With only seven drivers on the grid having previously started a race in the championship, there was an exciting new look to the class of 2020 as they kicked off the long awaited new season with three races around the Donington Park National circuit.
One of the newcomers to the grid was Burton (Century Motorsport), and he immediately made his mark with a superb debut pole position in qualifying. The Ginetta Junior graduate just edged out the experienced duo of Burns (Rob Boston Racing) and Tom Hibbert (Triple M Motorsport).
A big change for the GT4 SuperCup this season is the introduction of a Pro Am class, and it was reigning Ginetta G40 Cup champion Chris Salkeld (Assetto Motorsport) that took the qualifying spoils in the new category. Nick Halstead (Fox Motorsport) meanwhile set the pace in the Am class.
The opening race of the season on Saturday afternoon started with a flying launch from Hibbert, who shot down the middle of the front row contenders to take the race lead. It proved to be short lived however, with Burns getting ahead as they approached the Old Hairpin.
Burns, who finished as vice-champion last season, went on to lead for the remainder of the race. Controlling the gap to Hibbert behind, he took the chequered flag for the first win of the campaign and his milestone 50th podium finish in the GT4 SuperCup.
Hibbert had to work hard to maintain second place to the end, with Burton looming large in his mirrors on his way to a maiden podium finish. Adam Smalley (Elite Motorsport) came home fourth on his series debut, while Fin Green (Rob Boston Racing) wasn’t far behind in fifth.
Jamie Falvey (Motion Capital Racing) put in an impressive debut performance to complete the top six ahead of the most experienced driver in the championship, Reece Somerfield (Privateer). Behind, an early issue for Salkeld meant the inaugural Pro Am win went to Colin White (CWS Motorsport).
In the Am class meanwhile, former Ginetta GT5 Challenge Am champion Halstead took a lights to flag victory. Peter Mangion (Elite Motorsport) rose to second early on, but the class podium was eventually filled by Stewart Lines (Maximum Motorsport) and Carl Garnett (AK Motorsport).
With the race one results setting the grid for the next outing on Sunday morning, Burns started from pole position. He was under pressure on the run to Redgate for the first time as Hibbert drew alongside, but there was no change to the lead.
Following an early safety car period, Burns soaked up pressure from Hibbert for a few laps before breaking clear for his tenth GT4 SuperCup victory to date. There was a last lap change for second meanwhile, with Burton getting the spot.
Smalley had run in the final podium place early in the race but had to settle for fourth again at the finish. Green took the chequered flag in fifth, but a track limits time penalty dropped him back to eighth behind Somerfield, Falvey and debutant Joe Marshall-Birks (Rob Boston Racing).
In the Pro Am class, White led from start to finish for his second class win, but it was far from easy for the Ginetta stalwart as Salkeld pushed him hard throughout the second half of the race. Halstead made it two from two in the AM’s too, with Mangion taking second from Lines on the last lap.
The final race of the weekend saw the top five switched around on the reverse grid, placing Somerfield on pole position alongside 2018 Ginetta Junior champion Smalley. A quick start for the poleman saw him lead the field through the opening lap.
Hibbert grabbed the advantage on the second lap, before Burton then rose to the front next time around. That was the last leader change of the race, with the young talent breaking clear of the pack either side of a safety car period to take a brilliant maiden Ginetta win.
An impressive restart after the safety car for Burns saw him slide down the inside of Hibbert for second place. Those two went on to complete podium hat-tricks, with Somerfield and Falvey picking up their best result of the weekend in fourth and fifth respectively.
The Pro Am class was once again fiercely contested through the race, with White managing to hold off Salkeld to complete his win treble. Luke Williams (Maximum Motorsport) secured his best result of the weekend in ninth, with Tom Emson (Elite Motorsport) enjoying a high of ninth in race one.
From the Am class reverse grid pole position, Garnett led proceedings for a good portion of the race before contact dropped him back. Halstead replaced him at the top briefly, before former BTCC racer Lines headed the class to the chequered flag.
A track limits time penalty dropped him to third however, with Mangion rewarded with a first win on his championship debut. Halstead and Lines completed the podium ahead of Garnett and Ginetta G40 Cup graduate Lee Goldsmith (Assetto Motorsport).
The 2020 Millers Oils Ginetta GT4 SuperCup continues next weekend with three races around the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit (01/02 August).
Full race results for the weekend can be found here: https://www.tsl-timing.com/event/203103