Nick White has stamped his authority on the Ginetta GT Academy title battle with a dream triple
victory in the penultimate meeting of the season at Brands Hatch (09/10 September).
Heading into the event with just two points separating Nick White (Raceway Motorsport) and Ravi
Ramyead (Century Motorsport) at the top of the championship standings, there was once again
almost nothing between the title contenders in qualifying on Saturday as they took a pole position
Ramyead edged out White by just 0.043s for the race one pole, however the latter grabbed top spot
for race two on second best times. Jon Kearney (Raceway Motorsport) was next quickest ahead of Ed
Acres (Century Motorsport) and top rookie Matt Shaw.
The top two ran side-by-side into Paddock Hill Bend for the first time in race one, with Ramyead
holding the inside line to maintain his lead. The reigning rookie champion stayed there for a large
portion of the race, however White was keeping the pressure on throughout.
The lead changed hands on lap nine as a slide through Stirlings corner opened the door for White to
nip past and ultimately secure the race victory. Ramyead was a comfortable second behind, while
Kearney ran third from start-to-finish behind.
Mackenzie Walker (Assetto Racing) made quick progress on lap one to rise two places to fourth,
while there was some fantastic action behind in the battle for fifth. Shaw and Thomas Shelley
(Century Motorsport) traded the place multiple times, with Shelley emerging in front.
Shaw was sixth on the road, however a ten second penalty for an out of position start dropped him
behind championship returnee Julian Wantling (Assetto Racing), Acres and Marc Elman (SVG
Motorsport) – the latter two having had a fun duel of their own late on.
Shaw still secured a comfortable win in the rookie class despite the penalty, while after slipping back
to fourth in class early on, Emma Tomlinson fought back to second ahead of her sister Amy.
Charlotte Lowe finished fourth, with Max Ratel finishing fifth on his Ginetta debut.
There was a dramatic start to race two as contact between Ramyead and Shaw at the first corner
sent the former sideways. An unfortunate Kearney collected him, with both drivers ending their race
in the gravel trap, while Shaw was able to continue in third behind White and Acres.
After a safety car period, Acres ran wide at Graham Hill Bend on the restart lap and slipped to fourth
behind Shaw and Walker. The safety car then appeared again after an incident at Hawthorns that
removed Emma and Lucy Tomlinson from the podium places in the rookie class.
White comfortably led the final three lap sprint to the chequered flag for an important victory, with
Shaw taking the rookie honours in second overall. Walker suffered an immediate issue at the second
restart and retired from the race, meaning Acres and Wantling marked their series returns with GTA
Shelley completed the top five overall ahead of Amy Tomlinson, who secured the runners-up spot in
the rookies. Phil McGarty (Xentek Motorsport) matched his best result of the season so far in
seventh ahead of Elman, who lost ground on the last lap. Lowe completed the rookie podium, with
Paul Livesey (MDD Racing) rounding out the overall top ten.
With Ramyead unable to take the start of the final race of the weekend, White had a prime
opportunity to further extend his championship lead and he did exactly that with a faultless drive to
lead every lap and move up to 11 wins for the season so far.
Acres challenged Shaw for second on lap one, however an incident at Graham Hill Bend ultimately
led to his retirement. Rookie class winner Shaw went on to follow White throughout, however a five
second track limits penalty dropped him to fifth overall.
Wantling had been running third on the road for a large spell of the race, however late on he lost out
to Shelley and Walker as they secured GTA class podiums. McGarty ran in the top six in the early
stages before losing ground, with Kearney and Elman amongst those to work their way past.
Amy Tomlinson completed a hat-trick of rookie podium finishes for the weekend, as sister Lucy
bounced back from her frustration with a deserved top three result. Livesey, Emma Tomlinson, Ratel
and Lowe completed the race finishers.
The 2023 Ginetta GT Academy title decider will take place at Donington Park on 21/22 October. Will Nick White claim the overall victory?