8th July 2024

Taylor Dominates G Fest With Brilliant GT Academy Clean Sweep

Taylor Dominates G Fest With Brilliant GT Academy Clean Sweep

Mike Taylor produced a scintillating performance to take all four race wins on offer in the Ginetta GT Academy during the G Fest racing event at Anglesey (29/30 June).


Julian Wantling (E3 Sport) topped the timesheets across both days of pre-event testing. But, it was James Nicholas (W2R) who led the way in the first qualifying session of the weekend. A double pole position for the Palmersport Ginetta Scholarship winner takes his tally to five for the season.

Taylor (W2R) missed out on top spot by just 0.088s, with Harry Gamble finishing third quickest ahead of his Elite Motorsport team-mate Ali Al Juffali in a seasons’ best fourth. Rookie class contenders filled the top six places on the timesheets, with Wantling the leading GTA runner in seventh.

The opening race started in dramatic fashion! Pole-sitter Nicholas came under pressure from Taylor into turn two and ran wide off circuit. Behind, further incidents led to spins for Luke Shaw (W2R) and Gamble, plus an early retirement for Al Juffali.

As Nicholas, Shaw and Gamble recovered at the rear of the field, the chaos led to a new-look line-up at the front. The main beneficiaries were Jamie Caudle (E3 Sport) and Paul Livesey (MDD Racing), moving up into the top three from eighth and tenth on the grid respectively.

Gareth Thomas (W2R) settled into fourth and went on a charge. Passing Livesey for third on lap two, he then chased down Caudle and grabbed second place with a good run exiting Church corner on lap nine. Taylor was too far adrift to challenge him though, taking the race win by over four seconds.

Caudle followed them home to complete the top three for his first Ginetta silverware. Livesey was next and secured the GTA class victory in his first race of the season. Fifth overall meanwhile after a phenomenal comeback drive from 15th at the end of lap one was Nicholas.

Marc Elman (SVG Motorsport) rounded out the top six from 12th on the grid ahead of W2R pair Peter Thompson and Emma Tomlinson, the latter stepping onto the GTA class podium alongside Livesey and Elman. Wantling was ninth meanwhile, having ran in the top six before an off-track moment.

Shaw and Gamble recovered from their first lap dramas to 10th and 11th respectively ahead of Amy Tomlinson (W2R). Ben Cooke (W2R) took the chequered flag in 13th on his first appearance of the season ahead of Lucie Hodgson (W2R) and Phil McGarty (Xentek Motorsport).

The second race saw Nicholas not quite able to capitalise on pole position again. A slight wobble exiting turn two allowed Taylor and Gamble to draft past. He quickly set about regaining lost ground though. A great dive into the Bus Stop on lap four got him second from Gamble.

Taylor had built a 2.6 second lead by that point, but Nicholas chipped away and was right onto his tail for the final lap. The leader fended him off through the last two corners to double his win tally for the day. Behind, Thomas pounced on a late mistake from Gamble to grab third place.

Caudle completed his impressive day by rising three places through the race to fifth ahead of Shaw and Thompson. The rookies held the top seven places overall. A first GTA class win went the way of Emma Tomlinson after soaking up pressure from Elman.

Tomlinson and Elman had both worked their way past early leader Wantling around mid-distance. The Ginetta veteran went on to complete the podium alongside them. Just ahead of him on the road was Al Juffali, having bounced back from his race one frustration to score an overall top ten result.


For the second day in a row, Nicholas went fastest of all in qualifying. In drier conditions from the day before, he set the pace ahead of Taylor and Gareth Thomas as W2R locked out the top three places. Behind Caudle and Shaw, the fastest of the GTA class runners was Elman in sixth overall.

A dramatic start to race three saw a multi-car incident at Rocket corner end the races of front-runners Nicholas, Gareth Thomas and Caudle. With cars stranded on circuit, the red flags were shown and a full race restart conducted soon after.

Taylor led away from the front row at the restart ahead of Shaw and Elman. Early changes behind saw Paul Thomas (W2R) and Emma Tomlinson work their way past Wantling at The Hairpin. Elman would fall back on the next lap, losing some places before ultimately retiring from the race.

Thomas ran third for a few laps, however he suffered a spin of his own whilst under pressure from Gamble. The latter grabbed the place, having impressively charged through from the back of the grid after being disqualified from qualifying due to a breach of technical regulations.

Taylor, Shaw and Gamble went on to hold the podium positions to the chequered flag. Emma Tomlinson was on course for fourth and the GTA class win before contact from Al Juffali spun her round. Al Juffali finished fourth on the road. However, a post-pace penalty for causing a collision put him behind Tomlinson in the final result.

Thompson and Ben Cooke celebrated their best overall results of the weekend in fourth and sixth respectively. They were split in the final classification by the GTA winner Wantling. The battle for the other GTA podium places went down to a thrilling three-way photo-finish. Amy Tomlinson and Livesey got silverware ahead of Emma Tomlinson as only 0.139s split them.

Paul Thomas recovered from his spin to finish 11th overall ahead of four drivers securing their highest finishes of the event; Harry Cooke (W2R), McGarty, Hodgson and Gilbert Verdian (SVG Motorsport).

Taylor completed his perfect quartet of victories with another dominant drive in race four. Sweeping around the outside of pole-sitter Nicholas through the first corner, he was over a second clear at the end of lap one and went on to take victory by four seconds.

A tough start to the race saw Nicholas shuffled back to fifth behind Gareth Thomas, Caudle and Shaw. On lap three Shaw grabbed third from Caudle into The Banking, with Nicholas following with a successful move of his own at Rocket.

At the same corner four laps later Nicholas pulled off a dive on Shaw to secure the final podium place. This took his trophy tally for the season to seven as Thomas finished second ahead. Shaw was fourth, while Gamble came through from 18th on the grid to fifth on the road. However, he was penalised post-race for causing a collision with Emma Tomlinson. He was put back to eighth in the final result.

Paul Thomas pulled off a late move on Caudle to secure his second top six result of the day. Behind, a thrilling battle played out for the GTA class win. Emma Tomlinson led early on before the incident with Gamble, which spun her back to third.

Determined not to lose out on victory for the second time in the day, she fought back past Wantling. She then benefitted from a wide moment at the final corner for Livesey to grab the lead. Those three went on to complete the podium ahead of Amy Tomlinson.

Al Juffali had taken the chequered flag in ninth on the road after climbing up from 19th at the start. However a five second track limits penalty demoted him to 12th ahead of Ben Cooke, McGarty, Harry Cooke, Hodgson and Verdian.

The Chairmans Cup fis or drivers aged 45 and over. Thompson and Livesey shared the spoils with two victories apiece over the weekend. Both drivers featured on the podium three times in four races, with Wantling in the top three each time. Ben Cooke also picked up a couple of trophies of his own.

Full GT Academy racing results can be found at: www.tsl-timing.com/event/242631

The four races can be watched back as part of the G Fest coverage at: www.youtube.com/user/ginettatv

Next up for the Ginetta GT Academy is racing at Snetterton in Norfolk in two weeks’ time (13/14 July).


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