The British GT Oulton Opener
What a way to start the 2022 British GT season!
Having finished second in the GT4 Pro-Am class in 2021, Nick and Jamie arrived at Oulton Park ready for their first race in the GT3 class, with their new Mclaren 720s.
Saturday’s qualifying session saw Nick set the fourth fastest lap time in ProAm, getting the pairing off to a strong start for their debut GT3 race. Incredible drives from Nick and Jamie in the first race had us moving through the field going into the mandatory pit window. A clean stop by the team left Jamie in a strong position, but fighting off attacks from the rear. Jamie crossed the line to secure third, the first GT3 podium for the pairing.
Going into the second race Jamie lined up eight on the grid, but a collision ahead of him on the opening lap forced him to take to the grass, dropping him to the back of the field. A strong stint from Jamie moved us up to fourteenth, before a sudden rainshower, and redflag put a halt to the race. After the restart Nick continued this relentless rise to the front, closing up the gap to the cars ahead and staying out of trouble to cross the line in sixth.
The pair currently hold sixth in the overall standings and fifth in ProAm.
Nick Halstead said: “It’s been fantastic to get on the podium in my first weekend in a GT3 car, and I’m especially pleased with the speed I’ve had. I’ve been on the pace of all but one of the other Am drivers, and that’s despite not having tested the McLaren here at Oulton, so that’s a huge positive too. I think we could have done even better. I lost a little bit of time in qualifying in traffic and without that then maybe the 0.3s gap to pole wouldn’t have been there, and I’m pretty frustrated about being held up on the restart in Race Two and losing touch with the cars ahead of me straight away. I just want to get to Silverstone now because we really have a strong package underneath us.”
Jamie Stanley said: “To get a podium on our first race with the GT3 McLaren, and our first GT3 race of any kind since 2016, is fantastic. Ultimately, we’ve only been beaten by a factory Mercedes-AMG driver and a Formula 1 test driver, and that’s not bad at all when you consider we didn’t test here pre-season either. The team’s put in such a hard slog over the winter to get us to this point, and we’ve been right in the ballpark. Nick’s stints were great in both races - and in qualifying - and crucially we go to Silverstone without a pitstop penalty, which improves our chances there too. I really feel like there’s something building with this programme and I’m excited to see where it leads over the next few events.”