GT4 youngsters Jack Bartholomew and Jordan Albert endured a character building weekend at Spa Francorchamps. The pairing headed to east Belgium leading the championship, but knew they would have their work cut out for them with no previous Spa race experience and an additional 50kg in weight being added to the car.
The Spa circuit is built on the edge of the Ardennes forest and is renowned for its unpredictable weather. In fact, the track varies in height from its lowest to its highest point by nearly 100 metres and, as the circuit is 4.3 miles long, it can be wet on one end of the track and dry on the other. Localised but brief rain meant sector two was especially wet for the start of GT4 qualifying, although other sectors were dry. This made tyre choice very difficult but Pirelli’s treaded tyres remained the best option initially although some teams gambled on the track drying and chose slick tyres for the latter part of the qualifying sessions. Bartholomew and Albert managed to qualify the Beechdean AMR Vantage a very respectable 8th in class in the 55 car grid.
The race started in warm and sunny conditions and as Bartholomew exited turn four, he was hit into a spin by a European GT4 car and plummeted to the back of the 55 car field. Once back on track Bartholomew set about catching the pack and during his one hour stint managed to catch and pass an amazing 33 cars before handing over to team mate Jordan Albert. The Silverstone based driver duly went on to secure four crucial championship points for the pairing finishing 23rd on track, 8th in British GT 4 class.
“The race weekend at Spa Francorchamps was always going to be a tough one for us as a pairing”, said Bartholomew. “After the collision on lap one, it was then a case of making the best of a bad situation and making up as many places as possible.”
Bartholomew and Albert are now 2nd in the GT4 Championship only 17.5 points behind the leaders and still lead the GT4 Silver Cup.
The next two rounds are at Snetterton on the 6/7 August.