British GT Championship – Silverstone – Friday Test Report
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 GT Championship.

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 in earnest.”

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 faces around.

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.
GG

 

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