Feathers Motorsport [FMS] extended its amazing run of class podium finishes in the UK-based GT Cup in 2023, after the Northamptonshire-based team recorded two further third places in the first single-day meeting of the season, at Oulton Park, in Cheshire.

The results ensure that FMS, which returned to the championship this season in the GTH Class (for GT4 specification cars) with its Inspire Engineering-prepared and run Aston Martin Vantage GT4 along with drivers James Guess and Tom Canning, continues to lead the class with 12 races to go. The team has now finished on the podium no less than 13 times this season (including its three class victories), and heads to Rounds 15-18 at Silverstone having maintained a 100% record of rostrum appearances for classified finishes.

Two-race GT Cup meetings (of which there are two in 2023) comprise of a single qualifying session followed by two 40-minute pit-stop races. The grid position for Race 1 is set by the qualifying session which is contested by the ‘Bronze’ or amateur certified driver. The starting positions for the second race are then defined by the fastest lap of each car in the opener.

On this occasion, the first race was short-lived. Run in difficult conditions due to changeable weather through Saturday morning, a GTO class Lamborghini crashed heavily causing significant damage to the circuit. FMS, like the rest of the GT Cup paddock, was relieved to see that driver Rich Mason escaped serious injury, but the accident prompted a red flag and required a long clear-up and recovery. The race was declared after just two laps, and the participants awarded half points.


In the short time that the cars were racing, Guess delivered a typical charge forward through the field from the back of the grid (and fifth in the GTH Class), and was running third when the red flags came out.


Just 14 cars started Race 2 which was shortened to 30 minutes, and with Guess’s limited running in the opener he started from the back row again. Undeterred, James forged his way up to second in class in the opening couple of laps, relishing in the close quarters combat for which he excels. As the race established itself, he defended his position stoutly from the two Make Happen Mercedes in third and fourth, while the early leader Paddock Motorsport took advantage of an interloping GTO Class BMW to make its escape from Guess.

Despite his best efforts, the #69 Make Happen Mercedes slipped by the lap before James pitted to hand over to Canning, with the car stationary for 92 seconds to take account of Success and Pro driver penalties. Once on track, Canning delivered his usual sequence of fastest laps, setting three race records in a row, but his pace was not enough to catch the two leading Mercedes in front and eventually he crossed the line third. 


“It’s great to be able to say you’ve come away with a brace of podiums when you have a disjointed day like this,” said Guess. “The most important thing is that no-one was hurt this morning, which is a testament to how safe these modern cars are – though it’s also a reminder of what can happen in motorsport. We didn’t quite have the pace of the two Mercedes today, so to finish third in both races is damage limited, and it means we maintain our lead in the GTH Class Championship.”


Canning added: “Oulton Park is a wonderful circuit and it’s a privilege to be able to race an Aston Martin around it. As usual, the car was beautifully prepared by the team and I was able to push it hard in the short time I had at the end of the second race. It was an unusual day, but to come away with two third places is a good reward for our efforts – and James deserves much of the credit for this.”

Team principal Simon Rose said: “We’ve maintained the GTH Class championship points lead and on balance, that’s all we could realistically have hoped for this weekend. It was a relief to see that no one was hurt in this morning’s accident, and while it was a little frustrating to miss so much racing action, it was nothing compared to what those involved had to deal with. Full credit to the circuit organisers for repairing the facilities and allowing us to get back out there for a second race. We didn’t seem to have the ultimate pace of our closest rivals today, and we will look into the reasons why so that we come back stronger at Silverstone, but as ever the Aston Martin Vantage GT4 was beautifully prepared by Inspire Engineering and well supported by Aston Martin Racing. We move on to Silverstone with an excellent record of success so far in 2023 and a healthy championship lead.”



Guess and Canning sit atop the GTH Championship standings by 32.5 points with a total of 230.5, and remain fourth in the overall championship, 34.5 points behind the leaders. Feathers Motor Sport is currently seventh in the Team Championship. The next round takes place on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit in Northampton, on 29-30 July.