Newbridge Motorsport’s Darren Burke praised Matt Topham’s rapid pace in just his second Intelligent Money British GT Championship session as the pair secured pole position for the two-hour race at Donington Park.
Joining the team in place of Darren Turner, who is on Aston Martin duty at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Burke was immediately on the pace in the team’s Aston Martin Vantage GT4 as the duo edged out a hard-fought qualifying session.
For Burke, who has raced and won races in a variety of machinery ranging from Caterhams to GTs and Le Mans Prototypes, their success was built on Topham’s fourth-fastest time in the Am section of British GT4 qualifying.
“Matt just set the bar really high. We’ve really been working on his driving, how he gets into the session with his out laps and keeping him focussed for the qualifying run and he performed so well. That was the key really, getting him as close to me as possible and then he just made my life easy!” He told GT REPORT.
“It was the first time I’ve run new tyres, so it was all a bit of a sort of suck it and see, and see where we were in terms of grip! The car is performing brilliantly, Newbridge is doing a great job, Matt has obviously qualified very, very well.
“Combining to go P1 has put us in a great position for the race. It’s a lot harder to pass here than Silverstone so hopefully we can convert that into something good. Of course, we need to do the best we can because we’ve got a 20-second penalty in the pitstop after the last performance so hopefully pole will hopefully help our situation for sure!”
As well as the first time running on new tyres in qualifying, there were plenty of other firsts for Burke as he tackles his first British GT race, first time in the Aston Martin, but it’s his second GT4 race – having won the Sepang 12 Hours in a Ginetta G55 GT4.
Quickly getting settled in, and running fast times throughout both testing and practice – before culminating with a commanding pole – was, according to Burke, thanks to the sterling work of the Newbridge Motorsport mechanics in setting up the Aston Martin.
He explained: “The car’s consistent and fairly easy to drive with the set-up we’ve got. It’s a bit more of a conservative set-up, perhaps not quite where we needed it for qualifying, but the car’s very good with it tyres the way we’ve set it up.
“Hopefully that’s put us in a good position that gives Matt a good run – hopefully! It’s going to be tough because the grid is so, so tight to be honest with you. All the drivers are quick and very competitive, even the Am drivers are fantastic.
“A fight is what we want! Put on a good show for everyone and the fans too, hopefully we’ll get a result at the end of it and get to drink some champagne – that’s what it’s all about!”
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