Garage 59’s first full season in the British GT Championship got off to a good start at Oulton Park in Cheshire during the Easter bank holiday weekend. Alexander West and Marvin Kirchhöfer grabbed a third place podium finish in the second of the two, one-hour sprint races and the Sky Tempesta duo of Kevin Tse and Chris Froggatt got their Silver Am class title hunt off to a very strong start, taking second in class in Race 1 and third in Race 2.
In what looks set to be the most competitive British GT season yet, the pressure was on for the start of Race 1. Kevin Tse had a front row grid position in the #93 McLaren after a fantastic performance in Qualifying. He dropped back to fourth at the start on the slippery, rain-soaked track, but soon got back into the action. Alex West started the #88 in ninth place and managed to improve to seventh before the pit window opened.
The pit stops proved to be the undoing of both cars as they received penalties for speeding in the pit lane as they exited the pits. It’s safe to say that the switch that was knocked on each occasion will never be knocked again! At the chequered flag, Kirchhöfer, who was now in the #88, crossed the line in 11th place, with Frogatt in 13th overall and second place in class in the #93 McLaren.
The weather deteriorated before Race 2 but that didn’t stop Kirchhöfer making a move from fourth on the #91 BMW on Lap 1, grabbing third place. It was a textbook race for him and West, both Oulton Park rookies and both enjoying the track immensely before taking the flag in third overall.
“It was good to finish the weekend on a positive note,” said Kirchhöfer. “Race 1 was a little unfortunate with the pitlane speeding penalty but Race 2 was really good and I’m really happy that me and Alex finished the weekend on the podium when it was our first time at Oulton Park.
“To be completely honest, I didn’t have high expectations of the track but I was proven very wrong, very quickly. The track is so cool and so much fun! It was great to see all the British fans turn out, despite the rain, creating a really good vibe. The team gave me and Alex a fantastic car; we’ve been the fastest McLaren all weekend so I hope we can continue like this when we get to Monza for the first round of GT World Challenge Europe.”
In the #93 McLaren, a broken wiper left Froggatt and Tse will very limited visibility in Race 2 but they fought on and took their second podium finish of the weekend!
“We had some very tricky conditions this weekend,” said Froggatt. “Overall though we are pleased with the points we have scored in P2 and P3 in the silver championship. I would like to say a big thank you to the team for their support throughout the weekend. We are very much looking forward to May and racing at Silverstone.”