teammate Cameron who held off a late charge from the Trackspeed Porsche.

He said: “I didn’t get a great start and was fourth. It took a little time for our car to get to where I wanted it to be grip-wise, but once it did I was able to get past Alex Mortimer and Glynn Geddie and started to catch Richard.

“I got the lead and was able to get my head down and build a lead. Duncan jumped in and did an incredible job under a lot of pressure. We got the win and we’re over the moon.”

The #2 Trackspeed Porsche of Fisken and Tim Bridgman was down in fourth after the pit stops but Fisken, the experienced Scot, was in a racy mood and soon took the Geddie CRS Racing Ferrari and the Beechdean Motorsport Aston Martin.

Fisken was delighted with his pace and revealed he believed he could challenge the leaders and gave it everything right to the end.

He added: “It was very close; I certainly wasn’t going to settle for second if I could have taken the win.

“The team kept telling me I was taking time out of him, but it would have needed a mistake from Duncan really to get past him cleanly. Duncan was driving very well; it was a real good scrap.”

The Andrew Howard and Jonathan Adam Beechdean Motorsport Aston Martin rounded off the podium only 6.7 seconds behind the winner.

Fourth was the debutant, the McLaren MP4-12C in the Invitational class with title leaders Mike Guasch and Matt Bell finishing fifth and the Geddie family in sixth.

A superb weekend for the Speedworks Motorsport Corvette of the two Johnson’s came home in seventh with Ron Johnson named Driver of the Weekend.

The popular Hector Lester and Allan Simonsen’s Rosso Verde Ferrari, the Scuderia Vittoria Ferrari of Michael Lyons and Charles Bateman and the United Autosports Audi of Bintcliffe and Palmer rounded out the top ten.

In GT4, the first-race class victors, Dan Denis and David McDonald fought a pitched battle with the Phil Glew and Ollie Jackson Lotus for much of the race.

The Lotus gained the upper hand after three laps and maintained its advantage after the pit stops to win. It was not Denis and McDonald in second spot, however – their afternoon went wrong on the penultimate lap when their Ginetta’s gearbox developed a problem.

That allowed class points leaders Marcus Clutton and Peter Belshaw in their ABG KTM through for second, ahead of Aston Martin men Chris Holmes and Peter Erceg, who claimed a maiden class podium placing for the Secure Racing/Barwell Motorsport squad.

Race Two Results 

GT3

1  MTECH Ferrari  Duncan Cameron/Matt Griffin (IRL)  1h 0m 25.159s / 103.72mph

2  Trackspeed Porsche  Gregor Fisken/Tim Bridgman  +0.888s

3  Beechdean Aston Martin  Andrew Howard/Jonny Adam  +6.697s

4  McLaren GT McLaren MP4-12C (Inv Class) Chris Goodwin/Andrew Kirkaldy  +24.020s

5  United Autosports Audi  Mike Guasch (USA)/Matt Bell  +26.247s

6  CRS Racing Ferrari  Jim Geddie/Glynn Geddie  +27.726s

7  Speedworks Motorsport Corvette  Ron Johnson/Piers Johnson  +1m 22.574s

8  Rosso Verde Ferrari  Hector Lester/Allan Simonsen (DEN)  +2m 47.512s

9  Scuderia Vittoria Ferrari  Michael Lyons/Charles Bateman  23 laps

10  United Autosports Audi  John Bintcliffe/Jay Palmer  23 laps

11 & GTB winner  MTECH Ferrari  John Dhillon/Aaaron Scott  23 laps etc

Fastest lap: Westbrook 2m 24.615s / 108.34mph (Record)

GT4

1  Lotus Sport UK Lotus  Ollie Jackson/Phil Glew  23 laps

2  ABG Motorsport KTM  Peter Belshaw/Marcus Clutton  23 laps

3  Barwell/Secure Aston Martin  Peter Erceg/Chris Holmes  23 laps





Westbrook and Ashburn keep calm head under safety car to take Spa victory

9 07 2011

Westbrook produced a phenomenal lap to take pole position in Race Two at Spa (www.britishgt.com)

Westbrook's expert safety car management contributed to Race One victory (www.britishgt.com)

TRACKSPEED duo Richard Westbrook and defending champion David Ashburn took the honours in the first race at Spa in the British GT.

