Oulton Park today has held the opening round of the British GT. After Saturday’s qualifying results which had No 3 Rosso Verde Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 starting from Pole position ahead of No 31 Trackspeed Porsche 997 GT3 R and No 007 Beechdean Aston Martin Vantage GT3 in third the race day looked like an exciting one.
The cars shot out onto the track for a morning practice session ahead of race one. No 31 Trackspeed Porsche 997 GT3 R was fastest with a time of 1.35.953, 0.382 seconds ahead of Pole position runner was No 3 Rosso Verde Ferrari 458 Italia GT3. Third fastest was No 16 LNT G55 Ginetta GT3.
One announcement made first thing this morning was that Mark Blundell would not be racing the No 24 United Autosport McLaren 12C GT3 due to damage caused to the car in Qualifying one on Saturday.
The race starts off with a rolling start behind the safety car and has a starting grid of thirty-one cars. Normally only one lap with the safety car but due to No 27 Vita4one Ferrari 458 coming off track on the warm up lap,The race started lap one still behind the safety car. As the safety car exited the track all thirty-one cars headed to the first corner at speed where there was a multiple car collision involving No 32 Trackspeed Porsche 997 GT3 R, No 007 Beechdean Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and No 14 Fortec Mercedes AMG SLS GT3. Within two laps the top three racers had started to pull a gap of over four seconds.
The cars who dominated yesterday unfortunately were far down the order from the start. No 3 Rosso Verde down in nineteenth position, No 007 Beechdean Aston Martin running second from last and having to pit and get the car up on the ramps due to the first turn collision, second on the starting grid No 31 Trackspeed Porsche 997 GT3 R was down in eighth at lap four.
The Safety car headed back out on track at lap three after another trackside incident for two laps. At this point No 15 Fortec Mercedes AMG SLS GT3 was out in front ahead of No 33 Trackspeed Porsche 997 GT3 R. No 15 Mercedes AMG SLS GT3 has managed to pull a lead of 3.7 seconds by lap nine and the top three seemed a little spaced out, the rest of the pack were closer together, position five to fifteen covered by a couple of seconds.
At lap twelve the majority of cars headed into the pits as pit lane opened for the driver swap. There were a few exceptions to this, which included the leading car No 15 Fortec Mercedes AMG SLS GT3. Fifteen laps in and the race was lead by No 230 JRM Nissan GT-R who was yet to pit. Followed by No 15 Fortec Mercedes AMG SLS GT3 and No 33 Trackspeed Porsche 997 GT3 R. Once the No 230 had pitted the lead went back to No 15 Mercedes AMG SLS GT3 who was being chased down by No 31 Trackspeed Porsche 997 who cannot be missed in the cars multicolored spotted livery, third position was his teammate No 33 Trackspeed Porsche 997 GT3 R.
Not long after the cars ad started to pit No 16 LNT G55 Ginetta caught on fire at the side of the track and the marshall’s had to put it out and make it secure. This didn’t affect the racing and it continued without the Safety Car.
With twenty minutes remaining No 31 and 33 made their move into first and second ahead of No 15 Mercedes AMG SLS GT3. The top three drivers were three seconds ahead of No 23 United Autosport McLaren 12C GT3. The No 23 soon got demoted into fourth as No 15 Fortec Mercedes AMG SLS GT3 aligned themselves side by side on turn one to make a clean pass. The two drivers played cat and mouse with each other swapping positions a few times but No 15 held third position.
As No 23 fell back the pack started to hunt their prey and runners five through to ten were covered by a couple of seconds ready to progress up the field. With eight minutes remaining the No 31 Trackspeed Porsche 997 GT3 R still had a lead of nearly four seconds ahead of No 33 Trackspeed Porsche 997 GT3 R and eighteen seconds back to third runner No 15 Fortec Mercedes. No 23 United Autosports McLaren was in third until lap 27 where he started to drop down the field this was down to a mechanical issue. Pole position car No 3 Rosso Verde had risen to position six in the field with five minutes remaining.
With only two minutes remaining the no 31 Porsche which led for a fair majority of the race dropped in race time and the three second gap had dropped to one second. As they came across the line for the last lap no 33 had reduced to gap between himself and the race leader to under half a second. It was only a matter of time before his onslaught for the lead. No 33 took the lead as No 31 dropped back but still brings the car home in second. Third went to No 15 Fortec Mercedes AMG SLS GT3, fourth No 1 Oman Air- Motorbase Porsche 997 driven by last years champion Michael Caine.
After the race was completed the interviewer questioned Nick Tandy on his drop from first to second. Raising questions of race orders being put in place.
GT4 was won by No 43 Century Motorsport Ginetta G50 driven by Zoe Wenham and Declan Jones.
Race one Results were:
1 No 33 Trackspeed Porsche GTR 3 1.00.34.559
2 No 31 Trackspeed Porsche GTR 3 +1.190
3 No 15 Fortec Mercedes AMG SLS GT3 +24.428
4 No 1 Oman Air Motorbase Porsche 997GT3 R +25.264
5 No 3 Rosso Verde Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 +25.607
6 No 79 Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 GT3 +26.144
7 No 13 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 +31.829
8 No 21 Mtech Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 +32.542
9 No 25 United Autosports Audi R8 LMS Ultra +33.029
10 No 6 PGF-Kinfaun AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT3 +44.876
11 No 18 FF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 +45.953
12 No 230 JRM Nissan GT-R +50.964
13 No 22 Preci Spark McLaren 12C GT3 +51.607
14 No 8 888 Optimum BMW Z4 GT3 +55.230
15 No 40 CWS 4×4 Spares G55 Ginetta GT3 +58.269
16 No 78 Barwell Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3 +1.21.084
17 No 10 M-Sport Racing Audi R8 LMS Ultra +1.29.162
18 No 11 PE Group Blendini Moto Audi R8 LMS Ultra +1 lap
19 No 43 Century Motorsport Ginetta G50 +2 laps
20 No 888 888 Optimum BMW Z4 GT3 +3 laps
21 No 44 Optimum Motorsport Ginetta G50 +3 laps
22 No 69 Apo Sport Ginetta G50 +3 laps
23 No 27 Vita4one Team Italy Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 +4 laps
24 No 23 United Autosports McLaren 12C GT3 +8 laps
25 No 16 LNT G55 Ginetta GT3 +23 laps
26 No 320 JRM Nissan GT-R +23 laps
27 No 53 Complete Racing Aston Martin GT4 +25 laps
28 No 007 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT3 +29 laps
29 No 41 Mtech Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 +32 laps
30 No 14 Fortec Mercedes AMG SLS GT3
DQ- No 32 Trackspeed Porsche 997GT3 R +25.367 – excluded from results due to the collision on lap one but originally finished in fifth.