British GT: 2 Seas and Century Triumph in Shortened British GT Race at Spa

#18     2 Seas Kevin Tse and Maximilian Goetz SRO/JEP

2 Seas Motorsport drivers Kevin Tse and Maximilian Goetz took victory in British GT’s annual European away day at Spa-Francorchamps, which was truncated by a lengthy red-flag period.

Ian Gough and Tom Wrigley also scored both theirs, and the Century Motorsport team’s, first GT4 victories of the season after keeping things clean in an otherwise frantic GT4 contest, their BMW M4 leading home the twin Forsetti Motorsport Aston Martins of Marc Warren/Will Orton and Jamie Day/Mikey Porter.

A multi-car accident on the run from La Source to Eau Rouge on the opening lap resulted in contact between Sacha Kakad, Simon Orange and Carl Cavers, which sent the latter two cars off. The accident caused significant barrier damage, meaning the race had to be red flagged. It eventually resumed for a shortened one hour 16 minutes, with poleman Tse controlling the remainder of his stint before handing to Goetz who completed the job.

It looked like Giacomo Petrobelli and Jonny Adam were set for second place, but they were robbed by an engine failure that forced Blackthorn’s Aston Martin out with 12 minutes remaining. That opened the door for Shaun Balfe and Adam Smalley’s Garage 59 McLaren to lead Rob and Ricky Collard’s Barwell Lamborghini to the flag.



Race Start SRO/JEP

Having secured pole in mixed conditions on Saturday at Spa, all eyes were on the #18 Mercedes-AMG to see if Tse and Goetz could back up their pace in the dry and warm conditions of race day.

Tse got a great launch when the lights went out to lead the pack through La Source, and the few metres he managed to pull on his pursuers would prove vital as chaos broke out behind. Contact between multiple cars, which was triggered by the J&S Audi, resulted in both the Orange/JMH McLaren and Century’s #22 BMW being spat off the circuit and hard into the Armco. The safety car was called while the drivers climbed out unharmed, but running was soon halted entirely so that lengthy barrier repairs could be completed.

After a delay, the race was resumed under the safety car, with 76 minutes remaining on the clock. Full-blooded racing resumed two laps later with Tse leading Petrobelli’s Aston, Balfe’s McLaren, Matt Topham in the sister Blackthorn Vantage, and Rob Collard who had made a superb start to climb six places before the red flag.

Despite Petrobelli pushing hard enough to set a provisional new lap record, Tse always had an answer and edged out a lead of around four seconds by the time the pit stops began. A perfectly timed stop earned the Mercedes-AMG an enhanced advantage, and from then on the result was pretty much settled as Goetz gradually extended the gap back to Adam. His only worry was a brush with the GT4 championship-leading McLaren entering Les Combes, but both cars continued without too much delay.

Goetz’s winning margin was inflated when Adam was forced to park the Vantage after an engine failure with just 12 minutes left to run, which lit up the fight for the final podium places.

Shaun Balfe had made superb early progress from eighth on the grid to run third at the restart, and duly kept the McLaren in the lead pack before handing to Adam Smalley, who soon had Ricky Collard’s Lamborghini filling his mirrors. Rob picked his moments well to move the #63 Huracan up to fourth before pitting for Ricky, and with a podium in sight Collard Jr got the hammer down. After Adam’s retirement, this fight became for second, with Collard closing up to the McLaren late on before losing time in traffic and being forced to settle for third. Second handed Balfe and Smalley the Silver-Am class victory.

Fourth went to the championship-leading Barwell Lamborghini of Alex Martin and Sandy Mitchell. Martin kept the car within the top six during his stint before handing to Mitchell, who put on a superb charge. The Scot pulled great moves on both Phil Keen’s Mercedes-AMG and Marcus Clutton’s McLaren to scorch into the top four, despite the car having to serve the maximum Compensation Time during its pit stop. Following the sister car home also limited the damage in the championship, with Martin and Mitchell now leading the way by just three points.

Ian Loggie and Keen survived the early tangle to bring their 2 Seas Mercedes-AMG home in fifth, with Matt Topham and Josh Rowledge completing the top six in Blackthorn’s #10 Aston.

The fight for the new lap record was eventually settled in Raffaele Marciello’s favour with a 2m16.190s. However, tyre damage from the early chaos and a drive-through limited he and John Ferguson to 10th in the RAM BMW.



GT4 Podium SRO/JEP


The team may have endured something of a nightmare event at Spa, but Ian Gough and Tom Wrigley’s GT4 victory served as a much-deserved boost for Century Motorsport.

With the #71 M4 withdrawn following its qualifying accident, and the GT3 of Cavers out on the first lap, the team’s hopes rested on its sole remaining BMW, and its Pro-Am drivers did not disappoint, taking full advantage of the additional pit stop time for Silver-graded pairings to hit the front.

The GT4 grid was jumbled when combined times from Pre-Qualifying had to be used to set the order, making for an absorbing race with many quick crews starting further back than usual.

The DTO Ginetta of Freddie Tomlinson and Stuart Middleton started on pole and duly led away before the order was scattered by the GT3 accident ahead. Tomlinson picked his way through well, while Luca Hopkinson moved the RAM Mercedes-AMG into second ahead of Marc Warren’s Forsetti Aston, Gough, Zac Meakin in the points-leading Optimum McLaren and Erik Evans’ Academy Ford Mustang.

With Hopkinson struggling for straight-line pace, the Mercedes-AMG gradually fell back, leaving Warren to lead the chase, but he soon had the rapid sister Forsetti car of Jamie Day right behind. Despite starting back in 13th, Day put on a brilliant charge during the first half, rising to third before finding a way past Warren to assume the chase of the lead Ginetta.

Day carved into Tomlinson’s advantage and the two cars ran longer than anyone before pitting in an attempt to stretch a gap, but neither did enough to overturn the additional time Silver entries had to serve on their stops against the Pro-Am pairings.

Gough had kept the Century BMW inside the top six across the first half, and a combination of an early stop and less time stationary meant Wrigley rejoined in the net race lead, vaulting past the Aston of Warren/Will Orton, which had pitted from third and the Pro-Am lead but had to serve Compensation Time from its second place at Donington.

That meant Wrigley rejoined with an advantage of a few seconds over Orton, which he duly extended on the run to the flag. Day’s hard work in the first half was backed up by Mikey Porter, who made it a two-three for Forsetti after some late drama for the Team Parker Racing Mercedes-AMG of Charles Dawson and Seb Morris. Having started second-last Dawson and Morris flew up the order, with Morris briefly relieving Orton of second, only for the car to then pick up a drive-through for straying beyond track limits.

That handed Forsetti back the podium places and dropped Dawson/Morris to fifth, behind Evans and Marco Signoretti’s Mustang. Alex Walker and Adam Hatfield were sixth, completing the Silver podium in Paddock’s McLaren ahead of the RAM Mercedes-AMG.

DTO wound up eighth after a drive-through for track limits, while early damage limited the progress of championship leaders Meakin and Brown, who could only manage 12th.

Images: SRO/JEP

Race review: British GT