Brilliant Burns celebrates victory at Donington Park
- Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography
Weston's Will Burns produced a sensational performance to set his team up for a brilliant second GT4 class victory of the 2021 British GT Championships at Donington Park.
The result extends their lead at the top of the standings, having won the opening race at Brands Hatch and overcome a pitstop success penalty to place fourth at Silverstone.
With no penalties to worry about this time, Burns and teammate Gus Burton were focused on scoring a big haul of points and started strongly during official testing on Thursday, setting the fastest time of the day in their Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT4.
Two productive free practice outings on Saturday were focused on fine tuning the car set-up ahead of qualifying, which ultimately proved a tough session. With the lap-times not quite coming together, their combined efforts secured them ninth on the grid for Sunday’s race.
Burns started the two-hour race behind the wheel and enjoyed a fantastic run as chaos reigned around him. Multiple incidents around him claimed a number of their key GT4 class rivals, with the Weston racer producing a faultless drive to keep out of trouble.
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Rising from ninth to third around two quickfire safety car periods in the opening stages, Burns picked off two cars in one lap to take the GT4 lead less than 20 minutes after the race start.
Following another caution period, he set about building a gap at the front and an impressive run of fast, consistent lap times over the next 40 minutes meant the reigning Ginetta GT4 SuperCup champion, who is supported by Cases Ltd, Eurocams and Absolute Plastering Services, eventually handed over the car to Burton with a healthy nine-second lead at the front of the field.
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The teenage talent proved untouchable, storming clear to take the race win a full lap clear of the pack. It was the first ever victory at Donington Park for the Century Motorsport BMW and came as part of a second 1-2 finish of the season for the team.
Burns and Burton hold a 27-point lead over the sister BMW of Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke and Chris Salkeld in the overall GT4 points, as well as a 33-point lead in the Silver Cup ranks, ahead of the next round at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on July 24-25.
Burns said: "We were on a downer after qualifying on Saturday and focusing on fighting back to the top five in the race for some strong points. Therefore to come away as race winners with an extended championship lead is simply unbelievable.
“My experience in sprint racing certainly helped across the opening half an hour, as I felt I could spot when trouble was brewing and keep out of it, and then when the right time was to make a move. Once in the lead, it was all about getting my head down and using the great pace in the car.
“Gus then produced a fantastic stint to pull away and take the win. The Century Motorsport team did a fantastic job all weekend and to be able to reward their hard work with a one-two finish alongside our team-mates is brilliant.
“The maximum points haul has put us in a good position in the championship standings at this stage. There’s a long way to go though and we’ll have the maximum pitstop success penalty again for Spa, so that’ll be a challenging weekend.”