Weather Stymies Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke In British GT Finale
Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke was denied the chance to clinch second place in the GT4 class of the 2021 British GT Championship, despite a brave tyre gamble from his team in mixed conditions in the season finale at Donington Park.
Putting behind him a difficult previous outing at Oulton Park, the Buckinghamshire racer headed to Donington Park for the second time this season to conclude the year, hoping to steal back second in the GT4 class standings.
At a circuit he and co-driver Chris Salkeld claimed a fine victory at back in June, Gordon-Colebrooke enjoyed some early testing mileage on Thursday afternoon under sunny skies in Leicestershire, showing solid pace ahead of Saturday's practice and qualifying track action.
With the BMW M4 GT4 proving itself to be among the front-runners once again in the morning's brace of free practice sessions, strategy soon came into play for the Century Motorsport driver. A decision to focus on race pace would set Gordon-Colebrooke up well for Sunday's two-hour race, opting to save a fresh set of tyres for the main event.
Qualifying was encouraging for the former Monoposto and Ginetta GT4 Supercup front-runner, sealing a top-seven position on the grid but with rubber to burn in front of the Sky Sports F1 cameras for Sunday's race. The weather took a turn however as rain greeted drivers on Sunday morning, meaning the race started in tricky conditions in the afternoon.
A tyre gamble once more was considered, and the Century mechanics waited with slick and wet tyre compounds on standby. The result would be a call to start the car from the pit lane on slick tyres, hoping the track would dry out quickly while rivals started the contest on wet rubber.
The gamble unfortunately did not come to fruition, as conditions were not dry enough in the first hour of the race to allow for Gordon-Colebrooke's team-mate to make up lost ground in the worst of the initial wet conditions. As the car came in, fastest lap times eventually began to appear for the #9 BMW but by then, the damage had been done.
Gordon-Colebrooke took over the car for the final hour of the race, and immediately showed strong pace to begin an attempted fightback through the field, hoping also for a safety car interruption that did not come. The car came home seventh in class, beating their rivals at Rocket Motorsport who retired in the closing stages.
With victories at Brands Hatch and Donington earlier in the season, Gordon-Colebrooke's best season in GT racing concluded with great memories and a final position of fifth in the GT4 standings to round out the '21 campaign.
Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke:“It's not the way we wanted to finish such a great season, but that's just how it goes. We win together and we lose together, so we all collectively made the decision we did.
"It looked as though it was a good choice, and we thought it would dry out much, much quicker than it did. After 30 minutes and the times weren't improving; it was very bizarre. It only came to us right in the pit window so it meant we were too far behind already.
"That being said, it's been a really good year for all of us, and for me it's my best season in GT racing. We had wins, and were always in the fight for the podiums.
"A huge thank you to BMW and Century Motorsport for all their hard work and support, and to my sponsors."
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.