Jonny Adam and Graham Davidson put their late heartbreak at Silverstone behind them in some style as they resisted pressure from the Balfe Motorsport McLaren to take their first British GT win of the season at Donington Park.
In GT4, Seb Priaulx’s sharp overtaking secured Multimatic Motorsport’s second win of the season in the Ford Mustang he shares with Scott Maxwell.
Starting from pole, Davidson was quick to open up a gap in his TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage from Shaun Balfe behind as the gap between them yo-yoed – according to the Aston driver – as they weaved their way through traffic.
With the gap reaching 7.394s at its widest, Davidson was comfortable at the front of the field and once his minimum of 60 minutes of driving time was completed, he was one of the first GT3s to come in as he handed over to three-time champion Adam.
Adam came out with a handy advantage over Rob Bell, who took over the McLaren 720S, but he couldn’t build the same advantage as his team-mate had enjoyed with Bell always in the mirrors of the Aston Martin factory driver in the second half of the two-hour race.
Although, he was helped by team-mate Nicki Thiim – in the lapped #2 TF Aston after opening lap issues for Mark Farmer – as he passed Bell on his way to try and unlap himself but then rather than overtake Adam he sat in behind him.
When Adam ran wide coming out of the Foggarty Esses, Thiim went through and unlapped himself but even with the Dane’s intervention, Bell never looked like challenging for the win – instead settling for a second podium of the year after securing third at Snetterton.
After the race, Davidson told GT REPORT that victory was the perfect reward for their Silverstone disappointment.
“It just shows consistency and determination,” he explained. “The McLaren had the best ultimate lap time but the Aston was more consistent over the course of the race. The gap between us was never static throughout the race, when I had clear air I was pulling away and when I hit traffic he was pulling back up again, and vice versa, so it definitely wasn’t an easy stint.
“I was a bit nervous at the end, but I knew Jonny would do the job – he performs really well on new tyres – and right up until the end we knew he had it covered. He did struggle a bit at the end as the brakes started to fade, but he had plenty in the tank.”
Third went to the #69 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo of Sam De Haan and Jonny Cocker after an incident-free and consistent run for the pair. Their place on the podium could have been under threat, as the WPI Motorsport Lamborghini finished just 2.4s behind in fourth, but a trip across the grass for Dennis Lind cost them time and the chance of mounting a serious challenge.
Phil Keen made it a Huracán 3-4-5 as he recovered from a tricky opening stint for Adam Balon – who got turned around at the Melbourne Hairpin by Alex Toth-Jones in the Academy Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT4 – to score a decent haul of points in the championship battle.
Sixth went the way of the Beechdean AMR Aston Martin of Andrew Howard and Ross Gunn, with JRM the fastest of the Bentleys in the hands of Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt after a tricky weekend for the Bentley teams.
The best of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 teams was the tenth-placed RAM Racing entry of Silverstone race-winners Callum Macleod and Ian Loggie. The pair never got into a proper rhythm during the race, Loggie had made a strong start to make up places, but a ten-second stop/go penalty for spinning JM Littmann’s Century Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 cost them.
After a strong start, Optimum Motorsport’s race ended early after a large fire in the pitlane as Bradley Ellis took over the Aston Martin caused minor drama. Marshals were quickly on the scene to extinguish the fire, and Ellis was reported to be unhurt by the team, but the full extent of the damage to the Vantage – or the cause of the fire – is yet to be known.
In GT4, late heartbreak shaped the overall podium as Century Motorsport’s #42 BMW M4 GT4 retired from second with just five minutes remaining.
Jacob Mathiassen made a great start in the BMW, battling with both Maxwell’s Mustang and Josh Smith’s Tolman Motorsport McLaren 570S. When Smith retired, with suspension damage sustained from side-to-side contact with a Lamborghini lapping the McLaren, Maxwell inherited the lead with Mathiassen in second.
Faster pit work from Century allowed Mark Kimber, taking over from Mathiassen, to jump into the lead but found himself quickly under pressure from Priaulx.
The karting champion fought hard in defence, but a quicker run out of the Esses allowed the Ford driver to claim the lead at the Melbourne Hairpin.
Kimber appeared set for second, but heading into McLean’s the left-front brake disc failed, damaging the wheel and puncturing the tyre. That sent 17-year-old into the gravel and into a premature retirement.
His misfortune promoted the hard-charging Dean Macdonald into second in the HHC Motorsport McLaren 570S. The Steller Performance Audi R8 LMS appeared to be on its way to third, but a mechanical issue while Sennan Fielding was at the wheel with less than a minute to go, forced them into retirement.
That misfortune promoted the Tolman Motorsport McLaren of Jordan Collard and Lewis Proctor into a surprise third – a slight silver lining following bad luck for the sister car.
Fourth, and taking victory in the Pro-Am class, was the second Multimatic entry of Billy Johnson and Sir Chris Hoy. After a solid opening stint from the Olympic gold medalist, Johnson – on his debut appearance at Donington – picked his way through the field, aided by no success seconds in the pits, to take the category win.
TF Sport’s Tom Canning and Ash Hand finished fifth, with Kelvin Fletcher and Martin Plowman taking second in Pro-Am to make it two Aston Martins in the top six.
Rounding out the Pro-Am podium – in seventh overall – was the Fox Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Mark Murfitt and Michael Broadhurst.
Overall and Pro-Am winners at Silverstone, the Team Parker Racing Mercedes of Nick Jones and Scott Malvern, were yet another GT4 team who failed to finish after a punctured radiator ended their race early after suspected slight contact with a McLaren.