WPI Motorsport & Beechdean AMR took a top spot apiece as the Intelligent Money British GT Championship got underway at Brands Hatch with two one-hour practice sessions.
In GT4, Ciceley Motorsport topped the early session in its Mercedes-AMG GT4, before Scott McKenna powered the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK Supra to the fastest time in second practice.
BRANDS HATCH: LIVESTREAM | ENTRY LIST | SEASON PREVIEW | PRACTICE REPORT | QUALIFYING REPORT
In a wet-to-drying Free Practice One, Phil Keen set the fastest lap of practice – a 1m25.100s as he quickly got up to speed in his new Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo, as he makes his first official start for the WPI Motorsport squad having switched from Barwell Motorsport over the winter.
Indeed, it was the first session that brought the fastest times, as multiple red flags in the second stopped teams from really building into a proper rhythm of quick laps.
In the combined times, Richard Neary put the second-fastest time of the day in, despite contact with the barriers at Paddock Hill Bend in FP1.
Beechdean was next, Jonny Adam’s 1m25.478s in FP1 a couple of hundredths better than his chart-topping time in the second session as teams played a cautious strategy as drivers tried to avoid being caught out by the cement dust put down at Sterlings in the aftermath of Alain Valente’s Team Rocket RJN McLaren shedding the majority of its oil.
Yelmer Buurman’s rapid lap in the RAM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 gave him and Ian Loggie the fourth fastest time, narrowly beating out a remarkable time out of nowhere for the G-Cat Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R – Greg Caton putting in a 1m25.823s towards the end of the second session.
Sixth was the first of the Barwell Lamborghinis, Dennis Lind setting the pace alongside Leo Machitski – the latter having to serve a 10-minute stop-and-go penalty for going through a red light at pit exit. The reigning champion Sandy Mitchell was just 11th in the sister Huracán, Team Parker Racing, Enduro Motorsport and Simon Green Motorsport all putting themselves ahead of Mitchell and Balon.
Despite a four-year absence from British GT, 2014 British GT4 champion Jake Giddings proved he’d developed no rust as he put the Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes clear of the rest in the second class.
His 1m33.120s, was two-tenths clear of Scott McKenna, the Porsche Carrera Cup GB graduate moving across to the Speedworks-run Toyota for 2021 and immediately on the pace alongside his team-mate John Ferguson.
Behind them, it was two great sessions for Matt Cowley and Will Moore in the Academy Motorsport Ford Mustang. Third in both sessions, the pair’s best time put them just 0.033s behind the Supra and in contention for a solid position come qualifying.
The two Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT4s were fourth and fifth – the #9 pipping the #57 – as both finished ahead of fellow German marque Audi, Steller Motorsport sixth in their return to the championship.
Then it was McLarens holding up the bottom of the combined practice times. Issues for the majority of the 570S GT4 runners lost them a big chunk of time, as well Valente losing oil in FP2, Balfe Motorsport’s entry hit trouble in FP1, as did the #2 of Team Rocket RJN in FP2 – managing just four laps despite the disruption.
Qualifying gets underway at 16.05 local time (17.05 in Europe), with two sessions for each class with times being added together to form an average time which will set the grid.
Please consider making a donation so we can keep bringing you our best content from the racetrack.