Jake Giddings has reflected positively on the opening weekend of action in the 2015 Avon Tyres British GT Championship, after securing a pair of eighth place GT4 Class finishes with team-mate Kieran Griffin during the first two rounds of the season at Oulton Park on Easter Monday, 6th April.
Pairing up with the British GT rookie this year at newcomer team JWB Motorsport, Wisbech racer Giddings – the reigning GT4 Class Champion – delivered a series of expectedly strong performances at the wheel of his Aston Martin V8 Vantage around Oulton’s challenging International Circuit.
“It’s not been a bad weekend, we’ve been improving the car and Kieran’s pace has come on well which is the main aim”, said the 20-year-old, “In the second race we had the wrong tyre strategy, so it wasn’t as good as it should have been, but the pace was still there and we got a decent finish to add to the top eight in race one. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the start we’ve made to the season.”
Jake, who during the build-up to the championship curtain-raiser was named as one of 10 drivers selected to be part of the inaugural, and highly prestigious, Aston Martin Evolution Academy, started the weekend well with the seventh fastest time in the ‘Pro’ qualifying session for GT4 cars – second fastest of the Aston Martins.
Griffin took the wheel for the ‘amateur’ session, determining the grid for round one, and emerged with the 12th fastest time to claim a sixth row start in class. Beginning the race for JWB, Griffin moved into 11th place straight away and remained there during the first of two Safety Car periods before breaking into the top 10 with just under 20 minutes of racing completed.
As soon as the pit-window opened, with 35 minutes having elapsed, Jake took over the Aston and the Cambridgeshire driver was able to rejoin the race in ninth place in GT4 – albeit with the track action running under Safety Car conditions.
Racing finally resumed with 15 minutes remaining and Jake started to make great progress, even though he faced a tall order to make much headway. Punching in a series of very quick lap times, he passed James Harrison’s Ginetta G55 for eighth position on lap 23 and also went on to produce the second fastest GT4 lap of the race on the final tour.
Taking the first stint in the second one-hour contest, Jake ran eighth in GT4 early on and following a brief Safety Car period he started to apply significant pressure to the Ginetta of Dennis Strandberg as the pair lapped nose-to-tail. Bottled up behind his rival, the JWB racer eventually pitted to hand the Aston over to his team-mate with roughly half the race to go.
Emerging in 11th position, Griffin managed to gain two places into ninth and then profited from troubles for Ginetta driver James Birch late on to assume eighth position which he held to the flag some 15 seconds clear of their closest pursuer.
“I couldn’t fault the car at all in race one, I got the second fastest GT4 lap which was great, but we did lose out in the pit-stop unfortunately”, said Jake, “There was quite a lot of carnage out there but, fortunately, we managed to avoid all of that and get a couple of good results in the bag. Both races went pretty smoothly really, now we’re looking forward to Rockingham next month.
“I think it will suit the Ginettas more than our Aston, like Oulton has, but we know we’ve got a good package. We’ve got a test at Rockingham coming up to get some good data, Kieran won’t be able to make it for business reasons so I’ll be trying to work on a set-up which suits both of us.”
Round three of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship season, the first two-hour encounter of the 2015 campaign, will take place at Rockingham in Northamptonshire on Sunday, 3rd May.