That’s that then, the first round of the Intelligent Money British GT Championship is in the book and what a thriller we had with wins for 2 Seas Motorsport in GT3, and Academy Motorsport & Optimum Motorsport in GT4. Looking forward to the rest of the year? You should be…
Now the dust has settled on the opening encounter of 2023, GT REPORT takes a look back at what we learned from the Oulton Park double-header.
OULTON PARK: ENTRY LIST | PREVIEW | PRACTICE REPORT | QUALIFYING REPORT | SHAUN BALFE INTERVIEW | SATURDAY GALLERY | LIVESTREAM | RACE ONE REPORT | RACE TWO REPORT | MICHAEL O’BRIEN INTERVIEW | OULTON GALLERY | WHAT WE LEARNED
⇒ British GT is Britain’s best. Years gone by, ask people what they thought was Britain’s premier motorsport series and they would more than likely have said the British Touring Car Championship. After this weekend, that should be changing. The crowds around the circuit were enormous, the exposure of British GT has never been higher, and the grid is one of the best out there with the number of factory drivers drawing obvious comparison to the BTCC’s Supertouring era. Long may it continue…
⇒ Record-setting weekend sets the standard. Increase the quality of the field, increase the speed of the grid. Jules Gounon’s fastest lap of the weekend – a 1m31.713sec in qualifying – was six-tenths faster than his pole time from last year. The same was true in GT4, with Charles Clark’s best time in the McLaren Artura a full 2.2 seconds better than Darren Turner 12 months ago. The circuit can play some part in that, Joseph Loake set a new overall Oulton Park lap record in GB3 – the single-seater racer logging a 1m28.619sec. British GT didn’t improve its own lap records – which are only set during the race – because of the poor weather on Monday.
⇒ Jonny Adam is a British GT legend. Jonny Adam’s 17th championship victory has surely cemented his status as a legend of British GT. His victory in the first race at Oulton Park comes 12 years after his first – at Rockingham alongside Andrew Howard in a Beechdean Aston Martin DBRS9. His win alongside Cottingham – the latter’s first in the series – is the first win not in an Aston Martin.
⇒ McLaren is onto a winner with the Artura. In all conditions, McLaren’s Artura GT4 is a beast of a racer. Topping two of the Friday test sessions, one of Saturday’s Free Practice sessions and then locking out the top two in both qualifying periods, the Artura was the car to beat. While results were mixed – Race Two was definitely a better showcase of the Artura’s race credentials – you wouldn’t be too misjudged to put money on one of the McLaren teams taking top honours come the end of the year.
⇒ Jules Gounon bounced back in style. A week on from a nasty crash that left the Mercedes factory driver in hospital for observation, he bounced back in superb style – qualifying on pole and fending off AMG co-driver Raffaele Marciello in a stunning start to an eventual Race Two win. Asked by GT REPORT after the race whether he was suffering any ill-effects of the Nürburgring shunt, Gounon said: “I was feeling good in quali. Today [Monday] in the first race, when it was drizzling it was the same situation [like at the NLS race] so you are always like ‘Oh, okay’ but it was okay, the pace was okay. I feel okay just a bit of headache”
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