> Result: Free Practice 1
Perhaps fittingly for the opening free practice session of a new season, both classes featured new faces at the head of the times at Oulton Park, as GT3 debutant Jamie Caroline led a RAM Racing one-two, and new team R Racing secured top spot in GT4 thanks to a mid-session flier from Josh Miller.
The field headed out for the opening session of the year to bright Easter sunshine, and Caroline wasted no time in making the most of it. The 2020 GT4 class champion was first out in the #15 RAM Mercedes-AMG GT3, and used the clean air to pump in an impressive 1m33.129s lap, before boxing to hand across to team-mate John Ferguson for the majority of the session.
Caroline’s early benchmark would never actually be beaten, even though a handful came close. Initially Scott Malvern and Angus Fender traded second spot in the Team Parker Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R and Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 respectively, before Marcus Clutton’s Enduro Motorsport McLaren closed to within 0.3s of Caroline.
However, the biggest threat to Caroline’s dominance came from within his own garage as Jules Gounon took the #6 Mercedes-AMG over from Ian Loggie mid-session and made it a RAM one-two, the Frenchman’s best missing top spot by just 0.176s.
Clutton/Morgan Tillbrook finished third quickest for Enduro, ahead of the Malvern/Nick Jones Porsche in fourth. Lewis Williamson and James Cottingham were fifth fastest in 2 Seas Motorsport’s freshly liveried Mercedes-AMG which missed a chunk of the session after damaging its left-rear suspension, with Adam Balon/Sandy Mitchell rounding out the top six in the #72 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini.
The GT4 contest was equally tight but concluded with the youngest combined driver pairing in British GT history taking centre stage.
Josh Miller and Jamie Day, who boast a combined age of just 33 years and 12 days, grabbed top spot in R Racing’s Aston Martin after emerging on top of a flurry of improvements mid-session.
Reigning GT4 champion Will Burns was the first to lead the line in the #90 Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT4, before being displaced by Chris Salkeld in the sister #9 BMW. Richard Williams and Sennan Fielding’s Steller Motorsport Audi R8 then took a turn up top, before Miller ultimately edged ahead.
Fielding couldn’t find the final tenth to reel in Miller during a late run, leaving the Audi second. Tom Edgar and Jack Mitchell claimed third in the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK GR Supra, with Jamie Orton and Seb Hopkins putting the Team Parker Racing Porsche 718 Cayman fourth.
Darren Turner and Matt Topham were fifth fastest, and quickest of the GT4 Pro-Ams, in the Newbridge Motorsport Aston Martin, with Ross Wylie and Benji Hetherington sixth quickest in Valluga’s new Porsche Cayman.
The second free practice session gets underway at 11:35, ahead of qualifying at 16:00.