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Snetterton Weekend Notebook

Jake Kilshaw’s weekend notebook from British GT at Snetterton…

Photo: British GT

***British GT Championship Series Manager Benjamin Franassovici revealed to Sportscar365 that July’s round at Spa-Francorchamps will feature two 60-minute races, rather than the originally-planned single two-hour endurance race.

“The track pulled back on our original format where we were supposed to get 19 or 20 garages, which has been the case the last three years,” he said. “It wasn’t comfortable to do a refueling race without having teams in garages. We wanted two hours, but we couldn’t do it.”

***The entry list for tomorrow’s two races at Snetterton is down to 27 cars, following the withdrawal of the No. 14 In2Racing McLaren 570S GT4 which was set to be driven by Gareth Howell and Richard Marsh. This comes after the two Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT3s were also announced to be missing the weekend.

***Euan McKay has replaced Matty Graham in the sole remaining In2Racing McLaren, joining Marcus Hoggarth. 2014 GT4 champion Jake Giddings is subbing in for Mike Newbould at Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing, meanwhile. 

“I’ve never driven the Ginetta but have raced against them plenty of times in the Aston,” said Giddings. “They look to be going pretty well this season so hopefully Michael [Caine] and I can look forward to a decent result. I’ve spent the last couple of years fighting through the field, which actually taught me a lot about race craft. But I’ll have no complaints starting a bit nearer the front at Snett!” 

***Newbould has skipped this weekend due to family issues, having also missed the Rockingham round four weeks ago following an injury caused in a Free Practice crash at Oulton Park. As a result of the incident at Oulton and both drivers being replaced at Rockingham, co-driver Caine only set his first laps of the season this morning.

***A red flag was called for ten minutes during Free Practice 1 to recover the No. 11 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GT3 which had gone off track at the first corner with Mark Farmer at the wheel. The car only picked up cosmetic damage, primarily on the right-rear corner, and was soon back out on track.

“It was mostly superficial damage, Mark had a bit of a moment because the wind is a completely different direction to when we tested here,” co-driver Jon Barnes explained to Sportscar365. “It wasn’t too big an impact and the boys have fixed it. The car seems fine.”

***The minimum pit stop time has been set at 70 seconds for GT3 cars and 105 seconds for GT4 competitors.

***Franassovici has said that both classes will see increased entries for the three-hour Silverstone 500 event in two weeks’ time, while hinting that other other manufacturers may join or return to the GT3 ranks before the end of the season.

***Reigning champion Jonny Adam is one win shy of tying with David Ashburn and Hector Lester for most GT3 victories, currently at ten. He hasn’t won a British GT round since Rockingham last April. Championship leaders Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen currently have nine GT3 wins and could surpass Adam if they repeat last year’s success and win both Snetterton races.

***Matt Griffin meanwhile only needs one more win to reach 15 across all classes, equalling the record shared by John Greasley, Thorkild Thyrring and Tim Mullen.

***Jack Mitchell says a surprise third-place finish at Rockingham in a strong showing from the Macmillan AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT3 has given him a morale boost for the coming races. “We knew we were going to struggle a bit because we’re a Silver pairing, so we have a lot of extra ballast,” he told Sportscar365. “There’s not much we can do about that so we just got on with it, did the best job we could, and managed to hold off Phil Keen and a few of the others.”

***Tolman Motorsport competed in the GT4 European Series Northern Cup at Brands Hatch three weeks ago with full-season British GT drivers Joe Osborne and David Pattison. Osborne told Sportscar365 that the team is evaluating entering the Southern Cup round at Paul Ricard later in the year, and expressed high praise for the quality of the European series, which has had an overhaul this season.

***Snetterton has enjoyed sunny, clear skies for most of the day apart from for a short time this morning when there was a spell of torrential rain and thunderstorms. It is likely to be another humid, sunny day tomorrow with no rain expected to play a part in the races.

***Click here for the entry list. Jack Mitchell and Alex Reed will start Race 1 from pole having topped Am Qualifying, while Phil Keen and Joe Osborne were quickest in Pro Qualifying for Race 2.

***The first of tomorrow’s two 60-minute races is scheduled for 11:40 a.m. with the second outing at 4 p.m. Both will be streamed live on the series’ Facebook page. 

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

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