June 6, 2014 in F1
By Nathan Hine.
The Easter weekend motorsport venture can only mean one thing: the British GT world championship season opener at Oulton park is about to get underway.
This is always something special as the British GT championship is one of the most successful and charismatic series that supercars represent in all of British motorsport. 2014 seems to be an even better season that lies ahead than that of the recent past has instigated, because not only are there an all-time high of 34 cars of 2 different classes the GT3 and GT4 classes.
There is an all-time high of a wider international community of having 10 different nationalities with over 11 different manufacturer in the British GT season. Will this help to recreate the greatest British GT championship of all time?
Race 1 was an international affair as the Omanese racer of car 4’s Ahmad Al-Harthy had something for his friends and family to cheer about for their first date to remember in Britain, who was partnered by experienced GT star Michael Caine who brought the car home to kick off Aston’s 2014 campaign in style.
They were followed home by 20 year old new boy out of the blocks Pasin Lathouras of Thailand and the infamous GT superstar Richard Lyons in the number 29 AF Corse car as Ferrari got their 2014 off to a good start with a rosterum at the start of the year, to try and put the woes of last year behind them from the get go.
Race 2 saw changing fortunes all the way down the grid as it was the BMW drivers of Alexander Sims and Marco Attard who were able to convert their pole winning performance to a race winning affair.
This was following 2 safety car periods; several laps of controversy and pit stop shenanigans, as it was the Aston Martin of car 28 (Paul Bailey and Andy Schulz) who endured the rath of the stewards by serving a stop-go penalty with this a rostrum and possible victory for these pair faded before their eyes.
The first quarter of the race saw the Ginetta G55 car 46 of Adrian Barwick and Tom Oliphant who ended their race at the exit of Old hall corner entering the cascade complex on lap 16 when he lost control on their tight, twisty but notoriously fast, flowing and demanding race track. But, the “different” feeling that Oliphant experienced was what caused the major incidence that ended their weekend and unfortunately a new season did not bring about a change in fortune for the Ginetta boys, despite their best efforts to try and change this over the course of the winter.
The second safety car was caused by the retirement of the Porsche 997 of car 12 (Jody Firth and Warren Hughes) where the race for the Nissan GT-R on board team Strata 21’s race was officially ended as he was picked up by the safety car while he was in P7 so it completely ruined any profits he wished to gain after this as he had not pitted in the race up until that point.
While, the race leader in the number 18 Ferrari was battling hard with the number 23 Audi and as they tangled over each other coming out of Hislop corner on their way to Knickerbrook and they came into contact ending both of their races.
The fame and fortune experienced by the sister Ferrari in the previous race was forgotten in the red camp while they were battling hard with the Audi. But, expect the Ferrari’s to be in the hunt for rosterum places at Rockingham.
After a 5th place finish, Audi racers Derek Johnston and Luke Hines told British GT that:
Derek Johnston, Driver #888
“That was a really enjoyable weekend. It was a real shame about the penalty in race one as I think Luke could’ve challenged Caine for the win. I really enjoyed my stint, but it was a bit frustrating not to get to overtake Attard and Howard! Race two was difficult because the safety cars cut my actual race time down quite a lot. Had we had a few more laps we might have been able to get a podium. The car is great, as are the team. Rockingham should be good!”
Luke Hines, Driver #888
“It was good weekend. Two points finishes at Oulton is never easy, especially with 34 cars. I’m happy with where we’re at; Derek did a super job. There’s a clear direction on where we’re going this year and the results from this weekend tell you that. I’m starting to feel more comfortable in the Z4, Rockingham will hopefully be another good weekend for us and the car of Lee and Joe too.”
The British GT season 2014 is underway and pole position for the championship goes to the Aston Martin of car 4 with the drivers of Ahmad Al Harthy and Michael Caine.
Beware of the Ferraris of the FF Corse and the AF Corse cars as the Ferrari cars seem to have found another gear this year and the BMW of the Ecurie Ecosse team with drivers Marco Attard and Alexander Sims with a win already under their belt after the first round of the season.
What will the season have install with so many people in contention for championship glory? Will Aston Martin be able to maintain their edge as they head to Rockingham and beyond, or will their rivals be able to claim the British GT 2014 championship?