So that’s that, the Intelligent Money British GT Championship is done and dusted for another season, and what a finale it turned out to be. Dennis Lind and Leo Machitski walked away with the title in what was a dramatic, tense, two-hour conclusion to a great season which was only decided thanks to a late red flag.
With everything start to calm down, we’ve taken a look back at the weekend and tried to figure out what we’ve learned from the championship showdown as the long off-season begins…
BRITISH GT DONINGTON PARK: ENTRY LIST | OULTON PARK GALLERY | TOLMAN RETURNS | PRACTICE REPORT | QUALIFYING REPORT | LIVESTREAM | PHIL KEEN INTERVIEW | RACE REPORT | DENNIS LIND INTERVIEW | WHAT WE LEARNED
Machitski and Lind were worthy winners
A win, four podiums, two fourths, a fifth and a DNF. Talk about consistency across a season, the Barwell Motorsport pair had it in spades. None of their rivals could match that average finishing position, and were always in the right place at the right time to capitalise on getting as many points as possible. For example, they were third on the road at Silverstone but got points for second because of 2 Seas Motorsport – the race winners – not being eligible for points.
Donington typified their approach to the season – can’t go all out for the win? Bank as many points as possible. That said, if it wasn’t for a late red flag robbing him of his last chance to take the lead, Yelmer Buurman could have snatched the title from under their noses – by just one point…
GT3 will see new title challengers in 2022
The two trips to Donington Park welcomed two first-time overall winners in British GT, with Enduro Motorsport taking the victory this time out and GT Cup champions Team ABBA Racing stealing the top spot back in July.
Both results were hardly one-offs, Richard and Sam Neary took another podium at their East Midlands return and their exploits in GT Cup demonstrate that the Mercedes crew are quickly becoming the real deal in terms of mounting a serious title challenge with Sam Neary surely on the path to more drives in other championships with other teams.
Now add to that title mix Marcus Clutton and Morgan Tillbrook. The former has demonstrated lightning quick pace throughout the season, and the latter is now starting to demonstrate that he’s more of a match for some of the most experienced Ams in the championship – engaging in a thrilling battle with Ian Loggie, one of the quickest Ams, in changeable conditions. Not bad for a man who was racing Fun Cup just one year ago…
The #DoningtonDecider is the best venue for a final round
While COVID-enforced calendar changes meant last year ended in a #SilverstoneShowdown, the Donington finale is the rightful circuit for a last-round shootout. Still more of an old-school circuit with run-off consisting more of grass and gravel than a sea of asphalt, drivers have to tread carefully – mistakes are punished in full view of the fans.
Speaking of fans, it was brilliant to see the first official pit walk in two years was absolutely packed with fans. GT REPORT has been covering British GT for longer than we can remember, and for our money it was the busiest fan event we’ve seen. The queue to get in snaked its way round the full paddock and that’s just great to see. Every year the championship has become ever more popular, thanks no doubt to live coverage on YouTube and Sky Sports this weekend, and there will have been plenty of young fans who’ll surely want to be back for more next year.
GT4 Pro-Am is on the rise again
For many years, Pro-Am has been sort of an also-ran class in GT4, with Silvers steamrolling their way through the field and scooping all the attention. Yes, Will Burns and Gus Burton might have won the full GT4 title as a Silver Cup entry, but the battle for the Pro-Am title was intense, and throughout the year Pro-Am winners regularly took wins.
That the battle for that title still came down to a number of driver pairings, including Aston Martin legend Darren Turner, having previously been a bit of a one-horse race is testament to the belief from entrants that the Silver Cup cars aren’t the all-conquering beasts they once were.
The Toyota Supra has looked rapid all year, and Matt Topham has taken to British GT like a duck to water, iron out the last little bits of inexperience in both crews and who knows, perhaps GT4 will be won by a Pro-Am pairing next year?
Will Phil Keen’s luck ever change?
What bad luck has befallen Phil Keen once again. The most successful driver in terms of British GT wins has still not got a title to his name after misfortune for team-mate Michael Igoe in the extremely tricky opening laps in soaking conditions put them out of contention.
The silver-lining on the cloud? This is just the first year of a two-year programme. The fact that the WPI Motorsport squad are in the position to be battling for titles already is to be celebrated. Add into the mix Igoe becoming increasingly confident in qualifying and the races, and Phil Keen continuing to be, well, Phil Keen, means the crew will be right up there again at the 2022 #DoningtonDecider.
➤ Phil Keen smashed the qualifying lap record, on a Saturday where drivers – including Keen – expressed confusion about where the speed was coming from at Donington Park. Clutton was only 0.006sec off the WPI driver’s 1m26.093sec lap, with five Pro drivers in all going under Keen’s old qualifying record. The lap records were smashed in a number of support series too, with Bart Horsten obliterating the old record in GB3 (formerly known as British F3).
➤ If anyone missed the full race, it’s available to watch again via the GT World YouTube channel here.
➤ Enduro Motorsport driver and team boss Marcus Clutton confirmed to GT REPORT that his squad will be back in British GT for 2021, where they’ll be using a new McLaren 720S GT3. They’ll use their current chassis for a full-season campaign in GT Cup’s GT3 class.
➤ Academy Motorsport’s Ford Mustang is something of a rain lover. Matt Cowley and Will Moore took their second win of the season in GT4. Their first win, at Snetterton’s second race, also featured mixed-weather conditions and a wet-to-drying circuit. The big American muscle car seems to be at its peak when the conditions are all over the place.
➤ Dennis Lind is set to race for Low Dempsey Racing at the Formula Ford Festival at the end of October. He’ll be racing on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit alongside none other than his own uncle Jan Magnussen! Other entrants include ex-F1 racer Roberto Moreno.
➤ The Intelligent Money British GT Championship is now on its winter break, with the first round of 2022 taking place over Easter Weekend at Oulton Park on 16 & 18 April.
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