Two weekends ago, Century Motorsport headed to Norfolk’s Snetterton Circuit for the second British GT Championship meeting of the year. The weekend started off incredibly well with the team securing the overall GT3 pole position but unfortunately luck wasn’t to be on their side for the two races.
Adrian Willmott, one of Century’s BMW M6 GT3 drivers, was forced to withdraw through injury, which also prevents him from racing for the foreseeable future. After finding this out just days before the meeting, the team had to hunt out a suitable alternative to partner Jack Mitchell.
Tom Gamble, Ginetta Junior Champion 2017 and currently racing in Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe, replaced Century’s Willmott at the 3-mile circuit and despite the number 9 car being heavily affected by the Balance of Performance decisions (extra 60kg of weight), Gamble didn’t let that deter him and he secured the overall pole position for the first race of the weekend.
Gamble controlled the start of race 1 until slight contact from behind caused him to fall back to second place. During the mandatory driver change pit stop, Mitchell took over, leading the race for 2 laps until disaster struck. The car went into ‘limp’ mode, pushing the Century Motorsport M6 right to the back of the field with a 70-second deficit, making it impossible for the team to come away with a decent result.
In car 3, Paul found sixth place off the line however later on, a small spin saw him drop down to 10th, a little lower than his qualifying position of eighth. Paul handed the car over to Ben Green, who after gaining a few places had to serve a stop-go penalty for contact earlier in the race, dropping him a few positions, finishing in ninth place.
Race 2 went slightly smoother. Green and Mitchell started from ninth and tenth respectively based on their earlier qualifying times. The race ended with Paul and Green finishing in seventh and Mitchell and Gamble finishing in ninth.
Century Motorsport look forward to Silverstone and beyond, due to better-suited circuit layouts for the BMW M6 GT3 race cars.
Let’s throwback to one year ago when Century Motorsport achieved their maiden win in the BMW M4 GT4 at Snetterton, which also happened to be the maiden win in Europe for BMW Motorsport in the BMW M4 GT4 – it was a weekend of celebrations. Two weekends ago however, it was not to be the same results.
In race 1, it was a case of being over before it began for car 43, as Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke was forced onto the grass before completing the first lap and the car was too damaged to continue the race. Fender was to start the second race after the Century team worked hard to get it back on track. Both drivers had shown great pace in the practice sessions and had the capability to battle with the front-runners. Fender proved this by gaining several positions fairly quickly but unfortunately the race was cut short for the Century Motorsport M4 GT4 after an incident left Fender in the wall, just seven laps in.
In car 42, race 1 went fairly well and after starting from Mark Kimber’s qualifying position of sixth, Kimber and teammate Jacob Mathiassen crossed the finish line in eighth. Race 2 wasn’t to go so well. The #42 Century Motorsport BMW ended up falling to the back of the field due to a puncture and there was not enough time to catch up.
Century Motorsport look forward to the Silverstone 500 on 8th – 9th June; where last year, the #43 BMW M4 GT4 claimed its maiden victory.
Nathan Freke, Owner of Century Motorsport:
“Snetterton was a tough weekend all things considered. The news of Adrian not being able to race and having to find a short-term replacement meant that the car had to run a 60kg penalty that hurt it badly. Race 1 looked to be a certain podium but a throttle issue curtailed that, which was incredibly frustrating. Car 3 worked well all weekend and for sure had podium race pace, it’s just a case of time before that happens.
GT4 was equally tough, with car 43 only competing 8 racing laps due to damage in both races. Car 42 also sustained damage in both races, but managed a good finish in race 1 and a puncture killed any hope in race 2.
We are all looking forward to a more positive Silverstone where we hope to be getting the results we are all working so hard for and deserve.”