- Dan Mason
Gordon-Colebrooke Seals Podium In Brands Hatch British GT Thriller
Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke scooped a sensational GT4 podium finish in a thrilling British GT race around the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit this past weekend (29/30 August).
The Buckinghamshire racer entered the third meeting of the season with the additional support of his old team-mate Ben Green, who returned to partner him for the two-hour race in Kent with Century Motorsport.
After a wet outing at Donington Park last time out, the conditions again were not kind to British GT drivers in Friday's hour-long practice session, but as it dried out the BMW M4 GT4 driver was able to put down helpful miles ahead of the weekend's action.
Free practice was a much drier affair and enabled Gordon-Colebrooke to show the pace of his Buthlaw and Questor Studios backed BMW against its GT4 opposition, sitting right on the tail of the leading rivals during longer race runs.
When the short 10-minute qualifying sessions arrived on Saturday afternoon, Gordon Colebrooke pushed hard to put the BMW as high up the class field as possible for Sunday's main event. His best lap was good enough for sixth on the grid, only two tenths away from the top four in colder conditions than the morning.
The weather was much kinder on Sunday afternoon, and the former Ginetta GT4 Supercup frontrunner made a demon start in the two-hour race by jumping ahead of the McLarens to move up to fourth place in the opening stages
The BMW was still in the hunt by the time it pitted under a safety car period at the hour mark, after which Gordon-Colebrooke, carrying support for Racing Against Dementia and the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, handed the car over to Green.
Emerging from the pitstops in fifth position and with a podium in sight, Green moved ahead of its Toyota rival for fourth; the top four then locked in a tense tussle for the remainder of the race.
Another safety car then brought the race wide open and the BMW sidestepped Patrick Kibble's Aston Martin for third at Graham Hill Bend. Surviving contact with the two TF Sport Aston Martins of Kibble and Jamie Caroline, Green briefly moved up to second place but was eased aside at Druids to fourth.
There was last lap drama though as team-mates Caroline and Kibble collided ahead at Paddock Hill, moving Gordon-Colebrooke's BMW back into the top three. After a tense two hours, he secured his second GT4 class podium of the season in third place on the road, before a post race penalty for Caroline led to a promotion to second place and a personal best British GT result.
Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke:“What a rollercoaster of a weekend this has been! I'm absolutely delighted with the result and we gave it everything we could to finish where we did and get that podium.
"In free practice and qualifying the car felt good and we showed that we could have the pace to be in the battle for the podium, especially without as many pitstop penalty seconds as some of those around us. We extracted everything we could out of the car in qualifying, but in the race we knew we'd have a shout.
"I got a great start as the cars ahead of me were slow away and it got a bit tight, but then we were settling into it before the safety car brought us right into the frame. That last few minutes were very tense, and we gave it our best out there to get this podium for all the guys here at BMW and Century Motorsport.
"Hopefully this is a good sign for us and we can kick on when we next head out at Donington Park."
Gordon-Colebrooke next returns to the Donington Park GP circuit in three weeks’ time (19/20 September) for an even longer three-hour British GT race.
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography