Nissan GT Academy Middle East winner Salman Al Khater and 2012 GT Academy South Africa winner Ashley Oldfield top the podium in their first ever race at the Britcar 1000km at Silverstone.[Not a valid template]
Plucking coverage from nowhere on the MSA British Endurance Championship might seem an odd aside on crankandpiston.com. That is until you cast an eye over the entry list and see that one of the names in the Nissan GT Academy Team RJN line-up is Qatari racer Salman Al Khater, the reigning Nissan GT Academy Middle East winner and now class-winner in the Britcar 1000km at Silverstone. On his race debut.
The hard-fought class victory came courtesy of bullet-proof reliability for the team’s Nissan 370Z and solid runs from teammates Ashley Oldfield (2012 GT Academy South Africa winner, and also enjoying his first outing) and Tomas Scheckter, former IndyCar race winner and GT Academy Head Judge for South Africa.
The Nissan GT Academy trio went on to claim P3 honours ahead of Michael and Will Schryver in their eponymously-run Lotus Exige Michael and Will Schryver in their eponymously-run Lotus Exige and the ING Sport BMW 320i of Anthony and Mike Wilds, and Ian Lawson. This in turn made Khater the first GT Academy winner to take victory on his debut.
Focus during the 1000km race at Silverstone – which for 2013 replaces the Britcar 24 Hours endurance event – however lay with the battle into turn one against the #32 Team LNT Ginetta G55 of Lawrence Tomlinson, Mike Simpson and Nathan Freke and the polesitting #2 Neil Garner Motorsport Mosler MT900R of Javier Morcillo, Manuel Cintrano and Paul White. A slow getaway at the rolling start from the Mosler allowed Simpson on row two to take avantage, the Ginetta sliding past and snatching the lead into turn one. Richard Abra and Mark Poole meanwhile slotted in close behind in the #5 Barwell Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT2, though he too would quickly pass the Morcillo in the Mosler.
An easy victory though ultimately went to the Abra / Poole duo, which took the lead on lap four and failed to lead only eleven of the 154 laps at Silverstone. A formidable showing, particularly given their 24-hour victory at the same venue last year. The #5 Pete Storey-entered Wolf GB08 of Pete Storey, Flick Haigh and Ben Gower followed home second (two laps behind), while Horsepower Racing’s Paul Bailey, Andy Schulz and Tom Ferrier took third in the Aston Martin Vantage GT3. Tommy Field, Chris Hart and Chrissy Palmer meanwhile took class 2 victory in the Tracktorque Racing Chevron GR8.
Despite its strong earlier showing, the Team LNT Ginetta would quickly run into problems, first tangling with a backmarker and breaking its rear suspension before engine issues curtailed the team’s efforts altogether.
– Shots courtesy of Tom Loomes