An increased 37 car field battled it out across three races on the world-famous Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit, with the new four class format for 2021 once again produced exciting racing throughout the order, just as it had done during the season opener at Thruxton two weeks’ prior.
The action began with a 20 minute qualifying session on Saturday morning, with the circuit having just dried out following overnight rainfall. In the hotly contested GT5 Challenge Am class, a thrilling battle for the pole position saw the fastest time change on every single lap.
Eventually it was Chris White (Raceway Motorsport) who posted the quickest time; a welcome result after a tough end to his Thruxton weekend. Harry Mangion (Elite Motorsport) and Bal Sidhu (Xentek Motorsport) completed the top three.
In the G40 Cup classes, Marc Warren and Rupert Laslett (both Raceway Motorsport) each topped the times for a second consecutive weekend. Warren was quickest by over a second in the Pro class, while Laslett edged out Brenden Haffner (also Raceway) to be fastest Am.
The opening race followed that afternoon, with an action-packed first lap leading to a major shake-up in the GT5 Am order. Ginetta veteran Phil McGarty (Xentek Motorsport) came through in the class lead ahead of Paolo Santi (Raceway Motorsport) and Mark Steel (Toro Verde GT).
The race was then dominated by a couple of safety car periods, however in the limited racing laps they had, a determined Santi was able to make a move and secure his maiden class win. McGarty was second, the 21st podium of his GT5 career, with Mangion rounding out the podium.
Thruxton podium-finishers Karim Sekkat (Elite Motorsport) and Sidhu completed the class finishers, with pole-sitter Chris White, Steel and series debutant Chris Threadgill (Xentek Motorsport) unfortunately not making the chequered flag.
From G40 Pro pole, reigning GRDC rookie champion Warren led throughout to continue his impressive start to the season with victory. Thomas Holland (Raceway Motorsport) and Nick White (MRM) ran in the podium places from start-to-finish, with Bren Maude (CTS Motorsport) in fourth.
Impressing at his home circuit, Laslett replicated his team-mate with an impressive lights-to-flag G40 Am class win ahead of Haffner. Jeremy Sussex (SVG Motorsport) was third early on before Peter Dilnot (Elite Motorsport) got ahead to secure a podium finish on his return to Ginetta racing. Sixth in class meanwhile was Sean Peters (Breakell Racing), which ended up as his best result in his debut Ginetta weekend
The second race of the weekend on Sunday morning saw another close-fought contest in GT5 Am. Chris White led early on from pole, but a determined Mangion was scything his way up the order from fourth on the grid and took the lead on lap four.
He stayed there for the remaining laps to record the class win, while a close battle behind saw Chris White just hold off namesake Threadgill for second; the latter picking up a podium finish in only his second GT5 race. McGarty and Santi added top five results to their race one rostrums.
It was a case of déjà vu in the G40 Cup Pro class as Warren once again led every lap en-route to victory. Holland pushed hard to try to keep in touch but finished seven seconds adrift, with Nick White ensuring a perfect replica of the race one result.
There was late drama in G40 Cup Am meanwhile, as long-time race leader Laslett retired with only a few laps to go. This opened the door for Sussex to go for a maiden victory, but on the last lap he was dethroned by Andrew Willis (Privateer) for his first win in the series.
Stephen Moore (SVG Motorsport) picked up a podium on his first outing of the season behind Sussex, with Dilnot finishing in fourth ahead of three other drivers making their first appearance of 2021; Tony Whitney, James Turner (both SVG Motorsport) and Andrew Cohen-Wray (Assetto Motorsport).
The final race of the weekend saw some early position changing in the GT5 Am ranks, as quick starts from Threadgill and Santi got them into the top two from third and fifth on the grid respectively. Pole-sitter Mangion settled into third as they tackled the first portion of the race.
Santi fought his way into the lead on lap four and it proved to be a pivotal move, as a safety car period soon after limited the remaining race action to just one lap. Santi defended well on that one to take a second win of the weekend from Threadgill and Mangion.
Another lights-to-flag success completed a clean sweep of G40 Cup Pro victories for Warren, meaning he now has four wins in five races this season. Replicating that record is Laslett in G40 Cup Am, after sensationally climbing from eighth on the class grid to the win in just four laps.
Holland would miss out on G40 Cup Pro silverware for the first time this season as Maude secured his first trophy of the year in third behind Nick White. Sussex and Willis meanwhile completed impressive weekends in G40 Cup Am with their second podium results.
Harry Mangion (GT5 Am), Marc Warren (G40 Pro) and Rupert Laslett (G40 Am) are the current class championship leaders heading into the third meeting of the season in five weeks’ time on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit (26/27 June).
Full session results from the weekend and the current championship standings are available at tsl-timing.com/event/212005
The live streams of races two and three can be watched back at youtube.com/ginettatv