FP1: Morris leads Bentley 1-2 as Century’s Simpson tops GT4 at Brands
Seb Morris led a Team Parker Racing one-two in opening practice for this weekend’s British GT round at Brands Hatch this morning, while Mike Simpson gave Century Motorsport something to smile about after topping GT4 in a tough session for the Ginetta squad.
15 of FP1’s 60 minutes were spent under red flag conditions while marshals made barrier repairs after Tom Hibbert crashed his Ginetta G55 GT3 heavily at Stirlings.
The session restarted with half-an-hour left on the clock, and it was championship leader Phil Keen who used the opportunity to jump to the top of the times in his Lamborghini before handing over to Barwell Motorsport co-driver Jon Minshaw.
Neither Team Parker Bentley had set a time before the stoppage, but both were on track soon after the session restarted. Spa race winner Callum Macleod was the first to lower Keen’s time, his 1m26.210s lap proving just 0.028s faster than the Lamborghini.
Morris would have the final say, though, as the Welshman unleashed a 1m26.038s lap with 10 minutes remaining to top the times by 0.172s.
Jon Barnes beat TF Sport team-mate Jonny Adam in the battle for fourth and fifth ahead of Adam Christodoulou’s Rollcentre Racing Mercedes-AMG and Spirit of Race Ferrari driven by Matt Griffin. Sam Tordoff completed the overall top eight in the second of Barwell’s Huracans.
Hibbert’s accident in Century’s GT3-spec Ginetta was compounded by Niall Murray’s G55 stopping on track with a driveshaft issue. However, Mike Simpson at least gave the squad something to cheer about by topping the GT4 times aboard the University of Bolton-backed entry he shares with Anna Walewska.
Simpson’s best of 1m33.846s was 0.388s quicker than the championship-leading Ginetta driven by Will Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton who finished almost two tenths clear of Will Moore and Matt Nicoll-Jones’ Academy Motorsport Aston Martin.
Black Bull Garage 59’s #100 McLaren ended the session in Paddock Hill Bend’s gravel trap but still set the fourth fastest time ahead of Macmillan AMR’s Vantage, Tolman Motorsport’s 570S, Lanan’s Ginetta and Team Parker’s Porsche. So competitive is the class that less than half a second covered positions second to seventh.
The day’s second 60-minute practice session gets underway at 12:05.