A late charge from Euan Hankey denied Beechdean AMR a clean sweep of top practice times at Donington Park, with a fine late effort sneaking his and Lucky Khera’s RACE LAB McLaren ahead on what was literally the final lap.
And things got even better for RACE LAB when Tom Wrigley and Ian Gough emerged at the head of the GT4 pack too aboard the team’s McLaren Artura.
Ross Gunn was late into the session, but looked to have secured the fastest time once again when he hit the front with a fine lap after a mid-session red flag, but Hankey went for one final run and snuck ahead by just 0.023s.
Hankey had kept the McLaren firmly in the mix for virtually the entire session. While Dan Harper set the early pace in the Century Motorsport BMW M4 ahead of Marcus Clutton’s Enduro Motorsport McLaren, Hankey first hit the front a quarter of the way into the session.
Things were then interrupted when Morgan Tillbrook suffered a high-speed spin into the gravel at the Old Hairpin after a rear wing failure on Enduro’s McLaren. The red flags were called to aid the car’s recovery, and things restarted with just 20 minutes on the clock.
This was when Gunn joined the fray, first nipping ahead of Hankey’s best by 0.022s, before Hankey struck back with his very last lap before the session was halted for good when a GT4 Ginetta spun into the Old Hairpin gravel with just three minutes left to bring out the reds again.
John Ferguson and Raffaele Marciello kept up RAM Racing’s strong start to the weekend by finishing third quickest, with Silverstone winners Harper and Darren Leung fourth in the BMW. Alexander West/Marvin Kirchhoefer were fifth for Garage 59, with Ian Loggie and Jules Gounon rounding out the top six in the #1 2 Seas Motorsport Mercedes-AMG.
The mid-session red flags also mixed up the GT4 order, with Wrigley winning out from a late flurry of improvements when running got back underway.
Initially, Harry George led the way in the Enduro McLaren Artura before Seb Hopkins established R Racing’s Aston Martin Vantage AMR out front. Hopkins’ time would stand for much of the session, before crews went back out for another blast after the stoppage.
Freddie Tomlinson was the first to surpass the benchmark in the #56 Raceway Ginetta, but his time at the top was short-lived thanks to a superb lap from Wrigley, who pulled just over two tenths on the field to get the job done.
Hopkins and Josh Miller were third for R Racing, ahead of George/Darren Burke’s McLaren. Aston Millar/Josh Rowledge were fifth for DTO, with Chris Salkeld and Michael Johnston rounding out the top six in Century Motorsport’s #14 BMW M4.
The top times in both categories fell slightly short of FP1’s rapid pace, largely thanks to an improvement in track temperature.
Qualifying gets underway with GT3’s sessions at 16:00.