- Simon Paice
Will Burns Scores Sensational GT4 Win On British GT Return
Will Burns enjoyed a dream return to the British GT Championship at Brands Hatch this past weekend (22/23 May), storming to a maiden GT4 class win alongside Gus Burton on his first outing with Century Motorsport.
Making a first appearance in British GT since August 2018, the reigning Ginetta GT4 SuperCup champion produced a faultless display in their BMW M4 GT4 to help them to victory in both the overall GT4 classification and the Silver Cup class too.
The deal to join Century Motorsport was made quite late in the pre-season, meaning Burns had enjoyed limited testing ahead of the opening event. That meant Saturday’s two-hour free practice sessions were crucial in giving him some more mileage in his new car.
The Weston-Super-Mare racer showed competitive pace from the off in the BMW and converted that into a fantastic performance in qualifying. In his ten minute session, a storming lap around the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit saw him top the timesheets.
Team-mate Burton perfectly replicated that result in his session, with their combined times seeing them secure the GT4 pole position by a huge margin of nine tenths of a second. With that result under their belts, they had high hopes for the two hour race the next day.
Burns started the race in strong fashion behind the wheel of the #57 BMW, with the Cases Ltd and Eurocams backed driver immediately starting to build a gap to his nearest class rivals - however this was soon wiped out with the emergence of the safety car.
In a case of déjà vu, the former BTCC racer once again broke clear of the pack at the restart and built up a near six second lead when the safety car emerged again. While he went on to lead again after the second restart, the two race stoppages would cost them dear come the pitstops.
With the silver ranked pairings like Burns and Burton given a longer mandatory pitstop time than the pro-am duos, they were back in third place once the field had settled again. Burton was a man on a mission though and quickly caught, and passed, the sister Century BMW.
With the class leading Ginetta a long way ahead thanks to their pitstop advantage, Burton was settling for second place when a dramatic conclusion saw the leader suffer a puncture with less than 10 minutes to go. Burton took full advantage to sweep past and secure the GT4 victory.
Heading home a brilliant one-two finish for the Century Motorsport team, Burns and Burton are now the early championship leaders in both the overall GT4 and Silver Cup classifications heading into the next round, the Silverstone 500 (26/27 June).
Will Burns:“I’m absolutely over the moon with that result. British GT is one of the most competitive GT championships in the world, so to come back after nearly three years away and take the GT4 class win in his return race is absolutely amazing.
“This deal came together quite late in pre-season, so I’ve only been working with Century Motorsport for a few weeks. In that time though they’ve truly welcomed me to the team and this performance shows that we have a fantastic package for the 2021 season.
“The car didn’t miss a beat when it mattered, which is a testament to the team’s professionalism and preparation, while Gus did a brilliant job all weekend. We showed good pace in the car from the off in free practice and to take pole position by such a margin was a very welcome surprise.
“I’m pleased with my speed and consistency across my stint. The safety cars were a shame as I felt I could have built up a big enough lead to negate the pitstop disadvantage, but Gus fought back well and it came to us in the end.
“Some people will say the result fell into our hands with the puncture, but we’d done the hard work to be in the positon to capitalise and we’ll certainly take it. It’s a great way to start the 2021 season and I’m excited to see what we can achieve at Silverstone next.”
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.