2nd May 2024

Nicholas Stars At Silverstone With GT Academy Double

Nicholas Stars At Silverstone With GT Academy Double

James Nicholas enjoyed a dream weekend at Silverstone. He secured a brilliant pair of race victories in the second round of the Ginetta GT Academy (27/28 April).

It was James Nicholas (W2R), the inaugural winner of the PalmerSport Ginetta Scholarship, who set the pace during official testing on Friday. He followed that up with a maiden double pole position in qualifying the following morning in his distinctive red, white and blue liveried Ginetta G56 GTA.

It was a close-run contest in damp conditions though, with Julian Wantling finishing only 0.047s adrift. His E3 Sport team-mate Mike West was next up ahead of Oulton Park race-winner Harry Gamble (Elite Motorsport) and W2R duo Luke Shaw and Thomas Balfe.

Nicholas had led every lap en-route to victory in the opening race at Oulton Park. He produced a repeat performance this time out too. Benefitting from an early battle for second to break away from the field, he controlled proceedings to secure the win by almost five seconds.

The man on the move in the early stages was Balfe. He shot from sixth to third through Copse corner for the first time and went on to take second from Wantling at the same place next time round. He stayed there to the chequered flag, before receiving a ten-second penalty for a false start.

Behind, Shaw and a fast-starting Mike Taylor (W2R) moved together as one past West and Wantling in the first few laps before commencing battle over third on the road. Taylor squeezed past exiting Luffield on lap five. He was on course for the podium before a last lap spin exiting the loop.

Benefitting to end up second in the final result was Gamble. After slipping back to ninth at one stage, he posted the fastest lap of the race as he charged back through the field to finish ahead of Shaw. Both drivers received trophies as Balfe’s penalty dropped him to fourth place.

A great drive from Ali Al Juffali (Elite Motorsport) earnt him fifth from tenth on the grid, whilst a false start penalty for Gareth Thomas (W2R) dropped him from sixth to seventh behind Taylor. Peter Thompson finished eighth on the road before a five-second track limits penalty cost him a spot to his W2R team-mate Paul Thomas.

An unfortunate spin for Wantling cost him ground. He recovered well to finish tenth overall and with it the GTA class victory. Marc Elman (SVG Motorsport) was set to take before a spin of his own on the penultimate lap.

The GTA podium was completed by W2R duo Amy and Emma Tomlinson ahead of West, who dropped down the order early on. Returning to the grid alongside her sisters, Lucy Tomlinson (W2R) finished up sixth in the GTA class in 15th overall ahead of a final pair of rookie contenders, Lucie Hodgson (W2R) and Ginetta newcomer Gilbert Verdian (SVG Motorsport).

The second and final race of the weekend took place in torrential rain. This provided a tough challenge for the GT Academy contenders. After some time behind the safety car to allow them to get acquainted with the conditions, the action got underway on lap four.

Nicholas and Gamble immediately broke away at the front of the field. A good run onto the Hangar Straight allowed Gamble to sweep through into the race lead. Behind, Taylor enjoyed a great run through Stowe corner to pass both Elman and West for third.

A spin into the gravel for West next time round led to the emergence of the safety car. The race would restart for a two-lap shootout to the chequered flag. This proved just enough time for the top three drivers to play out an exciting battle for the victory.

Gamble slid wide through the Maggots / Becketts complex to allow Nicholas through on the penultimate lap, with Taylor briefly getting ahead too. Gamble got back to second exiting Aintree and after hunting down Nicholas, attempted the same move on the final tour.

Running side-by-side into Brooklands, Nicholas braved it out on the outside line. He held onto the lead and secure his third win of the season. Gamble and Taylor completed the podium. A great drive from Gareth Thomas secured him fourth place from eighth on the grid.

Al Juffali rose well to fifth prior to the mid-race safety car. After losing a couple of places on the penultimate lap, he fought back on the last one. He snatched fifth in a thrilling photo-finish with Elman – just 0.002s separating them at the line.

Elman still secured the GTA class victory though. Behind Thompson came the other GTA podium finishers in Emma Tomlinson and Wantling. The latter crucially picked up a place from Amy Tomlinson on the penultimate lap to secure his trophy.

In the Chairman’s Cup, Thompson secured a double victory over the weekend. Wantling finished up with a pair of second place results, with West finishing third in race one. Hodgson enjoyed an emotional first trip to the Ginetta podium in race two.

Full race results can be found at: www.tsl-timing.com/event/241705
The two races can be watched back at: www.youtube.com/user/ginettatv

Donington Park is the next destination for the 2024 Ginetta GT Academy grid. There will be three races on the Grand Prix circuit in Leicestershire next month (25/26 May).


We'd love to show you all that Ginetta can offer.
Complete the form or contact us to get started.

+1 (434) 575-1257

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Newsletter Sign-up

Simply submit your info below to keep up to date with all things Ginetta.

Marketing Permissions

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.