Beechdean AMR and Jonny Adam made the perfect start to their Intelligent Money British GT Championship return by lapping 0.7s faster than anyone else in a rain-affected first practice session at Brands Hatch this morning. In GT4, Jamie Caroline led a TF Sport one-two from team-mate Connor O’Brien.
A damp start to the day ensured everyone began the one-hour session on Pirelli’s groved tyres. But as FP1 progressed so Jack Mitchell’s early wet-shod benchmark became increasingly obsolete. Indeed, times quickly tumbled once teams began to take slicks after 20 minutes.
RAM Racing’s Patrick Kujala was the first to dip under 1m30s when he posted new fastest times on successive laps, but it was James Baldwin who topped the times at half-distance thanks to a 1m28.422s.
That was soon beaten by Angus Fender (2 Seas Motorsport), Phil Keen (Barwell), Scott Malvern (Team Parker) and Jordan Witt (2 Seas) before Adam emerged with 20 minutes left on the clock. The Scot’s first flying lap – set on new tyres and low fuel – moved the goalposts considerably, while his second – 1m25.324s – was at that stage 1.8s faster than anyone else.
Others steadily chipped away as conditions continued to improve thereafter. Sam Neary came closest by lapping his ABBA Racing Mercedes-AMG 0.723s shy of the Aston Martin, while Baldwin’s late effort left Jenson Team Rocket RJN’s McLaren a further 0.054s behind.
Kujala’s earlier efforts remained sufficient to finish fourth ahead of Mitchell (2 Seas Motorsport) and Franck Perera (WPI Motorsport).
GT4 played out in a similar fashion once slick tyres became the order of the day.
Academy’s Jordan Albert made the early running courtesy of three consecutive fastest times. Patrick’s Kibble similar three-lap sequence then moved the class benchmark from 1m36s to the 34s bracket before TF Sport team-mate Daniel Vaughan hit the front.
The #97 Aston Martin was subsequently pushed back by Sam Smelt (Speedworks) and Kibble’s co-driver Connor O’Brien. But championship leader Caroline had the final say when he set a 1m33.165s in the closing stages.
FP1’s benchmarks were just 0.6s and 0.2s slower than British GT’s respective GT3 and GT4 lap records despite the sub-optimal conditions.