Will Burns and Gus Burton are the 2021 Intelligent Money British GT4 Drivers’ champions after scoring their third win of the campaign in a rain-soaked second race at Oulton Park this afternoon, a performance that also assured Century Motorsport and BMW of the Teams’ title.
But the destination of this year’s GT3 Drivers’ crown won’t be known until October’s #DoningtonDecider after Michael Igoe and Phil Keen denied Leo Machitski and Dennis Lind the chance to become champions with a race to spare. Barwell’s other Lamborghini shared by Adam Balon and Sandy Mitchell as well as fellow title contenders Ian Loggie and Yelmer Buurman (RAM Racing, Mercedes-AMG) joined WPI Motorsport’s Huracan on the podium.
Behind, Century’s all conquering M4 scythed through the GT4 field to beat Team Rocket RJN’s McLaren of James Kell and Jordan Collard, and Academy’s Ford Mustang crewed by Matt Cowley and Will Moore.
Elsewhere, Barwell retained their GT3 Teams’ crown while Balfe’s Stewart and Lewis Proctor wrapped up the GT3 Silver-Am title.
Leo Machitski and Dennis Lind had to win and hope other results went their way in order to win the title with a race to spare, a scenario complicated further by their seven-second Success Penalty. Instead, all five of the crews that arrived at Oulton with a realistic title chance now travel to Donington with their mathematical shot still in tact.
Barwell’s #63 crew remain in the box seat both in terms of points already accrued and Success Penalties elsewhere after three of their challengers – Michael Igoe and Phil Keen, Adam Balon and Sandy Mitchell, and Ian Loggie and Yelmer Buurman – locked out Race 2’s podium this afternoon.
Scott Malvern initially converted Porsche’s first British GT3 pole since 2013 into a lead he would maintain throughout the opening stint after seeing off Mitchell and Lind. Barwell’s Lamborghinis had swapped places just before Tom Onslow-Cole’s beached Mercedes-AMG hastened a Safety Car period, which coincided with the pit window opening.
Just five seconds covered a top-six also featuring Marcus Clutton, Buurman and Keen before the caution, but that gap was even smaller when all of the front runners stopped together under Safety Car conditions. Team Parker and Barwell’s Success Penalties should have handed Mitchell’s co-driver, Balon, the advantage but a slow getaway helped RAM’s Mercedes-AMG emerge ahead of Igoe and Nick Jones.
With Machitski only fifth, things were now looking up for RAM. But a drive-through penalty for a pit exit infringement dropped Loggie behind his championship rival while also handing Igoe a lead he never really looked like losing.
By then Balon had made his way up to second after passing Jones at the restart, which came with the added bonus of crucial extra points in the title race. A late spin ultimately mattered little given his advantage over the chasing pack.
That was now headed by a charging Loggie who emerged from his penalty in fifth place. But the Mercedes-AMG looked superior to its rivals in the wet conditions given the Scot’s successful pursuit first of Machitski and then Jones.
The Lamborghini also hauled in Team Parker’s Porsche late on to leave Machitski and Lind 13.5 points ahead of Loggie and Buurman with a round remaining. What’s more, and unlike its three closest rivals, Barwell’s #63 entry will race Success Penalty-free at Donington.
Morgan Tillbrook brought Enduro’s McLaren home sixth after co-driver Clutton set the race’s fastest lap. However, the dry conditions earlier in the day ensured that Lind sealed his fifth Sunoco Fastest Lap Award from six events.
Abba’s Mercedes-AMG might have featured on the podium without Richard Neary’s spin at Shell but recovered to finish seventh ahead of new Silver-Am champions Stewart and Lewis Proctor.
However, Beechdean AMR faces an uphill battle at Donington where Andrew Howard retains an outside GT3 title shot. The team only finished rebuilding their crashed Aston Martin at 03:00 but with little time to refine it, both Howard and Jonny Adam could only manage ninth.
Will Burns and Gus Burton produced the drive of champions in tricky conditions to secure both victory and this year’s GT4 Drivers’ title in Race 2 at Oulton.
In doing so they became the first crew to seal a British GT title with a full round to spare since 2015, and put the perfect stamp on a dominant campaign with a third victory of the season in soaking wet conditions. Incredibly, it was also the pair’s eighth points scoring result from as many races and sixth podium in all.
Burton started fourth but could do nothing about returning GT4 champion Jamie Caroline who put on a superb wet-weather display aboard Toyota Gazoo Racing UK’s Supra.
He looked peerless after passing Darren Turner’s pole-sitting Newbridge Motorsport Aston Martin around the outside at Old Hall and quickly pulled a comfortable margin over the field. Pretty much the only man to keep the runaway leader honest was Sennan Fielding whose Steller Audi thrived in the conditions to surge up to second, just before the race was interrupted by a Safety Car to clear RAM’s stranded Mercedes-AMG.
That turned the race on its head as the caution period coincided with GT4’s pit window opening. Everyone other than Caroline and Turner dived in at the first opportunity, but it was the various Success Penalties and additional Silver class minimum pitstop time that really jumbled the order.
The net result saw Mark Sansom’s Assetto Motorsport Ginetta emerge in the lead just ahead of John Ferguson, who had taken the Supra over from Caroline. But the pair had a queue of Silver-graded drivers behind them.
In the tricky conditions and with their pitstop advantage neutralised neither Am driver stood much chance against the likes of Team Rocket RJN’s McLarens driven by James Kell and Michael Benyahia who soon took first and second, respectively. Burns, who had taken over from Burton, then followed suit.
Benyahia wasn’t satisfied with second and crawled all over Kell for the lead before launching an attack at Knickerbrook. The two McLarens made contact and Benyahia got off the throttle to prevent tipping his team-mate round, which opened the door for Burns to slip into second.
From there Burns wouldn’t be denied, first drafting on to Kell’s tail and then past into Old Hall on lap 26.
“I couldn’t see a thing for much of my stint as the heated windscreen stopped working, but I saw contact between the two cars ahead and just went for whatever gap appeared,” said an elated Burns. “To be GT4 champions is just incredible. What a weekend!”
Burton added: “Century have done such a superb job with the car. It felt great, even in conditions like those. And the strategy has been spot-on all season. I’m just delighted.”
Kell and co-driver Jordan Collard held on to second ahead of Will Moore and Matt Cowley’s Academy Motorsport Ford Mustang, which snatched the final place on the podium with a great move around the outside of Benyahia at Lodge.
Harry Hayek/Katie Milner’s Team Rocket RJN McLaren was sixth, ahead of Richard Williams/Sennan Fielding’s Audi. Sansom survived a big moment at Cascades to bring the Assetto Ginetta he shares with Charlie Robertson home eighth overall and first in Pro-Am, while Century’s other BMW of Chris Salkeld and Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke – which played a huge part in the Teams’ title success – came home ninth.
And so on to the #DoningtonDecider where British GT3’s 2021 Drivers’ Champions will be crowned on October 16-17.