British GT was caught between a rock and a tough place at Silverstone final weekend. With the Nationwide Courtroom listening to into RAM Racing’s enchantment of Oulton Park race two unable to be held earlier than the weekend, and the classification of that race nonetheless to be finalised, it did the one factor it might and opted to not have in-race success penalties at Silverstone.
They are going to be retrospectively added as soon as the Oulton result’s decided and solely then will championship factors for Silverstone be distributed.
“It’s not a real penalty,” reasoned Enduro Motorsport’s Marcus Clutton, who cited the profit available from not dropping monitor place and dropping into visitors consequently. “However,” he added, “I additionally consider it’s the very best they will do.” His was a extensively held view.
An announcement offered to Autosport by British GT stated: “The choice to droop Silverstone success penalties till after Oulton’s race two result’s finalised was taken following in depth session with Motorsport UK’s authorized division.
“This was the fairest and easiest method of figuring out provisional GT3 and GT4 winners at Silverstone, and likewise ensures that outcomes and championship factors are finally right.”
Sadly, although, it forged a shadow of uncertainty over proceedings within the build-up at Silverstone. Even earlier than a wheel was turned in apply, it was clear the end result can be provisional.
“It’s a giant mess,” was Barwell Motorsport industrial director Chris Needell’s apt abstract. “We received’t have a penalty anyway, however the folks that would do or may do, then received’t truly know the place they end at the moment. Everyone seems to be a loser, and that is going to be ongoing for all of the races till the results of Oulton is decided.”
Ultimately, the three-hour race came down to a tense battle between Barwell’s Sandy Mitchell and Garage 59 McLaren racer Marvin Kirchhofer, each unaffected by the fallout from the second Oulton race. It was a bullet dodged for British GT, nevertheless it so simply might have been a special story – a degree that wasn’t misplaced on groups.
Mitchell beat Kirchhofer to win at Silverstone, however factors have but to be awarded because of the ongoing Oulton Park saga
Picture by: Daniel James Smith
Martin Plowman completed third on the highway at Oulton however was promoted to victory with Paddock Motorsport co-driver Kelvin Fletcher by the application of post-race penalties for RAM’s Ian Loggie and to Shaun Balfe’s Audi. Going into the race uncertain if he and stand-in team-mate Andrew Howard would have a penalty added to their race time, Plowman acknowledged the sequence had its palms tied, however felt the continued scenario was “making a mockery of the championship”.
“It’s not look whenever you’ve bought folks watching at house and no person actually is aware of what’s occurring,” he stated.
Balfe, who additionally went into the assembly uncertain whether or not he and Adam Carroll would have a hit penalty added retrospectively, agreed: “It’s only a little bit of a dampener isn’t it? It’s unlucky that it may possibly’t be concluded rapidly then everyone is aware of the place we’re. It undoubtedly is spoiling issues a bit.”
The uncertainty additionally impacted how groups approached the race. A number of identified that, with no telling who would finally be given the penalties, ready for the ultimate pitstops to let the pure order shake itself out wouldn’t be an choice. The laborious work must be accomplished on the monitor.
“It’s nearly higher that they simply stated, ‘We’re going to scrap success penalties for the season now’, you simply neglect about them” Chris Needell, Barwell Motorsport
“Now, unexpectedly, it’s not about conserving somebody behind you,” stated Richard Neary, who completed second to Plowman and Fletcher at Oulton and was subsequently in the identical boat. “It’s making an attempt to get 11 seconds in entrance of them, which could be unattainable.”
The Silverstone race ran with out interruption following the standard lap-one chaos, and was general advert for Professional-Am GT racing on a nationwide stage. With so many high quality line-ups up and down the sphere making the prospect of 1 crew rising as a dominant drive unlikely, has British GT reached a degree, Autosport contemplated, the place success penalties are now not required?
“It’s nearly higher that they simply stated, ‘We’re going to scrap success penalties for the season now’, you simply neglect about them,” was Needell’s response.
Balfe reckons “success penalties might be one thing we might handle with out and the racing can be good”, however recognises that won’t all the time be the case. “If it’s a grid of 12-15 automobiles and also you’ve solely bought two automobiles which are predominantly on the entrance, then we’re going to be saying, ‘Effectively, why haven’t they bought success penalties?’” he stated.
Plowman believes ongoing scenario is “making a mockery of the championship”
Picture by: Jakob Ebrey
It’s actually not a black-and-white concern. Whereas many relish the purity of racing in GT World Problem Europe, one other SRO-run sequence the place success penalties play no half, Plowman welcomes the way in which they “may give completely different groups an opportunity to have their second within the solar”. And the inclusion of success penalties within the sporting rules has inarguably helped to facilitate many championship battles going to the season’s enterprise finish.
For its half, British GT is adamant that success penalties will stay a part of the present – the loophole behind the issue having now been closed. “Oulton’s pink flag created a state of affairs that we hadn’t foreseen,” stated a sequence assertion offered to Autosport. “However now the regulation has been tightened there isn’t a must, and we’ve no intention of, eradicating success penalties sooner or later.”
Happily, Motorsport UK has clarified that the saga won’t roll on beyond the next round at Donington Park on 29 May, with RAM’s enchantment listening to set to be held on 17 Could.
“The Nationwide Courtroom is unbiased and subsequently units the listening to dates for all issues earlier than it,” stated a Motorsport UK assertion offered to Autosport after Silverstone.
“On this case, the enchantment has been listed for listening to on 17 Could, the earliest potential date, on an abridged timetable particularly to help the championship and all opponents whereas respecting the regulated rights of RAM underneath the regulated enchantment timetable.
“RAM was the one entrant to enchantment in opposition to the choice of the officers at Oulton and seeks to keep away from the applying of success time penalties for that occasion altogether.
“Motorsport UK’s authorized division has totally cooperated with the court docket and the championship on a so-urgent foundation, to allow the championship to supply a secure construction each pending and after any choice of the court docket, within the pursuits of all opponents and importantly of sporting equity.”
That is particularly welcome given the priority from paddock figures that the championship’s ‘provisional downside’ would rumble on and overshadow the entire season. In any case, as Balfe identified, “British GT is front-loaded…”
British GT groups have been looking forward to a decision to the continued uncertainty
Picture by: Daniel James Smith