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Trice And Whiteside Seal 2021 Ginetta GT Academy Titles

27th September 2021 • Simon Paice

Toby Trice and Angus Whiteside have been crowned the provisional 2021 Ginetta GT Academy class champions, sealing the GTA and Rookie titles respectively with a weekend to spare as the series supported the BTCC for the first time at Silverstone (25/26 September).

Whiteside started the weekend in style with a double pole position in qualifying; the second consecutive weekend in which he topped the timesheets. Martin Wills (Assetto Motorsport) was fastest of the GTA contenders for the first time, finishing a quarter of a second adrift in second overall.

Ginetta G40 Cup contender Thomas Holland (Raceway Motorsport) was an impressive third on the timesheets on his series debut ahead of Roy Alderslade (Assetto Motorsport), with Edward Acres finishing as the second quickest rookie in fifth overall.

A great launch off the line netted Wills the race one lead heading into Copse for the first time, while behind early drama ended the race of pole-sitter Whiteside and dropped Alderslade to the rear of the field. With more drivers caught up in incidents, the safety car was brought out.

When racing restarted, Wills soon found himself under threat from Holland in second. A couple of bold attempts around the outside at Brooklands almost got the latter in front, but Wills fended him off for a first victory in the championship in his distinctive ‘pink panther’ Ginetta G56.

Wes Pearce joined them to make it a three way battle at one stage, but had to defend third in the closing stages from Trice (SVG Motorsport). The champion-elect started an uncharacteristic eighth on the grid following an early issue in qualifying, but quickly moved his way up to fourth in the race.

Behind them was an entertaining battle for the rookie class honours. Gilbert Yates took the lead on lap one and stayed there for a long spell before Acres got ahead on lap 13, however the position changed hands again a lap later with Yates going on to take a second class win of the season.

Acres eventually slipped back to third in class on the penultimate lap, with Darren Leung getting ahead. Close behind at the finish was fellow rookie Tom Hartley Jnr, while the overall top ten was rounded out by Shawn Fleming (SF Racing) and a recovering Alderslade.

Bouncing back from his race one disappointment, Whiteside dominated proceedings in race two on Saturday evening. Following an early safety car period, he stormed clear of the pack to take the victory by a commanding margin of over six seconds.

Wills followed him throughout to make it a double GTA success for the day, while Acres was on course for third overall before Holland dived down the inside at Copse on the penultimate lap. Acres still finished second of the rookies though, with Leung joining him on the podium.

Alderslade moved up four places across the race to finish sixth overall and third in GTA. A great drive from Trice meanwhile saw him climb through from 17th on the grid to seventh, with the GTA points accrued being enough to provisionally secure him the title.

Danny Dwyer made progress through the race to finish eighth ahead of Julian Wanting (Assetto Motorsport), who was one of the drivers caught out in the race one incidents. Hartley Jnr finished tenth, having run fifth at one stage before a spin.

The final race of the weekend saw the GT Academy field race live on ITV4 for the first time. Whiteside started on pole position and went on to provisionally seal the rookie title with a dominant lights-to-flag victory, his sixth success in seven races.

Behind, Holland made a good start to pass Wills for second off the line. He went on to stay second throughout and complete his dream debut weekend with a GTA class win, though he had to work hard in the second half of the race to defend the position from Trice.

Trice had impressively risen from seventh on the grid to third within the first two laps, securing himself a 10th GTA podium of the campaign, with Wills completing his best weekend of the season by capping off a class podium hat-trick ahead of team-mate Alderslade.

Acres and Leung were next up as they secured rookie silverware, with Hartley Jnr taking eighth on the road before losing a spot due to a track limits penalty. Pearce therefore gained an extra place to complete a fantastic drive from 16th on the grid following an early DNF in race two.

Dwyer rounded out the overall top ten ahead of Robin Grimwood (Assetto Motorsport) and Fleming, with Lee Goldsmith (Assetto Motorsport) bouncing back from a tough Saturday to record a 14th place finish. Gary Wager (SF Racing) picked up his best result of the weekend with 12th in race one, while Neil Wallace (SVG Motorsport) posted his highest of 14th in race two.

Toby Trice – Provisional 2021 Ginetta GT Academy GTA champion: “I’m speechless. I can’t believe it, what an amazing season. I came in with just two days of pre-season testing and it was a baptism of fire at Brands Hatch, but we had an amazing weekend and continued the success from there.

“SVG Motorsport gave me the opportunity and my sponsors made it all possible, so a huge thank you to them. This has been a phenomenal series, the G56 is incredible to drive and it all gives you a great platform to progress up the GT ladder.”

Angus Whiteside – Provisional 2021 Ginetta GT Academy Rookie champion: “This is my first season in cars and when I saw the competition, I thought I was going to get creamed. I was on it at Brands Hatch though, so thought maybe we could do something.

“It’s been such a fun year of racing and to be battling with the GTA class drivers, who have the opportunity to change the car set-ups, has been pretty cool. Thank you to everyone who has supported me and given me the opportunity to do this.”

The 2021 Ginetta GT Academy season comes to a close in three weeks’ time as it returns to the British GT Championship support package at Donington Park (16/17 October).

Full race results for the weekend can be found here: https://www.tsl-timing.com/event/213803