2017 British GT champions crowned after a dramatic final race at Donington

The field roar away at the start (Photo by Marc Waller)

The field roar away at the start (Photo by Marc Waller)The 2017 British GT champions have been crowned after a dramatic final race at Donington Park.

Rick Parfitt Jr and Seb Morris took the GT3 crown despite taking fourth place at the flag. Their rivals, the Demon Tweeks Lamborghini pairing of Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen needed to win to secure the title but they only managed third, not helped by an early race spin when Jon Minshaw lost control at the chicane. Phil Keen did an excellent job to push the car back up the field but third place wasn’t enough to take the title.

Later, long after the race had finished, the Demon Tweeks duo were disqualified after Jon Minshaw was judged to have passed under yellow. This promoted the eventual champions, Parfitt Jr and Morris to the podium but had no effect on the final championship result.

Parfitt was happy but emotional as he celebrated their championship win on the podium;

“I honestly never thought I would be in GT3, let alone be GT3 champion. This is something I will absolutely cherish for the rest of my life. It is without doubt the most competitive domestic GT series in the world. To win here, you have to be bloody good and you have to be consistent. Team Parker are a fantastic team.

“Seb [Morris] is a fantastic team-mate. Everyone jokes that we are the dream team. From my perspective I think that we are and irrespective of results, we have such a good time together and this is a combination of everything working in perfect harmony. It has been a great, great season.

Morris seemed equally pleased;

“It’s not been a bad year! We’ve had a few wins, a few podiums, a few fastest laps and a big old pot at the end, which is always nice. Rick [Parfitt Jnr] has quite frankly driven maybe even better than me in terms of mistakes, he hasn’t made one all year. He has come on tremendously since last year, he is very chilled out when driving and Team Parker have delivered an unbelievable car. Boys, well done! We haven’t put a foot wrong, Bentley have been a massive help and have given us a fantastic car alongside M-Sport, Team Parker and all our sponsors. To win this championship you have to put every link in the chain together and I think we did that this year.”

Parfitt Jr also becomes the first person ever to win titles in both British GT4 and GT3.

The title winning Bentley (Photo by Alesx Denham) The GT4 race winners (Photo by Marc Waller) The Demon Tweeks duo lost out at the final race for the second year running (Photo by Marc Waller) The GT4 champions were flying but only took 2nd in the race - (Photo by Alex Denham)




The races were dominated by the TF Sport team with the car of Jonny Adam and Derek Johnston winning ahead of Mark Farmer and John Barnes sister car. Jonny Adam was very happy with how the weekend had gone;

“The race was perfect, Derek’s [Johnston] stint was nice and clean and it was a nice team effort. We’ve been 1-2 all weekend, from free practice, through qualifying and into the race. The car felt so hooked up. It’s a bit of a shame because I think we could have come here, if we had had a stronger mid-season, with a chance of the title but today’s performance shows the car is still quick. It’s nice that Derek’s got another win. That’s two victories this year but it’s nice to finish on a win.”

In GT4 it was the HHC Motorsport pairing of Will Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton who took the title in their Ginetta but again they weren’t the race winners taking only second place. In the end, it would have made no difference where they finished after their rivals Alex Reed and David Pittard in the Lanan Racing Ginetta crashed out after contact with the Academy Motorsport Aston Martin which had slowed with mechanical problems after starting from pole.

Tregurtha and Middleton become the youngest ever champions, beating the record of Jamie Chadwick and Ross Gunn from 2015 who were a total of 160 days older than the new 2017 champions when they won.

Abbie Eaton was flying early in the race (Photo by Marc Waller) The GT3 race winners (Photo by Marc Waller) Ultratek crashed out but won team of the weekend (Photo by Marc Waller) The 2017 GT3 and GT4 champions cross the line together (Photo by Marc Waller) Anna Walewska got a class Gt4 pdoium if not an overall GT4 podium (Photo by Marc Waller) The Champions are crowned on the Overall GT3 podium (Photo by Marc Waller)




The duo also win the Gt4 Silver cup for teams with two drivers considered of a professional standard.

Stuart Middleton spoke on the podium after taking second place and the title;

“We’ve done it! What an amazing result and it has been the best year I’ve ever had in a racing car. I cannot thank everyone involved with HHC Motorsport enough; what a team, what a car, what a team-mate I’ve got! Everything has worked so well – it’s an awesome result for us!”

Will Tregurtha seemed even happier;

“It has just been the best season ever! I’ve had so much fun this year, that’s what it is all about. We’re here to have fun and we have done really well in the process. I can’t thank everyone enough. HHC Motorsport has done an amazing job this year so thank you to Jody [Hemmings] and Charlie [Kemp] and everyone else in the team because they’ve not put a foot wrong. It is unbelievable. I’m really happy with how this year has gone.”

The winning car in the GT4 class for the Donington race was the PMW Expo Racing/Optimum Motorsport’s McLaren of last year’s GT4 champions Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson. After taking the title last season in a Ginetta this was their first race win in 2017 after swapping to the Mclaren 570GT4 mid season. This was enough to win them the Pro-Am title if not the overall crown;

“It was lovely to lead a race again, it’s been a long time! We made it hard for ourselves in the team this year as we had a really good idea of changing the car halfway through the season when we were already second in the championship! I can’t believe we’ve come second overall in GT4 which is fantastic and real credit to how we pulled it together because we were in a bit of a mess in the middle of the season.” Said Graham Johnson afterwards.

GT4 also includes the two female drivers racing in British GT at Donington. Anna Walewska finished tenth overall, fourth in GT4 and second in GT4 Pro/Am with her team mate Mike Simpson in the Century Motorsport Ginetta. Simpson had struggled to keep the Ginetta on track in the closing stages as its tyres were heavily worn.

Abbie Eaton, who was having a one off drive in a Team Hard Ginetta partnered with Jake Giddings, finished twelfth overall, sixth in GT4 and third in the Silver Cup class. Eaton had an excellent opening stint passing several rivals and the duo appeared to work well together but as things stand, it was a one-off partnership.

It was a tough weekend for UltraTek Racing who saw both its cars retire, one crashing out. This was after a night rebuilding the Tim Eakin and Kelvin Fletcher car after a heavy crash in qualifying. All this work looked set to receive little reward but the squad was presented with the PMW Expo Team of the Weekend Award for it’s efforts.

It’s been an entertaining and unpredictable season in British GT once again and now everyone looks forward to 2018. The news season starts on the weekend of the 31st March/1st April at Oulton Park where the battle for the titles will commence once again.

By Marc Waller 

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