Rounds 15, 16, 17 & 18 - Silverstone


Feathers Motorsport [FMS] extended its podium tally to 14 in the UK-based GT Cup series at Silverstone over the weekend (29-30 July), but the ‘Home of British Motorsport’ was not kind to the erstwhile GTH Class championship-leading squad, after a significant Race 2 accident ruled it out of the rest of the weekend’s action. Such has been the success of FMS in 2023 – the Northamptonshire-based team has only been off the podium on four occasions so far this season – that despite recording three non-scores at Silverstone following the crash it remains deep in the hunt for the GTH Class title. FMS is just 15.5 points off the class lead as the championship draws towards its climax with four-race rounds left to run at Donington Park (16-17 September) and Snetterton (7-8 October).

The team’s regular driver James Guess had begun the four-race, two-day meeting in fine form. He qualified the Inspire Engineering-prepared Aston Martin Vantage GT4 fifth in the GTH class, as the team began to explore the potential of the latest Balance of Performance parameters set-down for the weekend, and then produced a typical charging performance in the opening 25-minute Sprint race. Having produced a fantastic pass on the #96 Make Happen Mercedes around the outside of Stowe on the opening lap, Guess delivered another stunning overtake to move up to third in class by the end of lap three. As is often the case, his chase for second position was then hampered by cars from other classes becoming embroiled in the fight, and he settled for third – building on Feathers’ championship position.

But that extraordinary podium run, which includes three class victories so far this season, then came to an abrupt halt halfway around the opening lap in Saturday’s Pit Stop race. Starting fourth in class, Guess initially dropped behind the #78 Paddock Motorsport McLaren, but was quickly on its tail. Through the ultra-fast Becketts complex the McLaren appeared to lose momentum and Guess went for a gap on the inside of the Chapel Curve lefthander. The two cars made contact and immediately speared off the track, making heavy contact with the barriers on the righthand side.
Both drivers were unharmed in the accident and were released back to their teams following checks at the circuit medical centre. But the damage to the FMS Aston Martin was too extensive to be repaired at the circuit, and the car was withdrawn from the rest of the meeting.

“I was much quicker than the McLaren through Becketts,” said Guess, “and going into Chapel he left a gap on the inside, which I went for. I got alongside him and then he closed the door. I presume he can’t have seen me or didn’t know I was there. Contact was inevitable and, with the speed you are going there, it was a big crash. I’m perfectly fine, but the car is badly damaged, which is very frustrating. I feel very sorry for the team and it’s such a shame that the weekend had to end prematurely as I am sure we would have produced more podium performances. Thankfully our form through the season means that we have not lost sight of the championship and we can still fight from where we are.

Team principal Simon Rose said: “First of all I would like to say that I am relieved that neither driver was hurt in the accident, which is a testament to modern GT racing safety structures. While our Aston Martin took significant damage to both the front and rear, the safety cell and the tub didn’t have a mark on them, and that is a compliment to Aston Martin Racing. Our podium run has come to an end, but thanks to the performances we have been able to deliver throughout 2023, though we have lost the GTH Class lead we are not far behind at all. It is our intention now to try to rebuild, recover and come back fighting in the last two meetings of the season. It was a disappointing weekend, but this is a part of racing we must accept.”

Guess and Tom Canning are now second in the GTH Championship standings with a total of 248.5 points and are seventh in the overall championship, 122.5 points behind the leaders. Feathers Motor Sport is currently eighth in the Team Championship. The next round takes place at Donington Park, Derby, on 16-17 September.