Carl Garnett has narrowly missed out on Am class title glory in the Millers Oils Ginetta GT4 SuperCup, finishing just two points adrift after enjoying a perfect weekend in the season finale at Brands Hatch this past weekend (14/15 November).
Completing an extraordinary second season in the ultra-competitive one-make GT championship, Garnett scored pole position, two race wins and two fastest laps to take every point on offer over the weekend, but it just wasn’t quite enough to secure him the championship honours.
It was following the first visit to Brands Hatch back in early August that Garnett had written off any hopes of a title challenge. Across the first two events of the year, the Yorkshireman had retired from three of the six races and had a 117 point deficit to the class leader.
The Telescope backed driver bounced back in magnificent fashion though, winning eight races in a row across the Oulton Park, Thruxton and Croft events. A further victory last time out at Snetterton ensured he remarkably entered the season finale in with a shot at the title.
The weekend began with qualifying on Saturday morning, with Garnett tackling a circuit saturated by overnight rain. Getting quicker as the session wore on, he superbly snatched pole position with his final lap of the session by just two thousandths of a second.
The rain continued into the afternoon as Garnett went out for the opening race. He wasn’t fazed though, with a great start in his AK Motorsport prepared Ginetta G55 GT4 ensuring he maintained his class advantage through the opening half of the race.
Keeping a comfortable gap to chief title rival Stewart Lines, the York based racer saw his advantage eroded with the emergence of the safety car. He dealt with the restart perfectly though and went on to take the win and crucially narrow his deficit in the standings to eight points.
The final race of the season was on a dry track on Sunday afternoon. Garnett slipped to second on the opening lap and began an exciting duel with Lines in the early stages. After some wheel-to-wheel action, he got the lead with a stunning move around the outside into Paddock Hill Bend.
Garnett pulled clear to take an 11th win of the season by three seconds, ensuring he did everything in his power to try and win the title. To be successful though he needed Lines to lose another position, but unfortunately that didn’t happen as his adversary held second to the flag.
The Astrolite, ValetPro and AC Database Services backed driver completes a season in which he matched the all-time record for most consecutive class wins in the GT4 SuperCup with eight, and become only the third driver in Am class history to win over 50% of the races in one season.
Carl Garnett: “What a weekend to end the season! We came to Brands Hatch knowing the destiny of the title was out of our hands, so all we could do was score as many points as possible and see what happened … and that’s exactly what we did!
“After the incredible run mid-season, Snetterton was a bit of a reality check. So to come here and have a weekend like this was completely unexpected. AK Motorsport gave me a fantastic car and I was able to push in quick laps whatever the weather threw at us.
“Congratulations to Stewart Lines on the title. I’ve had a great season racing with him and Nick Halstead. It’s been close between us all season, and ultimately my bad luck in the first six races cost me. That’s motorsport for you though and I have no regrets at all.
“I’m really pleased with the progress both me and the team have made this year, so a massive thank you to them and to my sponsors for their support. 11 class wins and four other podiums is better than I could have ever imagined, so I’ll take that and use the momentum into 2021.”
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.