British GT Championship – Silverstone – Friday Test
Guess Who Was Fastest
31 cars took
to the track for Friday afternoon’s 90 minute free practice
session, a bumper total reflecting the popularity of running on
the Grand Prix circuit - and at a major race meeting.
There are new cars, new drivers and the return of
some old friends.
The Cadena GTC Mosler is back out to play this weekend,
Gavan Kershaw and Barrie Whight getting more race practice ahead
of a full 2006 campaign. The flat shift on the #2 MT900R is still
causing problems “as it has since we got it,” but that
didn’t stop the car reaching the podium at Thruxton!
The #10 Nissan sports a new sky blue colour scheme
and an ‘new’ addition to the driving squad – Anthony
Reid, the touring car man having his first start in the British
At Embassy Racing, Neil Cunningham was looking forward
to a less trying race than their run at the Spa 24 Hours. “Nothing
could be as tough as that!”
Emotional Engineering has drafted in RML’s
Adam Wiseberg to partner Ryan Hooker this weekend, Hooker reporting
that the Monaro feels like a different car – “The team
have had some new guys working on preparing the car (Simpson Engineering)
and we now have a good base set-up for the first time. We had a
first shakedown here on Tuesday and this is really our first test
The #78 Graham Nash Motorsport Porsche seems to be having a troubled
return to the Championship, way down the order, for the car which
last raced in the championship at the Spa 1000kms in 2003.
Sadly there are also a couple of no-shows in GT3, the Vauxhall VX220
and Bigfish BMW Z3M did not arrive, but there are a host of new
The Bo McCormick / Calum Lockie Ferrari 360 is having its first
trip out in the Championship, Lockie making his second appearance
of the year (he raced at Donington in the Master Motorsport Ultima).
The Bill Barrett Motorsport team have had a trying
week – the regular race car throwing a rod through the top
of the block on start up mid week, so they are campaigning a car
supplied by Motorbase this weekend, confusingly in an identical
colour scheme as the #33 Motorbase car. Warburton’s driving
partner this weekend is Sean Edwards, son of Guy Edwards “I’ve
tested him a couple of times and he is the real deal, “ said
Warburton mid session.
Virgo Motorsport’s Ferrari 360 is back too
after a long gap with Dan Eagling lending his considerable talent
to the job at hand alongside Jim McWhirter.
Graeme Mundy too is back, his ex Tech 9 Porsche
taking to the track for the very first time in GT3 trim, the ex-Racesports
TVR man joined by current Racesports TVR pilot Richard Stanton.
Both Chad Racing Porsches are out and running, albeit
on Shell Optimax and therefore ineligible for points, they do however
provide us with the first 30 plus entry for several years.
In the 90 minute session the two Scuderia Ecosse
Ferraris unsurprisingly topped the times, #35 ahead of #34, with
Andrew Kirkaldy posting a best lap of 1:53.507, half a second ahead
of rival Tim Mullen.
Next up was a fired up Philip Keen in the Eclipse
Mosler - a full second behind Mullen but closer than the Mosler
has been on pace before, to an on-song Ferrari.
Gavan Kershaw was fourth quickest, seven tenths
further back, with Ben Collins half a second further adrift in the
Embassy Porsche, Michael Bentwood splitting the Eurotech Porsches
in the Nissan to round off the leading GT2 runners.
In GT3 the
Mortimer / Quaife Porsche led the train with a 1:58.656, just
a tenth ahead of Allan Simonsen in the #21
UCB Ferrari, the Dane a full second clear of the Britnell / Stockton
#23 Porsche. The championship leaders were suffering with a
damper and perhaps a slight shortage of power.
Qualifying is on Saturday morning, the two hour
race on Sunday afternoon.