A new four class format for the championship following the merger of the GT5 Challenge and G40 Cup grids for 2021 meant that a bumper 33 car field came together to tackle two races around the fastest circuit in the UK.
A tricky damp circuit greeted them for qualifying on Saturday, with Mangion (Elite Motorsport) sitting quickest in the GT5 Challenge Am class for the majority of the session before a late effort from Sidhu (Xentek Motorsport) secured him a second ever class pole in the championship.
Reigning GRDC rookie champion Warren (Raceway Motorsport) was the driver to beat in the G40 Cup Pro class, finishing almost two seconds quicker than team-mate Thomas Holland, whilst it was a double Raceway pole as Laslett topped the G40 Cup Am contingent.
The opening race of the weekend was initially red-flagged at the end of lap one due to an incident, but the action was restarted and a great start for Phil McGarty (Xentek Motorsport) saw him rise from fourth in class on the grid into the GT5 Am lead.
The experienced Ginetta racer held the advantage for the first half of the race before Chris White (Raceway Motorsport) worked his way past. The win eventually went to Mangion though, as he fought back from an early spin to take the lead with three laps to go.
Also on a charge through the field after starting from the pitlane was Karim Sekkat, with the Moroccan racer making it a one-two for Elite at the finish. Chris White scored a podium finish on his GT5 debut, with McGarty ending up fourth from Paolo Santi (Raceway Motorsport).
Holland got the upper hand at the start in the G40 Pro battle and stayed in front in the early stages of the race. It all changed on lap ten though, as Nick White (MRM) and Warren both got past to form the new top two, with Holland slipping to third.
That’s how it stayed to the finish as Nick White picked up a class victory in his first Ginetta race. The final winner from the opening race meanwhile was Laslett, who fought his way back past Raceway team-mate Brenden Haffner for the spoils. Jeremy Sussex (SVG Motorsport) completed the podium.
Race two took place in front of the live ITV4 television cameras on Sunday afternoon and following an early safety car period, Sidhu quickly built a good lead in the GT5 Ams. After being unable to convert pole in race one, he made no mistakes second time round to secure the class victory.
Mark Steel (Torro Verde GT) enjoyed a good start to move up to second in class and was closing quickly on Sidhu at one stage. Mangion thwarted his efforts with a late move to take second though, with Steel earning a podium on his Ginetta debut in third.
Last season, Warren picked up 10 lights-to-flag class wins in the GRDC and he added another one to his Ginetta tally with a dominant march to victory in the G40 Pro class. Holland and Nick White joined him on the podium.
CTS Motorsport team-mates Bren Maude and Michael Johnston scored top five class finishes, while in the G40 Am competition, Laslett completed a double win for the weekend ahead of privateer entrant Andrew Willis and Haffner.
The second event of the 2021 Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge takes place in two weeks’ time (22/23 May) at Brands Hatch in support of the British GT Championship.
Full race results for the weekend can be found here: https://www.tsl-timing.com/event/211803