LAMBORGHINI DOUBLES UP IN BRITISH GT OULTON OPENER
The #33 Barwell Lamborghini was a mere flash of red and green all weekend with a double GT3 victory – Photo: Jakob Ebrey
Barwell Motorsport’s Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen proved their wet weather dominance in a damp first hour-long British GT race at Oulton Park on Bank Holiday Monday morning.
Barwell Motorsport dominated the day’s first race thanks, largely, to the efforts of Jon Minshaw whose opening stint laid the foundations for a 37.2s victory over the sister Lamborghini Huracan GT3 driven by Liam Griffin and Sam Tordoff. Further back, reigning champions Derek Johnston and Jonny Adam came through from 11th on the grid to complete the podium finishers.
The morning’s heavy rain had relented in time for the start, but Minshaw made the most of the wet conditions to dive down the inside of Rick Parfitt Jnr’s pole-sitting Team Parker Racing Bentley into Old Hall. By the end of lap one the Lamborghini’s lead was already five seconds, which Minshaw extended to almost 20 before the pit window opened after 25 minutes.
The battle for second was much closer with Parfitt Jnr initially edging clear of Griffin before being reeled in once again. The Huracan’s mirrors were also full of Mark Farmer’s TF Sport Aston Martin, Harry Gottsacker’s Century Motorsport Ginetta and Lee Mowle’s Mercedes-AMG.
Meanwhile, a great opening lap initially helped Johnston pick up three places before inheriting two more when Ian Loggie spun and Mowle ended up in the Shell Oils tyre wall. Sixth then became fourth not long before the pit window opened after Farmer and Gottsacker were both delayed by Tim Eakin’s spinning Nissan 370Z GT4.
While Keen emerged from Minshaw’s pitstop with a healthy advantage, the battle for second was much closer. Seb Morris, who’d taken over the Team Parker Bentley from Parfitt Jnr, rejoined second but struggled initially and was soon passed by Tordoff who set off on an ultimately fruitless pursuit of his Barwell team-mate. The TF Sport Astons had also swapped places during the stops but after first re-passing team-mate Jon Barnes on-track Jonny Adam also forced his way past Morris, who had to settle for fourth at the flag despite a late charge as conditions improved.
Barnes was fifth ahead of Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin, who passed Callum Macleod’s Bentley on the final lap. Nathan Freke and Gottsacker’s Century Ginetta completed the top-eight ahead of Team ABBA with Rollcentre Racing’s Richard Neary and Martin Short, and the battle-scarred AMDTuning.com Mercedes-AMG driven by Mowle and Ratcliffe.
The #33 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 was once again in a class of its own at Oulton. After dominating a wet opening contest the crew proved equally adept in the dry conditions before the race-ending Safety Car period reduced their winning margin to just 1.9s over TF Sport’s Derek Johnston and Jonny Adam who once again came from 11th to score a podium. Team-mates Mark Farmer and Jon Barnes completed the top-three.
Once more the #31 Team Parker Racing Bentley lined up on pole but, as in Race 1, it was the Barwell Lamborghini that rounded Old Hall first after Seb Morris’ sluggish start helped Keen and Callum Macleod move ahead.
Morris’ response was to attempt to re-pass his team-mate on lap two at Hislops, but the Welshman only succeeded in tipping Macleod into a spin for which he was subsequently hit with a drive-through penalty. That played into the hands of TF Sport who soon had Barnes running second after starting fifth and Adam up to fourth, which became third when Sam Tordoff’s Barwell Lamborghini pulled off and into retirement.
Adam continued to pressure Barnes thereafter but neither had the pace to trouble Keen who pitted at half-distance with a 14s lead, enough to cancel out the 10s success penalty he and Minshaw had to serve as a result of winning Race 1. Indeed, Farmer was still someway behind the Lamborghini after the stops played out, and then gifted Johnston second place after a brief trip across the grass.
Moments later Loggie made contact with Neary, triggering the race-ending Safety Car period. Fourth therefore went to Spirit of Race’s Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin who avoided the travails of others to bring their Ferrari home fourth after starting 12th. Parfitt Jnr and Morris recovered from their drive-through penalty and the latter’s subsequent spin to salvage fifth on a weekend that promised so much more, while Jack Mitchell and James Littlejohn’s Macmillan AMR Aston Martin completed the top-six ahead of Lee Mowle and Ryan Ratcliffe’s Mercedes-AMG.
Macleod’s race might have been compromised by Morris but the Team Parker Racing driver rallied to set the Sunoco Fastest Race Lap of the Weekend and new British GT3 record to boot: 1m34.624s. Elsewhere, AMDTuning.com with Cobra Exhausts picked up the PMW Expo Team of the Weekend Award after completing repairs to their Mercedes-AMG moments before the start of Race 2.
Tom Hornsby (Source: British GT)