The MTech Ferrari of Matt Griffin and Duncan Cameron led the way in the first free practice session of the Spa-Francorchamps Avon Tyres British GT Championship weekend, Griffin hustling his 458 Italia around the Belgian Grand Prix circuit in a best time of 2m 23.070s, some 1.6s inside last year’s best qualifying time.
Griffin was six-tenths ahead of the new McLaren MP4-12C, which is making its international racing debut this weekend with British GT. Said Matt: “We are quicker than the McLaren, which is pleasing. The car is going well; in fact, it feels as if it is on rails around here, so things are looking good. But we always seem to start the weekends well, and there is a long way to go yet…”
The McLaren, which is driven by Chris Goodwin and Andrew Kirkaldy, set a best of 2m 23.637s. The Trackspeed Porsches claimed third and fourth on the timesheets, with the David Ashburn/Richard Westbrook 911 on 2m 24.283s and Gregor Fisken/Tim Bridgman on 2m 24.752s.
There were dramas for the Preci-Spark Mercedes of David and Godfrey Jones and the Predator CCTV Ferrari of Phil Burton and Adam Wilcox. The Jones car spun at the top of Eau Rouge and couldn’t be restarted, missing the second half of the session, while Burton and Wilcox failed to set a representative time due to suspected clutch problems.
In GT4, the Peter Erceg/Chris Holmes Secure Racing/Barwell Motorsport Aston Martin led the way by more than a second from the Scuderia Vittoria Ginetta of Dan Denis and David McDonald.
Avon Tyres British GT Championship
Provisional results, free practice 1
1 MTECH Ferrari Duncan Cameron/Matt Griffin (IRL) 2m 23.070s
2 McLaren GT McLaren MP4-12C (Invitation class) Chris Goodwin/Andrew Kirkaldy 2m 23.637s
3 Trackspeed Porsche David Ashburn/Richard Westbrook 2m 24.283s
4 Trackspeed Porsche Gregor Fisken/Tim Bridgman 2m 24.752s
5 United Autosports Audi Mike Guasch (USA)/Matt Bell 2m 26.025s
6 CRS Racing Ferrari Andrew Tate/Alex Mortimer 2m 26.228s
7 Rosso Verde Ferrari Hector Lester/Allan Simonsen (DEN) 2m 26.378s
8 United Autosports Audi John Bintcliffe/Jay Palmer 2m 26.524s
9 Preci-Spark Mercedes David Jones/Godfrey Jones 2m 27.094s
10 Chad Racing Ferrari Iain Dockerill/Tom Ferrier 2m 27.464s
- British GT