British GT, Silverstone, 10 and 11 June 2017

British GT at Silverstone is something a little bit special, because it is known as ‘Silverstone 500’. It’s a three hour race.
I think British GT is a great series anyway, but having a race this long on the agenda is a bonus. In addition the support races are quite good too!
The only thing you can never be sure of is the weather. And this year Silverstone decided on sunny with clouds and a lot of wind. So much wind that the commentators mentioned it as it affected the cars out on track.

The Aston Martin of the defending champions was having issues, which was reflected in their result.
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As usual I attended the whole weekend which allowed me to enjoy as much of the supporting races as possible. I had never witnessed a Caterham race before. It was a lot more exciting than I expected. To be honest, I’m not sure what I was expecting. However, seeing 4 cars fighting for the first spot at the very end of the race is more than you would expect from anything other than Blancpain. It was great to see and I ensured I caught another Caterham race the next day.

My favourite cars with faces – the Ginettas – were also having the time of their lives. The Ginettas did not only have their own series and races, they are also part of British GT itself.
Ginetta race cars are available for various classes, so in some cases they race with what one would consider the ‘big boys’ and definitely hold their own!
They may look cute…these are serious race cars and the races are quite something to watch!

Cars with faces…you can’t go wrong.
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For some reason they (whoever ‘they’ are) decided to do something weird this weekend. The result? A 1965 Routemaster (yes, that’s a double-decker bus) joined the British GT cars on track. Judging by the video from on board the bus it really was going about as fast as it could. Compared to the race cars it was seemingly standing still.
Regardless of reason, it was quite the sight and I do like the Routemasters. There’s always time for a laugh…

British GT itself had five Aston Martins on the grid. What a treat! Next to that there’s of course the Bentley Continentals and I never say no to a few McLarens or Lamborghinis out there.
The Aston Martin of Jonny Adam and Derek Johnston had power steering issues (as in: they lost it) and this was clearly reflected in the result. Derek Johnston started the race and spun on the first lap due to this issue. Defending the championship is not as easy as some people may think, especially with bad luck like this.

The 1965 Routemaster out on track.
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The race was exciting from start to finish, which did not come as a surprise to me. British GT is quite unpredictable. Especially in a longer race like this one anything can and will happen.
The Team Parker Racing Bentley took the first spot after a stellar drive, but it would be unfair to say that even the last car to cross the finish line didn’t try as hard as they could. This is hard racing, just three hours long.

Of course I should also mention that it was Supercar Sunday. I have to say that the organisers and I do not agree on the definition of supercar, but there were definitely some mighty fine cars on display. Lamborghinis and McLarens were rubbing proverbial shoulders with Maseratis, Aston Martins and Audis (of the R8 variety). Quite a few of these took to the track during the lunch break, providing some very nice sights for the public. Supercars or not…I was not complaining.


British GT, Oulton Park, 17 April 2017

After three days at Silverstone I decided another day trackside wouldn’t hurt and I travelled to Oulton Park for British GT’s race day.
British GT has some very nice supporting races, my favourite being the Ginettas. Call it luck if you will, it was raining. Somehow these cars just seem to enjoy a wet track. The action doesn’t stop at all. They’re all racing as if their lives depend on it (the drivers, of course, not the cars).

The Ginetta G40 of Jose Antonio Ledesma during the Ginetta GT5 Challenge
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Another support race is BRDC British F3 Championship which is also always good to see. With fewer cars on the track it seems a bit less tight, but the racing is equally passionate.

I always enjoy seeing the Volkswagens race. This year they were joined by two Audi TTs which makes a nice change too.
Quite frankly, there is so much going on on track it would take too long to write about every race in the action filled day. So let’s move on to British GT. After all, that was the reason I went.

There is some incredibly close racing in British GT.
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Last year Jonny Adam became the first driver to win back-to-back championships in British GT. At the start of the 2017 season he had WEC duties for Aston Martin Racing at Silverstone, which meant he missed the qualifying session for British GT. As a result of that TF Sport had to start from the back of the grid in their class – the 11th position overall. Sounds like the ingredients of something very exciting to me…
Together with teammate Derek Johnston Jonny managed to grab a podium spot in both races on Monday. Some start of the season!

This year will very much be about Jonny. As said, he’s racing in WEC and British GT, but he is also joining Oman Racing again in Blancpain GT Endurance Cup. I follow all three series, so I will be seeing quite a lot of Mr Adam, I reckon.

The Academy Motorsport Aston Martin lost its bonnet very early on in the race, but they – seemingly quite happily – carried on without it.
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To be honest, there are other Aston Martins in British GT, so I have more than just one reason to go. One of the main attractions I find the sheer variety of cars. The Bentleys are always a joy to watch and even more so to hear. I might not be a fan of Mercedes, but on track they look pretty awesome. The McLarens always look good and you can’t go wrong with Lamborghinis in race attire.
Oh, let’s not forget that British GT also has its fair share of Ginettas.

