TORA British GT: Sherlock scores another double at Brands Hatch
Jay Sherlock claimed another double TORA British GT victory and maximum points haul at Brands Hatch after a dominant display by the eSports+CARS team last weekend. And it was a similar story in GT4 where HCR’s Maseratis dominated.
The Aston Martin was the car to have as David Hoch narrowly out-qualified team-mate Sherlock by 0.04s. Third went to Davin Guidry’s privateer F4H Aston Racing entry, while Lanan Racing’s James Brown was a mere 0.6s shy of pole in fourth.
Off the rolling start, Brown initially swept around the outside of Guidry at Paddock Hill Bend, but the Aston driver fought back at Hawthorn’s and squeezed the Viper back down to fourth.
Up front, and having dutifully followed Hoch for a handful of laps, Sherlock passed his team-mate for a lead he would not lose despite a few periods of pressure. Further back, the biggest profiteer in Race 1 was Jacob Werbeckes’s Porsche which picked up two positions after passing Scott McCracken and Ben Smith.
Brands was also Team Parker Racing’s most competitive showing to date with both of its Bentleys reaching the top lobby and running well against tough opposition. Adam Watson in the Barwell/MP Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan was also a welcome sight in the first half of the field.
But it was Aston Martin who celebrated a podium lock-out as the eSports+CARS pair finished one-two ahead of Guidry and Brown, who held off Wipperman Racing's Henry-Noah Schmitz to claim fourth.
Race 2’s podium had a very familiar feel with the two eSports+CARS Aston Martin drivers once again dominating proceedings.
At the start Lanan Racing's Brown successfully completed the same move into Paddock Hill against a slower starting Guidry as he had in Race 1. Only this time the Aston Martin driver was unable to re-take third and fell back into the clutches of the pack in the early stages.
Werbeckes once again made an excellent start, jumping up to fourth in the #22 Porsche early on and withstood pressure from a recovering Guidry and Schmitz in the early part of the race, before F4H chose to pit Guidry early and attempt the undercut. This he did successfully, reclaiming third after the pitstops shook out.
Further down the order, McCracken in the Happy Cat Racing Huracan connected with Jordan Groves’ Team Parker Racing Bentley, which hit the wall on the run down to Graham Hill Bend and was forced to limp back to the pits for repairs.
Brown made an uncharacteristic error at Dingle Dell, going off and not only losing out to Schmitz but also Werbeckes and Smith in an error that could prove costly in the championship hunt.
Jack Coffey in the second Team Parker Bentley was Race 2’s only retirement, citing handling issues that weren’t immediately diagnosed in the garage. A disappointing end to a promising weekend.
In GT4, Happy Cat Racing unveiled a new livery, replacing Domino’s Pizza with the more feline (and significantly pinker) Hello Kitty. The light-heartedness of the unveiling was but a distraction as they immediately set about the business of qualifying and secured a front row lock-out. Nick Snyder led the way from Callum Hawkins, albeit by just 0.027 seconds.
Third was Kieran Millward aboard Beechdean AMR’s Aston Martin Vantage, fourth Zak Scholes in a Nissan and fifth went to series debutant Tino Schilling in a third Happy Cat Racing 'Hello Kitty' Maserati.
The Maseratis seemed to be the stronger car on the day and eked out an unassailable margin despite a retirement for Schilling. The battle between Hawkins and Snyder was settled through speedy post-pitstop lappery as first Snyder re-took the lead before a massive out-lap from Hawkins recovered first place.
Millward’s Beechdean Aston Martin completed the podium after a relatively quiet race.
In Race 2, and following a poor start that allowed Callum Hawkins to make a break at the front, Snyder made the decision to pit early to try and undercut his way back to the front, which he duly achieved.
Schilling’s TORA British GT debut went from bad to worse when he was black flagged for a technical infringement whilst running second. That meant Snyder’s recovery to third then became second at the chequered flag. Not the one-two for HCR that perhaps they would have wanted but still a great result for their campaign.
Zak Scholes in the STU Motorsport Nissan finished third following the demotion of Snyder and the ever-present Beechdean Aston of Millward finished fourth.
The TORA British GT Championship decider takes place at Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona on September 17. Watch it live on YMTV.