The Porsche drivers held off a late challenge from Matt Griffin and Duncan Cameron to seal victory on European soil and take their second win of the season.

The hour long sprint was not without drama as a mid-race safety car caused by accidents in the other championships sharing the track allowed the frontrunners to pit and get their driver changes out of the way.

A swift stop from Trackspeed got them out first behind the safety car and an expert restart from Westbrook pulled out a five second gap over Griffin in the MTECH Racing Ferrari 458.

Griffin came back over the remaining laps and even briefly passed the Porsche but could not hold on as tyres degraded and he eventually finished behind Westbrook by 2.5 seconds.

Griffin said: “It was the safety car which killed us because Westie somehow managed to put a lapped car between him and me.

“We lost five seconds at the restart as a result and I pushed very hard to catch him, maybe hurting my tyres a little in the process.

“I made a good passing manoeuvre on him at Les Combes, but it was too slippery to hold it and he got me back.”

And Westbrook was aware that he had used tactics to gain the victory as he admitted his Porsche was not as quick as the Ferrari 458 in a straight shootout.

He added: “The Porsche isn’t really a match for a well-driven Ferrari 458, so you have to do as much as can; use your head, make a break with the traffic and that’s the only way we can compete.

“It was a good race, and in the end I just had enough. Matt was eating into my lead at the end so it was tough. It’s always nice to win, and all credit to David for bringing the car into the pits in the lead.”

CRS Racing’s Geddie father and son partnership completed the podium after starting way down in eighth and good teamwork and driving brought their Ferrari 458 home only five seconds behind the leaders.

Elsewhere the debuting McLaren MP4-12C held the lead from the start before contact pushed Chris Goodwin and Andrew Kirkaldy back down to 12th.

Andrew Tate and Alex Mortimer were another pairing to make good progress from a lowly grid slot, converting 12th on the grid to fourth at the line, ahead of the Andrew Howard/Jonathan Adam Beechdean Aston Martin, which picked off the faltering Trackspeed Porsche of Gregor Fisken and Tim Bridgman on the penultimate lap.

Bridgman’s sixth became seventh on the final lap when he was passed by the United Autosports Audi of championship leaders Mike Guasch and Matt Bell.

Phil Burton and Adam Wilcox put clutch problems in practice behind them to claim another points finish in eighth in the Predator CCTV Ferrari

In ninth was the Ron and Piers Johnson Speedworks Corvette, which enjoyed a strong and reliable run for the team’s first points of the year.

Godfrey and David Jones, the only front-runners not to pit at the start of the safety car period, completed the top 10 in the Preci-Spark Mercedes.

For once everything went right for the Scuderia Vittoria GT4 pairing of Dan Denis and David McDonald.

Denis started from the pole in the Ginetta G50 and led comfortably all the way to the stops, and McDonald maintain the gap over the pursuing Ginetta of Josh Wakefield and Jake Rattenbury to score a handsome class victory, the duo’s first of the season.

Denis was delighted to finally get a win on the board in the British GT Championship.

He concluded: “My qualifying yesterday was fantastic. I got a good start and built a comfortable lead, and my pace was good.

“I was a bit worried when the safety car came out that I would lose my big lead but the team did a great job in the pits and David drove quickly and sensibly. It’s great finally to get a win.”

