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GT Cup

GT Cup Championship, Brands Hatch GP – Report
Two More Wins For Witt

All images © Derek John Binsted/BINDEL PICS

Blazing sunshine, a big crowd with the Lotus Facing Festival sharing the bill around Brands Hatch's iconic Grand Prix circuit and some stunning GT race cars on the entry for a triple bill of GT Cup races; what could possibly go wrong?

Unfortunately the answer was, quite a lot; with two cars withdrawn after engine failures in pre-weekend testing, another suffering a car destroying testing shunt and four others falling victim to previously unforeseen commitments, the initial entry had already taken a hit or several.

Saturday practice and qualifying accounted for yet more - the Richard Chamberlain Porsche 935 suffering a fire, while Peter Seldon's very rapid BMW GTR suffered a broken disc and Peter Belshaw's KTM lunched its engine too.

The BMW crew held no spare but a plucky crew member made a dash to Wales to pick up a replacement part, only for the team to discover on fitting the part that the car had also broken a front subframe - game over for the BMW too!

The Apex Motorsport McLaren meanwhile had not been ready for the official practice session, which left Jim Geddie badly short of track time; "They allowed me out with the BMWs (The Marangoni Tyres series for E30 BMW 320s!), but that was only on the Indy circuit. I didn't get a lap on the full Grand Prix circuit before the race began.”

That left Geddie to start the McLaren at the back of the six-car grid and with no real set-up work able to have been completed.

Jordan Witt meanwhile was on pole in the #98 Chevron GT3 and he needed no further encouragement to take control of proceedings.  He'd finish the race with a healthy 13 second margin over the McLaren with Kevin Riley's Mosler almost a minute further back in third slot.

Chris Randall took a comfortable Group 2 win over David Witt's Chevron GR8, this despite the Lotus Europa suffering a delay after progressively losing its brakes; "We have sensible-sized tyres on the car this year, but the increased grip levels and cornering speeds mean that I'm getting into the dirty air of the cars in front and that's hurting brake cooling quite badly.”

Race 2 on Sunday morning saw Glynn Geddie get his first ever race in the family owned McLaren. Jordan Witt though was on pole position and he made track position count in the early stages - the Chevron pilot able to frustrate a rampant Geddie for half of lap one, the McLaren passing the Chevron four times only to see the little yellow car exit each corner ahead. Thereafter though a strangely down on power Chevron left Geddie challenged only by the stopwatch as he pulled away to a comfortable and impressive race win over Witt's Chevron that couldn't challenge.

The battle for third place though was well alight, Kevin Riley needing every single ounce of Mosler grunt to outpace Chris Randall's nimble little Lotus Europa after a race in heat that challenged the Mosler man; "Harder than any work-out I've ever done before," said a red faced Riley post race.

Randall had opted to move the Lotus up to Group One rather than take Group 2 success ballast and the Europa was not disgraced. Twice the Lotus had edged ahead of Riley's Mosler into Clearways only to suffer a brake issue that saw Riley able to re-impose himself and grab the final podium spot.

"Chris told me that the Lotus would have brake issues and I just kept thinking ‘When is that going to happen?’ I am absolutely knackered after that race but it was a hell of a battle.”

Race 3 was almost a repeat of race one, but with one important edit.

The McLaren was back in the care of Jim Geddie and Jordan Witt had the edge on Geddie the Elder, the grunty Chevron extending a comfortable lead to around half way before Geddie started to make inroads into the leader’s advantage. Witt though responded and came home as a comfortable double race winner.

Behind this pair though Randall's Lotus grabbed third and initially fended off the attentions of Kevin Riley, but the Lotus man had felt a growing vibration, and not of the good variety. He pitted to retire mid-race - a driveshaft the culprit – but he was happy with the improved pace from his car; "I can't really complain about that failure, the shaft was the one fitted when the car was built in 2009!"

Riley powered by as the Lotus pitted, a treble of third place finishes saw the Mosler man go home happy.

David Witt took a win double in the Group 2 Chevron GR8 with Colin Broster coming home ahead of the #97 car twice to take a Group 3 win double in his ABG Motorsport run Porsche; the 996 having the dual bonus features of lacking both ABS and functional air conditioning this weekend!  It was a warm weekend's work for Mr Broster!

Some worthy moments then, but the grid numbers issue is unavoidable. There were frustrations all round, from those unable to race, from those able to race but with a reduced grid, and not least of course from the hard working GT Cup organisers who, having built up a respectable grid saw it ebb away before their eyes!