The second round of the increasingly impressive GT Cup Championship took place at a gloriously sunny Brands Hatch circuit in Kent over the weekend of 17th and 18th May.
It was a great start to the season for the ‘Rain Water Harvesting’ team of Adrian Lester and Andrew Bentley. With the opening races three weeks ago at Donington Park and driving the impressive Lotus Evora, they claimed three podium finishes. Leaving the Derbyshire circuit with the Class A championship lead, the team were hopeful of a repeat performance at the Kent circuit.
The GT Cup has now become the go-to championship for serious GT cars in the UK as well as attracting drivers from Europe, the full grids regularly feature contemporary GT3 machinery along with a unique mix of exciting, full blown GT cars. A simple power to weight class structure features four groups, GT Open where anything goes, GTC for the likes of Ferrari Challenge cars, GTB typically including Porsche Cup cars through to GTA for GT4 style machinery.
The Lotus Evora is an ideal choice for GTA as explained by owner driver Adrian Lester.
“I wanted a car that was not compromised for racing. When Lotus make a car, they know it’s probably going to be used on track at some point so there are some features inherent in its design which make it the ideal choice for racing. The supercharged V6 produces ample, driveable power and is not working too hard either, which is great for endurance type events. As with all Lotus cars, the handling is outstanding. We’ve been working hard on tuning the set-up but really we’ve just made some tweaks, the performance was pretty much there straight out of the box.”
With three races over a weekend, including a 45minute pit stop race and two 20minute ‘sprint’ races, there is always something happening. A problem with an ancillary pump meant Adrian Lester had to sit out of qualifying for the 45 min race. Thanks to a huge effort by the ‘Rain Water Harvesting’ team, they were able to get the car ready for the race, though starting from the back meant a challenging start for the two driver race. A solid first stint for Lester meant he was able to hand over to Bentley who made progress through the field, eventually finishing in 6th place in Class A.
With each cars fastest laps in the previous race determining the following grid placing, race two of the weekend saw Lester run the first of the pair of ‘sprint’ races on his own, finishing again in a credible 6th in Class A. Lester’s fastest lap time would put Bentley 5th in class on the grid for his 20minute solo race. After the race Lester said “I feel that I drove the best I had all weekend and that was proved by me putting in my quickest times out of all the sessions. It wasn’t an easy race but I had some good battles and really enjoyed it!”
Starting on grid 28 of the capacity field meant Bentley had to make his way past a number of quicker GTC and GTB cars in order to get to the Class A cars, which he needed to beat. “I knew I had to get up to the five GTA cars ahead of us which meant passing some of the GTB and GTO machinery that are much quicker than us on the straights as soon as I could. The faster cars can be tricky to pass once the race gets going.” In the hustle of the first lap, a GTO car made contact with Bentley as they were making their way through the tight left of Surtees, knocking the Evora’s steering out considerably. “It was pretty bad. The steering wheel was sat at 45’ to the left and I had massive problems getting through left handers. I didn’t know how bad the damage was so just kept going and hoped nothing would fall off that was too important.” The wounded Evora made fast progress though, catching the field back up and despatching of the leading GTA cars within 3 laps. “Once I was in the lead, I wanted to get a healthy gap and hold it. The car was getting harder to drive so I couldn’t push too much.” Said Bentley. Despite the damage, Bentley was able to open up a 4 second lead over his closest rival while also setting the fastest lap on the way to claiming the victory.
“I am so happy for the Rain Water Harvesting team and for Adrian. Everyone worked tirelessly to get the car fixed and this was the best thank you I could have given them.”
The team are now looking forward to heading to the next round of the GT Cup which takes place at Silverstone on the International Circuit on June 6th and 7th. While there, they are hoping to maintain their lead in Class A of the championship.
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