For its third weekend of the season, Porsche Visit Cayman Islands Sprint Challenge GB once again took up a position as part of the British GT package – the UK’s premier GT racing championship – this time on the fast Silverstone Grand Prix circuit where the championship signed off its inaugural season at the end of 2020.
Qualifying on Saturday saw a perfect split of Pro category drivers leading Am category competitors, resulting in pole positions for Jack Bartholomew (Redline Racing) and Ambrogio Perfetti (IN2 Racing) in the respective categories. Over the 3.66-mile lap, the pole position time of Bartholomew in the 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport was fast enough to have claimed pole position in the GT4 category of British GT.
Two races on Sunday provided close competition, with the Am category in particular creating a number of lively battles for position. In race one, championship leader Theo Edgerton (TCR) made a strong start to snatch the lead at the inside of the first corner. Jack Bartholomew (Redline Racing) gave chase but was unable to close the gap by the time the flag fell after 25 minutes of racing. However, a track limits penalty for Edgerton, picked up with just a few minutes to go, handed Bartholomew his second victory in a row. In the Am category, Perfetti made his intentions clear from the start, storming off into a lead that would remain unchallenged. Ian Humphris (Valluga), his unbroken run of wins in 2021 now broken, came through for second.
The start of race two was almost a replay of race one, Bartholomew being passed by Edgerton into the first corner for the lead. This time, Edgerton held the place to the flag, marking his fourth win of the season and establishing him as the championship leader. Bartholomew came home second from Hawkey in third.
In Am, Perfetti once again staked his claim for the win, but Humphris made him fight all the way. As the flag fell it was Perfetti from Humphris with Rice in third once more, Charlie March a strong fourth after one of his best races to date.
For the first time since the championship made its debut, government guidelines allowed hospitality to be provided in the dedicated hospitality unit. Over the weekend, over 120 people were catered for in line with strict protocols. While a limited number of spectators were allowed to attend, for those who were unable to attend, both races were broadcast live online.
Saturday’s qualifying session took place in dry, cloudy conditions with an air temperature of 16 degrees and a track temperature of 23 degrees. A 3.66-mile lap meant drivers would have only a handful of laps to post their fastest time over the 20-minute session. It was Charles Clark (IN2 Racing) and Ambrogio Perfetti (IN2 Racing) who led the way in the Pro and Am categories respectively after the first flying laps. Championship leader Theo Edgerton (TCR) went up into second before Jack Bartholomew (Redline Racing) took over at the top of the timesheets mid-way through the session.
Edgerton responded to close to within just 0.008 seconds from Bartholomew, the scantest of margins let alone over such a long lap, and that remained the order to the flag. Clark stayed third but Ethan Hawkey (Team Parker Racing) had waited in the pitlane, not venturing out until the second half of the session. Hawkey’s first flying lap placed him fourth then his second lap put him third, displacing Clark to fourth. While the other competitors returned to the pitlane, Hawkey and Matthew Armstrong (Team Parker Racing) stayed out for a final lap but neither was able to improve.
In the close-fought Am category, Perfetti would maintain his advantage of 0.25 seconds over category leader Ian Humphris (Valluga) to take pole position, Humphris as yet undefeated in 2021. Alex Malykhin (Redline Racing) put in a strong performance to take third while Nigel Rice (Redline Racing) completed the second row.
For recording the fastest times in their respective categories, Bartholomew (Pro) and Perfetti (Am) each received one championship point.
The first of the weekend’s two races took place on an overcast Sunday morning and got underway in dry conditions despite the threat of rain. When the lights went green Bartholomew got away well, but on the approach to the first corner, Copse, it was Edgerton and Ethan Hawkey (Team Parker Racing) who had the run. Edgerton went to the inside for the lead, Hawkey to the outside for second. Bartholomew was quick to respond, reclaiming second into Maggots then setting after Edgerton. However, Edgerton made his intentions clear with a fastest lap which netted him a small advantage over the chasing Bartholomew.
By the mid-point of the race, Bartholomew had hit his stride and posted the fastest lap of the race, closing to around one second of Edgerton. The leader responded, but with just two minutes remaining picked up his third warning for track limits which resulted in a five second penalty. Despite Edgerton taking the flag first, Bartholomew took his second win in a row from Edgerton and Hawkey.
In the Am category, Perfetti was determined to convert his pole position into a first win of 2021. The reigning Am champion was barely troubled for the 25 minute duration, occupying himself with a good scrap with Matthew Armstrong (Team Parker Racing) for fifth overall, such was his pace. The battle behind provided much of the action for the duration of the race. Alex Malykhin (Redline Racing), still in the very early stages of his racing career, took the category lead in the first few corners before settling into a battle for second with Ian Humphris (Valluga) and former Porsche Carrera Cup GB racer Nigel Rice (Redline Racing). Unbeaten so far in 2021, Humphris was first to make his way past before setting after Perfetti, closing to within one second but unable to maintain his winning streak.
Malykhin and Rice then took up the fight for the final podium position, Rice coming through to take the place before picking up his own five second penalty for track limits. Despite that, he had enough of an advantage over Carl Cavers (Valluga), who was fourth from Malykhin by the flag, to keep third.
For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Bartholomew (Pro) and Perfetti (Am) each received one additional championship point. The starting grid for race two would be determined by the finishing positions in race one, which made the front row for Sunday’s second race Bartholomew from Edgerton.
The second of the weekend’s races remained dry as the grid headed out to form up on the grid. Edgerton once again made a strong start to slip past Bartholomew into the first corner. This time though Edgerton held onto the lead, always seeming in control of his position at the front. Bartholomew gave chase, but a fastest lap from Edgerton after just five minutes established the gap to Bartholomew at 1.5 seconds, one which grew to 3.5 seconds by the flag. Behind it was Hawkey who claimed the final podium place, a challenge to Bartholomew on the second lap coming to nothing. Meanwhile, Armstrong and Clark clashed on the opening lap which took both into retirement.
In Am, once again Perfetti made a strong start and established himself as the pacesetter. Behind it was March on the move, taking third after a strong opening lap. At the front, Humphris briefly passed Perfetti for the category lead, but his run to a fifth victory was to be short lived after Perfetti surged back into the lead and moved one second ahead. Rice slotted into third with March a solid fourth.
For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Edgerton (Pro) and Humphris (Am) each received one additional championship point. In both categories battles rage for supremacy as the championship heads to Oulton Park the very next weekend.
Theo Edgerton TCR 62
Jack Bartholomew Redline Racing 43
Ethan Hawkey Team Parker Racing 41
Ian Humphris Valluga. 59
Nigel Rice Redline Racing 35
Ambrogio Perfetti IN2 Racing. 29