Team LNT proved their credentials at Donington Park this weekend after the factory car of Ginetta Chairman Lawrence Tomlinson and factory driver Mike Simpson claimed overall victory in the Britcar MSA British Endurance Championship with the inaugural outing of their 2012 Ginetta G55 GT3 machine.
Dubbed as “threatening and secure” by the track commentator, namely thanks to their aggressive-looks which mask an efficient aerodynamic package, the two Ginetta G55 GT3 cars beat off stiff competition from the likes of Lotus, Ferrari, Porsche and Mosler after landing a superb one-two finish.
In what was Team LNT’s first outing since their class 4 victory in the Britcar 24 Hour race at Silverstone in 2010, the factory-based team returned to the track, driving home a significant victory for the Yorkshire manufacturer.
Starting from fourth on the grid, 2006 Le Mans 24hr GT2 winner, Lawrence Tomlinson, took the first one hour stint. After a clean start to the race, a haphazard display of the safety car board was shown from the pit lane on the second lap, causing the Team LNT G55 to lose places, to what were essentially slower cars, as Tomlinson lifted off the gas in expectation of the safety car, slipping down the order to fifth place.
With a busy track ahead of him, and a good two and a half hours left on the clock, the GT3 car really came into its own. Lawrence began picking his way through the field, propelling the car up into second place by the time former British Karting Champion, Michael Simpson, took over at the halfway point of the race.
As Simpson took to the track, he was instantly embroiled in a battle for the lead with Spaniard Manuel Cintrano, in the Neil Garner Motorsport Mosler, and Ian Heward in the rapid Rapier SR2. Heward took the lead on lap 73 and the three cars were split by less than a second, until a spin for Heward’s Rapier allowed Simpson to take the lead.
Another safety car period prompted Team LNT to pit from the lead to take on fuel, giving first place to the Optimum Motorsport G55 of Lee Mowle and George Murrells for a handful of laps before Mowle brought the car in for new tyres, and Team LNT were once again back in front.
Whilst Optimum’s stop left them bringing up the rear of the cars still running on the lead lap, only five laps later they were up to second and running directly behind Team LNT. Optimum Motorsport certainly making the most of the GT3 specification G55 after being forced to run their older G50 car at Silverstone earlier in the year.
Despite a number of further appearances from the safety car, the two G55 cars remained at the head of the pack, with Team LNT making two final splash and dash pit stops under safety car conditions, to ensure that they finished the race with a 25 second lead and be rewarded with a place on the top step of the podium.
Despite Team LNT taking the overall victory, due to the #13 LNT car being in the Invitational Class, Class 1 honours went to the Optimum Motorsport G55 GT3 of Lee Mowle and George Murrells, who took home maximum points for their efforts - a belated victory for the team following their outing at Silverstone last month.
Whilst the ultimate aim for the weekend was to assist in the development of the homologated GT3 car, Ginetta have gone above and beyond the original objective of car development and, proving their GT credentials, are without a doubt one manufacturer to keep a trained eye on.