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  • Simon Paice

Carl Garnett Enjoys Thrilling Charge Forward On British GT Debut

Carl Garnett narrowly missed out on a superb class podium finish as he produced an impressive performance on his British GT Championship debut in the prestigious Silverstone 500 event this past weekend (26-28 April).

Continuing his partnership with leading team Breakell Racing to race their Mercedes-AMG GT4 alongside young talent Harley Haughton, Garnett was looking forward to taking on the challenge of competing as part of a huge 43-car grid for the biggest sportscar race in the UK.

Building on the knowledge and experience gained during their guest outing in the British Endurance Championship last month, Garnett got more crucial mileage under his belt in the Mercedes during official testing on Friday and a pair of free practice sessions the next day.

The York-based driver consistently improved his lap times every time he took to the track and whilst he was unfortunately unable to maximise his performance in qualifying, he headed into race day in high spirits with clear pace and potential in the Mercedes.

Garnett, who competes with the support of Telescope, Clearsilver Brand Marketing and AC Database Services, had to contend with tricky wet weather as he lined up 19th overall in GT4 and 11th of the Pro-Am class runners on the grid for the start of the three-hour race.

With intermittent rain showers leading to constantly evolving track conditions through the race, Garnett’s focus was on staying consistent and keeping out of trouble during his stints. He did exactly that, with some strong lap times helping the team’s progress up the order as the race developed.

A good strategy and three faultless pitstops from the team aided the cause too and as they headed into the final 20 minutes of the race, they’d risen up to third in Pro-Am. Unfortunately, just as the podium was in reach, there was heartbreak as an incident on circuit for Haughton led to a penalty.

Following a drive-through, they eventually took the chequered flag in seventh overall and fourth in Pro-Am. That remained a phenomenal result for all involved from the back of the grid, in particular for Garnett in only his second ever endurance race.

Carl Garnett: “It’s been a fantastic weekend and I’ve enjoyed every second of it. Entering British GT for the first time was a big undertaking for both me and the team, so to end up almost coming away with a class podium finish is more than any of us could have ever hoped for.

“I’m happy with my performance overall. The format of the event and the changeable weather conditions meant I didn’t get as much consistent track time as I’d have liked to get up to speed, but I kept improving my lap times and got more competitive every session.

“Qualifying was a baptism of fire and it really highlighted the level of the competition in British GT! The lack of dry practice and a bit of naivety on my part on the Pirelli tyre meant that I didn’t manage to get a clean lap together, and that gets punished in the toughest championship in the UK, so we ended up lower on the grid than we’d hoped.

“The race was a real rollercoaster. The weather made it very tricky on track, so I knew I just needed to keep a consistent lap time, make no mistakes and hand it back to Harley to do his magic. To come from the back of the grid, gain 12 places overall and get a top four finish is amazing.

“A huge thank you to the team at Breakell Racing. Everything ran smoothly all weekend, the car was fast and reliable, and they did a great job with the strategy and pitstops in the race. It’s been a fantastic experience racing in British GT for the first time and I hope to be on the grid again one day.”

Image from British GT / Jakob Ebrey Photography.


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