Lexie Belk claims first ever podium finish at Donington Park
Lexie Belk showed considerable improvement in the GT5 Pro category of the Ginetta GT Championship and was rewarded with her first ever car racing podium finishes, claiming third place results in races one and two at Donington Park.
Lexie Belk has enjoyed her best performance to date in the Ginetta GT Championship with two podium finishes in the GT5 Pro category at Donington Park. Belk showed considerable improvement throughout the weekend and was rewarded with her first ever car racing podium finishes, claiming third place results in races one and two. These results will give Lexie extra confidence ahead of a bumper weekend of racing in less than a week where drivers will tackle six races at Silverstone.
After a number of years karting, Lexie made her car racing debut last season driving for Race Car Consultants in the Fiesta Junior Championship. Belk enjoyed a successful season where she finished fourth in the overall standings with a pair of top-5 finishes coming at Knockhill.
Switching to rear-wheel-drive machinery in the form of a Ginetta G40 in the Ginetta GT Championship for 2023, Belk’s best finish prior to Donington was a fifth place result in the GT5 Pro category, placing her fifth in the championship standings.
Arriving into the meeting with no testing due to school commitments, Lexie’s race weekend got underway on Saturday morning with a 20 minute qualifying session. Throughout the session, she gained familiarity with the Donington Park GP circuit and consistently improved her lap times, setting her fastest time on the tenth and final lap to place her fifth in GT5 Pro, with her second fastest time also securing fifth in class.
Race one took place on Saturday afternoon with Lexie aiming to continue her progress and push for a higher position. Belk made a good start and held her position after the opening lap, before moving into fourth in the GT5 Pro class after lap two. By lap four, Lexie had already beaten her fastest lap from qualifying and continued to gain confidence.
Two laps later she moved into the podium places following the retirement of Karim Sekkat, while also setting her personal best lap time in the process. Lexie was able to hold onto this position to claim her first ever podium in the Ginetta GT Championship with a third place finish in the GT5 Pro class, a brilliant achievement which would give her confidence for the remaining races.
Lining up fourth for the second race of the weekend on Sunday morning, Lexie made a brilliant start and was initially side-by-side for second position as the drivers headed down the Craner Curves on lap one. After an early safety car period, Belk restarted in fourth before dropping to fifth on lap four. She regained the position on lap five, before moving into a podium position on lap seven. Setting her fastest laps of the weekend by over half a second, Lexie was able to hold onto her second podium in as many races, crossing the line in third position.
"Having being able to claim my first podium finish in race 1 was unbelievable but to come away with another in race 2 was even better then we imagined" - Belk commented.
Starting the final race of the weekend from third, Belk dropped to fifth on the opening lap but keen to fight for the podium once again. Setting lap times close to her fastest from race two, Lexie tried her best to stay in touch with the drivers ahead before a safety car was deployed on lap seven. Although a very short safety car period prevented Belk from catching the pack, she moved into fourth position on lap 11 and held this place until the conclusion of the race.
"Coming into round 3 we had no experience of the GP circuit itself and in the Ginetta so I knew it was going to be tough", she wrote. "However luck was on my side this weekend and I couldn’t be happier."
Lexie should be extremely pleased with her progress during the Donington Park weekend, stepping on the podium twice in the GT5 Pro category. These performances mean that Belk remains fifth in the championship standings, however she has closed the gap to the drivers ahead and now sits less than 50 points behind second place.
It is a quick turnaround for the Ginetta GT Championship drivers who return to action in the first ever Ginetta G-Fest taking place this weekend at Silverstone. Participating in six races across both the Grand Prix and National layouts, Lexie will be targeting further trips to the podium.