Race Report for Race One

Nigel Hudson and Adam Wilcox returned to winning ways in a thrilling opening GT Cup race from Spa-Francorchamps. The JMH Automotive duo overcame a drive-through penalty for a jump start while battling the attentions of Gibson Motorsport’s McLaren and the National Motorsport Academy Mosler – both of which led the race at times – to give the Aston Martin its second win of the year.

“It wasn’t the best start because the Mosler wasn’t maintaining the minimum distance from the cars ahead,” said Hudson. “I thought it had a problem, so I went for it, but we got a penalty for jumping the start. Adam then did a great job, we overcame it, and won! I really enjoyed it.”

“It was all a bit of a mad race for me because by the time I got in, the first time I drove in anger was after the pit stop,” said Wilcox. “I was starting to get myself into a bit of a rhythm and managed about seven solid timed laps. We need to reflect on the car balance and hopefully we can be even quicker tomorrow.”

JMH Automotive celebrated another Group win thanks to Steve Ruston and John Whitehouse, who held on in GTH after an enticing duel with Century Motorsport. “The main thing was to get out there, get a gap and then hopefully get them in the pits,” said Ruston. “Towards the end they hunted John down, but we still got it, which is all that matters.”

“We got a little bit of an extra gap because of our pit stop time, but I kept monitoring the radio trying to keep a distance while I was being chased down,” said Whitehouse. “We gauged it right, but I have to say that on the last few corners it was really tight, so I had to defend. We had a few races with bad luck, so it’s a relief to get that win for JMH.”

The FF Corse Ferrari 488 Challenge of Laki Christoforou, converted his Group GTC pole position into a strong lead that co-driver Fulvio Mussi maintained to secure a debut victory for the pair.

“It’s not bad so far, not bad all at,” said Laki. “We avoided a first corner incident and after that I kept on going until I came in for my stop. I love Spa – it’s one of my favourite tracks and the car is behaving itself. It goes where you point it.”
“I did a couple of races in Minis last year which was my last outing,” said Mussi. “I’ve been working with Laki in the Ferrari Challenge and was actually here with him a few weeks ago, and we’ve done a really good job so far with FF Corse. Laki made the most of it, bridged his gap and set the pace. Driving a Ferrari 488 around Spa is always going to be enjoyable.”

It was a Marcos Mantis one-two in Group GTB as 2017 champion Neil Huggins made a winning return with Warren Gilbert. From pole position, Huggins cemented a lead before handing over to an enthusiastic Gilbert to bring the car home for a memorable Topcats Racing afternoon.
“That was great”, said Huggins. “My team-mate seemed to get a bit of red mist mind you and wanted to prove himself, but we got the result. I came across a car pointing the wrong way at the first corner, but once we got over that everything was good. I was about six seconds a lap quicker than I was this morning, just getting myself back into the car and remembering what a scary beast it is!”
“It was really good actually; the time they gave me I felt I could go faster than, but I just couldn’t get a good lap in and then when I slowed down I made a mistake,” said Gilbert. “Neil was down to some excellent times and we won the Group.”
Topcats Racing had another Group victory to celebrate as GTA leaders James Reveler recovered from starting in the pit lane to take the spoils. “It was a good race,” said Reveler. “Obviously we started from the pit lane which wasn’t ideal, but we made it back up to our position and I can’t complain really. To finish where we did shows well.”
“It was a cracking race and James had an absolutely wicked stint from the back,” said Smith. “He made up for it in about two or three laps and I could bring it home. I love this circuit, it’s fantastic and in the dry it’s a lot of fun.”

Group GTO
1 – Nigel Hudson/Adam Wilcox – HUD Motorsport / JMH Automotive (Aston Martin Vantage GT3)
2 – Dan Gibson/Paul Gibson – Gibson Motorsport (McLaren 650S GT3)
Group GTC
1 – Laki Christoforou/Fulvio Mussi – FF Corse (Ferrari 488 Challenge)
2 – Paul Bailey/Phillip Glew – Horse Power Racing / SB Race Engineering (Ferrari 488 Challenge)
Group GTB
1 – Warren Gilbert/Neil Huggins – Topcats Racing (Marcos Mantis)
2 – Mick Mercer/Jon Harrison – Topcats Racing (Marcos Mantis)
3 – Nick Barrow/Tom Barrow – Saxon Motorsport (BMW V10 150)
Group GTH
1 – Steve Ruston/John Whitehouse – JMH Automotive (Ginetta G55 GT4)
2 – David Holloway/Phil Ingram – Century Motorsport (Ginetta G55 GT4)
3 – Chris Murphy/Adam Hatfield – Team HARD (Ginetta G55 GT4)
Group GTA
1 – James Reveller/Gary Smith – Topcats Racing (Ginetta G55 GT4)