Burns shines with class leading pace on British GT debut
PUBLISHED: 14:22 04 April 2018
Racing driver Will Burns produced some impressive pace during his debut at the British GT Championship at Oulton Park.
Will Burns produced impressive front-running pace during his British GT Championship debut at Oulton Park over the Easter weekend, challenging towards the top of the timesheets alongside team-mate Mike Newbould in their HHC Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4.
Burns’ transition into British GT would be aided by a familiar team and car partnership to him, having raced with HHC previously in 2015 as part of a successful three year spell in the Ginetta GT4 Supercup behind the wheel of a G55.
Competing in the pro/am class of an ultra-competitive GT4 field, Burns and Newbould’s season started with the championship’s traditional Easter weekend meeting, which saw the action take place on Saturday and then Bank Holiday Monday.
After completing a hugely positive testing programme over the winter, Burns would make an immediate impact in one of the leading domestic GT championship’s in the world as he finished fastest of the GT4 contingent in Saturday’s second free practice session.
The Weston racer would show more fantastic pace during the GT4 Pro qualifying session later that day as he posted the third fastest time - though that would get better as a penalty for the provisional pole-sitter moved him to second on the grid.
A strong lap from Newbould meanwhile in the GT4 AM session meant they would start the opening race on Bank Holiday Monday from 16th in class, with Burns’ team-mate starting behind the wheel in front of a bumper crowd at the picturesque Oulton circuit.
The majority of the race would prove to be relatively uneventful, with Newbould producing consistent lap times in tricky conditions over the first 25 minutes of the race, ensuring he handed the car over to Burns in 15th position in class.
The 27-year-old emerged from the pitstop with a large gap to the car ahead, but he would settle into a good rhythm on track and was lapping as one of the fastest GT4 runners at points as he looked set to take the chequered flag in the top 15.
Unfortunately, within the last two minutes of the race a differential failure on the car forced Burns to park up at the side of the track. While he did not take the finish, they were still classified in the final results, albeit down in 21st position in class.
The team aimed to bounce back in the second race later that afternoon, however their chances of impressing from second on the grid would be spoiled when heavy rainfall led to the race being almost immediately red flagged, before it was eventually abandoned.
The British GT Championship will return to action at the end of the month with a single two-hour race at Rockingham Motor Speedway in Corby (April 28-29).
Will said: “There were a lot of positives to take from Oulton Park. As a team, we showed we have fantastic pace in our Ginetta G55 GT4’s as we got a HHC Motorsport car on the front row of the grid for each of the races.
“On a personal level, while a little surprised to be in the top two first time out, I’m delighted to be back fighting at the front in a Ginetta following a tough 2017 season.”
Picture: Jakob Ebrey Photography.