The inaugural meeting of the Henderson Insurance Brokers LMP3 Cup kicked off in style at the Donington Park circuit, with a single practice session, and the first of two qualifying and race sessions.
Ecurie Ecosse and Nielsen Racing took the opening honours, as the #79 machine of Alasdair McCaig and Colin Noble went fastest. Dominating they were not however; the top seven places were covered by under a second.
Qualifying came next, and it would be Andy Schulz, in the #28 G-Cat Racing entry, that would take the spoils in the red flag shortened session, and the inaugural LMP3 Cup Championship pole position.
His best lap would be half a second clear of the pair of United Autosports entries behind him, whilst practice pace setters McCaig and Noble would start fourth.
As afternoon rolled around, it was time for the first of the two races.
The better getaway would come from the United Autosports pair, with the #3 taking the lead and creating a 2.3 second gap over the polesitting #28 by the end of it. By the end of lap two it would be a United Autosports 1-2, and the teammates quickly set about building a gap to the chasing pack.
Chasing the two down, however, was the #79. It had dropped back to fifth on the opening lap, but pace was re-found and it had got to around four seconds away from the leading pair, but just couldn’t quite get any closer even though the gap was not opening further.
This order would remain constant until the pit stops, albeit the #3 would fall back almost into the clutches of the #79, the gap closing to just under 1.3 seconds; it would be Ecurie Ecosse which would come out on top after the stops had filtered through, with the #3 falling back to second, whilst the sister to the #79, the #23 of Jason Rishover and Jamie Spence, would move up to third.
The gap between first and second would fluctuate between seven and nine seconds until the closing stages of the race when, firstly, the charging #23 made a pass on the #3, followed by the United Autosports entry having an issue, and dropping a lap behind out of contention.
Benefitting from this would be the #7 T-Sport Racing entry of Karun Chandhok and Steve Tandy, which would move up to third due to the problems that befell the #3.
The chequered flag would fly shortly after, with the two Nielsen Racing/Ecurie Ecosse entries taking a 1-2 with the #79 followed by the #23. Even with a small trip into the gravel trap for Karun Chandhok, the #7 would hold on to third place to complete the podium in the inaugural race.
Inaugural fastest lap would go to Thomas Randle, in the fourth place finishing #72 Douglas Motorsport entry. The polesitting #28 crew would come over the line in eighth after the race didn’t seem to go its way.
Qualifying two begins tomorrow at 12 noon local time, and race two begins at 15:40 local.