Jordan Pepper has given Bentley Team M-Sport the perfect start to its home Blancpain GT Series weekend by topping free practice at Silverstone.
Driving the #107 Continental GT3, South African racer Pepper set the time of 2m00.009s early in the 90-minute session. Despite plenty of green flag running thereafter, the Bentley was not to be beaten.
The #52 AF Corse Ferrari 488 was second fastest thanks to Andrea Bertolini, ahead of the #97 Oman Racing by TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Charlie Eastwood. Both of these cars will compete for Pro-Am honours this weekend.
The top Silver Cup crew was the #55 Attempto Audi R8 LMS, which was among the few cars to set a quick lap during the latter part of the session. Dutch ace Steijn Schothorst delivered the lap aboard the #55 machine, placing it fifth overall.
Among the Am Cup runners, the #33 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 488 topped the order and was a very impressive 21st overall. Steve Parrow, Christian Hook and Manuel Lauck will co-drive the #33 machine this weekend.
The session, which remained dry throughout, saw three red red flag periods. The first was a brief stoppage, caused by the #9 Boutsen Ginion BMW M6 coming to a halt at turn 6 before quickly getting underway again. The second, which came after the #74 Ram Mercedes-AMG made rear contact with the wall at turn 1, lasted longer, though driver Ramon Vos was unhurt in the incident. A final red flag flew during the final minutes, ending free practice early.
The next session takes place at 15.45, when pre-qualifying gives drivers another 90 minutes of running on the 5.9km circuit. Blancpain GT Series competitors will get down to serious business on Sunday, beginning at 09.45 with qualifying. This will set the grid for the weekend's main event, a three-hour race that kicks off at 15.00.