BGTC: CR Scuderia take team title in Silverstone
With the Drivers title already sewn up in the last round of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Brands Hatch, the remaining team honours were taken by the CR Scuderia in the latest outing for the GT cars at the Northamptonshire, Silverstone ...
With the Drivers title already sewn up in the last round of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Brands Hatch, the remaining team honours were taken by the CR Scuderia in the latest outing for the GT cars at the Northamptonshire, Silverstone Circuit.
British GT Drivers Champions James Gornall and Jon Barnes in the Trimite Brookspeed Viper had their work cut out to take the team title with Trimite Brookspeed fielding just one car. However the two viper drivers endured a troubled weekend which saw any chances of staying in the fight evaporate. In contrast CR Scuderia had a better time of it and romped away with the title, with Michael Meadows and James Sutton taking their first race win of the season into the bargain.
The familiar format of two one hour races over the race weekend are replaced by a single two hour race for the remaining rounds of the championship in Silverstone and the final meeting which will be at Donnington Park.
The 2 hour endurance race kicked off with Craig Wilkins in the ABG Motorsport Viper leading the field from pole position into the first corner with David Jones in the Ascari close behind. Wilkins just about kept the Ascari behind him at the first corner whilst Michael Bentwood powered his Aston Martin through to third. Phil Burton was battling to stay in 4th place ahead of Michael Cullen but the close fighting took its toll, as pair emerged from bridge both Ferrari's had suffering punctures.
Gornall in the viper was out of position having started at the back of the grid after engine failure in free practice causing the car to miss qualifying. However with a borrowed engine the Viper was back to top form and flew through the field, going from 21st or last place up to a staggering 6th by the end of the first lap.
At the front Wilkins held the lead whilst others fell back. The Ascari of Jones was unable to keep 2nd place as Bentwood in the Aston Martin took another position on lap 3. Gornall meanwhile continued the charge, getting past Nigel Redwood in the Team RPM Viper and the CR Scuderia Ferrari of Luke Hines then dispatching Jones. The Viper was up to a remarkable 3rd position after just 4 laps of racing and would be in 2nd by only the 8th lap.
It looked like yet another Trimite Brookspeed win was on the cards as Gornall headed for the front of the field, but the first of the disasters to hit the team was just around the corner. The corner was in fact Brooklands, and on the 11th lap Gornall ran into the back of the lead car. The contact forced Gornall into the pits with a smoking front tyre rubbing on the crumpled bodywork. Whilst the car was patched up and sent on its way the incident would eventually prove terminal. The Viper would have to pit later whilst Barnes was at the controls to reattach more loose body work. That stop would prove permanent, as the fire extinguisher accidentally set off by one of the mechanics filling the car with foam. With the racing over for the day, with it went any realistic chance of taking the Championship Team title.
Wilkins in the lead ABG Viper sustained damage to the rear but this didn't seem to slow him down and things settled down at the front as the cars circulated in formation for several laps. After the period of stalemate Wilkins could hold back the Aston of Brentwood no longer and on lap 28 the Aston took the lead. Wilkins tried to battle back but spun at Brooklands dropping the Viper a further 2 places back.
Meanwhile the field was thinning out as Michael Cullen's Ferrari retired with a gearbox problem, the Jones brothers Preci Spark Ascari had an engine fire and Piers Johnson took the Team Modena Lamborghini for a trip to the barriers at Becketts.
As the compulsory pit stops were taken Brentwood came into the pits but co driver Tom Alexander had been called away for personal reasons. Brentwood took a second stint in the car but the rules meant he would have to retire from the lead after 90 minutes of racing without the driver handover. Metcalfe inherited the lead with CR Scuderia team mate Sutton close behind but the regulations would intervene again as both cars were given 10 second stop go penalties for refuelling the cars with the doors open. As the cars entered the pits for the penalty Metcalfe spun the Ferrari letting Sutton into the pit lane first. The pair would emerge in 3rd and 4th with Sutton ahead.
Nick Foster in the RPM Viper now found himself temporarily in the lead but Aaron Scott would soon get past dropping Foster to 2nd and into the clutches of Suttons Ferrari. The 71st lap saw Sutton get ahead whilst Metcalfe was close behind.
By the 74th lap the two Ferraris were up to 2nd and third. Sutton was now on a charge and Scott was defenceless against the Ferrari and would loose the lead on the last lap. Sutton took the flag , one of only 9 finishers from a starting grid of 21 cars.
Sutton and Meadows win along with third place for Metcalfe and Hines was a good result for the CR Scuderia squad, sweetened further by the Avon Tyres British GT team title win.
Although the titles are now wrapped up for the season the racing will be as hard as ever as the series now heads from the current to the future home of the British Formula One Grand Prix.
Donnington Park will host the final race of the season on Sunday 12 October.
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