All these different cars with their different specifications in two different classes make for a spectacular and unpredictable race. Even without the Aston Martins I would probably follow this series anyway. Additional incentive not required…

British GT, Silverstone, 11 & 12 June 2016

Twelve Aston Martins. Twelve.

How could I resist? I had to see nine race at Oulton Park, so Silverstone was a must see. Or so I thought. It didn’t quite work out the way I had hoped.

The Saturday saw not only the 12 Astons which took part in the British GT Championship, but also the Astons racing in the four races organised by AMOC. It was definitely a fun filled day and I ended up looking forward to the Sunday and the main event even more than in the weeks leading up to this weekend.

The #8 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of Motorbase Performance.
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The British GT competitors were joined by the GT4 European Series cars, resulting in a 51 car grid. Always good fun to see so many cars on track. Silverstone is of course not exactly a small track, but it can still get messy with such a large number of vehicles.
A bit of bad weather could vastly improve (?) the ‘fun’.

In April we had snow at Silverstone during the WEC weekend. I thought that would be as bad as I would ever see the weather get. I was wrong.
A bit of rain is no problem. But a bit of rain constantly gets nasty after a while. And wet it was that Sunday.

As usual I was there early, not wanting to miss any of the action.

Having seen Ginettas race at several occasions I have to admit I am a little bit in love with them. These ‘cars with faces’ are feisty little racers. They seem pretty fast and their drivers are all very serious about their racing. But you can’t help but give these guys a bit of a personality and you end up genuinly feeling for them if they happen to crash.
All joking aside, Ginetta racing is just plain cool.

With several races throughout the weekend and taking part in British GT the Ginettas had a lot of track time.
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I remember really enjoying the Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup last year at Donington Park. Another race I was definitely looking forward to. But by the time that race was on I had moved back on the grand stand to about half way up because of the rain. And I was still getting wetter and colder by the minute. It was only just after 11 in the morning…

The end result was that the British GT race started under the safety car in terrible conditions and I wasn’t there to witness it. I had dragged my cold carcass home and ended up watching the race on tv.
I’m not sure what to think of the race. Is there a point in even starting the race in conditions like that? What is the added value of a safety car start? Should the race have gone on considering how many cars ended up next to the circuit due to the water?

Not everyone seemed to mind the rain.
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I haven’t made up my mind about the questions above. I realise that a race must go on because it’s on television. But I’m not sure that is right either. With all the discussions going on about driver safety, surely this must be on the radar too? Or are all levels of motorsport in the firm grasp of those who care only about money?

Let’s just say that I truly admire the drivers who went out there and gave it their all. There was certainly some epic driving going on in the rain. Despite all my doubts I can always enjoy the skill being shown during any race. Next time I’ll bring my rain gear.

Aston Martin GT Challenge (and more), Silverstone

A few weeks ago I saw beautiful cars race around the Oulton Park circuit for the AMOC Intermarque and the Aston Martin GT Challenge. It was good.
Little did I know that Silverstone would be even better.
I should have guessed, of course. I would imagine that everyone who races anything would love to do so at Silverstone.
From a spectator’s point of view that is nothing short of fantastic, because you get to see so many wonderful cars, old and new. The British GT weekend at Silverstone saw four races organised by AMOC: AMOC Intermarque, Aston Martin GT Challenge, Innes Ireland Cup and AMOC 50s Sports Cars.

A beautiful 1964 Ford Falcon Sprint which took part in the Innes Ireland Cup.
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The weather on Saturday was glorious (not so on the Sunday!), so nothing stood in the way of our enjoyment of seeing classic cars going around the iconic track at a speed you sometimes wouldn’t expect these cars to be able to go.
To be honest, the spectacle was so good I didn’t actually pay any attention to who was winning. Even though the winner of AMOC 50s Sports Cars race was very easily identified. The #4 Ginetta G4 finished with a gap of 2 minutes and 40 seconds ahead of the rest of the field! As the commentator said: “That is the gap, not a lap time”.

Always one of my favourties: the Aston Martin DB4 (1959).
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Of course the Intermarque and GT Challenge saw more modern cars race each other. There were Porsches, Ferraris and Aston Martins, the latter old and new.
The Aston Martin DB4 was for a very long time my favourite Aston Martin (damn you, DB11!). The lone DB4 Lightweight I saw at Oulton Park was now joined by two more and a (dare I say ‘regular’?) DB4 (see photo above). However, I would certainly not say no to a GT4 or N24. That sound!

A 1957 Jaguar XK150 – a style I very much like.
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Needless to say, due to the diversity on track throughout the day and the sheer number of beauties AMOC had managed to get together, I ended up staying at the track all day. I know quite a lot of people only attend the Sunday (race day) during any race weekend. I hope they come to realise what they are missing.
I will definitely try to attend more AMOC race events, because they are simply too good to miss.