Pirelli once again showed its all-weather capabilities at a wet-dry penultimate round of the Intelligent Money British GT Championship at Oulton Park. A pair of 60-minute sprint races produced as much action in one day as there had been all season long, with the GT4 drivers’ and GT3 teams’ titles being wrapped up with a round in hand come the end of the weekend.
Century Motorsport’s Gus Burton and Will Burns picked up the GT4 title in fine fashion, after finishing second in Race 1, the pair needed only one point in the second race. Barwell Motorsport claimed the teams’ title in GT3, with the brace of Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evos collecting more valuable points for the drivers’ title across the two races.
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
The opening race was held in dry conditions and was largely dominated by the race-by-race Mercedes-AMG of Kevin Tse and Tom Onslow-Cole. Tse started the race and led impressively after passing erstwhile leader Kelvin Fletcher after the latter’s Bentley was forced to avoid a spinning GT4 car at Old Hall. Onslow-Cole then took over at the pit-stops and led home the Abba Racing Mercedes of Richard and Sam Neary.
Race 2: GT3
Rain was the big factor in race two, with all cars running the Cinturato WHA for the duration. Sam Neary led the early going but received a drivethrough penalty for a pit-lane infringement, which allowed the WPI Motorsport Lamborghini of Michael Igoe and Phil Keen to claim their second win of the season. Defending champion Sandy Mitchell finished second alongside Barwell Motorsport team-mate Adam Balon, while the Neary Mercedes completed the podium.
Race 1: GT4
Newbridge Motorsport’s Matt Topham and Darren Turner claimed victory in the opening encounter as Burns and Burton kept their nose clean to put one hand on the drivers’ crown with second in their BMW. Initially, Burns led the race until the pit-stops before Topham moved ahead to comfortable come home to victory.
Race 2: GT4
Needing just a solitary point to secure the title, Burns and Burton again stayed out of trouble in the second race, and duly wrapped up the crown in the best way possible, by taking their third win of the season. Burns made the most of contact between the two McLarens in front of him to seize the lead exiting Knickerbrook and was unchallenged until the end.
Jonathan Wells, Pirelli UK motorsport manager: “Given the conditions in the second race, the quality of racing was very impressive from all of the drivers, particularly as the rain intensified during the amateur drivers’ stint. From a tyre perspective, we were satisfied with the performance in both the dry and wet races, with no issues and overall wear as predicted. Oulton Park in September always has the potential to be wet and this year was no different and the Cinturato WHA was again very impressive in the wet conditions. We noticed that the grip level produced by the tyre was strong at Snetterton and it is good to see this has continued onto Oulton. What that says to us is that the hard work put in to produce a high performance, consistent wet tyre has paid off and it is something the drivers can push with. From a racing side of things, it was another exciting day of action and, with the GT3 drivers’ title fight going down to the wire yet again, it is yet more proof that the British GT Championship is one of the most competitive and unpredictable in the world. Congratulations to Barwell Motorsport for winning the teams’ title this weekend and to Gus and Will for clinching the GT4 championship.”
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