Xentek Motorsport secured no less than 11 podium finishes as they kicked off their title defence in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge with a sensational weekend in the season opener at Oulton Park (08-10 April).
The South Yorkshire team secured all three race wins and a pair of podium lockouts in the headline GT5 Pro class, alongside a brilliant GT5 Am victory hat-trick and competitive performances in the GT Championship and Junior Championship across six action-packed races in Cheshire.
Following on from an impressive GT5 debut in the 2022 season finale, Ella Lloyd was in exceptional form over the weekend. Setting the pace in qualifying, she converted pole position into stunning lights-to-flag victories in races one and two, with winning margins of 16 and 18 seconds. She was an unfortunate casualty in a chaotic final race though, as the field tackled tricky wet weather.
It’s Luke Garlick therefore who emerges from the weekend as the early championship leader after showing tremendous progress over only his second-ever weekend of car-racing. In his EU Tags backed Ginetta G40, he followed up third and second place finishes with a brilliant drive in the closer to record his maiden victory.
Sam Harvey joined his team-mate in securing a hat-trick of podium results as he kicked off his second season in the championship with great performances in ever-changing conditions. Showing impressive consistency with his pace, the West Midlands racer celebrated a best result of second on two occasions.
One of the star performances of the weekend came from Bal Sidhu meanwhile, as he took a clean sweep of victories in the GT5 Am category. A stalwart of the series for a number of years, he overcame the challenge of class rival Pablo Jequier to ensure he’s now taken at least one class win in all five of his seasons in the championship.
In the main GT Pro class of the new-for-2023 GT Championship, Conner Garlick had a difficult introduction over the three races. Battling some initial teething problems with his new G56 GTP, the EU Tags backed driver showed his fighting spirit to score a best finish of sixth in the opening race.
In the Juniors meanwhile, Felix Livesey put in a spirited performance in only his second-ever car-racing weekend. After contact forced him into retirement in the opener, he battled well to 15th place in race two and put in a stunning first lap in the closing race to rise from 15th to eighth, however he sadly failed to reach the race finish.
Christopher Richards – Team Principal: “We’re delighted with how this weekend has gone. To come away with all six class wins on offer in the GT5 Challenge is fantastic, plus five more podium finishes, is a testament to the great performances of Bal, Ella, Luke and Sam.
“Conner and Felix showed promising pace as well and just didn’t get the results they deserved, but we know they’ll come back fighting next time out. A massive thank you to everyone in the team for their hard work across what has been a long week at Oulton Park with testing and the extended race event.”
Next up for Xentek Motorsport is their debut weekend in the Porsche Sprint Challenge GB in support of the British Touring Car Championship at Donington Park (22/23 April), before the Ginetta season continues on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit (06/07 May).
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.