Superb drive sees Jordan take his maiden win of the season
Jordan Collard and team-mate Patrik Matthiesen bounced back from a tyre blowout at Brands Hatch take their first win of the season in their HHC Motorsport McLaren 570S, putting them back into title contention in the British GT Championship.
With no pit window restrictions, GT4 featured a multitude of differing strategies, but it was HHC’s more straightforward approach that ultimately paid dividends in what was a fascinating endurance outing.
Jordan had shown great pace all weekend and was already in a strong position when he and his teammate Patrik qualified the car second behind Academy Motorsport’s Ford Mustang of Matt Cowley and Jordan Albert, which would have to serve an extra 20s at its final pitstop following victory last time out.
A turbulent start to the race was the first factor in creating the tactical battle. When Michael Igoe’s stranded Lamborghini summoned the Safety Car TF Sport was the first to react, immediately ordering both of its cars – started by Connor O’Brien and Dan Vaughan, respectively – to stop at the end of lap one with the race at reduced speed. TF was the only team to make that call, so the twin Astons would run out of sync with the rest of the pack for the race’s entirety.
Across the first stint nobody could touch Cowley, who picked his way through the early chaos from pole to comfortably lead Matthiesen and Gus Bowers in the sister HHC McLaren as the top three began to pull clear across the first hour.
Knowing he had the maximum Success Penalty to serve, Cowley extended his first stint as far as he could, going a full seven laps longer than Matthiesen before handing across to Albert.
Once installed, Albert kept his first run consistent and again worked his way back into the lead after the first of the early-stopping TF Astons had taken its turn out in front in the hands of Patrick Kibble.
Things soon narrowed into a three-horse race when the championship-leading HHC McLaren of Bowers and Chris Wesemael was hit with a stop-go penalty for a short pitstop, and then had that compounded by a drive-through for a pitstop infringement, which dropped it well out of the fight and to an eventual eighth.
It became a fascinating strategic battle over the final half, with the rapid pace of Albert/Cowley always threatening to pull the Mustang clear as Matthiesen/Collard played their strategy straight, stopping like clockwork almost every 45 minutes to stay within striking distance of the Ford. And then there was O’Brien/Kibble’s Aston, which rotated the lead across the pit cycles and would make its final stop inside the last half-hour.
Academy were the first of the three to make their final stop, aiming to give Albert the entire final hour to claw back the 20 seconds the car would have to lose. HHC reacted shortly after, bringing Matthiesen in for Collard knowing they could jump the Ford with no penalty to serve.
Heading into the last 45 minutes, O’Brien lead but still had to make a final stop, while Collard found himself just ahead of Albert. When O’Brien finally peeled into the pits for the last time with just 26 minutes left, it became a straight fight between the McLaren and Ford.
Collard drove superbly, fending off heavy pressure from Albert to eventually secure a first win of the season for the crew.