Caine and Perfetti win 2012 Avon Tyres British GT
An unusual thing happened in the 2012 Avon Tyres British GT; the Motorbase pairing of Michael Caine and Daniele Perfetti that prevailed claimed the GT3 title at Donington Park despite not having won a race all season. The duo lined up eighth on the grid for the season finale of a remarkably close British GT Championship, but following an electrifying start to an action-packed race, a number of changes at the front of the pack included the pairing, which crossed the line in fourth place. Title sponsor Avon Tyres said the team had been rewarded for its consistency and clean racing; the duo stayed out of trouble to bring the Porsche 997 GT3-R home and clinch the title by 3.5 points, in dramatic fashion.
The biggest mover from the starting grid on the day was RJN Motorsports’ Alex Buncombe, who put the team’s qualifying woes behind him as he carved his way through the field from a disappointing 14th to lead with just a handful of laps completed. With the Porsche 997 GT3 of Perfetti on a fight-back to reclaim lost ground, the Nissan GT-R of Buncombe had stretched out a lead of over nine seconds at the head of the field.
Shortly after the driver changeover, which saw Jann Mardenborough take to the hot seat, disaster struck for the RJN Motorsports pairing. An issue with the rear suspension thwarted the young Cardiff star’s progress, and the 2011 European GT Academy winner was forced to return to the pits.
RJN’s loss was seemingly MTECH’s gain – that was until Écurie Écosse’s Olly Bryant who, in making a pass on Jones’s Mercedes, braked too late and tapped the MTECH Ferrari of Matt Griffin into a spin and out of the title race. A one-minute stop-go penalty for Écurie Écosse for the incident consequently ruled Alasdair McCaig out of the title hunt, as the championship positions changed once again.
Speaking after the race, Perfetti put the team’s success down to consistency: “It’s important to finish and collect the points; everyone always says that, but it’s true. It’s a pity to not have won the race, but it is fantastic, stressful and really enjoyable. The team has done a great job and that starts with David (Bartram). It’s great to have someone fantastic on top.”
Newmarket-based Caine, also a former TVR Tuscan Champion, was delighted to taste title glory once again, but admitted he didn’t know he’d done it until he crossed the line: “I didn’t realise until I crossed the line that I’d won the championship, something happened with my earplugs and I couldn’t hear the team! All I kept doing was looking in the mirrors to see who was behind us and trying to keep a gap.
“It was great to give Motorbase the championship and Daniele has had an outstanding year – from where he’s come on from the Carrera Cup is amazing – he’s done a great job.”