Clutton and Tillbrook top mixed first Silverstone 500 practice

Clutton and Tillbrook top mixed first Silverstone 500 practice

+ RESULT: Free Practice 1

Amid changing conditions, Marcus Clutton timed a run on slick tyres best to hand Garage 59 the fastest time in the opening free practice session at Silverstone, while Freddie Tomlinson did likewise in CMR’s new Ginetta G56 GT4 entry. 

Light rain was falling when the lights went green for the opening session of the Silverstone 500 weekend, with the entire field filing out on wet-weather Pirellis to get a feel for the conditions.

When the conditions gradually improved towards the middle of the session, it led to a flurry of improvements. Dries Vanthoor set the first top time in Century’s guest BMW M4 GT3 entry alongside reigning champion Darren Leung, but he was deposed soon after by Fran Rueda in Optimum’s similar round-by-round McLaren. Jonny Adam was next to the top in the #87 Blackthorn Aston Martin, before Maxi Goetz took a turn in 2 Seas’ #18 Mercedes-AMG. Then, when conditions were at their best, Clutton bolted on a set of slicks and went 1.6s faster than anybody before handing the McLaren across to team-mate Morgan Tillbrook, just as the rain returned, denying anybody the chance to overhaul Garage 59.

Goetz managed to get within 0.7s of Clutton’s time, meaning his and Kevin Tse’s Mercedes-AMG would wind up second, with Ian Loggie and Phil Keen’s sister 2 Seas car right behind in third. Adam and Giacomo Petrobelli were fourth for Blackthorn, ahead of Mike Price and Calum Macleod’s Greystone GT Mercedes-AMG, which continued bedding in a new gearbox after a change of the unit prior to the event. 

GT4 was much the same story, with a fine effort from Tomlinson in the best of the conditions at mid-distance enough to hold off Optimum’s rival McLaren crewed by Jack Brown and Zak Meakin. 

Oulton Park winner Seb Morris looked to make a flying start by putting the Team Parker Racing Mercedes-AMG he shares with Charles Dawson top of the early efforts. Then came the succession of Mikey Porter in the #7 Forsetti Aston Martin and Matt Nicoll-Jones in Academy’s #62 Ford Mustang each taking a brief turn out front before Tomlinson set what would stand as the session’s best. Brown and Meakin’s McLaren would shave the gap down to 0.1s, but would fall just shy of toppling the Ginetta.

Nicoll-Jones/Moore took third in the Mustang, ahead of William Orton/Marc Warren in the #47 Forsetti Aston. Ian Duggan/Gordie Mutch’s Mahiki Racing Lotus Emira was fifth, with Porter and Jamie Day’s Vantage rounding out the top six.

The final moments of the session were lost to a red flag, caused when Alex West went off in the Sky Tempesta Ferrari, sustaining rear-end damage. A notable absence was also the #2 RJN McLaren of Simon Watts/Alex Buncombe, which has been withdrawn after suffering chassis damage during pre-event testing.

Pre-Qualifying is scheduled to start at 12:05.