Having just this week announced his continued partnership for 2014 with Century Motorsport, Jamie Orton came to the final round of the 2013 Ginetta GT Supercup at Brands Hatch aiming to finish his season on a high. Joining him for the weekend was newcomer to the series Osamu Kawashima. The Japanese driver with past experience in various GT series in his home country has his sights set on racing in the UK in 2014.
Despite varying weather reports in the days leading up the event, Saturday remained dry for qualifying ahead of the afternoon’s opening race of the weekend. As ever, Jamie proved he had the overall pace to qualify his blowcreative.co.uk Ginetta G55 towards the sharp end of the field, but struggled to string a perfect lap together and ended the session fifth. Kawashima endured a difficult start to his weekend with an off in the second of Friday’s two practice sessions. A sterling job by the Century Motorsport crew had the car looking as good as new for qualifying as he continued to accustom himself to the unique Kent circuit.
Falling one place at the start of race one, Orton tucked himself right in behind Carl Boardley for the majority of the race trying to find a way past. However approaching the half distance point the safety car had to be scrambled after Tom Ingram made quite a heavy impact with the barrier and Fergus Walkinshaw’s car erupted into flames, both at separate parts of the circuit. Such was the severity of the incidents, the race eventually finished some three laps later behind the safety car with Jamie finishing fifth and new team mate Osamu Kawashima finishing his first Ginetta GT Supercup race in 16th position.
The anticipated rain arrived in force early on Sunday morning, soaking the Brands Hatch GP circuit. Starting from row three, Jamie got a superb start off the line, but his good work was ruined as a result of contact coming into Surtees. Having almost taken the lead of the race, he now found himself with a mountain to climb returning to the track in eleventh. Osamu was continuing to make good progress on his GT Supercup debut. However the challenging conditions certainly weren’t making it easy for him to acclimatise to the powerful Ginettas. A brief safety car period on lap nine played into Orton’s hands. After a superb recovery drive back up to seventh, he was now ready to make his move past Mark Davies once the safety car pulled off. Eventually finding a way past, Jamie took the chequered flag in a superb sixth position. Kawashima finished his second race of the weekend in thirteenth.
The reverse grid draw for Sunday afternoon’s final Ginetta GT Supercup race played right into the hands of Orton. Sitting on pole position, the former Caterham Champion was ready to win and finish his season on a high. A fantastic start off the line allowed him to build a slender advantage over second placed Andrew Watson at the end of the opening lap. Now driving what was easily the best race of his Supercup career, by lap five he was enjoying a healthy 2.8 second advantage at the head of the field. However once again, the safety car was deployed to allow the recovery of Carl Boardley’s stranded G55. Despite some close attention from second placed man Andrew Watson, Orton made a superb restart and almost instantly re-established his two second advantage. Throwing caution to the wind, Osamu Kawashima was once again showing that he was becoming very comfortable with his new mount for the weekend running in sixteenth place. Out in front, Orton it was who brought his Ginetta G55 across the line in front of a delighted Century Motorsport crew to take his debut win in the Ginetta GT Supercup.
Speaking on Sunday evening, Century Motorsport Team Principal Nathan Freke added, “This weekend has been really good. It’s been great to have Osamu part of the team this weekend flying all the way over from Japan for the event. Starting at the deep end, he’s improved really well throughout the weekend, which is great. Jamie had great qualifying pace but didn’t get to maximise it to achieve the perfect lap. A steady first race in the dry was followed by an unfortunate race two where he was taken out having almost led by the third corner. Before race three, where he started on pole, I said to Jamie that we had this won because we knew we had the pace. He got his head down and a textbook race allowed him to win, which was fantastic!”