The GT5 Challenge season got underway this past weekend with three thrilling races at Oulton Park, with the championship’s two class format for Professional and Amateur drivers once again serving up entertaining racing throughout the grid.
Nat Hodgkiss (Race Car Consultants) is the early championship leader after a tremendous Oulton weekend. Taking the honour of the first race win of the season, he then added a pair of second place results to seal his best ever weekend in the championship.
Will Jenkins (Elite Motorsport), no stranger to the BTCC weekends as a Ginetta Junior race-winner last year, enjoyed a standout GT5 Challenge debut. Topping Friday testing and qualifying, he took a pair of podium finishes including a race victory.
The other driver to take to the top step of the Pro podium was Connor Grady (Xentek Motorsport). One of the most experienced GT5 racers on the grid, he scored a long-awaited maiden win alongside two other top six finishes.
If the opening weekend is anything to go by, it looks set to be a very competitive season at the front of the field, with Harley Haughton (Elite Motorsport), Mikey Doble (Xentek Motorsport) and Sam Smith (TCR) also picking up overall top three results of their own.
Will Orton (Race Car Consultants) was right in the mix at the front of the field too, while debutants Ruben Hage (TCR) and Dave Sutton (Avago Racing) both showed huge potential. Will Rochford (TCR) is another potential podium contender this weekend.
The talented Pro class entry also includes reigning Am champion Harry Mangion (Elite Motorsport), sophomore driver Ignazio Zanon (Raceway Motorsport) and two more exciting newcomers to the grid, Sam Harvey (Xentek Motorsport) and Kian Donaldson (Race Car Consultants).
In the Am class, 2021 runner-up Chris White (Raceway Motorsport) got his title challenge off to a great start with two race victories. The other win went the way of his team-mate Paolo Santi, another returning front-runner from last year.
Starting the season in style was Karim Sekkat (Elite Motorsport) with a hat-trick of podium finishes, while Phil McGarty (Alastair Rushforth Motorsport) started his eight consecutive season of Ginetta racing with a podium result of his own.
Xentek Motorsport duo Bal Sidhu and Gerson Zarpelao picked up class silverware as well, the latter on his championship debut, as team-mate Neil Finnighan put in some strong performances to start his maiden campaign.
Follow the action across the weekend on social media, @GinettaCars.
Saturday 23 April – Qualifying, 11:05; Race One, 16:20
Sunday 24 April – Race Two, 10:20; Race Three 15:55 (Live on ITV4)
Live timing and results across the weekend: https://www.tsl-timing.com/event/221603