The defending champion car has returned to the top in free practice 1 thanks to Mercedes-AMG factory driver Jules Gounon. The 2 Seas Motorsport machine lapped Snetterton’s 300 circuit, the 3-mile version of the Norfolk venue, in 1:44.970, 0.151 seconds faster than the nearest rival.
It was a session of impressive performances from factory drivers, with Jonny Adam the only factory pro not to place in the top ten. Even more impressive was the performance of James Wallis for Drivetac; he was the only Silver driver to trouble the top ten.
The session was disrupted early on which is why the most laps covered by any car is only 26. That total came care of Sky Tempesta Racing’s Kevin Tse and Chris Froggatt, the latter’s best effort netting 17th overall and 5th in Silver-Am.
The disruption came in the form of a red flag stoppage, thanks to a coming together between Greystone GT’s Mclaren 720S GT3 EVO and the McLaren Artura GT4 of DTO Motorsport. Neither car completed a lap in the session so we don’t know which drivers were at the wheel.
GT3 Top Ten – Gounon Leads Pro Pile
Behind the Mercedes of Gounon and reigning champion Ian Loggie, came the Garage 59 McLaren 720S GT3 EVO of Alex West and Marvin Kerchhoefer. The German driver bested fellow McLaren pro driver Rob Bell’s best effort by just 0.158 seconds to win the battle of Woking and put the #88 ahead of the #27 Optimum Motorsport machine.
Mercedes-AMG superstar Raffaele Marciello came in next with a relative gulf to make up, 0.2327 seconds to the Mclarens ahead and just 0.069 to Euan Hankey’s #13 RACELAB 720 in fifth. Lucky Khera shares with the team boss and McLaren expert.
Sandy Mitchell put the first of the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO II entries into sixth place. 0.011 seconds split the Squadra Corse man from Hankey, The #78 Barwell Motorsport machine of Mitchell and Shaun Balfe eclipsed their teammates in Silver-Am, who managed 13th place thanks to Will Tregurtha.
Marcus Clutton comes next for Enduro Motorsport. The pace of the #77 car was enough to put Clutton and new co-driver Matt Topham just inside the first second and into 7th overall. Ross Gunn from Aston Martin put the Beechdean AMR Vantage GT3 he shares with team owner and Ice Cream boss Andrew Howard into 8th.
9th wouldn’t seem too impressive, even in an 18-car field. Top in GT3 Silver-Am looks better but both are massively encouraging from Drivetac who have only contested two rounds with their brand new Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO for Chris Hart and pacesetter James Wallis.
Rounding out the top ten was Dan Harper’s best for Century Motorsport. 1.136 seconds split the BMW M4 GT3 which has come alive since Nathan Freke’s team paired the BMW factory driver with rising Am star Darren Leung.
GT4 Claimed by Team Parker Racing
The early accident for the#36 DTO Motorsport McLaren Artura GT4 could be seen as a gift to the rest of the field. It seems that Aston Millar and Josh Rowledge are constantly impressing on a Saturday morning. But only 3 McLaren Artura GT4s sit in the top ten in the lower class, evidence that the SRO Technical team were right to leave well alone when it came to BOP headed to Norfolk.
Dan Vaughan set the fastest GT4 time in the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport he shares with Zac Meakin, heading a pack of 11 cars all covered by less than a second. R Racing’s Seb Hopkins was second, by a huge 0.195 seconds in the sole Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4.
Championship leaders Charles Clark and Jack Brown, the former at the wheel for the fast lap, took third place and the honour of fastest Artura in FP1. One Motorsport’s currently plain black with gold wheels, stealth Mercedes-AMG GT4 took fourth place, 0.181 seconds behind the #90 Artura.
Raceway Motorsport’s Michael Crees set the fastest time for the car he shares with Tom Holland. The Ginetta G56 GT4 took fifth overall and 2nd in Pro-Am behind the Mercedes-AMG. Enduro Motorsport’s #17 McLaren took sixth and fourth in the Silver Cup thanks to Darren Burke with Lewis Plato’s Century BMW in seventh.
Eighth went to the Ginetta motorsport manager Mike Simpson who was parachuted into Toro Verde GT between rounds 4 and 5 with Tom Wrigley’s RACELAB Artura in 9th place. Stuart Middleton’s Raceway Ginetta rounded out the top ten and made Raceway Motorsport the only team to have two cars in the top ten in the GT4 category.