2 Seas Motorsport continues impressive podium run at Spa
The annual overseas event of the Intelligent Money British GT Championship saw 2 Seas Motorsport make a debut appearance at the fabled Spa-Francorchamps circuit, and a visit to the series podium for a fifth time this year at the end of the two-hour enduro event. Pro-Am pairing of Lewis Williamson and James Cottingham were among the quickest throughout every session, and converted a second-row gridslot into a P2 finish, fighting for the lead throughout.
The pace of the #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 looked to have carried over from the last event in the early sessions of the weekend, picking up from where they left off, and the 2 Seas Motorsport was firmly in the battle for pole position during the combined qualifying sessions. In almost an exact repeat of the session last time out, James set the benchmark time for the grid to match, and he then proceeded to better his effort. A last-minute change to the order saw him just 0.167s off the top of the times. Lewis then took to the track against the Pro drivers, and initially matched his teammate’s effort to go provisionally quickest. As fuel loads reduced, the laptimes gradually improved, and at the end of the session Lewis had continued to go quicker but would line up in P3, just 0.2s behind the combined quickest times over the 7-kilometre lap.
Off the line and into turn 1, the bright yellow and red Mercedes muscled its way through and up to P2, exiting the La Source hairpin. Heading off down towards Eau Rouge, James was firmly in the slipstream of the leader and looking to make a pass. Despite a quicker car, highlighted by repeated fastest laps in the opening stages, James’ efforts to move forward were halted as the leader defended hard. This battling allowed the chasing pack to catch the pair, and it wasn’t long before a 6-car battle for the lead had James pushing for the lead while also defending from the gaggle of cars behind.
Continuing to soak up the constant pressure, James defended his position well before a pass at the end of the Kemmel Straight temporarily dropped the #4 to the final podium spot. A prolonged Safety Car was called shortly after following a high-speed incident, but careful management of the car’s systems and tyres allowed James to make an immediate move to retake the position as the track returned to green. Now running in clear air, the 2 Seas Motorsport Mercedes was closing down the race leader by more than half a second per lap and, as the gap dropped below 1 second, the leader was handed a stop-go penalty for an incident during an earlier battle. With no delays through battling for the lead, James focused on his own race before becoming involved in a further battle for the lead just ahead of the pit window opening. Once again, the #4 battled hard to defend position, but contact in the run down to Eau Rouge slightly compromised the pace as the two cars battled up over the hill and James slotted back into P2, maintaining his pace and keeping the pressure on before the pitstops began.
A well-executed stop by the 2 Seas Motorsport pitcrew saw Lewis leave the pitlane with the fully-serviced Mercedes-AMG GT3 lying in P2 overall, and having gained time over the leader. The following laps saw Lewis repeat James’ efforts in the early stint, posting the quickest laptime and slowly chipping away at the leader. From here, Lewis settled into his rhythm and ran an incident-free stint. Slower GT4 traffic was quickly dealt with, gaining further time, before a brief yellow flag period extended the gap once again. The 2 Seas Motorsport Mercedes then continued to close the gap in the final laps, completing the two-hour race in P2, just 5 seconds behind at the line. The final race classification remains provisional until the results of an appeal involving the winner are confirmed but, as things stand, it leaves James and Lewis P2 in the drivers’ championship.
“It was another strong weekend for James, Lewis, and the whole 2 Seas Motorsport team. We are working hard to improve and gain performance with every session, and we have, again, proved that we have the pace to battle at the front of the field. We were fighting hard for pole position, and race pace over the two hours was extremely good. Another great opening stint by James to get his elbows out and move up the order, and a strong attacking drive while also absorbing all the pressure that the cars behind could throw at him. Lewis, once again, delivered a faultless drive and kept pushing all the way to the flag, and it is a great feeling to be leaving our debut race at Spa with another trophy. We will keep working, and build on this momentum for the final run in of the season now, and we are on the front foot heading to Brands Hatch in a few weeks.”
Isa Al Khalifa, team co-owner, 2 Seas Motorsport.
The Intelligent British GT Championship now returns to the UK for round 8 of the season, heading to Brands Hatch over the weekend, 10-11 September.