8 September 2018
After missing several rounds of the GT Cup Championship, Nigel Hudson made it a memorable return as he claimed victory in race two at Donington Park. Running comfortably in third place, Hudson – in his HUD Motorsports / JMH Automotive Aston Martin Vantage GT3 – was well-placed to take advantage when Andrew Howard and Gareth Downing came together at the Melbourne Hairpin.
Despite pressure from Paul Gibson in his McLaren 650S GT3 behind, Hudson showed why he came into this season as a championship contender by running a calm race and bringing the car home in one piece.
“It’s really nice to be back,” said Hudson. “Donington is my favourite UK circuit which is why I’m here. I’m driving on my own this weekend, but I’ve had three years of coaching from Adam [Wilcox] so I should be able to manage! The Mosler was mega quick and Andrew is a top race driver. I was pleased I was there or thereabouts; for an old geezer who’s only been racing for three years it’s not bad.”
Taking the win in Group GTC was WPI Motorsport’s Michael Igoe after an outstanding drive from the rear of the field in tricky conditions. Scything his way through the pack, Igoe was unlucky to miss out on a top-three overall finish after being pipped by the recovering Downing late on.
“That was probably the best race I’ve ever had,” said Igoe. “It might sound weird but qualifying on pole and pulling away is boring in comparison. It felt more like this is what racing is about. John [Seale] was the biggest challenge for me: he defended well but I eventually made the move stick. Earlier on I got caught out on cold tyres – it’s the first race I haven’t finished, but I put it behind me and this is almost better than two wins!”
James Webb also staged an impressive recovery drive after falling to 16th place overall on the opening lap. He reeled in GTB title rival Warren Gilbert, who was trapped behind Paul Bailey’s Ferrari, and when the Topcats Racing man was given a five-second time penalty for track limits abuse, fell into second place behind Webb.
“I had a good start,” said Webb. “I knew I needed to get ahead of the McLaren and I wanted to push past but it put me on the wet line. It’s been a long, long time since I had a spin and I ended up at the back and went for it from there. I had consistent lap times, I was enjoying it, and pushing the car. They told me on the radio Warren had a five-second penalty and I think he was held up by the Ferrari, but we did enough.”
Taking a double victory in GTH was the ever-consistent Adam Hatfield who enjoyed a more relaxed race that earlier in the day. “It was near perfect for us,” he said. “It was about managing the gap and pulling away. It’s a good feeling to beat more cars – we have the busiest Group on the grid at the moment – but it’s good to see the growth of GT4 and more people joining the championship.”
Rounding off the Group victors was Gary Smith in the Topcats Racing Ginetta, continuing his and James Reveler’s run in the championship standings. “We started second from last as unfortunately James had a stone through his radiator in the first race,” said Smith. “It was good coming through the field, a bit slippery, but great fun.”
Results, race two:
1) Nigel Hudson, HUD Motorsports – Aston Martin Vantage GT3
2) Paul Gibson, Gibson Motorsport – McLaren 650S GT3
3) Gareth Downing, National Motorsport Academy – Mosler MT 900
1) Michael Igoe, WPI Motorsport – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Gen II)
2) John Seale, FF Corse – Ferrari 488 Challenge
3) Paul Bailey, SB Race Engineering – Ferrari 488 Challenge
1) James Webb, Team Webb – BMW M3 GTR
2) Warren Gilbert, Topcats Racing – Marcos Mantis
3) David Frankland – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Gen I
1) Adam Hatfield, Whitebridge Motorsport – Aston Martin Vantage GT4
2) Steve Ruston, JMH Automotive – Ginetta G55 GT4
3) Paul Hollywood, Beechdean AMR – Aston Martin Vantage GT4
1) James Reveler, Topcats Racing – Ginetta G55 GT4