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Minshaw, Keen Dominate to Draw First Blood at Oulton Park

Minshaw, Keen win first round of 2017 British GT season…

Photo: British GT

An impressive opening stint from Jon Minshaw led the Barwell Motorsport crew to victory in the first British GT Championship race of the season at Oulton Park on Monday morning.

He shared the No. 33 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 with Phil Keen and came home with a 37second lead over the sister No. 6 Lamborghini of Liam Griffin and Sam Tordoff.

Minshaw took the lead from second on the grid on the run down to the first corner as the race got underway on a damp track, passing Rick Parfitt Jr.’s Bentley Continental GT3 around the outside.

He then went on to increase his lead rapidly over the coming laps, creating a margin of eight seconds after just three laps and eventually coming into the pits after 27 minutes with a 24-second lead.

“The car is such a good car, particularly in the wet,” Minshaw told Sportscar365. “We’ve been pretty dominant in wet-weather testing this weekend.

“It is my home circuit, I know it pretty well, and it’s where I started racing. It did surprise me, and I thought the Bentley would have given me a bit more of a race, but I think they got in into their mindset to just score points. That was, to be fair, pretty much my mindset.

“To come away from here, OK, it’s only one race of two, but to come away and finish the race first, we’re very pleased.”

Parfitt held onto second for his stint but Tordoff was able to pass Seb Morris, now in the Team Parker Racing Bentley, at Hislops shortly after the Pro-rated drivers stepped into the cars. 

This set Barwell up for a 1-2 finish while Jonny Adam was able to get past Morris putting he and Derek Johnston’s TF Sport-run Aston Martin Vantage GT3 onto the bottom step of the podium as Team Parker settled for fourth.

Johnston had started from the back of the GT3 field after being unable to set a qualifying lap time on Saturday.

Jon Barnes came home fifth in the second TF Sport car while Matt Griffin was able to pass Callum Macleod on the final lap to secure sixth in Spirit of Race’s Ferrari 488 GT3.

The AmD Tuning crew had a premature finish to its race as Lee Mowle understeered off the track and crashed his Mercedes-AMG GT3 into the tire barriers at Shell Oils corner, while in a battle for fourth with Harry Gottsacker and Mark Farmer.

Adam Balon and Adam Mackay took the GT4 honors in the Track-Club McLaren 570S GT4, surviving a penalty late in the race.

Sandy Mitchell and Ciaran Haggerty had looked set to take the class win until an issue with the No. 100 McLaren’s left-rear tire in the pit stops caused a lengthy delay, dropping it to 15th.

This allowed Matt Nicoll-Jones to take the lead for Academy Motorsport, in the No. 62 Aston Martin Vantage GT4 that had lost its engine cover in contact on the opening lap. 

However, Nicoll-Jones was eventually handed an 18-second penalty for a short pit stop, provisionally putting Mackay into the class lead.

The Track-Club driver was also penalized for a short stop but overcame what was only a 1.5-second stop-go penalty to come out of the pits ahead of Stuart Middleton’s HHC Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4.

Middleton and Will Tregurtha came home second, with the Academy car driven by Nicoll-Jones and Will Moore in third.

Jack Mitchell’s Macmillan AMR Aston Martin was set to start third but went up in smoke and left fluid on the track on the grid, and so was brought into the pits.

The car did go back out on track later in the race but suffered further problems and completed less than ten laps.

Race 2 is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. local time, 15 minutes earlier than provisionally scheduled. For the first time in the series’ history, today’s races are being streamed live on the GT World YouTube channel.

RESULTS: Race 1

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist focusing on European series for Sportscar365. Kilshaw was the founder of WorldSportsCar.co.uk and is a member of the Autosport Academy. Contact Jake

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