Xentek Motorsport have continued their perfect winning start to the 2023 Ginetta GT5 Challenge season as Luke Garlick and Bal Sidhu enjoyed class victories in the latest race at Silverstone this past weekend (06/07 May).
Following on from collecting a stunning haul of 11 podium finishes across the season opener at Oulton Park last month, the South Yorkshire team enjoyed another fruitful weekend at Silverstone as they produced competitive performances across all four Ginetta championships.
The reigning GT5 Challenge champions once again dominated that category over the coronation weekend, with double Oulton Park race-winner Lloyd qualifying on the GT5 Pro pole position in wet conditions ahead of her team-mates Luke Garlick and Sam Harvey, while Sidhu took pole in GT5 Am.
The opening race was due to take place that afternoon, however it was cancelled due to heavy rainfall across the circuit. Therefore they would only end up contesting one race on Sunday, which started in dramatic fashion as an opening lap incident led to an unfortunate retirement for Harvey.
Lloyd was caught up in it too and had to pit at the end of the opening lap for some quick repairs, however the emergence of the safety car allowed her to catch the back of the field. When the action resumed, she produced a masterclass to charge through the field and take the win on the road.
A post-race penalty dropped her back to third though and promoted Luke Garlick – who had impressively led for the majority of the race – to a brilliant second win of the season. Sidhu joined in the podium celebrations meanwhile as he made it four wins from four races so far in the GT5 Am class.
In the GT Championship, Conner Garlick made a big step forward with his new Ginetta G56 GTP car through pre-event testing. The extra knowledge and experience gained paid off in qualifying, as he finished a great fourth on the timesheets.
The former GT4 SuperCup star went on to mount a podium challenge in Sunday’s race. Enjoying some close racing in his EU Tags backed car, Garlick twice fought his way into third position and was unlucky to miss out on a podium finish as a gearbox issue cost him time on the final lap and dropped him to fourth.
Over in the Juniors, Felix Livesey made tremendous progress over the weekend as he continues to develop in the early stages of his car-racing career. Adapting well to the tricky conditions on Saturday, he qualified 16th on the grid for the opening race.
Keeping out of trouble in a chaotic opening lap, he emerged in a great 12th place. Hopes of making further progress were scuppered by safety car periods and an early red flag stoppage that meant there were no more racing laps, however he was later promoted to 11th place after post-race penalties.
Sunday proved to be a bit tougher for the Preston-based racer as he got caught up in an opening lap incident in race two, which limited him to a P14 finish. He was in the thick of the action again in the final race, battling his way to a 16th place finish to sign off the weekend.
There were two Livesey’s in action this weekend, as Felix’s father Paul made his Ginetta racing debut in the GT Academy. Getting to grips with the car across a couple of test days prior to the event, he impressed on Saturday to qualify eighth in class.
A top drive in the wet opening race saw him maintain his eighth place through to the chequered flag, which earnt him a podium finish in the championship’s Chairmans Cup category. Another great performance followed in the dry for race two, gaining a place to finish seventh and complete a faultless debut weekend.
Christopher Richards – Team Principal: “It was certainly a busy weekend competing in all of the Ginetta championships at Silverstone, and we come away with a lot to be proud of across the board as every driver put in brilliant performances in the tricky, changeable weather conditions.
“To continue our winning runs in both GT5 classes is fantastic and all the drivers showed great pace across the event, while Conner made a good step forward in GTP and was unlucky that a small issue out of our control cost him a potential podium finish on the final lap.
“Felix continues to improve every time he goes out on the track and was on the cusp of the top ten in race one, while we’re very impressed with how Paul performed on his debut outing and he had a great time out there. We’re excited to get our Ginetta squad out again at Donington Park in a few weeks’ time.”
Xentek Motorsport return to action in two weeks’ time (20/21 May) with the second round of the Porsche Sprint Challenge GB at Snetterton, before they tackle back-to-back Ginetta events at Donington Park (27/28 May) and Silverstone (02-04 June).
Images from Jakob Ebrey Photography.