Recap of Round 1 & 2 and a Preview of Round 3 & 4 at Donington Park

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The red McLaren GT Safety car is leading other cars around Oulton Park
The new McLaren GT safety car driven by Lorna Vickers with observer Alan Stockton at Knickerbrook on the Oulton Park International circuit during the formation lap ahead of the second round of the 2020 Intelligent Money British GT Championship season. Credit: Nick Smith/RacingPhotographic.co.uk

Oulton Park: A Recap

The first round of this year’s British GT Championship took place at Oulton Park. You can hear our detailed breakdown of all the action on episode nine of our podcast. Alternatively, you can read in full at our partners TheCheckeredFlag.co.uk

Qualifying One:

Whilst there was unfortunately no streamed coverage of qualifying, between the TSL Timing screens and audio commentary there was still plenty of excitement and potential upset for those following from home. In GT3, James Baldwin, looked to have snatched pole position in his first ever appearance in the championship in the #2 Jenson Team Rocket RJN  McLaren 720S GT3, only for it to be disallowed due to a track limits infringement. This meant a 4th place start for them.

As if that wasn’t enough excitement, we also saw the tightest ever qualifying session in the first session. Optimum Motorsport‘s Lewis Proctor took pole in the #96 McLaren by just 0.001 seconds over the #10 2Seas Motorsport 720S of Jordan Witt. Taking 3rd place on the grid, also in a McLaren was fellow 2Seas Motorsport car #9 driven by Angus Fender. In fact, just 0.15s separated the top four places on the grid after qualifying.

An orange liveried McLaren 720S GT3 goes around the track
The McLaren 720S GT3 of defending silver cup Champion Ollie Wilkinson (GBR) and Lewis Proctor (GBR) at Clay Hill on the Oulton Park International circuit during the opening round of the 2020 Intelligent Money British GT Championship season. Credit: Nick Smith/RacingPhotographic.co.uk

GT4’s first qualifying session saw Connor O’Brien taking pole in the #95 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 with a lap time of 1:43.003. The Speedworks Motorsport #23 Toyota Supra GT4 of Sam Smelt completed the front row. HHC Motorsport‘s Patrik Matthiesen in the #58 McLaren 570S GT4 qualified in third. TF Sport’s second Aston Martin entry, the #97 driven by Daniel Vaughan took fourth.

Qualifying Two:

The second qualifying session in GT3 saw the Pros take the hotseat. The previous session had seen the McLaren’s dominating the front of the grid, but this wasn’t the case now.Barwell Motorsport occupied the entire first row with the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evos of Phil Keen in the #72 and Sandy Mitchell in the #78 taking pole and second respectively.

RAM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3s occupied the second row, with Yelmer Buurman on third in the #6 and Patrick Kujala‘s #69 in fourth. GT4 saw Balfe Motorsport‘s Euan Hankey take the pole in their distinctively liveried 570S. This was followed by TF Sport’s Jamie Caroline in the #97 in second. Third on the grid was Jordan Collard in the HHC Motorsport #58 McLaren, and rounding out the second row was Patrick Kibble in the TF Sport #95 Vantage AMR.

Cars going around the trackin formation
A number of GT3 cars travelling around the circuit at Oulton Park. Credit: Nick Smith/RacingPhotographic.co.uk

Race One:

James has written a full race breakdown over at our partners, however needless to say the excitement of qualifying carried over into the races. A well timed pit stop strategy and a little luck saw Jenson Team Rocket RJN take a maiden win in their first GT3 race in the championship. Pro driver Michael O’Brien capitalised on penalties handed out to race leaders Jack Mitchell/Jordan Witt in the 2seas Motorsport #10 for pit stop infringements which consequently took them out of the running. O’Brien’s McLaren then took the lead shortly before the safety car was issued.

Once the green flag was out, he quickly opened up a gap of around two seconds to take the well deserved first spoils of the season. The Optimum #96 of Ollie Wilkinson came in second. The 2seas Motorsport #9 with Dean MacDonald at the wheel through the second stint took the last podium spot.

In GT4 the #95 TF Sport of Connor O’Brien and Patrick Kibble took a comfortable first place. Patrik Matthiesen brought the HHC McLaren #58 home in second place. Third place was the second TF Sport Aston Martin of Daniel Vaughan.

