9 September 2018
Dan Gibson converted pole position into victory in the GT Cup Championship’s endurance race at Donington Park, while Adam Hatfield grabbed the Group GTH title after completing with a hat-trick of wins. Dan, in his Gibson Motorsport McLaren 650S GT3 lead from lights-to-flag ahead of Andrew Howard in the Beechdean AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT3.
“Brilliant,” said Gibson. “I can’t complain; Dad had the car set up fantastically from yesterday, but we did a few tweaks in the garage and at the last minute he said, ‘I’m not comfortable, I don’t want to do it – I want you to do it.’ I love races like that. I saw spots of rain on the first lap, started getting away, then I saw the Mosler and Aston battling. Through the backmarkers it was a bit of nip and tuck, but once we got away it was a case of backing it off.”
GTH became a tale of two Vantage GT4s, Hatfield completing a perfect weekend for Whitebridge Motorsport but only after surviving a late attack by Aston Martin Factory driver Ross Gunn, who took over in the Beechdean AMR car started by Paul Hollywood. The result was also enough for Hatfield and teammate Chris Murphy to secure the Group GTH title, while the pair have a slender 11-point advantage in the Overall standings.
“That race was a really tough one,” said Hatfield. “It was always going to be about building a gap at the start as we had a big pit stop penalty. I knew Ross [Gunn] was going to start catching me at the end also so it was a case of cracking on and using the traffic to my advantage.
“It’s superb to get a first GT title under my belt and great for Whitebridge Motorsport as a newly-established team. We also know the overall title is still on and hopefully we can take results like this at Silverstone as well.”
The battle in Group GTB was one of the weekend’s most competitive, this time going the way of brothers Tom and James Webb in their BMW M3 GTR after another race-long duel with Warren Gilbert’s Topcats Racing Marcos Mantis. Tom started the race and made the early advantage, handing over to James who recovered after briefly surrendering lead thanks to a crucial late pass on Gilbert.
“I really enjoyed that one,” said Tom. “It was a bit of a tricky first corner as I went for a gap that was diminishing, but then tried to put some consistent laps together. I got past Warren quite early on and concentrated hard to give James the best chance of keeping the lead. It was close but, all in all, a good race and a great drive all day.”
“I don’t think we’re in the title fight,” said James. “But we’re improving as much as possible and becoming very competitive. We were all on old tyres, so it was about not making many mistakes. I was certainly guilty of a few and I was then able to capitalise on Warren making mistakes too, so it was fairly close, but we just managed to sneak the win.”
Group GTC was also hard-fought, John Seale enjoying his second win of the weekend in his Ferrari 488 Challenge, this time alongside Abbie Eaton. Michael Igoe had the early edge in the WPI Motorsport Porsche before handing over to Adam Wilcox, but Eaton managed to pull out an advantage after she left the pits ahead of her rival.
"I’m absolutely delighted with that result,” said Seale. “Abbie has done so well, she’s driven brilliantly. I brought her in because she is a lovely person and she’s been so helpful all weekend and she was an absolute star when she got in the car during that race. We wanted to win one of these events on merit and we’ve done that today, so I am over the moon; I already can’t wait until Silverstone."
Another perfect weekend went the way of Topcats Racing’s GTA duo of James Reveler and Gary Smith. “We had the same tyres on the car that we had on yesterday, but at the end of day we managed to get the points we needed and take the fight to Silverstone,” said Reveler.
“That was the plan from the start: to keep putting the points on the board,” said Smith. “We didn’t have a lot of tyres left, and then when the Beechdean Aston Martin came up on us in a GTH battle we thought better of getting involved and let him past.”
Race three results:
1) Dan Gibson – Gibson Motorsport (McLaren 650S GT3)
2) Andrew Howard – Beechdean AMR (Aston Martin Vantage GT3)
3) Gareth Downing – National Motorsport Academy (Mosler MT900)
1) John Seale/Abbie Eaton – JMH Automotive (Ferrari 488 Challenge)
2) Michael Igoe/Adam Wilcox – WPI Motorsport (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Gen II)
3) Paul Bailey/Phil Glew – SB Race Engineering (Ferrari 488 Challenge)
1) Tom Webb/James Webb – Team Webb (BMW M3 GTR)
2) Warren Gilbert – Topcats Racing (Marcos Mantis)
3) Richard / Sam Neary – Team ABBA Racing (BMW M3 GTR)
1 – Adam Hatfield – Whitebridge Motorsport (Aston Martin Vantage GT4)
2 – Paul Hollywood/Ross Gunn – Beechdean AMR (Aston Martin GT4)
3 – David Holloway/Piers Johnson – Century Motorsport / Marlin Hawk Racing (Ginetta G55 GT4)
1 – James Reveler/Gary Smith – Topcats Racing (Ginetta G55 GT4)