Podium for Gamble at season opener of British GT

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On April 4, 2024, Posted by , In Driver News, With No Comments

EDGE driver and McLaren factory ace Tom Gamble claimed a P2 alongside his team mate Mark Ratcliffe last weekend at the season opener of the British GT Championship at Oulton Park.

The season opener was set over the Easter Weekend and the traditional bank holiday weather didnt disappoint…it rained…a LOT!

Qualifying would see Gamble’s team mate, Mark Ratcliffe partake on the first “AM” session, where he did a mega job of putting the McLaren 720s GT3 on P5 for race 1. Gamble would then take the wheel for the “PRO” session, and he didnt disappoint, putting the #27 on the front row just shy of a tenth of a second off pole position

Persistent rain necessitated a one-lap Safety Car start for race 1. And when the action began in earnest it was the starting grid’s top three of Collard, Loggie and Martin that blasted clear of the rest.

The trio circulated together just before the pit window opened after 22 minutes, which coincided with a Full Course Yellow period to recover Academy’s stranded Mustang.  Another GT4 accident midway through the FCY extended the delay further, but it was still Barwell’s #63 Lamborghini that led when the Safety Car peeled off with 15 minutes remaining.

Collard Jnr reacted to the lights going out by backing up the pack – a strategy that impacted second placed Keen who had GT4 traffic between himself and the leader. Collard, with clear track ahead, duly floored it heading towards Lodge while the chasing Mercedes-AMG was powerless to pass the backmarkers until the start/finish line.

That gap reduced somewhat over the closing laps when Keen and Mitchell homed in. But they were never close enough to challenge Collard who took the chequered flag 1.4s clear. Victory came four years after Rob’s last British GT appearance and win at Silverstone where he also clinched the GT3 crown with Barwell.

Barwell’s potential penalty prevented 2 Seas from making it three wins on the trot at Oulton, while Loggie would have added a third in his last four attempts. But it was an impressive showing nevertheless against Barwell’s Huracans, which finished first and third.

Radcliffe and Gamble banked solid points in fourth, but also avoided the Compensation Time that will impact their fellow Race 2 front row starters Martin and Mitchell this afternoon. They moved ahead of Garage 59’s McLaren during the pitstop phase but were unable to make the podium battle a four-car affair.

Race 2 would see Gamble start on the front row. Tom made a good start and slotted in behind pole sitter Mitchell on the exit of turn 1. As the race settled down the track began to dry and it was clear that slicks would be required at the halfway pitstop. Gamble pitted in P2 and handed the car over to Ratcliffe for the second half of the race. Unfortunately an incident at T1 early on in his stint brought the FCY out and the rest of the race was under safety car, resulting in the chequered flag being shown under safety car conditions. Tom and Mark claimed a P2 for Race 2.

The next round of the British GT Championship gets underway at the end of April at Silverstone.


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