Will Burns will head into the 2019 Millers Oils Ginetta GT4 SuperCup season finale only seven points off the championship lead after securing a crucial pair of podium finishes during the penultimate meeting of the year at Silverstone (28/29 September).
The Somerset racer headed into the weekend on a superb run of eight consecutive podium finishes and he was determined to add more silverware to his cabinet across the three races around the short and fast 1.64 mile Silverstone National circuit.
Burns kicked off the meeting in positive fashion on Friday as he finished second quickest in both free practice sessions. Crucially, he got laps in on both a wet and a dry circuit, which was beneficial ahead of different weather conditions over the weekend.
On a slippery track on Saturday morning, Burns put in a strong performance behind the wheel of his Rob Boston Racing prepared Ginetta G55 to qualify third fastest in class. That put him right in the mix for a podium finish in the opening race soon afterwards.
A great start saw the 29 year old move up to second position on lap one and hold it for the first half of the race, however it all went wrong on lap ten. Contact from behind sent him spinning round, before further issues later in the lap put him down in 19th overall and 11th in the Pro class.
While Burns was able to settle back into a good rhythm on track, a large gap to the next Pro contender meant that he was unable to regain any further ground by the chequered flag. The result also meant he would start 11th on the grid for race two that evening.
Fired up from the earlier frustration, the Cases Ltd, Eurocams and Absolute Plastering Services supported driver immediately made his intentions clear as he gained four places in the opening seven laps before a safety car interlude.
When the action restarted, Burns continued his charge through the field and after breaking into the top six, he went on to take the finish in fourth. Two drivers ahead had received time penalties for track limit infringements though, promoting Burns to second place.
That drive and podium result was a fitting way for Burns to reach the milestone of 100 races in the Ginetta GT4 SuperCup, becoming only the sixth driver to become a centurion. With a 45th podium finish in the series under his belt, he wanted another one in race three.
From fourth on the reverse grid, the Weston-Super-Mare based driver made a fast start in front of the live ITV4 television cameras to move into third on the opening lap. From there, his sights were set on closing a three second gap to his two title rivals ahead.
Burns showed great pace throughout and posted the fastest lap of the race as he started to put pressure on Harry King ahead. He made his move on the penultimate lap with a superb pass into Luffield, however he slipped back at Brooklands on the final tour.
A 14th podium finish of the season so far means that the 2016 GT4 SuperCup vice-champion will head into the season finale at Brands Hatch in two weeks’ time (12/13 October) only seven points adrift of King in the points standings with three races remaining.
Will Burns: “It certainly wasn’t our best weekend, so I’m satisfied to come away with two podium finishes and only a seven point deficit in the championship standings. Our pace was strong across practice and qualifying, but sadly it didn’t go our way in the races.
“The opening race was a killer for my momentum, as I knew we had the pace for the podium but received contact. That made race two even sweeter, with a good drive up the order and a bit of luck in my favour with the penalties to get back to the podium.
“It was a fun way to mark my 100th race in the championship and to follow it up with another podium felt great. I thought I had secured second place in the closing laps, but just missed out. It was a great race though.
“It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster weekend, so I’m going to go home now, regroup and come back fighting at Brands Hatch. It’s going to be close at the front, so I’m going there in maximum attack mode and I’ll see what we can do.”
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.