The 2016 British GT Championship moved to Silverstone last weekend for the biggest meeting of the year both in terms of grid numbers and race distance. Joined by the European GT4 Championship, 51 cars would take to the grid for Sunday’s three-hour test in what is easily the toughest race of the season.
Having challenged for a podium at every weekend so far this year with at least one of their two cars, Century Motorsport were aiming to make an overdue return to the top three finishing positions this weekend.
Appearing to struggle on Saturday looking at the time sheets, both of the Century Ginetta’s were looking to play the longer game, with rain forecast for Sunday’s race, the team hoped this would even out the field against some of their more powerful rivals in terms of straight-line speed, and a blend of consistency and strategy would enable them to move up the order over the 180-minute race.
On Sunday morning, the rain had arrived from the early morning, soaking the British Grand Prix host venue. With standing water now on parts of the track, the race was started under the Safety Car for the opening two laps, in an effort to launch the 51-car field safely into racing.
With three mandatory three-minute pitstops required as per the GT4 regulations for the event, the Century pitwall were hoping that the wet conditions would allow some Safety Car pitstops to soften the blow. With the race starting under the Safety Car, initially the team was going to box the starting Walewska, but opted to cancel as the race went green one lap earlier than anticipated.
After 35 minutes on track, Walewska finally pitted to hand the Westons backed Ginetta over to Nathan Freke for his first racing laps. However shortly into his stint, the Safety Car was now back on track, and the pitwall strategists brought Freke into the pits again, placing Walewska back in the car for her second stint. When racing resumed just past the one-hour mark, Anna put in a very solid run as the track was now starting to dry out. Doing her best to remain on track as long as she could, she was eventually called into the pits just before the two-hour mark, as the team felt the track was now ready for slick racing tyres.
A fired up Freke returned to the track ready for an action packed ride over the final hour of the race. Now in contention for a podium based on those in front still needing to make their third mandatory pitstop, Freke was also lapping quicker than those in front, and closing in rapidly. By lap 58 of the final 69, Nathan had climbed up to third in GT4, and two laps later would be promoted to second as the Fox Motorsport Ginetta dived into the pits for their final stop.
Controlling his position to the end, Freke crossed the line to huge cheers from his Century Motorsport team to secure their second official podium of the season in what had been an action packed and dramatic race.
Anna Walewska – #73 Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4:
“The team did a really good job this weekend, especially with the strategy and calling the tyres as the conditions changed, which allowed us to jump a number of positions. Nathan again did a fantastic job, and I think we deserved that one so lets hope we can keep doing it.”