Returning to the scene of a fairytale ending for the team in 2015 where Tom Oliphant lifted the 2015 Ginetta GT4 Supercup Championship title, Century Motorsport were hoping their new young guns Jack Mitchell and Jack Bartholomew would give them something to cheer about at the final weekend of the year.
Returning after making his debut with the team at Silverstone, Jack Mitchell had shown he had the pace to be a front-runner and was hoping to carry that into the Kent circuit. Jack Bartholomew needs very little introduction, as he was one of the main drivers fighting it out for the British GT4 title earlier this year right up to the final round. This weekend would give him a chance to taste the higher downforce Supercup specification Ginetta G55.
Qualifying became almost the perfect start to the weekend for Mitchell, securing his place on the outside of the front row for race one. Still getting up to speed in his new mount, Bartholomew would set the seventh fastest time at the end of the session, which was run in damp conditions.
Saturday afternoon’s opening race was relatively drama free for the Century crews. Jack Mitchell slipped back to third on the opening lap as the more experienced Mark Davies found a way past to begin a race long battle with Carl Boardley. However Mitchell would remain within striking distance at all times and was rewarded with his first Ginetta GT4 Supercup podium in third at the chequered flag. Jack Bartholomew fought off the attentions of championship regulars Reece Somerfield and Jamie Orton during the race before displacing Rob Gaffney on the final lap to complete his first race in the series in ninth.
Starting from the inside of row two for the final race of the day, Jack Mitchell was hoping he could secure his second podium finish of the weekend. However slipping back to fourth on the opening lap as Will Burns moved up the order, Mitchell was hoping the first of two Safety Car periods would give him the chance to move back up the order. After the restart, Jack had now slipped back to sixth, but quickly rocketed back up to fourth before he was robbed of the chance to race for the final podium spot when the race finished under Safety Car. Starting from ninth on the grid, Jack Bartholomew now with a full race distance under his belt was hoping to continue his progression through ther field. A superb opening stint to the race was ruined when he was forced into retirement on the penultimate lap when his Ginetta suffered heavy impact damage.
Sunday afternoon’s final race of the year broadcast live on ITV4 was a special moment for Jack Mitchell who started on pole position. Hoping to finish his year in style, Brands Hatch’s typically difficult pole position box caught out Mitchell who fell back behind new race leader Carl Boardley into the first corner. From that point on however, Jack expertly fended off the close attention of championship title hopeful Will Burns for the majority of the race. Coming into the final lap, it looked as if Jack would retain his runner-up spot, but a late lunge into Paddock Hill sent Burns into second and was followed through by Tom Wrigley, demoting the former Ginetta Junior Champion to fourth. Despite looking for any opportunity to find a way past over the course of the final lap, Mitchell would eventually cross the line in fourth. Hoping to reward the overnight efforts of his team to repair his damaged Ginetta G55. Starting from 16th on the grid, a fantastic opening lap saw the British GT4 runner-up, Bartholomew promote himself to 11th. Locked onto the bumper of Ben Green for the most part of the race, Bartholomew would eventually finish the race in ninth position.
Jack Mitchell – #42 Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4:
“Overall it was a good weekend for me with three consistent results. I learnt a lot over the weekend in both wet and dry conditions. It took me a while to get up to pace due to the track being a lot more challenging than Silverstone but by the end of the weekend we were right up there. I felt we could have come away with three podiums but due to a couple of mistakes by me and not having much knowledge with the Ginetta on slicks in wet conditions really put a stop to it, but it’s still a big learning curve jumping into the Ginetta after having the year in British GT4. I can’t thank everyone at Century enough for helping me and giving me the best car possible over the last two race meetings.”
Nathan Freke – Team Principal, Century Motorsport:
“I’m thrilled we’ve finished the season on such a positive note here in Brands Hatch. This circuit will always hold lots of special memories for us, not least securing the title here last year with Tom Oliphant. Both of the guys did a great job this weekend, and it was clear that the extra weekend helped Jack Mitchell to get onto the front pace much quicker. Jack Bartholomew’s off on Saturday was a real shame as his pace in race three could have had him right up at the front had he started higher up. Hopefully this is the start of our return to the front of the field for next season.”