Race One Results

GT3 & overall

1  Trackspeed Porsche  David Ashburn/Richard Westbrook  1h 0m 13.778s / 95.38mph

2  MTECH Ferrari  Duncan Cameron/Matt Griffin (IRL) +2.520s

3  CRS Racing Ferrari  Jim Geddie/Glynn Geddie  +5.189s

4  CRS Racing Ferrari  Andrew Tate/Alex Mortimer  +17.102s

5  Beechdean Aston Martin  Andrew Howard/Jonny Adam  +17.876s

6  United Autosports Audi  Mike Guasch (USA)/Matt Bell  +19.687s

7  Trackspeed Porsche  Gregor Fisken/Tim Bridgman  +22.913s

8  Predator CCTV Ferrari  Phil Burton/Adam Wilcox  +38.971s

9  Speedworks Motorsport Corvette  Ron Johnson/Piers Johnson  +39.553s

10  Preci-Spark Mercedes  David Jones/Godfrey Jones  +40.036s etc

Fastest lap: Griffin 2m 24.845s / 108.20mph (Record)

GT4

1  Scuderia Vittoria Ginetta  Dan Denis/David McDonald  +2m 14.732s

2  Century Motorsport Ginetta  Josh Wakefield/Jake Rattenbury  21 laps

3  Lotus Sport UK Lotus  Leyton Clarke/Freddy Nordstrom  21 laps etc





Trackspeed pair Ashburn and Westbrook fastest in British GT Free Practice 2 at Spa

8 07 2011

Defending champion Ashburn wants to extend his lead at Snetterton

Defending champion Ashburn and co-driver Westbrook were fastest in FP2 at Spa

REIGNING British GT Champion David Ashburn and Porsche co-driver Richard Westbrook hit back in Free Practice Two clocking the fastest lap in their Trackspeed Porsche.

A lap of 2.23.490 around the four mile Spa circuit was enough for top spot in Free Practice Two but the lap was still half a second off the quickest time of the day posted by Matt Griffin in the MTECH Ferrari 458 in the first session.

The Trackspeed Porsche headed the timesheets, a tenth ahead of rivals Hector Lester and Allan Simonsen in their Rosso Verde Ferrari. Third in the session was the sister Trackspeed Porsche of Gregor Fisken and Tim Bridgman ahead of the pace setter Griffin in fourth.

The session as a whole was generally slower as teams tinkered with setup to find that extra tenth that will be vital in qualifying later today.

Griffin was delighted to have the fastest lap before qualifying but knows it will be a tough session ahead given the number of the cars on track.

He tweeted: “Great start to British GT race at spa, fastest by .5. Looking forward to qualifying although traffic will be difficult as 55 cars on track!”

Championship leaders Matt Bell and Mike Guasch were down in fifth but their United Autosports team-mates John Bintcliffe and Jay Palmer had clutch problems forcing them out of the session.

The Predator CCTV Racing Ferrari 430 of Adam Wilcox and Phil Burton who missed the first session are now undergoing a clutch change in the hope of being race ready for qualifying.

In GT4, the Lotus of Ollie Jackson and Phil Glew set the best time, a second clear of the Dan Denis/David McDonald Ginetta.

Elsewhere in GT4, it was a sad end to the weekend for Michael Mallock and Athanasios Ladas in their ABG Motorsport KTM as they retired for the event with major engine problems.

