Euan Hankey’s first lap in FP1, and Sandy Mitchell’s record-breaking last lap in FP2, were the keys to 7TSIX and Barwell Motorsport setting the pace as the Intelligent Money British GT Championship’s Silverstone 500 showpiece got underway.


In GT4, a storming run from Matthew Graham ensured Valluga Racing finished the first practice session on top of the secondary class, while ever-faster stints from Richard Williams ensured the Steller Motorsport Audi did likewise in the second. 

Free Practice One

Hankey’s first real of lap of Silverstone on Saturday morning proved good enough to top the opening hour of practice for 7TSIX, as the McLaren 720S GT3 racer put in a 1m58.251sec.

It took until just before the halfway mark for someone to really put in a challenge to the top spot, and that was yet another McLaren. This time, the Greystone GT entry of Lewis and Stewart Proctor, with the former’s first lap of the Northamptonshire track good enough to put him just 0.054sec down on the benchmark.

Also making strides towards the top was an entry that makes for a very odd sight for many a seasoned British GT follower, as Jonny Adam settled into the 2 Seas Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 swimmingly, with a best effort which left him just two-tenths shy of the fastest time in the session. 

His effort relegated Redline Racing down to fourth, after James Dorlin made a quick start to the session but didn’t improve as the track started to rubber in. 

Behind, Callum Macleod – substituting for Bathurst-bound Jules Gounon alongside Ian Loggie – was fifth fastest, the penultimate driver within half-a-second of the top spot. A sign of how tight things will become in qualifying, the last driver to be within that bracket from Hankey was Marcus Clutton, who was 0.0425sec off the pace in the Enduro Motorsport McLaren. 

Sandy Mitchell ensured Barwell Motorsport finished in the top 10 with its Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo with the seventh-fastest time, a couple of tenths clear of one-offs Garage 59, as Marvin Kirchhöfer got back up to speed with the Silverstone circuit.

Team Abba Racing finished ninth thanks to Sam Neary, while Jamie Caroline rounded out the top 10 in the RAM Racing Mercedes.

GT4 demonstrated the depth of talent Matthew Graham has in Porsches of all varieties. After a winning start to the Porsche Carrera Cup GB season a few weeks ago, and Group wins in GT Cup at Brands Hatch last week, he made a good start to the 500 weekend by topping the class standings in his Valluga Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport.

His time of 2m10.137sec just before the 30min mark unseated early pace-setter Josh Miller – in the R Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 – by exactly 0.200sec.

Behind them, Marco Signoretti left it late to move the Academy Motorsport Ford Mustang up into third albeit three-tenths down on Miller’s second-fastest time. 

The Mustang’s charge dropped Newbridge Motorsport down a place, with Darren Turner and Matt Topham ending the morning’s running in fourth place in class, but fastest of the Pro-Am entries in GT4.

Michael Broadhurst was just half-a-tenth down in the debuting Motus One Racing McLaren 570S GT4, while Steller Motorsport rounded out the top six despite joining the session about a third of the way through.

Free Practice Two

At first, it seemed like the calmness that had descended the first practice session was going to remain in FP2, with Euan Hankey setting the early pace and no one likely to challenge him. 

The action finally burst into life with less than half an hour to go, as RAM Racing’s Macleod burst to the top with a 1m58.812 to go more than eight-tenths clear of the pack behind. 

He had no time to enjoy it, though, as tea-mate Jamie Caroline then immediately went faster by another four-tenths with Sam Neary nipping at their heels to make it a Mercedes-AMG 1-2-3. 

There was some trading for the positions behind, with Neary powering the Abba car above the Macleod/Loggie example, but it appeared Caroline’s time would stand.

That is, until Sandy Mitchell absolutely obliterated the timing screen right at the death. The Barwell driver logged a phenomenal 1m57.100sec to go more than 1.3sec clear of the rest and set the new British GT fastest lap ever around Silverstone to boot. 

Caroline had no opportunity to respond and stuck second, but could have been dropped to third at the flag as Martin Plowman came out of nowhere to put the Paddock Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3 to within 0.164sec of him.

Fourth went to the Nearys, while Loggie and Macleod ultimately finished fifth – just a few tenths down on their team-mates. 

Marcus Clutton ensured Enduro Motorsport finished within the top six, while the Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 of Betty Chen and Angus Fender easily had its best session of the season so far with the car up in seventh – 1.7sec down on Mitchell, but just four-tenths back from Caroline’s time. 

McLarens rounded out the rest of the top 10, with the Rocket Team RJN entry of Nick Watts and James Kell, pipping the Joe Osborne/Nick Moss-pedalled example. Garage 59 rounded out the 10, with Marvin Kirchhöfer the first of the drivers to not dip under the 1m59sec marker.

GT4 proved to be more of a slow-burner. Out the traps, it was Matt Cowley who set a comfortable advantage in the Academy Mustang – almost a second faster than his competition.

Until, that is, the Steller Audi R8 LMS finally got going with 35 minutes of the session remaining. Sennan Fielding first took the car to within 0.191sec of Cowley, and then Williams finally made the final jump as he set a 2m10.355sec to finally get ahead by 0.108sec.

Third went to FP1 pace setters Ross Wylie and Matthew Graham, while the identical Porsche Cayman of Team Parker Racing was fourth – despite Seb Hopkins being forced to sit out 10 minutes of the session for multiple track limits penalties. 

The mustn’t miss qualifying session for the Silverstone 500 gets underway at 15.55 UK time (16.55 CEST), and you can watch it live on GT REPORT here.


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