British GT’s reigning champions lived up to their billing during when first track action of 2016 got underway this morning at Brands Hatch where Jonny Adam set the overall pace and Jamie Chadwick posted the fastest GT4 time.
The first day of term was always likely to catch some drivers out, and that was the case almost immediately when Seb Morris span his Team Parker Racing Bentley in the opening moments. Fortunately it gave the championship a chance to test its Full Course Yellow system before the session resumed with 50 minutes remaining.
An early flying lap from Barwell Motorsport’s Phil Keen remained the FP1 benchmark for much of the session before Adam, whose TF Sport co-driver Derek Johnston had set the fourth fastest time, posted a 1m25.156s to lower the Lamborghini’s best by 0.167s.
Jon Barnes underlined TF Sport’s pace with the third fastest time aboard his Aston, while reigning GT4 champion Ross Gunn put his Beechdean AMR V12 Vantage fourth on his first official outing in the GT3 ranks.
Mike Simpson’s Tolman Motorsport Ginetta was less than a second from Adam’s best in fifth ahead of the recovering Morris, Joe Osborne’s AmDTuning.com BMW Z4 GT3 and the PFL Motorsport Aston of Jody Fannin.
Aston Martin also topped the GT4 times courtesy of debutants Generation AMR SuperRacing. ‘Old’ hand Chadwick, subbing for the team here and at Rockingham, used all of her experience to set a best of 1m33.152s.
That was 0.4sec faster than the next best in class, set by 2015 class runner-up Mike Robinson in his PMW Expo Ginetta G55 GT4. Newcomers Simpson Motorsport and Scott Malvern hinted at their potential by lapping a tenth shy in third, while the second Generation AMR Macmillan Racing Aston was fourth.
The new Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse McLaren 570S GT4 and Ebor GT Maserati GT MC GT4 completed the top-six.
Running was further restricted when an incident involving the slowing JWBird Motorsport Aston Martin of Jake Giddings and Will Moore’s Optimum Audi necessitated another FCY period, while the session was red flagged 30 seconds early after the #11 TF Sport Aston Martin span into the Druids gravel.
FP2 gets underway at 12:10 BST.