JRM, Barwell Share Wins as British GT Kicks Off at Oulton Park
JRM Racing and Barwell Motorsport each scored a race win as the British GT Championship got underway at Oulton Park with a pair of one-hour races on Monday.
Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jr. claimed Race 1 honors in their new JRM Bentley Continental GT3 as part of a new program put together shortly before the start of the season.
Parfitt claimed the lead on the second lap when polesitter Ian Loggie was hit by Ryan Ratcliffe, taking both the RAM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 and Team Parker Racing Bentley out of contention.
Parfitt remained out front for the rest of his stint and handed over to Morris who kept a healthy lead over Phil Keen to win by 3.6 seconds.
Sam De Haan and Jonny Cocker claimed the day’s second race win in their No. 69 Barwell-run Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo, meanwhile.
He came out on top after a tense late-race battle with Loggie and Richard Neary, with the latter eventually finishing runner-up, 2 seconds behind De Haan.
It marked Cocker’s first British GT win since 2007 at Thruxton, when he drove an Aston Martin DBRS9, also entered by Barwell.
The GT4 class wins went the way of HHC Motorsport and Multimatic Motorsports.
Callum Pointon and Dean Macdonald led a McLaren sweep of the podium during the first race, while Seb Priaulx and Scott Maxwell took their Multimatic Ford Mustang GT4 from pole to claim the Race 2 win.
44 Cars in Joint French, South European GT4 Opener
Stephane Lemeret and Pierre-Alexandre Jean claimed a double victory in the opening round of the FFSA French GT4 Cup as a total of 44 cars took to the track for the Nogaro Easter meeting.
The pair, co-driving one of three CMR-entered Alpine A110 GT4s, benefited from a quick pit stop to leap ahead of the leaders and take an early advantage in the championship during Sunday’s Race 1.
Lemeret was in the battle for third position when the mandatory driver swaps took place, however his co-driver emerged out front after a quick turnaround.
Jean’s lead over the chasing back was pegged back by a late-race safety car but the 18-year-old managed to hold on for the win ahead Gregory Guilvert in the Sainteloc Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4 started by pole-sitter Fabien Michal.
Guilvert and Michal were classified winners of the inaugural round of the GT4 South European Series, which joined the French Cup field for its opening weekend with a nine-car grid.
Jean took the lead from Guilvert at the first corner of Monday’s second race and remained out front for his entire stint.
He passed over the Alpine to Lemeret who exited the pits ahead of Fabien Michal and Jean-Luc Beaubelique.
The CMR pair now lead the championship by 14 points ahead of Michal and Guilvert, who again finished Monday’s race runner-up.
This meant the Sainteloc duo therefore scored both wins within the GT4 South European Series field.
News & Notes
***A notable addition to the French GT4 field was former FIA World Endurance Championship LMP1 racer Nicolas Prost, who made his class debut in a CMR Alpine with Jean-Charles Rédélé, the son of Alpine brand founder Jean Rédélé.
***Audi led the way during DTM pre-season testing at the Lausitzring. The German manufacturer locked out the top five places with Robin Frijns leading the RS5 contingent on a time of 1:35.169.
***The fastest BMW lap was a 1:35.884 from Joel Eriksson, while R-Motorsport’s Aston Martin Vantage DTM placed ninth at the end of four days of running with Jake Dennis producing a 1:36.345.
***Frijns’ leading figure was two seconds quicker than the Lausitzring pole time from last year, in the first direct comparison between the new four-cylinder turbocharged cars and the previous-gen naturally-aspirated machines.
***Reigning Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia champion Martin Kodric will drive one of the Teo Martin Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3s in this year’s International GT Open. The McLaren-affiliated driver will share driving duties with Henriqe Chaves.
***Vincenzo Sospiri Racing has also finalized its GT Open lineup with Kang Ling and Frederik Schandorff named to drive the Italian team’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.
Jake Kilshaw contributed to this report.