- Simon Paice
Gordon-Colebrooke Shows His Fight In Spa Spectacle
Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke put in a battling display in the 2021 British GT Championship's trip to Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, recovering from a penalty to almost steal a fine podium finish in class.
After a second Pro-Am class victory in the GT4 class most recently at Donington Park, the Buckinghamshire star flew up to a strong second in the overall class championship standings with co-driver Chris Salkeld, holding up a one-two for his team, Century Motorsport.
Gordon-Colebrooke and his #9 BMW M4 GT4 were moved up to a silver class listing for the championship's first visit to the Belgian circuit since 2019 though. That meant it would be a tough battle to repeat the successes of Brands Hatch and Donington, but the former Ginetta GT4 Supercup racer remained buoyed by his best start to a GT season to date.
The BMW man ventured out onto the famous grand prix circuit for some initial mileage on Friday afternoon, followed by a solid showing in free practice on Saturday to be in among the front-running cars on his sheer pace alone.
A dry qualifying session came along later that afternoon after a day that started with a heavy downpour, Gordon-Colebrooke moving the car up to seventh overall in the combined times and fifth in class, just on the tail of the top three cars with experienced pro drivers behind the wheel.
What followed was an exciting two-hour race on Sunday under beautiful sunny skies, with Gordon-Colebrooke taking over the BMW for its second stint and the latter phase. The car had already began to make up ground following evasive action from a multi-car pile-up ahead of them at the start of the race, moving into the top five with a double overtake at La Source and Eau Rouge in one lap.
With Gordon-Colebrooke behind the wheel, he closed the gap relentlessly to the lead quartet and moved up to fourth with a bold move around the outside of the Academy Motorsport Ford Mustang entering Les Combes under braking. That move would be trialed again numerous times, including during a frenetic final 20 minutes as the BMW man - who was closing on the battle for second overall in the silver GT4 rankings - had to recover from a drive-through penalty relating to track limits.
With fire in his belly, Gordon-Colebrooke clawed his way back ahead of Sennan Fielding's Audi with a daring overtake at Eau Rouge after much pressure applied, briefly inheriting third in class with a retirement ahead in the final few minutes. It boiled down to his battle with the Mustang which raged once more, the latter making its way by in a great scrap to the chequered flag that meant the Century Motorsport driver had to settle for fourth in the silver class - fifth in GT4 overall.
The result keeps Gordon-Colebrooke chasing in the championship fight for GT4 honours overall, as he next heads to the Snetterton 300 circuit in Norwich for the next British GT meeting in two weeks' time (07/08 August).
Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke:“Overall, that weekend was solid for us I think, so we can call that result a good one all things considered.
"Ultimately, we were put into a silver pairing for this weekend; we knew it would be tough with the success penalty and the extra time that a silver team has to take in the pits, but to have a half chance of an overall podium before the drive-through penalty, I think we can call that a solid result.
"You can see how far we've come with the car by our pace and how we can take to fight to the others in GT4, which is a testimony to the work put in by BMW Motorsport and Century Motorsport. Onto Snetterton, where I think the car will again be strong. I'll go there hopeful of returning to the podium."
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.