The black white and yellow liveried #2 McLaren of Jenson Team Rocket RJN going around Oulton Park circuit
The McLaren 720S GT3 of Worlds Fastest Gamer winner James Baldwin (GBR) and Michael O’Brien (GBR) in the GT3 Silver Cup class at Clay Hill on the Oulton Park International circuit during the opening round of the 2020 Intelligent Money British GT Championship season. Credit: Nick Smith/RacingPhotographic.co.uk

Race Two:

Race Two was a bit of a different story however, with the previous GT3 race winners having a difficult start. Having been forced out wide early on, the #2 car dropped towards the back of the grid and faced an uphill battle to climb back through the ranks. Phil Keen’s start on pole left him untroubled for the first half of the race. This allowed him to build up a reasonable lead over his team mate before the pitstop window opened, and he handed over to Adam Balon.

Not long after Balon emerged from the pits chaos ensued and the safety car was called into play. In what looked to be multiple incidents three cars had gone off the track in very quick succession. It was soon established that all three things were in fact related. Nick JonesTeam Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3 had made contact with Connor O’Brien’s GT4 Vantage. This led to the Aston Martin leaving the track at Cascades and in the gravel. The Bentley meanwhile crossed the track and came to a halt at Knickerbrook.

A wheel shed by the Aston Martin’s impact then compounded things. Hitting the back of Angus Fender’s #9 2Seas McLaren, he then left the circuit at the hairpin. This meant the safety car was again deployed, but this time the track couldn’t be cleared, and so the race finished under safety car conditions.

Race Two Results:

The safety car assured a Barwell one/two finish in GT3, with Adam Balon’s #72 crossing the line first, and Rob Collard second in the #78. The RAM Racing Mercedes with Yelmer Buurman at the wheel crossed the line in third. However, the #6 car was relegated to 9th following receipt of a stop/go penalty which due to the safety car could not be fulfilled, meaning teammate Sam De Haan took third place in the #69 Mercedes.

In GT4 the #21 Balfe Motorsport McLaren retained pole but soon swapped positions with the second placed Jamie Caroline. Strategy paid off for the Balfe car here though, and Mia Flewitt emerged from the pitstop with a significant lead. The safety car’s appearance meant that the lead was eroded but did leave the Balfe McLaren to take the spoils. This means that Mia Flewitt is the first female British GT winner since 2018. Daniel Vaughan brought the TF Sport #97 Aston Martin home in second, and the #58 HHC McLaren of Patrick Matthiesen took the last podium spot.

The McLaren 570S GT4 of Mia Flewitt (GBR) and Euan Hankey (GBR) run by Balfe Motorsport at Knickerbrook on the Oulton Park International circuit during the second round of the 2020 Intelligent Money British GT Championship season. Credit: Nick Smith/RacingPhotographic.co.uk

Donington Park: A Preview

The upcoming weekend sees the first of two visits to Donington Park this year. In a change to the usual visit to the circuit, there will be two races run on Sunday of this year.

The first race of the day will be a two hour endurance race, with a mandatory refuelling pitstop to be taken and minimum driver time requirements. Qualifying for race one will be as usual for an endurance race, with each cars’ drivers best times combined to determine the car’s grid position for the start of the race.

There are no pitstop windows in the first race, but driver 1 must complete 62 minutes of racing in GT3, and in GT4, 58 minutes. Mandatory pit-in to pit-out times do apply, and success penalties will need to be served by the top cars from last round. As usual with an endurance race, the points on offer increase to a 1.5x multiplier.

The second race of the day is a one hour sprint race, and will operate in the same way as the previous rounds at Oulton Park.

Success seconds will be served by the top finishing cars in the previous race, and both races will see Silver Cup GT4 entries with additional seconds to serve during their pitstop window.

British GT have created a handy infographic which they posted on Twitter with some useful information that will help you keep track of things.

How to follow British GT at Donington Park:

Live Streaming Video:

Both British GT races will be shown live on the championship’s Facebook page, Twitter account and website, plus SRO’s GT World Youtube channel, on Sunday 2 August.

Sunday’s support races will also be shown live on britishgt.com/live throughout the day.

There is no streaming service available for qualifying.

Online reporting:

All major motorsport news websites will be covering the series; though with the restrictions in place for Donington Park due to Covid-19, none will be at the circuit.

We will be publishing a post race photo-report in the days following the action and of course will analyse everything in depth on the next episode of the British GT Fans Show. Unfortunately, we cannot attend this weekend due to mechanical issues

Watching at the Circuit:

Tickets are on sale for this round of the championship via the Donington Park website. Online sales end on Friday ahead of the event. Tickets will not be sold at the gate. Whilst camping isn’t available on site, there are plenty of options to suit all kinds of accomodation needs in the surrounding areas.

There is no pits or paddock access at Donington Park this year.

Restaurants and food outlets will be available, with limited hospitality options and of course, access to toilets around the venue.

Please remember to bring:

  • A face covering and a spare for all members of your party. They are required in shops and restaurants. (Medical exemptions apply)
  • Sensible Shoes! The circuit is hilly, so we’d recommend some good footwear.
  • Brollies and Sunscreen! High temperatures and showers are both forecast, so be sure to prepare for a British summer!
  • Your printed ticket or e-Ticket on a smart device.

Where can I view the Action?

The circuit’s response to COVID-19 means there is restricted access to the circuit. MSV have provided a handy guide detailing where you can see all of the action from over the weekend which can be found here.

Donington Park 2020 – Entry List

Copy of 2020 Intelligent Money British GT Championship - Donington Park Entry

Full Season#TeamCarDriver 1Driver 2ClassCategory
Yes2Jenson Team Rocket RJNMcLaren 720S GT3James BaldwinMichael O'BrienGT3Silver Cup
Yes6RAM RacingMercedes-AMG GT3 EVOIan LoggieYelmer BurmannGT3Pro/Am
Yes8Team ABBA RacingMercedes-AMG GT3 (Non EVO)Richard NearySam NearyGT3Pro/Am
Yes92 Seas MotorsportMcLaren 720S GT3Dean MacDaonaldAngus FenderGT3Silver Cup
Yes102 Seas MotorsportMcLaren 720S GT3Jordan WittJack MitchellGT3Silver Cup
Yes18WPI MotorsportLamborghini Huracan GT3 EVOMichael IgoeDennis LindGT3Pro/Am
Single Round36Balfe MotorsportMcLaren 720S GT3Stewart ProctorJoe OsborneGT3Pro/Am
Yes51AF Corse UKFerrari 488 GT3 EVODuncan CameronMatt GriffinGT3Pro/Am
Yes66Team Parker RacingBentley Continental GT3Nick JonesScott MalvernGT3Pro/Am
Yes69RAM RacingMercedes-AMG GT3 EVOSam de HaanPatrick KujalaGT3Silver Cup
Yes72Barwell MotorsportLamborghini Huracan GT3 EVOAdam BalonPhil KeenGT3Pro/Am
Yes78Barwell MotorsportLamborghini Huracan GT3 EVORob CollardSandy MitchellGT3Silver Cup
Yes96Optimum MotorsportMcLaren 720S GT3Ollie WilkinsonLewis ProctorGT3Silver Cup
Yes21Balfe MotorsportMcLaren 570S GT4Mia FlewittEuan HankeyGT4Pro/Am
Yes23Speedworks MotorsportToyota GR Supra GT4Sam SmeltJames KellGT4Silver Cup
Yes44Century MotorsportBMW M4 GT4Andrew Gordon-ColebrookeBen HurstGT4Silver Cup
Yes57HHC MotorsportMcLaren 570S GT4Chris WesemaelGus BowersGT4Silver Cup
Yes58HHC MotorsportMcLaren 570S GT4Jordan CollardPatrik MatthiesenGT4Silver Cup
Yes61Academy MotorsportFord Mustang GT4Jordan AlbertMatt CowleyGT4Silver Cup
Yes95TF SportAston Martin V8 Vantage AMR GT4Connor O'BrienPatrick KibbleGT4Silver Cup
Yes97TF SportAston Martin V8 Vantage AMR GT4Jamie CarolineDaniel VaughnGT4Silver Cup
The entry list for rounds three and four of the 2020 Intelligent Money British GT Championship at Donington Park on 15/2 August.

Sara hails from the North of England and is the owner of Stormvixen Creative Media Consultancy, which provides Virtual Administration, Creative Media Services, specialising in Podcast and Social Media Management and Copywriting. Having written for a number of publications, she's now moving into Sports Journalism.

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