Pirelli enjoyed a successful first outing with the brand-new Cinturato WHA wet tyre in the fifth round of the 2021 British GT Championship at Snetterton in Norfolk last weekend. Changeable weather conditions made sure that both the WHA and the dry-weather DHE tyre were used in a pair of one-hour races which produced a different winner in GT3 and GT4 each time.
After a variety of endurance races in the first four rounds of the season, this was the first “sprint” weekend of the season, featuring two races in one day. Aston Martin’s Charlie Eastwood and Ahmad Al Harthy won the opening one-hour race in the GT3 category, while Ian Loggie and Yelmer Buurman came out on top in race two.
After making its debut last year, the GT3 competitors will again use Pirelli’s P Zero DHE tyre: an evolution of the previous DHD2, with modifications designed to make it even more versatile for the wide variety of GT3 cars and drivers that use it.
The P Zero DHB will again equip the GT4 class cars this year, having replaced the outgoing DH at the start of 2020.
Having previously used the Cinturato WH tyres in the championship, Pirelli introduced a new wet weather tyre at the recent Spa 24 Hours race, the WHA specification. As such, all GT3 cars have now made the switch to the WHA tyre for the remainder of the season. GT4 cars will continue to use the Cinturato WH tyre.
Race 1: GT3
Guest entry Al Harthy and Eastwood (Oman Racing with TF Sport) claimed pole position for the one-hour opener and duly led off the rolling start from the Bentley of Kelvin Fletcher. The Aston Martin kept its advantage either side of the mandatory pit-stop window, while Fletcher and team-mate Martin Plowman came home second, some eight seconds behind. The drive of the race came through Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini’s Dennis Lind who, after emerging from the pit-stops in eighth, produced a sensational recovery to claim third from four-time champion Jonny Adam on the final lap.
Race 2: GT3
In stark contrast to the dry race one, the heaven’s opened for the second one -hour race. Ram Racing’s Buurman got the jump around the outside of polesitter Lind at Riches to snatch the lead which he and team-mate Loggie would never lose. Defending champion Sandy Mitchell and Adam Balon finished second for Barwell Motorsport, while Michael Igoe and Phil Keen were third in the WPI Motorsport Lamborghini.
Race 1: GT4
Jordan Collard and James Kell took the win in their Team Rocket RJN McLaren 570S, beating points leaders Gus Burton and Will Burns, the latter of which had to fend off a charging Scott McKenna in the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK GR Supra in the closing stages. Collard and Kell started fourth and made a strong start to run second off the line before profiting from a puncture for the sister McLaren of Alain Valente to claim the win.
Race 2: GT4
Academy Motorsport’s Matt Cowley and Will Moore secured their first victory of the season, despite going off track early on in the one-hour race. Cowley started the race but had a brief trip over the wet grass which forced the car down the order. But a superb recovery drive from both Cowley and then Moore ensured that the Ford Mustang claimed the win from Chris Salkeld and Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke’s Century Motorsport BMW.
Jonathan Wells, Pirelli UK motorsport manager: “As ever with summer weather in the UK, you never know what you are going to get and this weekend at Snetterton was certainly no different! With a brand-new tyre such as the WHA specification, there is always a degree of unknown into how it will perform and what the grip levels will be like on any given surface, but we were very impressed by the peak performance of the tyre, particularly in the latter stages of race two where a slick tyre would have been a more suited to the conditions. The sustained grip in the tyre was also noticeable and bodes well for the remainder of the season. All in all, it was a great, competitive debut for the WHA which gives us a lot of expectations going into September and October at Oulton Park and Donington Park respectively, where rain is certainly not an uncommon feature.”
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