A return to the podium at an action-packed Donington Park

May 28, 2024
British GT
Race Report
The British GT Championship made its first visit to Donington Park of the season, and the British bank holiday weather helped deliver another action-packed three-hour battle. With several caution periods, a red flag stoppage, and multiple weather changes, the #6 pairing of Ian Loggie and Phil Keen battled through to a hard-fought podium to keep their title challenge on track. Teammates Kevin Tse and Maximilian Götz brought the sister #18 Mercedes-AMG GT3 home in P7.

The team was looking for a strong weekend to reignite the championship charge, and early pace looked promising. Qualifying, combining times for the Am and Pro driver to set the grid, saw Kevin deliver an impressive opening effort to provisionally line up on the second row, narrowly ahead of Ian. The second session secured P4 with Max at the wheel of the #18 Contempo Concept entry, while Phil took P10.

Threatening skies ahead of the race delivered a heavy downpour on the formation lap, meaning a delayed start and a switch to wet tyres. Once underway, after a Safety Car start, strategies immediately began to unfold, and Ian’s pace in the tricky conditions saw him gain two positions and involved in a four-car battle for position. As the rain eased, and with a drying track, Kevin kept the pressure on the lead group, and at the end of lap 8, he took advantage of an opportunity to move the #18 up into the podium spots as the lead changed ahead. Meanwhile, Ian also capitalised as the conditions neared the changeover point for slicks, making a pass at the hairpin, up to P7. With the track now manly dry, the leaders opted to pit on two consecutive laps, while Kevin and Ian extended the opening stint to claim track position. When they finally pitted, Kevin had taken the lead, while Ian had climbed to P5.

With driver changes completed, strategies were playing out across the field, and Max eventually held the original gridslot in P4, while Phil was up to P7 as rain started to fall again. As the rain increased, but only at select parts of the circuit, the decision was when to make another stop for a switch back to wet tyres. With multiple cars skidding off track at turn 1, the Safety Car was scrambled, and the 2 Seas Motorsport crew quickly serviced both cars to return them to the track, now with Kevin and Ian back in.

The Safety Car period created chaos in the pitlane and on track, reshuffling the order, and saw Ian move ahead of Kevin for the first time. The race was red flagged shortly before the hour mark, and eventually restarted with Ian running in P2, while Kevin was P7. On the restart, Kevin was immediately looking to make moves, and claimed a position at the Melbourne hairpin on the opening lap, engaged in a multi-car battle across several laps. Meanwhile, at the front of the field, Ian was running cleanly after the restart before further Full Course Yellow cautions brought the race under control again.

Kevin continued to make progress up the order, battling hard for P5, and then becoming part of a five-car battle for the final podium spot. However, this charge was briefly halted as he made contact just before the next scheduled pitstop, and then a further caution period.

Another double-stacked pitstop was carried out with faultless precision by the team, and Phil exited the pitlane having taken the lead with the #6. A further full course yellow shortly put pressure on Phil, but he handled both restarts well, holding the lead and became engaged in a three-car battle for the lead. Trading fastest laps, the fight was spilt by less than 1-second, and Phil defended hard to retain the lead deep into the last 10 minutes. A valiant defense continued until the dying minutes, giving a grandstand finish to one of the season’s most exciting races, but the outright pace of the chasing cars was too much to defend against. At the line, Phil brought home the #6 in P3, while Max claimed P7.

The result sees Ian and Phil now P4 in the drivers’ championship, while the team sits P3 in the standings.

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