Hold on tight…
The Avon Tyres British GT Championship is once again, without doubt, proving itself to be finest racing series in the United Kingdom. British GT returned from it’s summer break and hit the track at MSV’s Brands Hatch GP circuit, with even a few new faces around the paddock.
Over the break M-Sport (the same team that runs the Ford Focus’ in WRC) pulled out of the championship to concentrate on it’s development program for the all new Bentley Continental GT3 expected to debut early next year. This left drivers Warren Hughes and Rembert Berg without a drive despite being placed fairly high up the championship. The Belgian racing team, WRT, has joined the series and provided both drivers with a car for the rest of the season. It’s great to see the Avon Tyres British GT Championship bringing in more international based teams like WRT – I think it says a lot about the level that the series has reached.
I love the Brands Hatch GP circuit, it’s certainly one of my favourites in the entire country. The mix of low speed and high speed corners creates and exhilarating lap for the drivers. My favourite section is out on the Grand Prix loop, this sweeping section of fast corners sees the cars being pushed to their max (and beyond). The elevation change and the beautifully rich greenery in this section really make it something special to photograph.
The race itself was, as you might expect, fantastic. A mix of action amongst all the classes with numerous leaders helped to create the kind of spectacle that British GT is so well known for providing. The Beechdean Aston Martin Racing team had a near flawless run particularly with Jonny Adam at the wheel who pushed the car into the lead of the race after a solid stint from ice cream businessman Andrew Howard.
Meanwhile some slightly strange goings on seemed to be happened. Most notably with the Ginetta of Mike Simpson and Lawrence Tomlinson (owner of Ginetta) being hit in a head-on collision with a door, from the GT4 Ginetta being raced by Blendini, at the fastest part of the circuit. More impressively, even after being hit by the door he still kept his foot down.
Another scary crash was when Zak Brown, at the wheel of the United Autosports McLaren MP4-12C GT3, rear tyre burst on the back straight causing the car to veer off to the left at 140+ miles per hour. Luckily he walked away unscathed.
Phil Dryburgh & John Gaw’s, part of PGF-Kinfaun, Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 also took a trip into the gravel (as can be seen at the top of this article). Was certainly one of the scarier moments of the weekend as the car headed towards me and colleague Will Belcher…
The end of the race saw Von Ryan Racing’s Duncan Tappy defending his second place position from a gang of BMWs that had gained on him in the second half of the race. Both Dan Brown’s 888Optimum BMW and Olly Bryant’s Ecurie Eccose Z4 GT3 had caught up with Duncan Tappy allowing for a great fight for position between the three. Von Ryan Racing would eventually finish in 2nd position behind the Beechdean Aston Martin of Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam – winning by over 10 seconds.
The next round of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship is at Zandvoort in Holland on September the 6/7/8. It should be a cracking race as the championship heads into it’s penultimate round. Below is a selection of my favourite photos from the event.