The opening round of this year’s Litchfield GT-R Sprint Series took place on Saturday 2nd of April at Pembrey Motorsport Centre in southwest Wales. Although the weather played its part in the earlier stages of the event, it didn’t stop a seriously close battle develop by the end of the day, with the first four cars separated by just 1.66 seconds.
Nick Goss was the driver that took overall honours by setting the fastest time of the day and winning Class N1 in his R35 GT-R, whilst just 700ths of a second behind was Paul Kenny in his R33 Skyline GT-R - a performance that saw him claim class N2 victory.
Opened in 1989, the 1.456-mile Pembrey Circuit is located on the western edge of a former RAF airfield. In the past, the venue has hosted rounds of the BTCC and British F3 championships, whereas nowadays, it is used more often for club events, rallycross, testing and, of course, sprints.
With biblically wet conditions greeting drivers, the three practice runs in the morning were used to find out what level of grip was available around the sprint course, which comprises almost a full lap of the circuit. With significant power outputs from their GT-Rs, competitors admitted to commencing with caution.It was still raining when the first of the seven competitive runs began, but as the afternoon wore on the clouds started to disperse and things began to dry out. Initially it was Kenny who topped the time sheets, setting an impressive 55.92 on his first run and then bettering it with a 54.93 on his second.
It was a time that held good until run six, when he posted an even quicker 54.76, which looked to all intents and purposes as though that would be enough to claim FTD. However, Goss had other ideas and on the very last run, trumped Kenny’s time with an ‘on-the-limit’ 54.69.
And, whilst these two eventual class winners battled it out to claim FTD, just behind them Stuart Gold and Simon Cooksey - both in R35 GT-Rs - were locked in a fight of their own to establish who would claim the second and third places on the Class N2 podium. Like the two drivers ahead of them, it was an extremely close encounter, which eventually fell in favour of Gold when he set a 56.27 on the last run of the day - a time that was just 800ths quicker than Cooksey’s.
Following this fiercely fought first round, there’s now scores to be settled in the second, which takes place at Snetterton in Norfolk on Sunday 1st May.
Increasing the series’ profile this year is the addition of live commentary and video filming at every round that will be broadcast throughout the season on social media.
The 2016 Litchfield GT-R Sprint Series is sponsored by: Litchfield, Bilstein and Turbo Dynamics.
Round 1 Class WinnersClass Class sponsor Driver Car TimeN1 Bilstein Nick Goss R35 GT-R 54.69 (FTD)N2 Turbo Dynamics Paul Kenny R33 Skyline 55.06