Silverstone FP1: RAM’s Buurman and TF Sport’s Caroline set record early pace

Silverstone FP1: RAM’s Buurman and TF Sport’s Caroline set record early pace

> SGM’s Wylie fastest in GTC
> Result: Silverstone FP1

Yelmer Buurman’s stellar early effort topped the times of an opening free practice session that hints toward this weekend’s #Silverstone500 being the fastest ever.

Adam Christodoulou’s 1m59.095s effort from qualifying in 2018 stands as the official fastest British GT lap ever around the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit, but Buurman led the way to significantly lower that in a session when the entire top eight managed to dip into the 1m58s bracket.

Buurman set his 1m58.174s lap on his fifth tour before handing the #6 RAM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 across to Ian Loggie. Returning reigning champion Jonny Adam got the Garage 59 Aston Martin Vantage he shares with Alexander West to within 0.147s of the Mercedes but couldn’t quite match Buurman’s effort before the red flags curtailed the running a few minutes early after a clash between Euan Hankey’s GT4 McLaren and Richard Williams’ Steller Audi.

Charlie Eastwood and Andrew Howard’s Beechdean Aston finished the session third, just ahead of Rob Bell and Shaun Balfe’s McLaren 720S.

Pro-Am championship leaders Phil Keen and Adam Balon were fifth fastest in their Barwell Lamborghini Huracan, just ahead of title-chasing Rob Collard and Sandy Mitchell in the sister car. RAM’s overall championship leaders, Patrick Kujala and Sam De Haan, were a place behind in seventh, setting up what promises to be a tense weekend for the two crews.

Tom Canning and Giacomo Petrobelli put the returning TF Sport Aston Martin GT3 into eighth, ahead of Lewis Proctor and Ollie Wilkinson’s Optimum Motorsport McLaren.

Michael O’Brien and James Baldwin rounded out the top 10 in the first of the twin Jenson Team Rocket RJN McLarens, with the sister car crewed by GT3 rookie Jenson Button and Chris Buncombe finishing its first British GT session in 17th.

Of the five new GTC entries, Ferraris led the way as Ross Wylie put the Simon Green Motorsport 488 Challenge he shares with Lucky Khera and Lee Frost top of the times. The Scott Sport Ferrari of John Dhillon and Phil Quaife was second, ahead of the FF Corse entry driven by Jamie Stanley and Laurent de Meeus.

In GT4, Jamie Caroline put the title-chasing TF Sport Aston Martin on top after also dipping under the existing qualifying lap record. The car he shares with Dan Vaughan produced a 2m10.532s - 0.7s faster than Michael Broadhurst’s 2018 benchmark.

Scott Malvern had made the early running in the Team Parker Racing Mercedes-AMG he and Nick Jones have returned to for this event, but the car ultimately wound up third after being jumped by the Speedworks Toyota GR Supra of Sam Smelt and James Kell which lapped just 0.061s shy of Caroline.

Championship newcomer MSL Powered by Newbridge Motorsport was fourth fastest with its Aston being handled by James Dorlin and Alex Toth-Jones, while TF Sport’s second car of Connor O’Brien/Patrick Kibble was fifth. Jordan Collard/Patrik Matthiesen’s HHC’s McLaren rounded out the top six.

FP2 gets underway at 11:25 GMT.