The weekend of 30th June – 1st July marked one of the hottest weekends so far this year in the UK. It also marked rounds 9, 10 and 11 of the Bute Motorsport GT Cup Championship. Temperatures on the track soared to almost 40 degrees Celsius over the weekend! Century Motorsport headed to Snetterton Circuit, hoping to take home some more trophies but unsure of how the final race of the weekend would pan out due to their success penalty that they incurred from winning the previous round at Spa-Francorchamps. Although it was the first GT Cup weekend that David Holloway didn’t come away with any wins, he still brought home three trophies for the team and a good points haul, maintaining his second position in the GTH Class Championship standings.
The format of the weekend consisted of a practice session followed by qualifying on Saturday morning, with two sprint races (25 minutes each) later on in the afternoon. On Sunday, there was another qualifying session for the final GT Cup race of the weekend – a 50-minute endurance race with a pit stop for a driver change, where Holloway would hand the car over to his capable friend and teammate Piers Johnson.
Saturday morning, struggling to get a clear lap in, Chelmsford-born Holloway secured third position (GTH class) in qualifying. Later on in the afternoon, the first race got underway in the sweltering heat. Continually chasing but unable to find a gap to pass his competitors, Holloway settled with third place at the chequered flag.
A few hours later, it was time for the second sprint race. Holloway got off to a better start in this race and during lap 6; he made his move and grabbed the lead. He controlled the race right up until the final lap, ensuring that he didn’t leave any gaps for his competitor (who was close behind) to get through. He also achieved the fastest lap of the race in GTH class. Unfortunately, on the final lap, Holloway had a small spin at the Wilson hairpin, losing him a few seconds, leaving him to settle with second position at the chequered flag.
Late Sunday morning, the qualifying session for the final race of the weekend got underway. Holloway and Johnson qualified in second place – just over 1-second slower than the quickest GTH time.
The 50-minute endurance race got underway later on in the afternoon and Holloway went out for the first stint. Holloway became embroiled in a race for second place, which he managed to hold onto until he pitted on lap 13 to hand the car over to Johnson to complete the remainder of the race. It was an agonising wait in the pits, as the number 15 Ginetta had a success penalty due to winning the previous round at Spa-Francorchamps therefore the total mandatory pit stop time was a lengthy 120-seconds.
After what seemed like a lifetime, Johnson finally got out onto the sizzling hot track, mindful that he would need to really concentrate more than ever, due to the tyres going off very quickly in the blistering heat. The longer pit stop meant that the race leader had an advantage, so when the leader stopped for their driver change a few laps later, they still emerged in the lead. Johnson fought as best as he could, constantly improving on his lap times, posting his best lap time on the final lap. It still wasn’t enough to catch up the leader and he had to settle for second place.
The extreme temperatures made all of the weekend’s races quite challenging. The team and drivers did a very good job to come home with a pair of second place trophies and one trophy for third place.
The next round of GT Cup is at Oulton Park on 14th July – less than a fortnight away. The team look to come back stronger, with no huge success penalty to interfere with their chance of winning.
“The Snetterton weekend was great fun; the best part was the close and competitive racing with our fellow GTH drivers. The cat and mouse chasing and being chased was for me, what racing is all about.
Century put together a great car for the weekend and the team, as always, executed all aspects of the weekend brilliantly allowing the drivers to focus on going as fast as they can. Looking forward to being back there next month when we will be seeking even better results.”
“A very enjoyable weekend. Felt very sorry for David in the second sprint race, after getting to the front to only make a small error on the last lap to lose the win.
Great day on Sunday, David was on the pace in qualifying and the race, drove to plan, handing the car over to me in 2nd place, with our success pit stop penalty of 30s more than the Aston, it was an impossible task to catch them without them making a big error, which didn’t happen, 2nd was the best we could have achieved, so very happy with that result.
Looking forward to Oulton Park in a couple of weeks, we’ll be looking for the win in Cheshire.”
Nathan Freke, Owner of Century Motorsport:
“It was a good weekend for us. We had done some testing beforehand and made great progress with David’s pace. Whilst it was the first weekend we haven’t had a win, it was the first weekend we have had a really great battle in all 3 races.
Both drivers did a great job all weekend, and the car ran like clockwork. These weekends are great to be a part of and it’s very rewarding to be a part of the progression David is making as a driver.”