GT4 GAINS EUROPEAN CONTINGENT FOR SILVERSTONE 500


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Abbie Eaton and Marcus Hoggarth brought the Maserati its first podium at Oulton – Photo: Jakob Ebrey

GT4: WILL JOHNSON AND ROBINSON PRODUCE ANOTHER OPTIMUM PERFORMANCE?

How the British GT4 contingent ‘race’ against their European counterparts could have a big impact on the result this weekend, even if on current form one crew stands head and shoulders above the chasing pack.

PMW Expo Racing/Optimum Motorsport’s Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson sealed both pole positions and race victories at Oulton Park to take their tally to three of each in the opening four rounds. The 2015 class runners-up must therefore overturn a maximum 20-second success penalty during their final pit-stop at Silverstone, but that can’t be discounted given they and their Ginetta G55 achieved a similar feat during the second race at Oulton.

Their championship lead currently stands at 19 points over Jack Bartholomew and Jordan Albert who endured a difficult outing two weeks ago but nevertheless emerged with at least something to show for their travails. Rockingham’s race winners can also tap into the same data that propelled their Beechdean AMR Aston Martin to GT4 victory at Silverstone last season in the hands of Gunn and Jamie Chadwick.

Meanwhile, RCIB Insurance Racing have adapted well to life in GT4 after scoring their second and third podiums of the season at Oulton. William Phillips and Jordan Stilp lie third in the standings as a result of their race one rostrum and should be a threat again this weekend with no pit-stop success penalty to slow them down. Aaron Mason and Rob Barrable also celebrated finishing third on their first outing together and will be hoping to build on that momentum at a circuit both know well.

Ebor GT’s fan favourite Maserati MC GranTurismo also bagged its maiden British GT4 podium at Oulton where Marcus Hoggarth and Abbie Eaton stormed through to finish second in race two. And with the car expected to go even better at Silverstone thanks to its long straights and fast corners, look out for the Italian stallion (the Maserati, not Marcus!) up at the sharp end once again.

The same should apply to Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse’s young guns, Ciaran Haggerty and Sandy Mitchell, whose McLaren 570S has been a consistent podium threat this season, albeit without – as yet – having a result to show for it.

But perhaps Optimum’s biggest threat will come from Century Motorsport’s Anna Walewska and Nathan Freke. The pair find themselves only sixth in the standings after twice being denied likely victories during the previous two race weekends. The lack of a pit-stop success penalty comes as a welcome bonus in their efforts to return to the podium at Silverstone.

Simpson Motorsport will also give Porsche’s new-for-2016 Cayman its British GT debut in the hands of Nick Jones and Scott Malvern, who won Oulton Park’s Sunoco Fastest Race Lap of the Weekend Award aboard the team’s stand-in Ginetta.

As in GT3, the British GT4 class welcomes a number of familiar faces to Silverstone. Reigning Teams’ champions Academy Motorsport are back with a single Aston Martin V8 Vantage for Dennis Strandberg and Matt Nicoll-Jones, while Fox Motorsport’s 2014 and ’15 pairing of Paul McNeilly and former GT4 champion Jamie Stanley also make a popular return.

Tom Hornsby