2 Seas and Optimum seal Silverstone 500 pole positions

2 Seas and Optimum seal Silverstone 500 pole positions

+ GT3: Mitchell’s new lap record not enough to deny Tse and Goetz
+ GT4: Brown and Meakin beat Middleton and Tomlinson; Mutch fastest of all
+ Silverstone 500 qualifying results

Kevin Tse’s dominant Q1 performance helped 2 Seas and Maximilian Goetz take overall pole position for the Silverstone 500, while Zac Meakin and last year’s class winner Jack Brown combined to give Optimum top spot in GT4.

Neither of the pole-winning cars set outright fastest times – those honours and new lap records went to Sandy Mitchell and Gordie Mutch – but their driver crews were still sufficiently quick to land premium grid slots for the British GT Championship’s blue riband, three-hour race.

Mitchell’s banzai lap of 1m56.602s reduced his own 2022 benchmark by just over a tenth and left the Barwell Lamborghini he shares with Alex Martin 0.135s shy of pole. Century’s 2023 500-winning BMW featuring Darren Leung and Dries Vanthoor starts third, while Shaun Balfe and Adam Smalley (Garage 59) were the leading Silver-Am contenders in fourth.

GT4 boiled down to a two-horse race between Optimum’s McLaren and CMR’s Ginetta but it was ultimately Brown and Meakin who prevailed after both narrowly beat Stuart Middleton and Freddie Tomlinson in their respective sessions. A combined 0.237s separated the crews after Q2.

The consistency of Forsetti’s Mikey Porter and Jamie Day was rewarded with third overall – three places ahead of their early title rivals Charles Dawson and Seb Morris (Team Parker Racing) who start alongside Pro-Am pole winners Kavi Jundu and Daniel Vaughan (Toyota Gazoo Racing UK).


GT3’s qualifying result was almost beyond doubt before Maximilian Goetz climbed aboard thanks to his co-driver Kevin Tse. However, Sandy Mitchell’s subsequent pace meant the Hong Kong driver’s second Q1 flying lap – which was seven tenths quicker than his first table topper – ultimately made all the difference.

Darren Leung, Mark Radcliffe and Rob Collard traded Q1’s fastest times until Tse hit the front towards the end of the session. And his next lap of 1m58.996s extended the advantage to almost a second.

That was pegged back by Morgan Tillbrook and Alex Martin who set their best times right at the end. Little separated Garage 59’s McLaren from Barwell’s Lamborghini, but both were the thick end of half-a-second slower than Tse who also enjoyed a 0.6s advantage over Collard and had another tenth on team-mate Ian Loggie. Leung, meanwhile, rounded out the provisional top six ahead of Shaun Balfe, Radcliffe and Giacomo Petrobelli whose Blackthorn Aston Martin finished a second down on the pace-setting Mercedes-AMG.

2 Seas’ advantage was undoubtedly significant, but Martin’s late effort did at least give Mitchell an admittedly slim shot at pole. After all, the Scot is the only driver to have won the 500 twice outright and underlined his, Barwell and Lamborghini’s fondness for Silverstone by pacing pre-qualifying earlier in the day.

His subsequent qualifying effort – which was 0.255s quicker than anyone else – and GT3 lap record wasn’t quite enough to unseat Goetz. However, there was sufficient evidence to suggest the championship leading Huracan will be a threat on Sunday despite having to serve the maximum Compensation Time at its final pitstop.

Second in Q2 helped Tom Gamble move the Optimum McLaren he shares with Radcliffe from eighth to fifth overall behind Garage 59’s Silver-Am pole-winning McLaren, which set fourth fastest time in Smalley’s hands.

The reigning Carrera Cup GB champion was in excellent company alongside the likes of Dries Vanthoor – who moved Century’s BMW to third overall – and Goetz. Just one tenth covered those three plus Gamble in the individual times.

2 Seas’ other Mercedes-AMG shared by Loggie and Phil Keen rounded out the overall top six ahead of the Collards, Tillbrook and Marcus Clutton, Petrobelli and Jonny Adam, and John Ferguson and Raffaele Marciello.


Jack Brown and Zac Meakin got Optimum’s bid for a second-straight Silverstone 500 win off to the perfect start by edging a tight battle for GT4 pole.

Brown – who was part of Optimum’s race-winning crew here last season – and new team-mate Meakin topped a session run at record-breaking pace to narrowly edge their McLaren Artura ahead of the CMR Ginetta G56 shared by Stuart Middleton and Freddie Tomlinson.

Brown did the business in the first segment, pulling 0.217s ahead of Middleton with a lap good enough to set a provisional qualifying record. He was also a further four tenths up the road from the next closest challenger, Mikey Porter, in Forsetti’s Aston Martin Vantage.

Barring a calamity, the fight for top spot was now effectively between Meakin and Tomlinson. The latter needed to find two tenths and began strongly by lowering Brown’s lap record on his first run. But it stood for just a matter of moments, Meakin breaking the beam 0.02s quicker to slightly increase Optimum’s overall advantage. Neither would go faster thereafter.

Behind, Jamie Day built on Porter’s work to secure third for Forsetti’s Vantage which shares row two with Paddock’s Alex Walker and Blake Angliss. The latter was especially impressive in Q1 where only Porter’s late effort denied him third place.

Dan Vaughan and Kavi Jundu will start Toyota Gazoo Racing UK’s GR Supra from fifth overall and pole in the Pro-Am class, ahead of the Team Parker Racing Mercedes-AMG of championship leaders Charles Dawson and Seb Morris. William Orton and Marc Warren were seventh quickest in Forsetti’s sister Vantage, with Thomas Holland and Colin White’s CWS Ginetta rounding out the top eight.

While the fight at the top was rapid, all of the front-row starters were ultimately denied the new qualifying lap record by Mahiki Racing’s Gordie Mutch who set an impressive 2m08.716s. However, combined times leave his Lotus 14th overall. 

Sunday’s Silverstone 500 – which begins with the Red Devils parachuting on to the grid at midday – goes green at 12:30 BST. Watch it and the jump live on Sky Sports F1 and youtube.com/gtworld.