Defending Champion Ian Loggie has had the best possible start to his season in the Intelligent Money British GT Championship, by topping the opening testing session of the year. The Scotsman’s co-driver Jules Gounon set the fastest time of the first testing session, a 1:33.745, on the penultimate lap of the 55 minutes of running.

The duo repeated the trick in the third session, Gounon again at the wheel for a 1:32.928. In both cases Barwell Motorsport’s new Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVOIIs held second place, the first session thanks to Mark Sansom and his pro driver Will Tregurtha, the third care of Lamborghini Squadra Corse driver Sandy Mitchell who shares with Shaun Balfe.

The second session of the day was topped by another Mercedes-AMG, that of Team ABBA Racing’s Sam Neary. Gounon’s best time came second to the non-EVO AMG machine.

In GT4 DTO duplicated the 2 Seas trick with their new McLaren Artura GT4. A 1:42.229 from Josh Rowledge secured the top spot in the first session, repeating the trick in the second on a 1:42.715.

Session 1 saw a McLaren 1-2-3 with Tom Wrigley taking second place on a 1:42.573 for RACE LAB on their first weekend in the series. Jack Brown took the second place spot in session 2, moving up from third in the first outing and marching on to top the final session of the day. DTO took second in the last session.

Testing Session 1 – Variety is the spice of life in GT3.

DTO Motorsport's McLaren Artura GT4
DTO Motorsport claimed the top three in each of the testing sessions, with the top spot in 2 of them. Credit:

The opening session of the day of testing was topped by the Mercedes of Loggie and Gounon with Sansom and Tregurtha a relatively close second. Third place went to the McLaren 720S GT3 of RACE LAB, Euan Hankey setting the time in the car shared with Lucky Khera ahead of the second 2 Seas Mercedes of James Cottingham and time setter Jonny Adam.

Fifth place went to the Dan Harper driven Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT3, whose pace was only 0.032 seconds quicker than Ross Gunn’s best in the Beechdean AMR run Aston Martin V8 Vantage AMR GT3.

That puts all five of the GT3 manufacturers of the season in the top six of the session.

In GT4 it was a top three lock out for the new McLaren Artura GT4 with DTO, RACE LAB and Optimum Motorsport. Breaking the Woking lock out to fell to the Ginetta G56 GT4 of Freddie Tomlinson, shared with former Champion Stuart Middleton and run by Raceway Motorsport. Academy took fifth place thanks to Will Moore with Josh Miller’s Aston Martin in sixth.

Porsche came seventh, McLarens eighth and ninth and Mercedes-AMG rounding out the top ten. The only brand not represented in the top ten is BMW, with Century Motorsport 12th and 16th in the class.

Testing Session 2 – Mercedes-AMG Solidifies Grip on the Top, McLaren Continues to Dominate GT4

Team ABBA Racing's Mercedes-AMG GT3
Team ABBA Racing proved the pace of the non-EVO Mercedes-AMG. Credit:

The second session saw variety of a sort at the top of the GT3 field, with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO of 2 Seas coming a very close second to the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Team ABBA Racing. 0.048 seconds split Sam Neary’s best time from that of seasoned factory pro Jules Gounon.

Century Motorsport continued to benefit from the factory services of Dan Harper securing third place, only 0.207 seconds behind Neary’s best.

Fourth went to Mercedes, RAM Racing’s Raffaele Marciello getting to grips with Oulton Park and getting up to speed. Greystone GT’s Mercedes-AMG took eighth. All four Mercedes in the top ten, with both Lamborghinis and the Aston Martin joining a single McLaren.

In GT4 DTO continued their run at the top, this time outpacing Jack Brown’s best for the Optimum car. R Racing broke the McLaren top 3 with their Aston Martin, driven again by Josh Miller with Ian Gough putting RACE LAB’s McLaren in fourth place.

Century Motorsport’s BMW’s came good in the second session, Lewis Plato adapting to GT4 to put the 22 in fifth, Harriot’s Chariot sitting just outside the top ten at the end of the session.

Testing Session 3 –

Optimum Motorsport's McLaren Artura GT4 at Donington Park
Optimum Motorsport’s McLaren Artura GT4 of Jack Brown and Charles Clarke. Credit:

The final session of the day saw Gounon back on top with Barwell Motorsport’s Lamborghini of Shaun Balfe and pace setter Sandy Mitchell in second place. Third went to Century Motorsport, Dan Harper continuing to find pace in the BMW M4 GT3 ahead of the McLaren 720S GT3 of Hankey and Khera.

Garage 59 entered the fray at the close of the day, Mervin Kirchhoefer taking the McLaren 720S GT3 EVO to fifth palce ahead of Beechdean AMR and Barwell’s second Huracan. Orange Racing by JMH took eighth thanks to Michael O’Brien and Raffaele Marciello put the RAM Mercedes in ninth.

Enduro Motorsport rounded out the top ten thanks to Marcus Clutton’s best time.

GT4 was finally topped by a different team, but not a different brand. McLaren Artura GT4 continued to lead the pack but in an Optimum Motorsport form thanks to Charles Clarke. Aston Millar took second place for erstwhile pace setters DTO Motorsport with Josh Miller still setting the front engined pace in the R Racing Aston Martin.

Gough again put in RACE LAB’s best time in the third Artura of the time sheet with One Motorsport’s Michael Broadhurst setting the fifth place. The top ten was rounded out by Porsche, McLaren, Ford, Ginetta and Mercedes-AMG.

The full results of the testing sessions can be found on Free Practice starts tomorrow morning at 09:30 with live coverage on our Oulton Park micro-site.

Nicholas Smith

Nick Smith is a time served motorsport journalist and photographer specialising in the British GT Championship. The originator of the idea behind the British GT Fans Show, which became the British Sportscar Podcast, Nick works as the shows resident expert. Away from the track Nick earns his way as a driving instructor and instructor trainer.

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