Oliver Bryant Racing

07946 524 941 info@oliverbryant.com
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17th August 2009


Barwell Motorsport featured strongly in the battle for honours during the latest round of the British GT Championship at Silverstone last weekend. Both the Aston Martin DBRS9 of Andrew Howard/Jamie Smyth and the Ginetta G50Z of Olly Bryant/Piers Johnson challenged for podium finishes on their way to eventual 5th and 6th places respectively, and Olly claimed the overall fastest lap of the race during his stint.

Race – Sunday, 2-Hours (82 laps)
The 2-hour British GT races feature re-fuelling and tyre changes for the teams, although this would be water off a duck’s back for the well-drilled Barwell crew, coming fresh from doing 23 such pit stops at the Spa 24 Hours! Despite the longer distance race, the action all the way through the British GT grid was pretty hectic from the green light. Andrew was starting the Beechdean Ice Cream-backed Aston Martin and immediately started to hound the Ford GT of Philip Walker for sixth place. The Ford man succumbed to Andrew’s challenge on lap four, and the charging Howard then immediately demoted the Ferrari of Phil Burton to claim fifth spot on the next lap.

Andrew then concentrated on keeping the gap down to the leading quartet ahead of him, and keeping him and Jamie in the hunt for a podium finish. He stuck incredibly well to his task, which is not easy around a tight Silverstone International track not ideally suited to the DBRS9. After 41 tough laps, exactly half distance, Andrew came in to hand over to Jamie with the car in good fettle and the race very much on for a podium.

Piers had started the Ginetta G50Z, and instantly moved ahead of the Burton Ferrari to claim second place. The former Le Mans 24 Hours competitor then started to make big inroads in to the leading 2009 spec Ferrari of Duncan Cameron, closing in to under a second off the back of the scarlet machine during the early stages. Piers’ challenge became blunted, however, when the G50Z started to oversteer a bit and his laptimes dropped away. He lost second to the Jones Ascari on lap 10 and then third place fell to the Wilkins Viper seven laps later.

The race then settled down a bit during the second quarter, with the front five runners posting similar times and holding station. Piers was thus set to hand over to Olly in fourth place, but with the Ginetta still very much in contention for a podium and a possible overall victory. Unfortunately these hopes were scuppered when Piers suffered a spin at Priory corner, and although the spin itself was relatively harmless the car’s rear wheels then got stuck in the gravel trap. With Johnson unable to get out under his own steam, he had to wait until the marshals were able to drag him out and return him to the fray – allowable as the car was stuck in a dangerous position. Sadly this took a whole two laps and dropped the Ginetta out of contention for another top result.

The mandatory pit stops are regulated by a minimum time that must have elapsed from the moment a car crosses the pit lane entry line to when it crosses the exit line, and this time includes the refuelling, driver change, and tyre change procedures that must be carried out. A team therefore has to calculate how long it takes for a car to travel down the pit lane at the maximum speed allowed, and work out from that how long the car needs to be stationary at the pit stop in order to meet the minimum total elapsed pit lane time. Of course in a race every second lost in the pit lane is crucial and thus the target is to achieve the minimum elapsed time and no more during your car’s pit stop. We certainly ticked this box, with both Barwell cars timed at within a second of the minimum – the ideal situation. During the stops the cars were serviced quickly and immaculately by the crack Barwell crew, with a full tank of fuel being put in and all four tyres changed. We gained many seconds on the majority of our rivals during this pit stop period, including over 10 seconds on one car!

When all the stops had been completed, Jamie was holding a strong fourth position in the Aston, and setting very good lap times which were right in the ballpark of the three cars ahead. He was also maintaining the gaps back to the Ford GT and Burton/Wilcox Ferrari behind. We knew that the big front-engined, 6-litre V12 Aston would be working its front Avon tyres harder than the two mid-engined cars behind, however, and thus Jamie was set to come under increasing pressure as the race wore on. On lap 61 this three-way fight became the battle for third place and the final podium spot, with the demise of the Jones twins’ Ascari. Jamie could now sniff the opportunity of another podium, and he wasn’t going to give that up without a fight.

Jamie held sway in third place for four laps, but he then had the Alex Mortimer-driven Ford right on his tail. These two then duelled it out for three laps in a great fight, but Smyth was managing to successfully counter every attack that the Ford driver launched. On lap 67, however, the Ford forced a gap down the inside at Priory and banged into the side of the Aston in a forceful move. Jamie managed to keep the Aston on the track, but after this contact with the Ford, was concerned about a vibration that he could feel. This left him powerless to defend from the Wilcox-driven Ferrari, which usurped the Aston with 11 laps to go. Considering the fact that Silverstone is not one of the Aston’s strongest circuits, however, fifth was a very good result and top performances had been put in by both drivers and team alike.

By the time Piers had been released from the gravel trap and got the Ginetta G50Z back to the pits, it had lost a full three laps to the leaders and was down in 10th place. Despite all hope of a podium result being lost, Olly took over and gave it his all behind the wheel as usual. He was instantly the fastest car on the track and set what would stand as the fastest lap of the race on lap 44 – 1/10th of a second quicker than that of the race-winning Ferrari. For many more laps of the second half of the race Olly’s Ginetta was the quickest thing on the tarmac, and he doggedly applied himself to the task despite their being no chance of a reward. The Alan Simonsen Ferrari was also on a similar comeback trail, and Olly showed him a clean pair of heels during a great recovery drive which took him back up to sixth overall.

Top 8 GT3 Results – British GT Championship Round 12 – Silverstone

1st 1st GT3 Cameron/Griffin MTECH Ferrari 430 Scuderia
2nd. 2nd GT3 Scott/Wilkins ABG Motorsport Dodge Viper
3rd. 3rd GT3 Walker/Mortimer Team RPM Ford GT3
4th. 4th GT3 Burton/Wilcox VRS Ferrari 430 GT3
5th. 5th GT3 Howard/Smyth ‘Barwell-Beechdean’ Aston Martin DBRS9
6th. 1st INV GT3 Bryant/Johnson Barwell Motorsport Ginetta G50Z-Zytek
7th. 6th GT3 Lester/Simonsen Rosso Verde Ferrari 430 GT3
8th. 7th GT3 Jones/Jones Preci-Spark Ascari KZ1R