British GT Preview: Donington Park - Here We Go Again
Donington Park will host Round 6 of the Intelligent Money British GT Championship on the 20th September. The second time the British GT carnival will roll into the Midlands in just over a month.
With the condensed racing season that is 2020, it means that despite the curtain-raiser at Oulton Park a little over a month ago, we are already starting to get towards the pointy end of the season.
With Round 6 tipping us over the halfway mark of the 9 round season each championship point is starting to have more & more significance towards the title race. And, as the championship progresses we are starting to see the drivers who appear to have what it takes to go all the way.
The results of Round 5 were bookended by Barwell Motorsport. Rob Collard & Sandy Mitchell have looked strong all season & the race at Brands Hatch has propelled them into first in the driver's standings. Not a bad way to announce your title fight. Perhaps what was more surprising is that the win was their first of the season!
"Nearly Man" Phil Keen's title hopes took a huge dent as he & teammate, Adam Balon, recorded a lowly 12th as they struggled to keep up the pace, despite the sister car taking the overall win. The result sees them fall from 1st to 4th in the standings, with what seems like an ever more difficult ladder to climb as Keen attempts to finally clinch the title. Even Keen's long-time foe, Johnny Adam, outperformed him despite Brands being his first appearance since Media Day back in March. Partnered by Andrew Howard who has not driven competitively for 12 months.
It is easy to predict that the #78 Black Bull Lamborghini will feature strongly again at Donington & despite the success penalty you can't help but feel it will be in the mix. As for the #72 car, things look promising. Carrying no time penalty from Brands, added to the fact they showed strongly in both races last time out at Donington means they could catapult themselves back into contention, however, will have to hope for a 30 point swing to be leading when the team leaves the circuit on Sunday evening.
The GT4 Driver's Championship is starting to look very tantalising. Chris Wesemael & Gus Bowers, racing for HHC Motorsport, had a somewhat quiet round at Brands but, thanks to a clumsy climax between the Century Motorsport M4 & the pair of TF Sport Aston Martin's, they snook onto the bottom step of the podium. This means that as we progress further into the season the #57 McLaren of HHC Motorsport & the #97 TF Sport Aston are separated by 1/2 a point. The day-glow Aston's look impressively quick, coupled with Jamie Caroline, who stole the show a few years back in British F4, this fight could go to the wire if Caroline can keep his head. Given the dominating win by Patrick Kibble & Connor O'Brien in the #95 car in Race 1 at Donington last time out, Vaughan & Caroline will be looking to emulate that success and take control of the championship. But, with the #57 McLaren also taking a win last time at Donington, during race 2, Round 6 could get very interesting for the GT4's.
Jordan Albert & Matt Cowley also announced themselves on the scene with their first win at Brands in the Academy Motorsport Ford Mustang, leaving them just 5 points off the #95 and with a 4th & 6th at Donington will be looking to improve on that result, but to do so, will need to overcome a 20-second success penalty.
There's one thing for certain whichever way British GT shapes up this season. It's going to be an enthralling one, and the fact we almost didn't have any racing this year just adds to the enthusiasm and I can't wait to see how this unfolds.
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