Scott Sport Swim To Spectacular Brands Hatch GT Cup Victory
10 October 2020
John Dhillon bagged a brace of GTC victories and an overall GT Cup Championship win at Brands Hatch GP circuit on Saturday, sharing wins with Shamus Jennings in a day affected by an enduro race downpour.
Jennings and G-Cat Racing had to fight from the rear after a turn one off to win the Sprint race with a 'burn from the stern' effort in their Porsche 911 GT3, before Dhillon and Phil Quaife utilised an early call for wets to win a rain-affected Pit Stop contest.
A double win went the way of Simon Orange in GTA in his Ginetta, while Team HARD also bounced back from race one misfortune to win GTB in their Porsche in the afternoon, sharing class wins with Alan Purbrick's Saker. GTH spoils were shared between Craig Wilkins (Ginetta G55) and Enduro Motorsport (Mercedes AMG GT4), while Scott Sport's Ferrari 488 Challenge took two GTC class wins with Dhillon.
Under cold track conditions in Kent, the battle for pole position was waged between Jennings’ Porsche and the returning Nissan GT-R of Grahame Tilley. In a short session, Tilley had bragging rights at the death with a fine effort to go 1.3s quicker than his rival, at a circuit he spectacularly won at last season.
GTC pole position went to Dhillon’s Scott Sport Ferrari in third overall, while Ginetta topped GTA with a fine effort from the Makehappenracing team thanks to Steven Walton. The best time in GTB went to the Team HARD Porsche of Ben Clayden, while GTH spoils went the way of Wilkins in his Scott Sport Ginetta G55.
The opening 25-minute race of the day got off to a dramatic start. A slippery surface caught out several cars heading through Paddock Hill Bend, including the GT3 Porsche of Jennings as he attempted to cut inside Tilley’s Nissan on the exit. Jennings spun to the back along with Jim Geddie’s Lamborghini, the safety car emerging to rescue a Topcats Racing Marcos from the gravel trap which also fell victim to the conditions.
On the restart, Tilley surpassed Dhillon’s GTC Ferrari and went about extending its lead. With minutes remaining however, Tilley would be out of the race as the right-front wheel dramatically departed the GT-R at Stirlings, handing Dhillon the race lead. It would be brief also, however, as a charging Jennings had made his way from the back to second place, and completed his recovery by bravely rounding the Ferrari man on the outside at Hawthorn Bend.
Jennings claimed his and G-Cat’s second race win of the year, while Dhillon clinched another GTC class success to help Scott Sport’s title charge. Ginetta enjoyed a strong showing with victories in two classes meanwhile, fourth place overall going to the flying Simon Orange in the GTA-winning Team HARD entry while fifth went to Scott Sport’s Wilkins, triumphant in GTH ahead of a monster scrap between James Guess, Morgan Tilbrook and Steve Ruston which went to the flag. GTB spoils went to way of the Saker entered by ALP Racing, with Alan Purbrick behind the wheel.
The weather took a dramatic turn in the 50-minute Pit Stop race later in the afternoon, and it resulted in a very mixed affair when the heavens suddenly opened in the opening five minutes.
The cars bolted for the pits as the safety car was deployed, some quicker than others as was the case with the chasing Ferrari of Dhillon which bucked the trend in the lane. Through it all, Team HARD’s Porsche 997 began its redemption from cambelt dramas that put it out of qualifying and race one, moving into the lead with Randon behind the wheel.
The Porsche soon surrendered the lead on the restart but remained a strong second after Dhillon squeezed by at Surtees, winning GTB with Clayden later behind the wheel to continue their title chase. Dhillon meanwhile handed over to Quaife during mandatory pit stops in the second half of the contest, the latter extending his cushion over a battling Greg Caton and Glynn Geddie to grab a hard-fought overall and GTC victory for Scott Sport, with Caton’s GT3 Porsche hanging on to win its class in second ahead of Geddie’s Lamborghini. Will Tregurtha battled back with a late charge to fourth overall in Tilley’s Nissan, which lost out behind the safety car early on.
The GTH scrap ebbed and flowed throughout in the unpredictable conditions. JMH Automotive looked the form team early on, but the Enduro Motorsport Mercedes AMG GT4 pairing of Morgan Tillbrook and Donington winner Marcus Clutton overcame them to win the class. GTA honours again went to Team HARD’s Ginetta with Orange and Joshua Jackson to complete a double for the former.
#61 John Dhillon:
“I tell you what, you couldn’t write it any better really! We thought at the start that rain could be scheduled. I didn’t have a brilliant start and got boxed in on the outside while Shamus seemed to struggle early on for some reason, but then the heavens opened and I was contemplating coming in. The team radioed in saying come in, box, so I thought ‘good, it’s the right call’ and that kept us in the game. Phil and the team have done a great job, and we’ve taken pole, two wins and it’s fantastic. Perfect.”
#33 Greg Caton:
“It was only a couple laps before it started and then we spent the next few minutes wondering if it was going to keep raining. When all the frontrunners came in we followed them in for wets, went back out and held station, then we made a decision hoping it would dry out. It was a good race and interesting with all the different class cars that make you have to look ahead a long way. The second half of my stint went much better; I saw Glynn closing in then my car switched on so we could bring it home and get another class win.”
#78 Sam Randon:
“We had our work cut out after a bit of a rubbish start to the day, so elbows were out and I made up a lot of places early on. I’m well pleased, so it makes it that bit sweeter really. The car actually handled better on slicks at one stage because the wets were so cold! We had a belt and water pump problem this morning, so we had to find a Porsche Dealer to help us out with a part. It all set us back in a short time, but we gave it a go and now we’ve come away with a big result at least.”
#67 Simon Orange:
“So far, so good after two good wins today. It was less comfortable in the end and we made sure to keep it on the track after we gave ourselves a three-minute lead when it all settled down in the enduro. The first win was relatively easy as we got a good start, and we finished fourth overall which was a great result. We’re hopeful now to be in the running for the title; we’ve got the cars working right now and that’s helping us. Hopefully another good day tomorrow!”