GT Cup action returned to Brands Hatch over the weekend, marking the return of the mighty Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3. Driven by the owner, Grahame Tilley, and former British GT GT4 champion, Will Tregurtha, big things were expected from them after the disappointment of Silverstone.
Race 1 got off to a good start with Tilley making great use of the early safety car to jump John Dhillon in his Ferrari 488 Challenge. From then on it was plain sailing as he extended his lead lap after lap. However, with only a few minutes remaining, the front right wheel parted ways with the Nissan causing a retirement.
Race 2 didn’t go as planned either. Just 5 minutes into the race, the heavens opened and the safety car was deployed. Despite this, Tilley stayed on track whilst nearest rival, Dhillon pitted for wets. This proved a costly error as a long pitstop dropped the Nissan back to 12th place by the time of the restart.
By the time Tregurtha took over, the car was placed 7th but there was too big of a deficit to catch up to the leaders and he came home in 4th position, 47 seconds behind 3rd placed Glynn Geddie in his Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo.
After a tough return on Saturday, Tilley was more fired up than ever as he set about taking a last gasp pole away from Shamus Jennings in his Porsche 911 GT3R.
Leading away at the start, Tilley was able to manage the gap back to the Porsche. Things looked even better once the Porsche retired after a dramatic mechanical failure (which put them out for the remainder of the day). All that was left to do was to manage the safety car restart to perfection and bring the car home in one piece. Tilley did exactly that and took his first victory of the season.
Race 2 looked equally as good, especially now their nearest rivals were out of the picture. Tilley drove a flawless stint to gap the field instantly. A safety car just before the pit window almost cost them the race though. Deciding to pit a lap later than the rest of the field, Tregurtha (who had now taken over the car) rejoined last but one.
This lit a fire between the youngster’s eyes as he set about throwing the Nissan around and pushing to the absolute limit. This ferocious technique was working as Will quickly dispatched of the slower GT4 class machinery in front of him.
With just 10 minutes remaining he had caught the squabbling Ferrari and Saker (who were fighting over the overall lead) when Tregurtha pulled out all the stops and passed them both within a lap. Claiming a well-deserved victory, it was a successful Sunday after Saturday’s mishaps.
The GT Cup season finale takes place at Donington Park on 24-25th October. The top 3 in the championship (1. Simon Orange/Joshua Jackson, Team HARD, 351 pts; 2. Sam Randon/Ben Clayden, Team HARD, 320 pts; 3 John Whitehouse/Steve Ruston, JMH Automotive, 318.5 pts) will do battle to claim the 2020 title in what has been an enthralling season across some of Britain’s best race circuits.
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