Easter Weekend was the start of the season for several national and international series around the world. The Super GT season got underway at a wet Okayama International Circui, the GT4 European Series supported the Blancpain Sprint Series at Nogaro, while Oulton Park hosted the first round of the British GT Championship season.
Super GT (GT300)
The opening round of the 2015 Super GT series was held at Okayama International Circuit, where the participating teams were faced bad weather conditions. The hybrid cars in the GT300 category had no problems at all with the weather, scoring a one-two.
Pole man Andre Couto and his Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 held onto the lead at the start, but the Macanese driver was soon passed by a charging Koki Saga in the No. 31 Toyota Prius. Saga pulled away from the ARTA CR-Z GT of Shinichi Takagi and the Gainer TANAX GT-R of Couto and halfway trough the race he had a 20-second lead.
After the pit stops Yuichi Nakayama kept the Prius in the lead, despite the ARTA CR-Z closing in when conditions improved a little bit. As soon as it began to rain more heavily again Nakayama was able to pull away, eventually finishing 42 seconds clear of the No. 55 ARTA CR-Z GT. Two Audi R8 LMS ultra finished third and fourth.
Race – 1. apr (Saga/Nakayama) Toyota, 2. ARTA (Takagi/Kobayashi) Honda, 3. Audi Team Hitotsuyama (Lyons/Fujii) Audi.
British GT Championship
The 2015 British GT Championship got underway at Oulton Park, with Aston Martin scoring a double victory at the Cheshire circuit. Oman Racing Team won race one, while Beechdean AMR took the spoils in race two.
Liam Griffin led the opening race until an incident that took out the RAM Racing Mercedes and the two Barwell Motorsport-entered BMWs brought out the safety car. The leaders pitted straight away, with the FF Corse Ferrari of Adam Carroll exiting the pits ahead of Griffin’s teammate Rory Butcher. Carroll, Butcher and Joe Osborne fought for the lead, but it was Carroll who crossed the line in first place. After the race he was penalized for blocking the Vantage out of the pits, which resulted in Griffin/Butcher being promoted to first place.
In race two Beechdean AMR’s Jonny Adam let the FF Corse Ferrari go during his stint, knowing it had to serve a 15-second success penalty during its stop. Howard took the lead out of the pits, but was then given a penalty for a short stop, along with Triple Eight and all three Oman Racing Team cars. The Beechdean AMR team served its penalty, but rejoined still leading and Howard went on to win race two.
Race 1 – Oman Racing Team (Griffin/Butcher) Aston Martin, 2. FF Corse (Eastwood/Carroll) Ferrari, 3. Triple Eight Racing (Mowle/Osborne) BMW.
Race 2 – Beechdeam AMR (Adam/Howard) Aston Martin, 2. Team LNT (Tandy/Simpson) Ginetta, 3. Barwell/Ecurie Ecosse (Attard/Sims) BMW.
GT4 European Series
The GT4 European Series kicked off its season with two races at the Circuit Paul Armagnac in Nogaro. The series welcomed new teams, new cars and new drivers in France.
The brand new Sin R1 GT4 of Hendrik Still started race one from pole position and the German driver led the race until the mandatory pit stops. Still rejoined behind rookie Jelle Beelen (Camaro) and that became third when Joerg Viebahn came out of the pit right in front of him. The two battled for position, before colliding. Camaro driver Duncan Huisman had already passed them by then and overtook his teammate Beelen on the penultimate lap to take the first win of the season.
Race two saw the V8 Racing Camaro drivers swapping positions, with Marcel Nooren and Jelle Beelen taking their first victory of the season in a rather chaotic race that saw reigning champion Ricardo van der Ende crashing his Mustang after suffering a brake failure. Behind the two V8 Racing cars it was Joerg Viebahn who took third place, despite a second collision with Still in as many days and a collision with the BMW of Rob Severs.
Race 1 – 1. V8 Racing (Braams/Huisman) Camaro, 2. V8 Racing (Nooren/Beelen) Camaro, 3. Mathol Racing (Viebahn) Aston Martin.
Race 2 – 1. V8 Racing (Nooren/Beelen) Camaro, 2. V8 Racing (Braams/Huisman) Camaro, 3. Mathol Racing (Viebahn) Aston Martin.