Following on from the excitement of Saturday, GT Cup returned for day two of their annual Silverstone experience. Rain was forecast for the sprint race meaning teams and drivers had a difficult decision to make regarding set-up’s.
The forecast rain did indeed arrive just in time for the sprint race. A bold decision from Simon Orange in the Orange Racing by JMH McLaren left him starting on slicks. No other GT3 runner opted for this strategy which ultimately handed the race to Orange.
A first lap safety car period saw several front runners scramble for the pits including: Ram Racing’s Ian Loggie & Mike Price, Enduro Motorsports Hugo Cook and Iain Campbell in his Greystone McLaren.
Grahame Tilley meanwhile opted to stick with his wet tyres in the hope of a long safety car period, and that’s exactly what he got.
With just nine minutes remaining, the safety car peeled in on what was now a drying track with a clear dry line available. Orange powered off into the distance whilst Tilley fought to pass the wet shod McLarens of Andrey Borodin and Leo Loucas. He did exactly that whilst the now slick tyred runners scythed their way through the slower cars.
Simon Orange remained untroubled to the flag as he clinched another victory for his season tally whilst Grahame Tilley held off a charging Lucky Khera to come home third overall and second in GT3. This would be his first podium of the season in his new Mercedes AMG GT3. Hugo Cook rounded out the GT3 podium after a stellar performance to overtake Ian Loggie after their switch to slicks.
Race two was held on a completely dry track with Orange heading the GT3 pack in the early stages. It wasn’t easy going as Cook was right on his tail the whole way keeping the McLaren driver honest.
After the mandatory pitstop window, it was Ian Loggie who came out on top having served fewer success penalties during his pitstop.
However, Michael O’Brien had taken over from Orange and was setting successive fastest laps in his quest to catch the Mercedes driver. Unfortunately for Loggie, he couldn’t quite manage to keep the McLaren behind and was overhauled on the race’s penultimate lap.
O’Brien clinched the team’s second victory of the day whilst Loggie managed to fend off Marcus Clutton’s late charge to finish second with Clutton close behind in third.
After the excitement had calmed down, Orange / O’Brien lead the overall championship standings by 25-points from Lucky Khera / David MacDonald in their newly acquired Lamborghini.
GTO saw two entries for Silverstone, albeit briefly. Richard Chamberlain appeared in his orange Porsche for Saturday morning’s qualifying session but would not be seen again after more technical issues blighted his home creation.
This left Steve Burgess (who was driving solo) to pick up valuable championship points in the RAW Motorsport Radical RXC.
Having clinched pole position for the opening race, he like many GT3 runners, opted to switch to slicks during the lengthy safety car period. Amazingly, such was the performance of the car, he clawed his way back to second overall, passing Tilley on the final lap of the race.
In his comeback, he set the fastest lap of the race. A mighty three seconds faster than Orange who claimed second and GT3 pole.
However, a second race victory wouldn’t come in the final attempt. Despite leading early on, he dropped back due to pitstop success penalties and wound up fourth overall when the flag fell.
After a difficult Saturday, Lucky Khera caught some luck and swept Sunday’s action. A strategic call to start race two on slicks proved to be on the money as the track briskly dried throughout the safety car period. Being the only class runner on slicks, there was no way he would be caught and finished a whopping 20-seconds clear of Roy Millington in the FF Corse run Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo who clinched second.
Team Webb rounded out the top three just 1.1-seconds clear of Charlotte Birch in the Topcat’s Racing Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo.
Race two also went the way of Khera and co-driver David MacDonald who enjoyed a less dramatic stint following Saturday’s rear wing failure. Topcat’s claimed second place courtesy of Birch and Jensen Lunn who brought the car to the flag in an emotional weekend for the popular team.
Millington and Benny Simonsen rounded out the podium bringing their Ferrari home in third with the Webb’s a distant fourth after early troubles dropped them a lap.
In an emotional moment, Topcat’s received the team of the weekend award for their continued efforts following on from Friday’s terrifying accident. Team owner and regular driver, Warren Gilbert, sustained multiple injuries in a horrific crash at the Vale chicane reminiscent of the recent FIA F2 incident at the same corner.
Saxon Motorsport swept the weekends races as GTB returned to the championship. Tom Barrow once again piloted their extreme V10-powered BMW 1-Series solo and made the most of the opportunity.
Despite a suspected engine failure in the final race of the weekend, he still clinched victory due to class rival DMS Automotive only completing 50% of the scheduled race distance.
The extremely competitive group GTH witnessed an unusual feat over the course of Sunday. A Paddock Motorsport one-two in both races gave the team their best result in the championship. Tehmur Chohan / Tom Roche even managed to clinch victory in both races with the sister car of Kavi Jundu / Adam Hatfield rounding out a successful weekend for the relatively new team.
Both cars pulled a masterstroke and opted for slicks in race one with Roche finishing an impressive fifth overall, just ahead of Hugo Cook’s Mercedes AMG GT3 with Hatfield not far behind in ninth, clinching the fastest GTH lap in the process.
Third went to the newly rebuilt Track Focused Mercedes AMG GT4 of Darren / James Kell who returned after Darren’s nasty incident at Brands Hatch earlier in the season. They finished as best of the wet tyre runners in the topsy turvy race.
Race two was much closer as just five seconds separated the top three at the flag. Chohan / Roche won from Jundu / Hatfield in second with overall championship contenders James Wallis and Sam Maher-Loughnann just 1-second behind in their Valluga Motorsport Porsche Cayman GT4
A disastrous sprint race for Valluga left them in ninth place and they leave the meeting now third overall in the championship standings. However, they still maintain a comfortable group advantage over the Makehappen Racing Mercedes of Chris Hart / Stephen Walton.
Silverstone marked the first appearance of group GTA for the 2022 season. Orange Racing by JMH brought out their 2021 class title-winning Ginetta G55 Supercup. Being the only car in the class, they were guaranteed victory in all races but that didn’t stop them from mixing it with the GTH runners.
Race one saw continuous battling with the #64 Formula Woman entry before they out braked themselves into Vale on the final lap and smacked into the rear of the orange Ginetta, breaking the left rear suspension.
Whilst the team managed to repair the damage for race two, it was to be short-lived as damage still persisted with the team opting to retire the car after just one racing lap.
GT Cup returns on the 17th of September at Donington Park for the penultimate round of the 2022 season. As the title battle hots up, this will not be one to miss.
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