Important championship points for 2 Seas Motorsport at action-packed Silverstone 500
Race-winning pace was hindered by bad luck for 2 Seas Motorsport at round 3 of the Intelligent Money British GT Championship, as both driver pairings hit bad fortune at the Silverstone 500. After a heavily affected qualifying session, the team locked out the second row of the 43-car field, and showed early promise, but both crews were unfortunate at different points of the three-hour endurance event, eventually coming home inside the top-10.
The early sessions of the weekend looked strong for both the DK Engineering-backed #4 and the D2-inspired #1 entries. The opening practice runs saw Jules Gounon leading the team at the top of the timings, although a wet second session meant limited running, and a change to the planned test programme ahead of qualifying.
Confidence was high for both crews, however, with all four drivers showing strong pace in the difficult conditions. With heavy rain continuing to fall, qualifying initially got underway but was quickly halted after incidents on the outlap. A second attempt to start the shootout for the Am drivers then saw a further stoppage after a car aquaplaned off the rain-soaked circuit. With no let-up in the weather, the session was eventually abandoned, and the grid for the Silverstone 500 was set by the combined times from the earlier practice session. This would see Ian and Jules narrowly miss out on a front-row start, by just 0.002s, while James and Jonny were just a further 0.007s further back as 2 Seas Motorsport locked out the second row.
With blue skies and a dry track, the race got underway in very different conditions, and James led his teammate away after a blistering start, gaining two positions. The pairing ran in close formation as they looked to keep pressure on for the race lead. A Safety Car intervention after just 15 minutes would set the strategists in the pitlane into overdrive. Quick work by the pitcrew saw Jonny into the #4 Mercedes-AMG, gaining a position, leapfrogging the leader. With a congested pitlane, the #1 car was forced to stop out of position as Ian switched for Jules, which caused a delay to the stop. Despite the team’s best efforts, the #1 left the pitlane down the order and with work to do to recover.
With the order reshuffled, the race restarted from behind the Safety Car and Jonny battled hard through the lapped traffic to defend his position, eventually coming out at the front of the field into clean air. Jules also negotiated the slower traffic quickly and efficiently, making moves to recover up the order, taking two positions quickly as the race got back up to speed. Pace for both cars looked strong at the 60-minute mark, with Jonny posting the fastest lap of the stint out front, while Jules continued to negotiate his way through the order just outside the top-10. As the stints approached their conclusions, Jonny became boxed in by slower GT4 traffic, and was passed for the lead, while Jules also found his charge temporarily stunted.
As the pitlane became busy again, Jules opted to run longer and posted a string of quick laps on a now clear track. Meanwhile, James took over and continued the impressive charge in the bold yellow and red #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3. Further passes moved them back up the order as the stops played out, and as the pitstop cycle settled, James was still in the fight for the lead, while Ian was now running comfortably inside the top-10. James had shown consistently quick pace all weekend, and he closed down the final podium position before making the pass. However, as he negotiated the slower GT4 traffic, he was unable to avoid contact which would result in a penalty. Two further Safety Cars would then reshuffle the pack one more time as the race approached its climax.
The final stops saw Jonny and Jules back in for the sprint to the line, but much of Ian’s hard work was reduced as the #1 crew served their 20-second success penalty from the race win at the opening race weekend. With the field now closely packed, Jonny made a strong final restart as the Safety Car period ended. He was in the hunt for the race lead, while defending hard from the chasing pack, but serving the penalty dropped the #4 down the order. Jules continued to push over the final laps, crossing the line in P7 to conclude a strong recovery drive. Jonny also kept the fight to the end, making up a position after the penalty, to come home in P10.
With both cars scoring important points, 2 Seas Motorsport still leads the team championship standings. Jules and Ian are P2 in the drivers table, with Jonny and James just 6.5 points behind. Round 4 of the championship heads to Donington Park for the first of two visits this season, over the weekend of 27-28 May.