FP1: Barwell’s Sims on top as Graham goes fastest for Macmillan Racing in GT4 at Silverstone

FP1: Barwell’s Sims on top as Graham goes fastest for Macmillan Racing in GT4 at Silverstone

Alexander Sims made the perfect start to his British GT return at Silverstone this morning by topping the FP1 times for Barwell Motorsport. Meanwhile, Generation AMR Macmillan Racing’s Matty Graham ended up fastest of both the British and European GT4 entries.


Silverstone marks Sims’s series return after BMW Motorsport duties prevented his participation at the opening four races. But despite the Lamborghini Huracan he shares with Liam Griffin being markedly different to the M6 GT3 he’s driven so far this year, there was no stopping 2015’s British GT runner-up in first practice. 


His fastest time of 2m01.991s, which was set early in the hour-long session, was ultimately 0.175s quicker than Joe Osborne’s best in the same AmDTuning.com BMW Z4 that finished second at Silverstone last season.


Seb Morris was another to lap quickly at the start of practice, which proved sufficient to give he and Team Parker Racing’s Oulton Park race-winning Bentley Continental third. Championship leader Jonny Adam was next up in the first of TF Sport’s Aston Martin Vantages but 0.447s down on Sims’ best, while Phil Keen put the second full-season Barwell Lamborghini fifth.


Jody Fannin was an encouraging sixth for PFL Motorsport, albeit just two hundredths clear of John Barnes’ TF Sport Aston, while Adam Carroll was only another 0.010s back in FF Corse’s new Ferrari 488 GT3 which is making its British GT debut this weekend.


A packed 33-car GT4 field comprising both British GT and GT4 European Series entries was topped by three Aston Martin V8 Vantages. Matty Graham’s Generation AMR Macmillan Racing example, which set its best of 2m13.503s early in the session, headed Beechdean AMR pairing Jack Bartholomew and Jordan Albert by 0.162s, while JWBird Motorsport’s Jake Giddings completed the top-three.


Championship leader Mike Robinson was fifth in class but fourth of the British GT runners aboard his PMW Expo Racing/Optimum Motorsport Ginetta G55, while series returnees Academy Motorsport made a promising start with the fifth quickest British GT time.


Sandy Mitchell and Ciaran Haggerty’s Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse McLaren 570S was only half a tenth down on Strandberg and Nicoll-Jones’ time, while Jamie Stanley in the Fox Motorsport Ginetta and Ebor GT’s Abbie Eaton were both less than a tenth further back.


With the GT4 European Series teams and drivers still finding their feet it was perhaps unsurprising to see 11 British GT4 entries occupying the first 13 positions. 


Second free practice gets underway at 12:10 local time.