Luke Reade continued his stunning start to the inaugural Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT Championship season with two wins at Donington Park this past weekend (27/28 May), before his perfect winning record came to an end with a victory for Conner Garlick.
In the bright sunshine in Leicestershire, a close-fought qualifying session saw the top five cars split by only half a second. Reade set the pace for the second time this season ahead of Ruben Hage (Breakell Racing) and Callum Davies (SVG Motorsport).
Ella Lloyd continued her 100% pole position record for 2023 so far in GT5 Pro as she headed a Xentek Motorsport one-two-three from Luke Garlick and Sam Harvey, while it was a double pole for the team as Bal Sidhu topped the GT5 Am class for the third consecutive event.
Reade led the field away from pole position at the start of race one, while a pitlane start for Hage opened the door for the fast-starting Carl Garnett (Breakell Racing) and Colin White (CWS 4×4) to shoot into the top three heading into Redgate corner for the first time.
Davies made a quick move on White to grab third place and then picked off Garnett a couple of laps later, with Conner Garlick (Xentek Motorsport) following him through to take third. Those two ran closely for a few laps before an unfortunate spin for Garlick dropped him out of podium contention.
Ahead, Reade had a comfortable run to the chequered flag for another race win ahead of Davies. The drive of the race came from Hage, who charged through the field from the pitlane to complete the overall podium on the road after an exciting late battle with White.
Post-race however Hage was disqualified from the meeting after being deemed to have driven in a manner incompatible with general safety in the paddock. White therefore was promoted to third ahead of Garnett.
Garlick was sixth on the road however he was disqualified from the race for a yellow flag infringement, meaning Shawn Fleming (SF Racing) ended up a seasons’ best fifth ahead of Liona Theobald (SVG Motorsport). It was a race of attrition in the GT5 ranks meanwhile, with Pro pole-sitter Lloyd the first to retire in the Old Hairpin gravel trap.
Luke Garlick and Harvey went on to take a Xentek one-two, while Karim Sekkat (Breakell Racing) ran third before an incident. Lexie Belk (Privateer) therefore secured her first Ginetta podium, while there were no finishers in GT5 Am after issues for both Sidhu and Pablo Jequier (Race Car Consultants).
The second race of the weekend saw another faultless drive from Reade as he continued his winning streak. Following an early safety car period, he quickly gapped the pack behind and maintained his advantage to the chequered flag.
After slight contact in the battle for second between Garnett and Davies led to retirement for the latter, Conner Garlick mounted a challenge for the place. After a great battle between the two, Garlick eventually emerged in front as he secured a first podium finish in the championship.
Theobald scored her best result of the season in fourth as Fleming replicated his race one result, while behind it was a dramatic race again in the GT5 Pro’s. Harvey held the lead early on as he battled with his Xentek team-mates Lloyd and Luke Garlick, with all three encountering issues as the race developed.
Harvey’s race ended in the Old Hairpin gravel trap as he battled with Luke Garlick, who spun too and dropped to third. He produced a thrilling comeback from there to grab the win on the last lap from Sekkat and Belk, with Lloyd taking fourth after a trip to the pitlane as Jequier scored a maiden GT5 Am win.
Reade’s quest to make it seven wins from the opening seven races of the season was over before it started in the final race when he had to pull off the grid with a mechanical issue. That opened the door for a first-time victor, with a thrilling four car battle developing in the early stages.
Garnett held the advantage for the opening few laps before Davies shot past him into Coppice on lap four, with Conner Garlick following him through. Davies’ lead was short-lived though, as a lock-up at Melbourne on the next lap demoted him to fourth and moved to Garlick to the front.
All three drivers had led a Ginetta race overall for the first time, and following a safety car period, it was Garlick that was able to convert into his maiden victory. A great move from White on Garnett into the Melbourne hairpin netted him a second-place finish for his 144th class podium in Ginetta racing.
After her various troubles in the previous races, Lloyd ended her weekend on a high with her third win of the season. A late issue for Luke Garlick promoted Harvey to second ahead of Sekkat, while Sidhu completed a dream treble win for the Xentek team.
Full race results can be found at www.tsl-timing.com/event/232105
All three races can be watched back at www.youtube.com/user/ginettatv
The Ginetta GT Championship class of 2023 will now tackle no less than seven races next weekend (02/04 June) as part of G Fest at Silverstone.