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  • Writer's pictureLIAM REDFORD

Ella Lloyd claims her third victory in the Ginetta GT Championship

Ella Lloyd is the driver to beat in the Ginetta GT Championship. The Xentek Motorsport driver scored a double pole position – by over a second margin – and her third race win of the season at Donington Park, but two unlucky races mean she remains second in the GT5 Pro standings.

Photo credits: JEP

Ella Lloyd sustained her impressive start to the Ginetta GT Championship season with her third victory of the season, this time coming on the Donington Park GP circuit. Ella also maintained her one-lap dominance, claiming double pole position by over a second in qualifying. Although both races one and two did not result in a podium finish, Lloyd bounced-back superbly to claim victory in race three to retain second place in the GT5 Pro championship standings.

Ella came into the 2022 season as a racing rookie as she embarked on a campaign in Britain’s premier junior racing category, the Ginetta Junior Championship. Competing for Assetto Motorsport in a four-car line-up, Lloyd faced a steep learning curve but showed excellent improvements throughout the season, with her one-lap pace particularly strong. Ella ended the season 21st in the championship standings, with a best result of 11th coming at Thruxton, before three top-15 results in the final round at Brands Hatch ended her Ginetta Junior season on a high.

Her 2022 season did not end there, with Lloyd making the step up to the Ginetta GT5 Challenge for the final round of the season at Donington Park. It was here that Ella impressed, claiming a top-5 finish on her debut weekend while consistently running with the leading drivers.

This strong showing motivated Ella to return to Ginetta GT5 machinery for the 2023 season, competing in the newly reformed Ginetta GT Championship in the GT5 Pro category. Prior to this weekend at Donington, Lloyd had scored two victories from the opening five races of the year to sit second in the championship standings, also claiming pole position at both previous rounds, with a margin of over a second on the Silverstone GP circuit.

Aiming to claim the championship lead for the first time, Ella begun the weekend by taking part in all six scheduled test sessions ahead of the weekend. Clocking a sizeable 68 laps, Lloyd made good improvements at the one circuit she had previously raced at in the Ginetta G40 GT5. Her fastest lap time in testing came during the final session where her personal best of a 1:43.729 was the fastest in GT5 Pro, almost half a second clear of her nearest rival.

Ella was aiming for a third consecutive pole position in the 20 minute qualifying session on Saturday morning. She made a good start with her fourth lap of the session taking her to the top of the timesheets in the GT5 Pro category. Lloyd continued to improve as the session progressed, setting a fastest time of a 1:43.629, exactly one tenth of a second faster than her testing benchmark. This time was easily enough to secure pole position, doing so by over one second with her second fastest lap time also fast enough for race two pole.

Lining up on pole position in the GT5 Pro category, Ella made a fantastic start and held the lead after the opening lap, extending her gap to nearest rival Luke Garlick by almost two seconds. On lap two, Lloyd had a spin into the gravel at the Old Hairpin which resulted in an early retirement. Nonetheless, her pace was looking strong ahead of the two further races to come.

Again starting from pole position, Ella was aiming to return to the podium in the first race on Sunday. After losing the lead to Sam Harvey on the opening lap, a safety car period allowed Ella to close in on her rival for the restart. Lap four saw a fantastic three way battle for the lead emerge with Lloyd and Harvey going toe-to-toe with championship leader Luke Garlick.

As Ella continued to apply pressure to her rivals, she spun into the barriers at the chicane but was able to return to the pits carrying some damage. A brilliant job by the Xentek Motorsport team allowed Ella to re-join the race and finish fourth, collecting valuable championship points as a classified finisher.

Starting race three from the second row of the grid based off the results from race two, Ella made a brilliant start and took the lead at the conclusion of the first lap. By the end of lap four, she had built the lead to over a second before a safety car on lap seven cut her deficit. Resisting pressure from first Harvey and then Garlick following the restart, Lloyd defended superbly and maintained her position. This forced Garlick into an error on lap 11, while Ella extended her lead and set the fastest lap of the race in the process. Holding onto first position in the closing stages, Ella claimed her third victory of the season by a margin of over two seconds.

Ella once again showed fantastic speed throughout the weekend and once again set the benchmark in the GT5 Pro class of the Ginetta GT Championship. The three victories which she has taken do not quite reflect her dominance, with her last two pole positions coming with a margin of over one second. Lloyd remains second in the GT5 Pro Class standings following Donington Park, 37 points behind Garlick. The next round of the Ginetta GT Championship takes place in less than a week when the drivers visit Silverstone for the inaugural Ginetta G-Fest where six races will take place across the weekend, utilising both the Grand Prix and National layouts.



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