- Stuart Middleton and Will Tregurtha win British GT4 title at first attempt
- Endurance rookies also wrap-up Silver class crown in Donington finale
- Ginetta pairing deliver team GT4 title for HHC Motorsport too
- Duo enter record books as youngest champions in British GT history
- Runner-up spot in Rd10 makes it seven podiums for the season
Remarkable British GT Championship rookies Stuart Middleton and Will Tregurtha delivered yet another sensational performance during the final race of the season at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday, 24th September, to seal the prized GT4 title in only their maiden season.
Finishing second in the two-hour season finale at the Leicestershire venue, the result marked the HHC Motorsport pairing’s seventh podium of the year and helped the 17-year-old racers wrap-up a deserved Silver class championship victory and the GT4 teams’ title for HHC Motorsport.
Not only that, Middleton and Tregurtha have entered the British GT history books in the landmark 25th anniversary year of the category as the youngest ever driver pairing to win an overall championship crown – their combined age just 35 years and 160 days.
Taking two overall GT4 victories and four Silver class wins during their debut season of GT endurance racing, Ashington-based driver Middleton and Tregurtha have been the class of the field and the BRDC Rising Stars thoroughly deserve their magnificent ‘triple crown’.
“Where do I start? Wow! What a year it’s been, it’s flown by. I’ve had so much fun driving in the British GT4 Championship – what an amazing championship it is. We’ve definitely got the result we wanted, massive thank you to HHC Motorsport for all their work. The guys there do an outstanding job and I’ve got an awesome team-mate in Will, he’s rapid every time he gets in the car.
“What a team, what a car – we really couldn’t have asked for any more and especially in our first season. We were quite surprised at the pace we had from the outset this year, we just seemed to adapt to this Ginetta G55 like we’d driven it before. It’s been an absolutely awesome season and I’m so grateful to my family and sponsors for all of their support.”
“At the start of the year I said I really wanted to win the championship and now here we are! We’ve hardly done any testing all year, so to do what we have is so good and I can’t thank everyone enough. It’s such a fantastic result for HHC, they’ve been there every step of the way, and my family and sponsors Enlighten. I have to say a huge thank you as well to Stuart, he’s an incredible team-mate.
“Right from the first race when we got on the podium, we were so happy with that and we’ve just been learning and learning ever since – and still learning in today’s race. It’s been really, really good and the best year of racing I’ve ever had. In three years of racing cars, to go from Ginetta Juniors to then winning Ginetta Junior, and now winning British GT4 in my first season, it’s unbelievable.”
Importantly, the HHC team-mates ended the crucial qualifying session for the season finale three positions ahead of chief title rivals David Pittard and Alex Reed to get things off to an impressive start, and they were also the fastest of the Ginetta G55 entries.
In the opening run Tregurtha lapped fourth quickest, only 0.3 seconds shy of provisional pole position, despite having a lap time removed for a track limits infringement. In session two, Middleton was eighth which placed the duo third on combined times for Sunday’s grid – the potent Invitation class Toyota which qualified ahead wasn’t eligible for the GT4 battle.
Enlighten and iPro Sport supported racer Tregurtha started Sunday’s two-hour encounter and although edged back to fourth, he swarmed all over the back of the No.100 McLaren and piled on the pressure. On lap 11, a spin for the GT4 leading Aston Martin of Will Moore enabled Tregurtha to move into the GT4 podium placings and on the subsequent tour a huge development occurred.
An excursion at the Old Hairpin for Reed’s Ginetta meant, whatever happened, the HHC duo would be crowned champions but Tregurtha maintained his focus and concentration and set about making up more ground. Pressuring lap after lap, as the race reached the 45-minute mark he got ahead of the McLaren to take second place and when the pit window opened he moved into the lead.
He pitted after almost one hour and 10 minutes of racing to hand over to Middleton who had to remain stationary in the pits for an extra 10 seconds over the minimum pit-stop time, as a result of a ‘success penalty’ from the previous round.
When the race order settled after the stop, the North East Caravans-backed driver held third place and closed to within just a few tenths of a second of the No.72 McLaren of Adam Mackay. Trying to attack while also defending from the advancing Joe Osborne, the HHC car was edged back to fourth with just over half an hour to run.
Around 15 minutes later, though, Middleton moved back into the top three with a superbly judged and executed pass on Mackay on the run from McLeans into the crested right-hander at Coppice, and he then climbed through into second after Osborne slid off the road at the Old Hairpin. Holding the runner-up spot to the flag, the HHC Ginetta ended a glorious season in magnificent style.
Final British GT4 Championship Standings:
CHAMPIONS: Stuart Middleton & Will Tregurtha, 185pts
Final British GT4 Championship – Silver Class Standings:
CHAMPIONS: Stuart Middleton & Will Tregurtha, 213pts