Barwell Motorsport and RAM Racing both finished on top of the two Intelligent Money British GT Championship practice sessions at Oulton Park – despite the former missing most of the second session with the team replacing the engine in Adam Balon and Sandy Mitchell’s Lamborghini.
In GT4, Darren Turner topped the first session for Newbridge Motorsport before Jamie Caroline – subbing for Scott McKenna at Toyota Gazoo Racing UK – put in a blistering lap to top the second.
BRITISH GT OULTON PARK: ENTRY LIST | LIVESTREAM | PRACTICE REPORT | QUALIFYING REPORT | INTERVIEW SCOTT MALVERN | INTERVIEW KELVIN FLETCHER | RACE 1 REPORT | RACE 2 REPORT
Free Practice One
Sandy Mitchell topped the opening times with a 1m34.609sec putting the Huracán almost half-a-second clear of the pack behind – a great start to the penultimate round of the season.
Behind, the Enduro Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3 of Marcus Clutton and Morgan Tillbrook was the nearest of the challengers for Mitchell and Adam Balon, Clutton setting the pace early doors before being eclipsed.
Mitchell’s rapid time came just before an 11-minute red flag to recover team-mate Leo Machitski who had an off in his Lamborghini which caused some front-left corner damage the Barwell crew were busy repairing after the session.
Once the session restarted, with just over 30 minutes remaining, the times at the top remained pretty much static as teams set about putting in longer runs in preparation of tomorrow’s two races.
Third went the way of Scott Malvern’s Team Parker Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, half-a-second clear of Richard and Sam Neary who are returning to British GT for this weekend after skipping Snetterton to repair damage on their Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Jonny Adam finished fifth in the Beechdean Aston Martin, just a fraction ahead of Yelmer Buurman’s RAM Racing Mercedes.
It was another Mercedes in seventh, with Tom Onslow-Cole making his return to the championship alongside Kevin Tse in a second RAM entry. He moved up the order late on, knocking the WPI Motorsport Lamborghini of Phil Keen down into eighth.
In GT4, Darren Turner set the pace for Newbridge Motorsport, his very early lap in the Aston Martin Vantage the best in class. That said, Jamie Caroline gave it a good go. Doing his first official session in the Toyota Gazoo Racing Supra, he finished second – 0.229sec down on Turner.
Charlie Robertson kept up his strong showing in the Assetto Motorsport Ginetta G56 in third, less than a tenth ahead of Jake Giddings in the Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT4.
The Steller Motorsport Audi finished the session in fifth – ahead of the championship-fighting pair of Chris Salkeld & Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke. They finished ahead of their Century Motorsport team-mates, and GT4 title leaders, Will Burns and Gus Burton.
Free Practice Two
In contrast to FP1, the second practice session was action-packed from the outset – but not for Mitchell and Balon, who only managed to come out with a couple of minutes remaining after the team were forced to change the Lamborghini’s engine after the car dropped a valve in the first session. Balon managed to log a lap late on in the session to finish in tenth.
Team-mates Machitski and Lind failed to log a lap at all, a legacy from the Russian’s off earlier meant the team had to manage repairing two cars at the same time – the #63 needing a new radiator amongst other cosmetic repairs.
At the sharp-end of the standings, times were dropping rapidly as teams looked to optimise their qualifying set-ups.
Like in session one, it was Marcus Clutton who led for a time, before his time was bested by Scott Malvern. After that, it was a Mercedes show right on the top as first Sam Neary set the benchmark, which was then bettered by Tom Onslow-Cole and then Yelmer Buurman in a RAM Racing lock-out.
That one-two was broken at the end by Jonny Adam, who had a good go at unseating Buurman but fell just short in his Aston Martin Vantage – ending the session second, a tenth ahead of Onslow-Cole.
Phil Keen bounced back from a relatively slow start to end FP2 in fourth, the WPI Lamborghini 0.063sec ahead of Team Abba Racing.
Paddock Motorsport found pace in the second session to finish sixth in the Bentley Continental GT3, ahead of Clutton and Lewis Proctor’s Balfe Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3.
GT4 was topped by Jamie Caroline in the Toyota Supra, just clear of the Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 driven by Will Burns and Gus Burton.
There was drama for the other BMW as that managed to acquire both front and rear-end damage at different points of the 60-minute session. That wasn’t the only GT4 that picked up damage, as Sennan Fielding made contact with the barriers at Druids on the final lap of the session to cause quite substantial left-side damage to the Audi.
Back on track, Newbridge had another good session with Turner and Matt Topham finishing third, three-tenths ahead of a pair of McLarens – Team Rocket RJN besting Jamie Stanley’s Fox Motorsport McLaren 570S.
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