Sebastian Priaulx has moved just two points shy of the GT4 Drivers’ championship lead despite him and team-mate Scott Maxwell being cruelly denied a podium finish in the British GT Championship’s flagship Silverstone 500 race this past weekend (08/09 June).
Bouncing back in style from a tough outing at Snetterton last time out, Priaulx and Maxwell put in a stellar performance around the world-famous Silverstone Grand Prix circuit to finish fifth overall in the GT4 class in their Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang.
With it marking the Guernseyman’s first time racing on the Grand Prix layout, three free practice sessions across Friday afternoon and Saturday morning proved crucial as he got to grips with the circuit and the team dialled in the set-up on the Mustang ahead of qualifying.
Their hard work paid off as Maxwell first posted the sixth fastest time during the GT4 Am session, before Priaulx went one better in the Pro segment. With their times added together for the final classification, they secured sixth on the grid for the Silverstone 500.
Maxwell started behind the wheel of the Mustang for the race, with both drivers set for two stints behind the wheel with the regulations stating the requirement of a minimum of three pitstops and driver changes across the only three-hour race of the season.
The Canadian racer made a fantastic start as he gained three places across the opening two laps to settle in third, a position he went on to maintain through to the first round of pitstops. Once all cars had pitted, Priaulx emerged from the shuffle in sixth.
Comfortably lapping as one of the fastest GT4 drivers on track, the 1st Central Insurance, Ravenscroft and Plus Interiors supported driver worked his way into the top four and his impressive stint meant that Maxwell was able to emerge from their second pitstop in the class lead.
After Maxwell held the advantage throughout his run, once all the final pitstop strategies had played out Priaulx settled in fourth place with 20 minutes to go. Determined to taste the podium champagne, he quickly closed down a near three second gap to the car ahead.
Swiftly moving past, Priaulx produced a composed drive in the closing minutes to take the chequered flag in third position. Post-race however, a 30 second time penalty due to a pitstop infringement dropped them back two places in the final result.
A hard-fought third top six finish of the season so far was still enough to ensure Priaulx and Maxwell now lie second in both the GT4 overall drivers’ and Silver Cup championship standings ahead of the next round at Donington Park in Leicestershire in two weeks’ time (22/23 June).
Sebastian Priaulx: “While it’s frustrating to receive the time penalty which ultimately cost us a podium finish, it takes nothing away from what’s been a really positive weekend for the team all round as we got back to fighting at the front of the field where we belong.
“Multimatic Motorsports did a fantastic job with the Ford Mustang and our pace was strong in qualifying. Scott [Maxwell] drove two great stints in the race and I was pleased with the speed I was able to show, particularly in the final sprint to the chequered flag.
“To end the weekend second in both the overall and Silver Cup standings is brilliant for us. We have a couple of things we need to improve for Donington Park, but we know we have strong pace there from testing and head into the meeting in confident mood.”
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.