Jetstream Motorsport’s Graham Davidson and Maxime Martin raced to a maiden British GT Championship victory on hallowed ground at Belgium’s legendary Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps (21-22 July).
In free practice, Jetstream Motorsport’s mechanics and engineers worked methodically to cure balance issues that were preventing Davidson and Martin from pushing.
Improvements were made between FP1 and FP2 and then into Saturday’s critical qualifying session, when Davidson and Martin’s combined efforts assured them of a front-row starting position for what promised to be a hard-fought contest, with the top eight qualifiers separated by just one second.
During a typically frenetic start to Sunday’s two-hour race, Davidson received a nudge from Ian Loggie’s Bentley Continental GT3 as the field arrived at the first pinch point – La Source – but managed to stay with the pole-sitting Optimum Motorsport Aston Martin of Flick Haigh on the rise through the infamous left-right-left incline through Eau Rouge-Raidillon.
A Safety Car neutralised the action after Mark Farmer’s V12 Vantage burst into flames and dropped oil on the racing line in the first sector and, at the restart, Davidson lost three positions to an invitational Mercedes entry, Loggie’s Bentley and Jordan Witt’s Nissan GT-R; Haigh ran over cement dust laid down by trackside marshals to dry Farmer’s discarded oil, restricting the Davidson’s vision and causing him to lose momentum on the rise through Eau Rouge and along the Kemmel Straight.
However, the Scottish Am regrouped and brought himself back into play, reeling in the leading quartet before re-passing Loggie and Witt as they came together at the Bus Stop chicane before picking up another position when Haigh span.
Davidson of Aberdeen pushed on – unaware that the invitational Mercedes had been served with a stop-go penalty – and subsequently maintained his seven-second lead over Rick Parfitt Junior’s Bentley before the pit window opened.
A second Safety Car intervention coincided with the start of Martin’s stint in the #47 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3, negating Jetstream Motorsport’s advantage.
However, the former 24 Hours of Spa winner from Brussels stretched his legs at the restart, building a seven-second lead over Ryan Ratcliffe in P2, before settling down into a comfortable rhythm and bringing the orange and white Aston Martin home to secure Jetstream Motorsport’s first British GT win.
“It’s amazing to get this first British GT win under our belts and the fact it has happened at Spa, Maxime’s home circuit, makes it sweeter,” said Davidson. “Jetstream Motorsport has certainly had a turn in fortunes this weekend, after a few missed opportunities, but we’ve worked hard, done everything right and we know we’re capable of carrying this form through to the remaining rounds at Brands Hatch and Donington Park.
“While I really wanted to take the victory here at Spa, I didn’t think we had a race-winning car at the start of the race, having struggled to find a good compromise in free practice and qualifying. I thought the most we could hope for was a third or fourth place and so we decided to take a sensible approach, and that really worked for us in what was a dramatic race. It was amazing to watch our car take the chequered flag in first place and it leaves me wanting more.”
The British GT Championship returns to UK shores for Round 8 of the 2018 season on the world-famous Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit (4-5 August).