Ely motorsports driver narrowly misses a podium position at the British GT Championships
- Credit: Archant
An Ely man, who drives for Fox Motorsport, narrowly missed out on a dream podium finish as his team made a British GT Championship comeback at Oulton Park on Easter Monday.
The team returned to the UK’s premier sportscar series on a full-time basis for the first time since 2015 with a new car – the Mercedes-AMG GT4 – and a fresh driver line-up of Michael Broadhurst and Mark Murfitt.
The duo battled some incredibly challenging weather on raceday to come home fourth in the GT4 Pro-Am division; just one place shy of a fairytale result.
Mark, from Ely, was making his debut in the championship in only his second season of racing, but showed strong pace to qualifying 12th in the GT4 category for the opening race and fourth best of the Pro-Am pairings.
Northampton-based Michael, who put the car 10th on the Race-Two grid (and fifth of the GT4 Pro drivers), was one of the stars of the weekend.
After topping the GT4 timesheets in the opening practice session, he was also the category’s fastest driver in raceday warm-up in a staggering sixth place overall; outpacing many of the faster GT3 machines on-track.
Starting the Murfitts Industries-supported Mercedes in Race One, Mark produced a faultless performance in the tough track conditions to reach the mid-race driver changes in 10th place.
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Michael then set about a charge; lapping sometimes three or four seconds a lap faster than the cars closest to him to climb to eighth in GT4 and fourth of the Pro-Am pairs by the chequered flag.
Having proven their wet-weather prowess, Mark and Michael entered Race Two high on confidence of another strong result.
Unfortunately, after starting behind the safety car, the race was stopped after just 13 of its scheduled 60 minutes and was not resumed; race control deciding that the conditions were simply too treacherous for the pack of GT cars.
The team’s results mean Mark and Michael hold eighth place in the Drivers’ Championship and fourth among the Pro-Am teams.
Mark said: “I’m extremely pleased with the way the weekend has gone. We only took delivery of the Mercedes two weeks ago and haven’t had anything like the amount of preparation time we needed, so to come so close to a podium finish is something we can be proud of.
“This is only my second year of racing and I’d never driven in the full wet before, so my tactic for the first half of race one was just to get the Mercedes around in one piece and hand it on to Mikey, which I did.”