Will Burns and Gus Burton enjoyed a stellar Intelligent Money British GT4 Championship season opener by securing a well-deserved victory at Brands Hatch, even if it took a late dose of drama to get the job done.
The pair – 2020 Ginetta GT4 Supercup title rivals – only inherited the lead inside the final minutes after Charlie Robertson was forced to pit to change a puncture on his Assetto Motorsport Ginetta. However, it was perhaps the result Burns and Burton truly deserved after suffering their own dose of misfortune in the early stages.
Starting from pole, Burns shot into a clear lead ahead of the Academy Motorsport Ford Mustang of Will Moore, even managing to pass a GT3 car to add a buffer between the two for good measure. Burns needed to push to try and make up for the additional 26s the car would have to spend in the pits due to it being a Silver Cup entry, but every time he built a comfortable gap one of the two Safety Car periods reset it.
Regardless, Burns led from Moore and Richard Williams’ Steller Motorsport Audi by the time the pit window opened, but the interruptions meant the BMW only held a cushion of a few seconds and faced a fight to get back to the front after its longer stop.
The Safety Car delays brought the Pro-Am cars into the mix, and when the order shook out it was the second Century BMW of Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke that re-joined in the lead after Chris Salkeld had kept the car comfortably in the top-five at half distance. His lead wouldn’t last long though, as Charlie Robertson wasted little time in diving past, having taken the Ginetta over from Mark Sansom.
Robertson then proceeded to charge clear, and things looked done and dusted right until the car was forced to dive back into the pits with just five minutes remaining to change a left-rear puncture. That dropped it out of contention and opened the door for the BMWs.
Burton had re-joined in third and then pulled off a brilliant pass on Gordon-Colebrooke around the outside of Paddock to snare second, which then became the win after the Ginetta’s issues.
Gordon-Colebrooke made it a Century one-two and secured the Pro-Am class laurels for himself and Salkeld, as James Kell and Jordan Collard kept themselves out of trouble to snatch the final podium place in their Team Rocket RJN McLaren.
The recovering Robertson was fourth, ahead of Williams/Sennan Fielding’s Audi, which had been firmly in the mix until it copped a 10s stop-go penalty for an unsafe release from its pitstop.
Nick Halstead/Jamie Stanley were sixth in their Fox Motorsport McLaren, ahead of the similar Balfe car shared by Ashley Marshall/Jack Brown.
The Toyota Gazoo Racing GR Supra was an early casualty following contact with Salkeld at Hawthorns. It was retired with suspension damage.
Likewise, it was a nightmare weekend for the #3 Team Rocket RJN McLaren of Alain Valente/Michael Benyahia. The car lost most of Saturday after an engine issue that required an all-nighter from the team to change the unit, only to then suffer an electrical fault on the green flag lap.