GT Championship - Thruxton – Sunday Morning Notes
His Birthday, But Still He Gets...
22 cars took to the track for the Sunday Morning practice session
with the Balfe Motorsport Mosler bolstering the N-GT numbers. The
Racesports TVR T400R is in the hands of Dan Eagling, driving solo
here after regular driver John Hartshorne withdrew after being struck
in the eye by a stone in testing on Friday. The Vauxhall Monaro
and Eclipse TVR are both absent this weekend, both teams opting
to test rather than race and the Master Motorsport team is also
absent, its Silverstone engine woes preventing competition here
this weekend. The Embassy Corvette has Ben Collins, ex Ascari sportscar
star and current Days of Thunder ASCAR champion replacing Paula
Cook, the Yorkshire driver now having left the team.
Cup class sees the addition of a second Tech 9 Porsche 911GT3 Cup,
the car is actually the same one that has been campaigned previously
by ABG Motorsport but now has the driver line-up of Porsche specialist
Mark Cole and Formula Ford man David Wandless. The second DRM Ferrari
returns to the series for the first time since its heavy accident
at Mondello Park (albeit without the rear spoiler sported by the
#62 car), Lourenco de Veiga and Formula Fordster Jamie Smythe making
up the driving squad. The Rollcentre Racing Noble has TVR Tuscan
racer David Mason sharing driving duties with Martin Short, while
the Jensen Corvette has Stuart Turvey replacing Ryan Hooker. The
Gavan Kershaw Racing Lotus squad has had a busy meeting already,
a huge accident for Barrie Whight in Friday testing leaving the
#88 Lotus looking a sorry sight, bodywork utterly destroyed and
a rear corner reduced to scrap. By this morning however the car
was looking pristine: Gavan Kershaw will fly in from Donington (and
Group C duty) in time for the qualifying session this afternoon.
On track the times were
tumbling as the sun broke through with the lap records in both classes
being bettered by some margin.
The battle to top the
timing chart in N-GT was tightly fought for the first half of the
75 minute session, with the #35 Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari, #38 GruppeM
Porsche and the Balfe Mosler the chief protagonists. Andrew Kirkaldy
then turned up the wick in the #35 Ferrari 360 GTC and posted a
stunning 1:12.507, almost two seconds under the N-GT lap record.
The rest couldn’t challenge that pace but Tim Mullen joined
in the fun, posting the second fastest time of the session in the
The #44 Preci Spark JWR
Porsche of the Jones twins looked to be in trouble inside the first
20 minutes, pitting with a plume of smoke trailing and being wheeled
back into the paddock. Engine? “Yes, there was a strong smell
of oil so I backed right off, the engine hasn’t gone –
yet!” said David Jones. The ever-prepared JWR team has a spare
flat 6 unit available so the car will be out in qualifying this
In the Cup class, six
cars bettered the previous record (1:20.547) with championship newcomer
Mark Cole setting an impressive 1:19.082 in the unballasted #74
Tech 9 Porsche with Martin Short just five hundredths behind in
the Rollcentre Noble.
Post session Jonathan
Cocker was summoned to the Clerk of the Course and was met by a
stony faced John Ward who in fact presented him with a bottle of
champagne, to celebrate the GruppeM star’s 18th birthday.
“The funny thing is though,” said Ward, “he passed
the chequered flag twice so he’ll get a bollocking anyway!”
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