Jake Giddings from Wisbech claimed a hard-fought seventh place finish during the fourth round of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Silverstone yesterday (May 31).
The result keeps the Aston Martin Evolution Academy racer inside the top six of the GT4 Class standings.
Beginning the rain-affected three-hour contest at the Northamptonshire venue’s 3.66-mile Grand Prix circuit from 13th position in GT4, the 20-year-old and team-mate Kieran Griffin did a good job to climb through and secure yet another solid points haul for the rebranded JWBird Motorsport team.
While qualifying on Saturday took place in the dry, overnight rain and continued wet weather on raceday morning led to a very slippery track surface for the start of the ‘Silverstone 500’ and a big challenge awaited British GT rookie Griffin who took the opening stint.
Getting away from the rolling start cleanly in the No.47 Aston Martin V8 Vantage, the Hertfordshire driver moved into the GT4 top 12 and ran competitively over the first few laps until an unfortunate spin on lap five dropped Griffin back to 16th position in class.
Following an incident, the Safety Car was deployed for the first time on lap 14 and while several cars did visit the pits for their first mandatory stops, the JWBird entry remained on track. As more and more GT4 cars pitted, Griffin was able to climb the order into the top three as the cautionary period continued and he eventually made his first stop from fourth place with 55 minutes having elapsed.
Handing over the Aston to Gidding, the reigning GT4 Champion joined the race sixth in GT4 and he set about climbing the order when the action resumed. Into second position by lap 28, he began to reel in the class leading Toyota and at the halfway point of the contest he was just 1.6 seconds shy.
When the Toyota pitted, Giddings assumed the lead but then had to fend off the attentions of the AmD Porsche. Despite slipping back to second, he remained glued to the tail of the new GT4 leader and moved back into first place when the Porsche pitted with 75 minutes of racing remaining.
Pressing on, Giddings made JWBird’s second stop from the GT4 lead with just over an hour left on the clock and Griffin got back behind the wheel. Rejoining in fourth, he climbed back into second before being shuffled to third prior to the team’s final stop with roughly 35 minutes to go.
Giddings returned to the driving seat for the sprint to the chequered flag and after joining the race back in eighth position, he swiftly climbed into seventh but wasn’t able to make any further progress before the conclusion when reducing front-end grip became a factor.
“It was a good race overall”, said the Finesse Paving & Civil Engineering, Cowley Road Garage and Toppesfield-backed driver, “I really enjoyed the first stint in the wet, we had a good pit stop strategy and jumped a few cars so that was great and it pulled us into contention for a good result.
“Kieran did a good job out there but after the last stop, I’m not sure what happened. We came out in eighth and just struggled for pace at the end. I think it was a lack of grip at the front end, I couldn’t hold the car through Maggots and Becketts as well as I’d been able to before. Seventh is still a good solid finish, though, and it was nice to have led the race for a while too.”
Next on the Avon Tyres British GT Championship calendar is the annual visit to Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium six weeks from now, on Saturday, July 11.
Provisional Avon Tyres British GT Championship GT4 Driver Standings:
6th Jake Giddings/Kieran Griffin, 39.5pts
Provisional Avon Tyres British GT Championship GT4 Pro-Am Standings:
4th Jake Giddings/Kieran Griffin, 58pts
Provisional Avon Tyres British GT Championship GT4 Team Standings:
6th JWBird Motorsport, 39.5pts