ELLIS IMPRESSES IN DEBUT BRITISH GT RACES
Croydon's Bradley Ellis impressed in his first ever Avon Tyres British GT races on Saturday 15 and Monday 17 April at Oulton Park, Cheshire, by putting in two stellar performances to help secure third in the GTC class Championship after two rounds. In partnership with Team RPM team mate Alex Mortimer, Ellis helped bring home a pair of fourth-place class finishes, ninth and 10th overall.
Ellis embarked on his first Avon Tyres British GT double-header with only one test session under his belt. Despite the lack of time at the wheel of his Team RPM Porsche 996, Ellis put in a credible performance in his first qualifying session to secure 18th on the grid and 12th in the GTC class.
As the pace car pulled into the pits and the lights flashed to green for round one and his first British GT rolling start, Ellis did well to hold his nerve and his position through Old Hall and over the subsequent opening laps.
Three laps into his 30-minute stint and Ellis was sufficiently settled to start to push and made up an impressive five places with 15-minutes remaining. Now lying in 13th, Ellis began to catch the Chad Racing Porsche 996. A mistake by the number seven Porsche allowed Ellis to position himself perfectly to take the place at Cascades the following lap.
Rapidly closing on the Riley/Flux Mosler GT2 car, Ellis remained under pressure from the Chad Racing Porsche as he struggled to find a way past the powerful Mosler for the best part of the following three laps. With just a further three laps to go before his pit stop and driver change, Ellis managed to pass the Mosler going into Cascades.
Ellis' valiant efforts in the closing stages of his race secured 11th place overall and seventh in class before he handed the wheel to team mate Mortimer. An impressive performance by Mortimer helped to gain further track position to bring the Team RPM Porsche home fourth in class and 9th overall.
Round two on Sunday afternoon saw Mortimer take the rolling start from 10th on the grid, fifth in class, and he did well to emerge in 12th after the opening lap. Mortimer immediately began to push and made good ground to catch and pass the number four Porsche of Hulford/Harris for 11th position just one lap before the pit stop and driver change. That same lap, the sister Team RPM driven by Philip Glew pulled into the pits to retire from the battle for the GTC class lead, promoting Mortimer/Ellis to fourth in class.
A smooth driver change allowed Ellis to rejoin the race in 10th place, staying ahead of Hulford/Harris. With a clear track in front, Ellis drove a mature 30-minute stint, pulling out a comfortable cushion from 11th place, to take the chequered flag and deliver a second fourth-place class finish for Team RPM.
"We've had a really encouraging first British GT race weekend and I'm pretty pleased with the results. I didn't imagine we would deliver two fourth-place finishes for Team RPM in my first outing," said Ellis. "I am relieved to have my first qualifying session and rolling start under my belt and I am getting more confident each time I go out in the car. Alex and I are already working really well together and I am sure we will be a strong partnership, particularly heading into mid-season. We have laid some positive foundations this weekend, which I am looking forward to building on."
Team RPM's Robin Mortimer commented: "Bradley has surpassed our expectations in his first British GT races. This is a highly competitive formula boasting vastly experienced drivers and the cars aren't easy to drive. Bradley has taken the challenge in his stride, easily adapting to the car and race format. He was under immense pressure this weekend yet he delivered two brilliant results, each just one step away from the podium. We are confident Bradley and Alex will be a competitive pairing this season."
Ellis will be putting in some additional testing time prior to rounds three and four of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Donington Park, Leicestershire, on 21 May.