Luke Reade was almost untouchable as he took a clean sweep of race wins during the inaugural meeting of the new-for-2023 Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT Championship at Oulton Park (08-10 April).
2022 Ginetta GT4 SuperCup ‘G55 Pro’ champion Luke Reade (Wolf Motorsport) took the honours of the first ever GT Championship pole position. He lapped 0.4s quicker than car-racing rookie Callum Davies (SVG Motorsport), who impressively took the race two pole on second best times.
GT5 Challenge graduate Ruben Hage was third quickest ahead of his Breakell Racing team-mate Carl Garnett, who returns to Ginetta racing after a season away. In the GT5 ranks, it was a double pole position for Xentek Motorsport with Ella Lloyd and Bal Sidhu topping Pro and Am respectively.
Reade went on to convert pole position into a comfortable lights-to-flag victory in race one under bright sunshine in Cheshire. His early challenger was Garnett, who produced a great launch off the line to sweep around the outside into second through Old Hall for the first time.
Ginetta stalwart Colin White (CWS 4×4) enjoyed a characteristically lighting start of his own to rise from sixth to third at the first corner, however he soon lost ground back to Davies and Hage. The former went on to close onto Garnett’s tail, but wasn’t able to find a way past.
Garnett therefore recorded his first overall podium finish in Ginetta racing with second, while Davies picked up silverware on his debut after fending off a late charge from Hage. White finished up fifth after soaking up a lot of pressure from Conner Garlick (Xentek Motorsport).
Ginetta Junior graduate Liona Theobald (SVG Motorsport) finished up seventh ahead of experienced SF Racing team-mates Gary Wager and Shawn Fleming, while tenth overall was the dominant GT5 Pro winner Lloyd, who finished 16 seconds clear of her competition.
Sam Harvey made an early move on Luke Garlick before holding him at bay throughout to complete a Xentek one-two-three, with Karim Sekkat (Breakell Racing) fourth in class. A double win for Xentek came as Sidhu overcame early leader Pablo Jequier (Race Car Consultants).
The field faced a new challenge when racing restarted on Monday with tricky wet conditions. Reade proved to be the rain master in race two, storming clear of the field to build a 10.042s second margin at the finish – which just secured him the victory after a ten second false start penalty was applied.
Garnett had once again stormed from fourth to second off the line and he kept his team-mate Hage at arms’ length in the closing laps. Hage was third on the road, however he also received a false start penalty, which meant he dropped fourth behind pole-sitter Davies.
White finished fifth after soaking up race-long pressure from Conner Garlick and then Theobald, those two switching places in the closing stages. Fleming and Wager completed the GTP runners. Lloyd was once again the class of the GT5 Pro field as she doubled her win tally.
Class pole-sitter Luke Garlick dropped to third at the start but was able to fight back to second ahead of Harvey. Sekkat and Lexie Belk (Alastair Rushforth Motorsport) survived off-track moments at Old Hall corner to complete the class. In GT5 Am, Sidhu took a clear win after a challenge for the lead by Jequier ended with a trip into the gravel trap.
The final race of the weekend began with Garnett producing another fast start to propel his car into the lead ahead of Reade. It was a short-lived advantage though. A slide out of Brittens opened the door for Reade and Davies to work their way past.
Reade pulled a healthy lead at one stage, but saw his mirrors filling with the G56 GTP of Hage in the closing stages as a superb charge saw him pass both Garnett and Davies. His chances of mounting a last lap challenge for the win was hampered by a red flag stoppage though.
As Hage picked up his first podium in the series, Davies completed a podium treble in third ahead of Garnett, who posted the fastest lap of the race. SF Racing pair Wager and Fleming picked up their best results of the weekend in fifth and sixth respectively meanwhile.
Two off-track incidents for double GT5 Pro winner Lloyd presented the opportunity for Luke Garlick. Luke was able to pick up a maiden win ahead of Harvey. Long-time GT5 Am front-runner Sekkat completing the podium for his first Pro class silverware. The Am honours for the third time went to Sidhu.
Full race results can be found at www.tsl-timing.com/event/231405
All three races can be watched back at www.youtube.com/user/ginettatv
The inaugural season of the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT Championship continues over the weekend of 06/07 May on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit.