Titles are on the line and an explosive finish is in order as the Intelligent Money British GT Championship comes to the boil at the now-expected #DoningtonDecider this weekend.
BRITISH GT DONINGTON: BRANDS HATCH REPORT | BRANDS GALLERY | DONINGTON ENTRY | PREVIEW
Crowns are up for grabs in both GT3 and GT4, so the final two-hour race of the year will surely be yet another explosive affair. Read on for our run-down of who needs what to walk away with titles secured.
This year, Ian Loggie is in with the best chance he’s had in his British GT career to scoop the top honours. Two wins and three podiums alongside a rotating roster of co-drivers, which this weekend sees the Scot paired with Jules Gounon once again after a couple of rounds with Callum Macleod, has put him 24.5 points up on the competition and needs only a fifth-place finish or higher to ensure he nabs the gongs.
With 37.5 points for a win, it’s not impossible for him to be overhauled, and Adam Balon & Sandy Mitchell will certainly be hoping for a miracle so their Barwell Motorsport team can claim a third title in as many years for the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo squad. However, a good result last time out at Brands Hatch means they’ve got 15 additional seconds in the pits, while Loggie can run to the minimum time – not that Gounon needs any help, considering what a revelation he’s been in the championship this year.
Two other crews also have a very slim chance of scooping the title, but need Loggie to have a really bad day for them to have even a sniff of silverware. It’s a shame really, because both are deserving of a good run for the crown, had circumstances not against them. Third in the standings, and 33 points down on Loggie, is Lewis Williamson and James Cottingham in the 2 Seas Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3, they’ve taken a handful of podiums this year and have been doing pretty well for themselves but a few less than ideal results have resulted in a mountain to climb.
In any other season, Enduro Motorsport’s two wins would have put Marcus Clutton and Morgan Tillbrook right in with a hand on the trophy, but two results outside the top ten have put them on 101 points – 34 down on the top spot. The only positive for the McLaren crew is that they have good form at Donington Park – as well as regularly picking up trophies in GT Cup’s visit to the East Midlands – the pair have won the last two races at the track, both earlier this season and at the season finale 12 months ago.
Away from the title showdown, 16 cars tackle the race in the top class and with a desire to finish the season on a high. Indeed, there’s some interesting guest entries bulking up the numbers – newly-crowned GT Cup champions Simon Orange and Michael O’Brien bring their Orange Racing McLaren 720S to Donington fresh from Snetterton last weekend as they look to test themselves ahead of a potential full-season campaign next year.
There’s driver changes too as Beechdean AMR returns for Andrew Howard, who’ll be sharing his Aston – the first time an Aston GT3 has been on the grid this season – with Lewis Proctor, who leaves father Stewart to try out new machinery. Stewart is joined at Greystone by Warren Hughes.
Finally, we’ve got a few departures as Alex Malykhin and James Dorlin elect to skip this weekend having already sealed the Silver-Am title in their Redline Lamborghini last time out. Team Parker Racing is also taking on some Autumn sun, as Nick Jones and Scott Malvern enter the Le Mans Cup at Portimao.
It’s coming to a boil nicely in GT4 as three crews all come in with an absolutely even chance of walking away from Donington with the most important trophy of the season in their hands.
Seizing the initiative is Newbridge Motorsport’s Matt Topham and Darren Turner. The pair have been on fire this year in their Aston Martin Vantage GT4 and have a very good chance of becoming the first Pro-Am pair since Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson in 2016 to take the overall GT4 title.
With an advantage of 12.5 points, and less time in the pits because of the 26-second Silver Cup time penalty which applies to their rivals, means they’re surely the ones to beat.
That said, Richard Williams and Sennan Fielding have also taken a pair of wins this year – just like Newbridge – and their Steller Motorsport Audi R8 LMS is an absolute weapon when it’s on form, and in Fielding’s hands it is generally pretty much always on the pace and you wouldn’t count against the pair being in the right place at the right time to capitalise on any opportunities to overhaul Topham and Turner.
The final crew in contention for the title is the R Racing pair of Josh Miller and Jamie Day. The Aston racers are the form duo coming into the final round with two wins in the last four races and have just six-seconds more in the pits than Topham and Turner once success penalties and the like are factored into the mix.
Whatever happens, it’s sure to be explosive with a GT4 field that’s always delivered action from start-to-finish with a lot of talented crews battling to be on the podium each weekend.
There’s just the one additional entry this weekend, with a welcome return to two Ford Mustangs for Academy Motorsport as Will Moore returns to British GT after a year out of the seat. He’ll be joined by Erik Evans, who has raced in US F4 and USF2000 in recent years.
British GT’s final round is a two-hour showdown which gets underway at 1pm UK time (2pm CEST), and will be available to watch live on GT REPORT!
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