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Barwell Prevails in Silverstone Thriller

Phil Keen, Jon Minshaw victorious in crazy British GT Silverstone 500…

Photo: British GT

Photo: British GT

Phil Keen took the No. 33 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 to the checkered flag after an incredible Silverstone 500.

Unpredictable weather conditions meant that pit strategy would be the deciding factor in the three-hour race, and a strategic masterstroke from Barwell Motorsport in the first few minutes would eventually gift the win to Keen and Jon Minshaw.

Each of the 51 cars on the grid, which combined British GT and GT4 European Series runners, would have to complete at least three pit stops throughout the race, each at a minimum of two minutes in length.

The race started under the safety car due to the treacherous conditions, and the three Barwell Lamborghinis all completed their first pit stop with just five minutes in the books.

This allowed the Pro drivers to take to the Huracans, giving Barwell an early advantage when the race got underway a few minutes later.

The early leader was Rick Parfitt Jnr. for Team Parker Racing, who started on pole in his No. 31 Bentley Continental GT3. However, the Am driver struggled in the wet conditions and soon found himself down in eighth position.

The Bentley later retired from the race, after Seb Morris sustained some damage just past the midway point.

The other car that held the lead in the first stage of the race was the championship-leading No. 17 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of Derek Johnston and Jonny Adam, but Johnston had to retire the TF Sport entry having picked up some considerable front-left damage.

Barwell’s strategy soon paid off as Liam Griffin adopted the lead, until he too had to retire with damage later in the race.

As the third safety car period ended with 36 minutes to go, it was a surprise one-two for Tolman Motorsport, but its pair of Ginetta G55 GT3s were still on wet tires on a drying track, and so they soon lost positions.

Keen took the lead with 26 minutes on the clock, and was soon followed past the Ginettas by Ryan Ratcliffe, Adam Carroll and Joe Osborne.

An impressive late-braking move by Osborne on Carroll moved the BMW Z4 GT3 into third with 15 minutes to go.

However, Ratcliffe couldn’t hold onto second in the Optimum Audi R8 LMS, and ultimately finished fifth.

Osborne and Mowle came through to finish second, but 45 seconds down on Keen. Marco Attard and Adam Carroll were third on the series debut of the Ferrari 488 GT3 for FF Corse, while Rob Bell and Alasdair McCaig were fourth in the Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse McLaren 650S GT3.

“I can’t remember the last time I was on the top of the podium!” said Minshaw. “We knew if we could get in and out of the pits and rejoin the safety car crocodile without being lapped that we’d be OK.

“Race Control made the right call with the [second] safety car [period] because it was pretty treacherous. Without slowing the race down and clearing the track could have resulted in carnage.”

Robert Barrable and Aaron Mason won an equally hectic battle amongst the British GT4 runners, in their No. 75 RCIB Insurance Racing Ginetta G55 GT4.

Century Motorsport’s Nathan Freke and Anna Walewska were second with their No. 73 Ginetta, while Beechdean AMR drivers Jack Bartholomew and Jordan Albert completed the podium.

The winners out of the Competition102 GT4 European Series field were Peter Terting and Joerg Viebahn in the No. 118 PROsport Performance Porsche Cayman PRO4 GT4, while Nicolaj Moller Madsen and Andreas Patzelt brought the No. 119 car home for a PROsport one-two.

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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