The titles at stake and what remains to play for at Donington Park
The final rounds of British GT, GB3 and GB4 take place this weekend, with championships up for grabs in all of them. Here's how each title picture looks and what to watch out for at Donington Park
“We’re totally committed to getting it done.” Ian Loggie’s comment in the wake of last month’s British GT meeting at Brands Hatch will finally be put to the test this weekend, as the concluding round of the 2022 season takes place.
The RAM Racing Mercedes-AMG driver is in prime position to take the coveted GT3 crown at Donington Park, with a healthy 24.5-point lead over his nearest rivals, no success penalty to serve and GT ace Jules Gounon alongside him again after recovering from a back injury. It’s a foregone conclusion, right? Well, not if you’re Adam Balon and Sandy Mitchell, who sit second in the standings.
They brought themselves firmly into contention after finishing runner-up last time out at Brands – despite Balon being tipped into a spin by Loggie – but it means the Barwell Lamborghini Huracan crew will need to serve a 15-second success penalty during the two-hour race. Factor in that Loggie only needs to finish fifth to guarantee himself the title even if Mitchell/Balon win and it means luck and/or misfortune will need to play a part for Mitchell to add to his 2020 success.
“Obviously, with us having a success penalty and the Loggie car not having one we need to be quite a lot quicker or rely on them having an issue or drama,” admits Mitchell.
Also in the running are James Cottingham/Lewis Williamson (2 Seas Mercedes) and Morgan Tillbrook/Marcus Clutton (Enduro McLaren 720S), but being 33 and 34 points behind respectively, and with only 37.5 available, it would take a minor miracle for either crew to emerge on top. With that being said, the Enduro pairing did take victory at the circuit earlier in the year, but will need to overcome a 20s success penalty following their win at Brands, while Cottingham/Williamson will have to triumph for the first time this season to stand any chance.
Ian Loggie is in prime position to take the British GT title but faces multiple threats this weekend
On paper, the title battle is closer in the GT4 class, with the Newbridge Aston Martin of Matt Topham and Darren Turner top of the standings, but by only 12.5 points from Sennan Fielding and Richard Williams (Steller Audi R8 LMS). The two leading crews finished first and second respectively at Brands, so will have 20s and 15s of success penalties to serve. But being a Pro-Am pairing means Topham/Turner will actually serve less time in the pits than the all-Silver line-up of Fielding/Williams and that could be crucial should a caution period appear at the ‘right’ moment.
Also in the running is the R Racing Aston of Josh Miller and Jamie Day, which sits 20.5 points behind but, with no success penalties to serve, it means the Silver pairing have a realistic shot at glory, as all three crews have two victories to their names this season.
It’s not just in British GT where titles will be decided at Donington, as the GB3 and GB4 championships also go down to the wire. In the former, just 16.5 points separate Luke Browning and Joel Granfors, who have traded the top spot of the table throughout the season. It was Granfors who held the lead heading into the Brands meeting by 11.5 points, but a non-score in the full-reversed-grid race has put him on the back foot.
Browning leads having amassed five wins compared with just two for Granfors, but the Hitech GP driver has had to battle back after a difficult Silverstone event where the team was thrown out of qualifying for a technical infringement
“I think it’s going to go down to the last race unless someone DNFs,” says the Swede. “We were quick at Donington last time with a pole so hopefully we can keep the pace that we have.”
While the Fortec driver did claim a pole earlier in the year at the venue, he couldn’t convert it into a win as both he and Browning were eliminated in the same accident. Browning, meanwhile, leads having amassed five wins compared with just two for Granfors, but the Hitech GP driver has had to battle back after a difficult Silverstone event where the team was thrown out of qualifying for a technical infringement. Even with 35 points available to the winner in each of the first two races, the title could well be decided by the final full-reversed-grid encounter, with points on offer for each position gained – an area where Granfors has already accrued 9.5 more points than Browning.
Could the final full-reversed-grid encounter - with points on offer for each position gained - be key in the GB3 championship title fight?
In GB4, any one of five drivers are still within a shot of the title, although realistically the battle is between Nikolas Taylor and Max Marzorati, with the gap between the pair only 31 points – less than a race win.
But Marzorati may need to do something he’s not done yet this season and win – the Hillspeed driver having yet to take a single victory, instead relying on 10 podiums and retirements from others to keep himself in contention. In contrast, Taylor has amassed nine wins, but three retirements already this year means the Fortec driver can’t afford another slip-up.
Kevin Mills Racing duo Jarrod Waberski and Tom Mills sit 62 and 91 points behind, respectively, while Elite’s Jack Sherwood is still on paper in with a shot, albeit 97 points in arrears. With a prize fund of £50,000 going to the inaugural champion, though, expect things to heat up with a thrilling weekend of championship battles – that also includes deciders for the Ginetta GT5 Challenge and Porsche Sprint Challenge GB – on the horizon.
There are five title contenders in the GB4 championship - but Taylor holds the advantage having starred with nine wins so far this season
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