The Lamborghini and Aston Martin crews will fight for the 2016 British GT title
Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw claimed a double British GT win in their Lamborghini Huracan GT3 in the penultimate event of the Pirelli-equipped series at Snetterton. The results move Barwell Motorsport drivers Keen and Minshaw to the top of the drivers’ standings in the GT3 class with just one race remaining at Donington Park on September 10-11. The victory in race one came despite a clash with the BMW Z4 GT3 of Joe Osborne that sent the Lamborghini into a spin.
A penalty for that contact relegated the BMW to fifth place, giving the Lamborghini a narrow victory over the TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of Jon Barnes and Mark Farmer, which led the opening stint but had to serve a 10-second success penalty at the mandatory mid-race pit-stop following its recent win at Spa-Francorchamps. The sister car driven by Jonny Adam and Derek Johnston just missed out on third, with Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jr instead making it three different brands on the podium in their Bentley Continental GT3.
The second of the one-hour races was more straightforward for Keen and Minshaw who led from pole, though they needed to overcome the 10s success penalty for their race one win, making the double victory a special achievement. Delayed by a problem at their pit-stop, Adam and Johnston finished second to be just 11.5 points behind the Lamborghini duo in the title race. There were again three different cars in the top three with Osborne and Lee Mowle taking their BMW to third.
In the GT4 class, Scottish teenagers Ciaran Haggerty and Sandy Mitchell scored the first victory for the McLaren 570S GT4 in race one, with Mitchell becoming the youngest ever British GT winner aged 16 years and 169 days. Race two went to Jack Bartholomew and Ross Gunn in their Aston Martin Vantage GT4 after finishing a close second in the first encounter. Bartholomew is now just 2.5 points behind Ginetta drivers Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson at the top of the standings.
The Pirelli P Zero slick tyres supplied to the two categories – the DHC for GT3 and DH for GT4 – proved their fantastic performance and durability in high temperatures. On Saturday, Keen bettered the previous qualifying lap record, and the race records in both classes were smashed in race one and lowered further in race two. In spite of this high pace and the demands on the tyres, most teams felt there was no need to change them at their pit stops.
Jonathan Wells, Pirelli British GT race engineer, said: “We had an incredible two races and fantastic weather for the whole weekend in Snetterton. The performance in both the qualifying sessions and races was even better than our expectations. The sunny, warm conditions really gave the tyres a good workout in both of the one-hour sprint races, but despite the challenges this posed, only a few teams opted to change tyres during their mid-race pit-stops in both the GT3 and GT4 categories. This is testament to the consistent performance and low wear of both our DHC and DH specification slick tyres used in the respective classes. We now look forward to the season finale at Donington Park next month.”