Will Burns Scores Brilliant British GT Podium Finish At Spa
Will Burns and team-mate Gus Burton have extended their lead at the top of the GT4 drivers’ standings with a fantastic drive to third position in the latest round of the British GT Championship at Spa-Francorchamps (23-25 July).
The talented duo headed to Belgium in high spirits after an incredible start to the season, with two class victories in the opening three races. That success came at a cost though, with a pitstop success penalty adding an extra challenge to the two-hour race on Sunday.
The trip to Spa-Francorchamps had been a positive one for Burns in the past, with a brilliant triple victory in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge there back in 2013. The Weston Super Mare racer had only made one visit since though, during his previous British GT campaign three years ago.
He therefore took full advantage of three free practice sessions to get reacquainted with the 4.35 mile circuit behind the wheel of his Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT4, producing very promising pace across both wet and dry conditions in the Ardennes forest.
That experience served him well in qualifying on Saturday afternoon, with an impressive lap putting him third quickest in the opening segment of the session. Burton then jumped behind the wheel and posted another good time, with their combined efforts putting them top of the timesheets.
It marked a second pole position of the season for the championship leaders, with Burns starting behind the wheel for the two-hour race on Sunday. A chaotic start saw the Somerset racer narrowly avoid an immediate GT3 incident ahead to convert pole into the early lead.
Burns, who races with the support of Cases Ltd, Eurocams and Absolute Plastering Services, maintained the GT4 advantage following an early safety car period, but found himself under pressure from a couple of McLarens as his stint wore on.
With the agile McLaren’s being suited to the Spa circuit, the reigning Ginetta GT4 SuperCup champion had to put in a valiant defence to hold second position as they headed into the pitstop window. Once their additional success time penalty had been served, Burton emerged into fourth place.
The teenage talent, who finished runner-up to Burns in the GT4 SuperCup last year, laid down some impressive lap times as he closed a large gap to the car ahead. He swept past with half an hour remaining to ultimately score the duo a brilliant third podium finish in four races this season.
Will Burns:“It was great to race at Spa-Francorchamps again and I’m delighted with how the weekend has gone. Century Motorsport gave us a brilliant car for every session and we were able to take advantage to score more crucial championship points.
“It all clicked in qualifying and it was great to get pole position. We knew the race was going to be a tough challenge with the pitstop success penalty, but we knew our race pace was good. I just managed to miss the chaos ahead of me at the start and got my head down after the restart.
“As well as battling the McLarens, I was focusing on building as much of a gap to those behind to put Gus in the best position possible following the pitstops. He did a great job during his stint to close the gap to the car ahead and get third at the finish to cap off a great weekend.”
The 2021 British GT Championship continues in two weeks’ time (07/08 August) with a pair of one-hour races at Snetterton in Norfolk. Burns and Burton head there with a 34.5 point lead in the overall GT4 drivers’ standings and a 54 point advantage in the Silver Cup.
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.