2 Seas Motorsport secures British GT Teams’ championship title at action-packed Brands Hatch
Bahraini-British GT3 team 2 Seas Motorsport has secured its first major championship at the penultimate round of the Intelligent Money British GT Championship. Holding the lead in both the championship’s standings arriving at Brands Hatch over the weekend, a double top-4 finish for the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport team was enough to secure the GT3 Teams’ title with a commanding lead of more than 100 points. The battle for the second title will be confirmed at the series finale, with driver pairing James Cottingham and Jonny Adam going to the #DoningtonDecider holding an advantage in the standings.
The team arrived at the Kent circuit off the back of a strong overseas event in Portugal, with both sides of the garage looking to secure maximum points in their drive for the championship. Pace for all drivers looked strong in the heat of the opening practice sessions, and this continued into qualifying, with both the #1 D2 liveried Mercedes-AMG and the #4 DK Engineering-backed cars firmly in contention as the grid order was set out.
With the Am drivers running first, it was James who set the initial benchmark, setting outright fastest sectors across the entire lap. Ian was not to be outdone, however, setting an initially strong opening banker lap, and then making improvements to climb up the order further as the session progressed. Pro drivers Jules and Jonny then took over, with the laptimes combining across the two sessions to set out the final order. Once again, both cars were in the fight at the front of the grid, with the pendulum swinging back to Jules in the #1 car over one lap, narrowly off the top spot and qualifying as the fastest Mercedes-AMG in the field, against some strong competition. With Jonny not far behind his teammate, he consolidated the position at the front of the field to secure a second pole position of the season.
The two-hour race got underway in the intense heat, and the opening lap would see mixed fortunes for the 2 Seas Motorsport pair. While James made a clean getaway off the rolling start, Ian was less fortunate, and was initially hit from behind before being sent into a spin through Paddock Hill Bend, narrowly avoiding further damage from the rest of the field, and dropping him to the back of the grid. From here, however, both drivers showed their true mettle, delivering two of the best drives of the season, but with different objectives.
James and Jonny looked to build as strong a lead as possible ahead of the pitstop window, hoping to minimise the effect of the 20-second success penalty needing to be served, while Ian now was battling to regain lost ground – and they both delivered. At the front of the field, the #4 yellow and green Mercedes-AMG quickly built a lead, quickly on to the back of the field and negotiating traffic as he continued to extend the gap over the opening 30 minutes. Ian wasted no time in making his intentions clear, as he quickly dispatched of the slower GT4 traffic, and had made moves through the tail-end of the GT3 order to be knocking on the door of the overall top-10 before the first Safety Car intervention.
With the field under caution, James’ remained at the front of the field, but his advantage had now been removed. On the restart, however, Ian was now running in the points-paying positions, and the field had been closed up, meaning further opportunities. James led the grid away from the restart, and set about rebuilding his advantage over the following laps, looking to maximise the gap as the clock ticked down to the pitstop window.
A further Safety Car just before the end of the hour neutralised the field once more, undoing James’ efforts at the front of the field, but as the pitlane opened, James brought the #4 car in from the lead, while Ian had regained an impressive 23 positions as he handed over to his factory co-driver.
Quick and efficient work by both pitcrews saw the pair of Mercedes-AMGs leave the box nose to tail, with Jonny now just narrowly ahead of his teammate, Jules. As they left the pitlane, Jonny had only dropped two positions during the extra time stationary in the stop, while the #1 crew had managed to move Jules up the order, with the pair running in a nett P3 and P4 as the field worked through the pitstop cycle.
From here, the two Pro drivers delivered some of the closest, and hard-fought laps around the Brands Hatch Grand Prix layout, as they set about chasing down the leaders. Jonny held the position advantage on track, but Jules quickly dispatched of GT3 back markers who had been between him and his teammate, and pushed the DK Engineering-backed rival over every lap, looking for a way past, knowing that a top-3 finish was needed to keep his co-driver, Ian Loggie’s, championship drive alive.
With air temperatures of above 30 degrees, and double this in the cockpit, it was a fight all the way to the flag, with nothing decided until the end of the two intense hours. The final positions saw Jonny narrowly edge Jules at the line to lead home a P3-P4 formation finish for the team, taking a fifth podium for the #4 Mercedes-AMG crew. The result secured a strong haul of points to secure the GT3 Teams’ title, and a first championship for 2 Seas Motorsport. Jonny and James also retained the lead in the GT3 Drivers’ standings, now 13 points clear at the top of the table heading to the season finale next month.
“An incredible drive by all four of the boys today, who each delivered a fantastic drive, and I am so proud of the whole 2 Seas Motorsport team. The results this season have been a real team effort, and to recover from the back of the field on lap 1 and a 20-second success penalty to finish P3 and P4 reinforces what a great team effort it was, and it was a great way to secure our first championship title.
“Ian was really unlucky at the very start, and that could have been the end of his day, but it just goes to show what a fighter he is. He not only recovered back into the top-10 during his stint, but just focused on the job in hand to give Jules a fighting chance. Jules then highlighted why he is one of the best in the world right now, fighting for every inch to keep the championship alive. After his standout qualifying run, James put in a stellar shift, with one of his best drives in a GT3 car. He and Jonny were really unlucky with the Safety Car calls, but a massive effort to overcome the success penalty and take another podium. All eyes are now on Donington to see if we can deliver one final time.”
Sh. Isa Al Khalifa, co-owner 2 Seas Motorsport
The season finale, #DoningtonDecider, takes place over the weekend, 21-22 October. Jonny and James lead the standings, while Ian is still in contention to secure P2 in the championship.