- Simon Paice
Will Burns Crowned 2021 British GT4 Champion
Will Burns and team-mate Gus Burton have been crowned the GT4 drivers’ champions in the 2021 British GT Championship, securing the title with a weekend to spare courtesy of a fantastic class victory at Oulton Park (11/12 September).
It marks a second major championship win in two seasons for Burns following his Ginetta GT4 SuperCup success last year, with the Somerset racer and Burton forming a superb partnership behind the wheel of their Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT4.
Stamping their authority on the GT4 class with victory in the season opener back in May, they’ve scored overall podium finishes in five of the six events so far, with an Oulton Park double at the weekend making it a brilliant six for the season - three more than any other driver pairing.
Topping the points standings after every meeting this season, the accolade of winning a British GT drivers’ title a weekend early is a rare one, with Burns and Burton being the first drivers to achieve it since 2015. Their success has also helped guide Century Motorsport to the GT4 teams’ crown.
Will Burns:“What an amazing day, and an amazing season. I had unfinished business in British GT after my previous season in 2018, so when the opportunity came to join Century Motorsport I jumped at it. I’m really pleased I did, as it’s been a fantastic partnership.
“The BMW hasn’t skipped a beat all season and that’s testament to the team. Their hard work and preparation has led to faultless reliability with the car, which means we’ve been able to get points and podiums every weekend, while they’ve nailed the race strategies all season.
“Gus [Burton] has been absolutely brilliant too. We were fierce competitors last year and having gone wheel-to-wheel with him, I knew he was going to be rapid this season. He’s been one of the quickest drivers in GT4 every weekend and kept getting the job done.
“To win the GT4 SuperCup last season and follow it up with the British GT4 title, it’s something I’m very proud of. I’ve been loving my racing these last few years and long may it continue. Now though, it’s time to celebrate!”
The penultimate meeting of the season took Burns to the picturesque Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire, with the Weston-Super-Mare based racer immediately showing great pace around the full 2.69 mile International layout in the Century BMW.
A strong qualifying session saw the duo secure second and fourth on the grid for Sunday’s pair of one-hour races, the first of which Burns started behind the wheel. He made immediate progress too, sweeping around the outside at the first corner to take the early lead.
Burns went on to hold it for the remainder of his stint, before Burton emerged from the pitstops in second after a rival had a shorter allotted time. The teenage talent went on to stay there through to the chequered flag to put them on the cusp of championship glory.
They headed into race two needing merely to finish the race to be crowned the champions, however they weren’t ready to settle for anything less than victory. In treacherous wet conditions, Burton kept his nose clean to stay in fourth before handing the car over to Burns.
The Cases Ltd, Eurocams and Absolute Plastering Services backed driver was sixth at one stage, but started climbing the order. Once up to third, a thrilling final seven minutes of the race saw him seize the moment and pick off both the leading McLaren’s to secure a sensational class win.
Burns:“I’m over the moon that we could seal the title win in style with a victory in race two. The car was set-up perfectly for the wet conditions and that gave me the confidence to keep pushing on and make the moves when the opportunities presented themselves.
“We put ourselves in a strong position for the races in qualifying and took full advantage on Sunday. We had the pace to win the opener but had to pit longer than our rival, so to fight through and win race two instead was the perfect way to end a brilliant weekend.”
The 2021 British GT Championship season concludes in five weeks’ time with a two hour race at Donington Park over the weekend of 16/17 October.
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.