Free Practice 2 Results

GT3

1  Trackspeed Porsche  David Ashburn/Richard Westbrook  2m 23.490s

2  Rosso Verde Ferrari  Hector Lester/Allan Simonsen (DEN)  2m 23.602s

3  Trackspeed Porsche  Gregor Fisken/Tim Bridgman  2m 23.770s

4  MTECH Ferrari  Duncan Cameron/Matt Griffin (IRL)  2m 23.844s

5  CRS Racing Ferrari  Andrew Tate/Alex Mortimer  2m 24.241s

6  McLaren GT McLaren MP4-12C  Chris Goodwin/Andrew Kirkaldy  2m 24.305s

7  Beechdean Aston Martin  Andrew Howard/Jonny Adam  2m 25.023s

8  United Autosports Audi  Mike Guasch (USA)/Matt Bell  2m 25.433s

9  Scuderia Vittoria Ferrari  Michael Lyons/Charles Bateman  2m 25.888s

10 CRS Racing Ferrari  Jim Geddie/Glynn Geddie  2m 26.524s etc

GT3B

1  MTECH Ferrari  John Dhillon/Aaaron Scott  2m 28.990s

GT4

1  Lotus Sport UK Lotus  Ollie Jackson/Phil Glew  2m 35.676s

2  Scuderia Vittoria Ginetta  Dan Denis/David McDonald  2m 36.684s

3  Barwell/Secure Aston Martin  Peter Erceg/Chris Holmes  2m 37.640s etc





Griffin tops First Practice session ahead of McLaren in British GT Championship at Spa

8 07 2011

Griffin believes the British GT Championship is one of the strongest national series in the world © Jakob Ebrey

Griffin hopes First Practice session pace can carry through to race victories © Jakob Ebrey

MATT Griffin and Duncan Cameron topped the timing sheets in the first free practice session at Spa-Francorchamps in the British GT Championship with an impressive lap sixth tenths faster than the nearest challenger.

The MTECH Racing Ferrari 458 has been quick all season but mechanical problems have cost the team race wins but a best time of 2.23.070, some 1.6 seconds quicker than pole position last year has given the team hopes for the two Belgian races this weekend.

The new McLaren MP4-12C making its international racing debut at the hands of Chris Goodwin and Andrew Kirkaldy was the closest to the Ferrari clocking a time of 2.23.637 around the famous Spa circuit.

Griffin was pleased with the session and hopes that the team can build on the performance and push for podiums and ultimately a race win.

He added: “We are quicker than the McLaren, which is pleasing. The car is going well; in fact, it feels as if it is on rails around here, so things are looking good. But we always seem to start the weekends well, and there is a long way to go yet.”

The ever consistent Trackspeed came next in third and fourth with David Ashburn and Richard Westbrook clocking 2.24.283 in their Porsche ahead of Gregor Fisken and Tim Bridgman on 2.24.752.

There were dramas for the Preci-Spark Mercedes of David and Godfrey Jones and the Predator CCTV Ferrari of Phil Burton and Adam Wilcox. The Jones car spun at the top of Eau Rouge and couldn’t be restarted, missing the second half of the session, while Burton and Wilcox failed to set a representative time due to suspected clutch problems.

In GT4, the Peter Erceg/Chris Holmes Secure Racing/Barwell Motorsport Aston Martin led the way by more than a second from the Scuderia Vittoria Ginetta of Dan Denis and David McDonald.

Free Practice 1 Results

GT3

1  MTECH Ferrari  Duncan Cameron/Matt Griffin (IRL)  2m 23.070s

2  McLaren GT McLaren MP4-12C  Chris Goodwin/Andrew Kirkaldy  2m 23.637s

3  Trackspeed Porsche  David Ashburn/Stephen Jelley  2m 24.283s

4  Trackspeed Porsche  Gregor Fisken/Tim Bridgman  2m 24.752s

5  United Autosports Audi  Mike Guasch (USA)/Matt Bell  2m 26.025s

6  CRS Racing Ferrari  Andrew Tate/Alex Mortimer  2m 26.228s

7  Rosso Verde Ferrari  Hector Lester/Allan Simonsen (DEN)  2m 26.378s

8  United Autosports Audi  John Bintcliffe/Jay Palmer  2m 26.524s

9  Preci-Spark Mercedes  David Jones/Godfrey Jones  2m 27.094s

10  Chad Racing Ferrari  Iain Dockerill/Tom Ferrier  2m 27.464s etc

GT3B

1  MTECH Ferrari  John Dhillon/Aaaron Scott  2m 31.759s

GT4

1  Barwell Aston Martin  Peter Erceg/Chris Holmes  2m 35.747s

2  Scuderia Vittoria Ginetta  Dan Denis/David McDonald  2m 36.904s

3  Lotus Sport UK Lotus  Ollie Jackson/Phil Glew  2m 37.247s etc