Bank Holiday in weekend at brands hatch and GT Cup put on a show of quality racing with different winners. Blistering sun on Saturday to a damp drying race on Sunday saw some challenging conditions.
Saturday Sprint Race
As always a 25-minute Sprint to kick off the weekend’s GT Cup race action. It would be a contest centred on the dicing Radical and McLaren teams, with Tillbrook heading a safety car start for Enduro ahead of Burgess who made his way by Loggie early on.
The fight took a twist when Burgess powered by Tillbrook’s 720s on the back straight up Pilgrims Drop, but the fight would go all the way to the chequered flag as the McLaren man fought back.
A move up the inside of the Radical at Graham Hill Bend as it drifted wide with 11 minutes to go meant a lead change once more, but the power of the Radical was utilised when Burgess cut back inside a corner later to get the run he needed into Hawthorns and move back ahead.
It would be the first overall win of the season for the overall championship leaders who made it five GTO wins from five, while Lucky Khera made it four wins from five in GTC with a lights-to-flag performance. GTH was a feisty affair, won by a charging Matthew Graham as the Carrera Cup GB star took the lead for Valluga Racing’s #51 car – and invitational entry – and victory over its title-chasing #50 car. Saxon Motorsport’s return was christened by a well-earned GTB win for Tom Barrow.
Saturday Pitstop Race
The fastest lap of the sprint race gave Simon Orange pole position as his reward ahead of the 50-minute endurance race, and he made best use of the advantage by fending off the rapid Radical on the opening lap.
Leaving behind a fight for second place, which went the way of Tillbrook initially, the Orange McLaren lost the lead briefly to Loggie’s Mercedes in the pitstops as the latter gained time as a solo driver.
Both were nose-to-tail on the exit of the pit lane, and it took all but four corners for the charging O’Brien to make his decisive move up the inside of the RAM Racing man to confirm a lead he would never surrender as the car took a second victory of ’22.
Marcus Clutton recovered from a drive-through penalty to grab second place overall, while GTO honours again went the way of the Raw Motorsport Radical after a tough fight throughout.
A first GTC group win of the season finally went to Warren Gilbert and Jensen Lunn in their Topcats Racing with HEX.com Lamborghini Huracan, while a race-long squabble between the Valluga Racing cars went the way of the #50 car of James Wallis and Sam Maher-Loughnan in GTH. A different BMW took the spoils in GTB, with Geoff Steel Racing and Sam Allpass celebrating success in their Evolution.
Sunday Sprint Race
An extended safety car period to recover a car on the GP Loop, the action quickly burst into life with Tillbrook having to go into full defensive mode to fend off Orange.
The pair pulled clear of the rest of the battling pack behind and engaged in a thrilling duel of their own in their McLaren 720Ss. Tillbrook was always pretty much wise to all of Orange’s attempts and placed his Enduro machine perfectly to maintain his lead.
Orange’s best opportunity came on the final corner of the last lap. Tillbrook was delayed slightly by a backmarker coming out of Stirlings and Orange had better speed. He couldn’t capitalise though, as Tillbrook maintained the inside for Clearways and took the flag first.
Raw Motorsport carried on its sweep of Group GTO, this time with Ben Dimmack pedalling the Radical RXC. Lucky Khera, meanwhile, took a brace of Sprint wins in his GTC Ferrari Challenge.
Valluga Racing took a one-two finish in GTH, with James Wallis putting on a great performance to hold off the sister Porsche Cayman of Matthew Graham by just a quarter of a second. Tom Barrow continued to showcase the Saxon Motorsport BMW’s pace, as he claimed an overall top ten whilst also securing GTB honours.
Sunday Pitstop Race
A polar opposite of Saturday’s conditions saw wet weather come into play, Rain would throw a spanner into the works ahead of race two, meaning tyre choice would become the key moment as cars took the grid for the 50-minute endurance race.
One of the few to take slick tyres was the Scott Sport Lamborghini Huracan of John Dhillon, which turned out to be an inspired team choice. Orange drove away into a comfortable early lead in the McLaren, but would be among many to pit for an additional time due to wet tyres not working well in the changeable conditions.
It left all but one car a lap down on the leading Lamborghini, Dhilllon handing over to Andrea Amici who survived the swarming McLarens of Oli Webb and Michael O’Brien unlapping themselves as he brought home the team’s first GT3 win in GT Cup, and their first of the season, ahead of Tillbrook and Marcus Clutton’s 720S.
The drama of the first half of the race played perfectly into the hands of the impressive Khera, who added another GTC victory to his name with the help of David McDonald having briefly run as high as second overall in the Ferrari.
GTH also enjoyed another new winner for ’22. The Valluga Racing cars changed to slicks having started the race brightest, but the Greystone team kept its McLaren 570 in the fight until the pit stops, after which Mark Hopton and the experienced Euan Hankey assumed the lead and romped clear for a fine group win.
GTB once more went to the Saxon Motorsport BMW, but the GTO stranglehold was finally broken by the McLaren Can-Am of Paul Bailey and Ross Wylie after swapping from their Brabham BT62 used the previous day.