Dominating the GT4 battle throughout the weekend in Leicestershire, the Dundee 18-year-old set the pace in practice, qualifying and, along with team-mate Daniel McKay, the duo absolutely starred in the race to take a richly deserved 21 second debut win in the British category.
Arriving at Donington Park fresh from a magnificent GT4 European Series finale at the Nurburgring in Germany last weekend, where Hutchison scorched to a sensational double podium with Ricardo van der Ende, including their second victory of the season, the Scottish teenager continued his fabulous momentum.
“To finally get onto the top step of the podium in British GT is fantastic”, said the McLaren 570S racer, who is backed by Hutchison Technologies, Evoson and In-Home Displays, “I was happy with my performance from the start this weekend, this was my first outing on the full GP track in a GT car but I was straight on it and we were quick in practice and qualifying which was good.
“Daniel did a good job in his stint at the start of the race. When I got in the car, the team told me the sort of times other people were doing. When I matched them I could tell it was going to kill the tyres, so I backed off a little bit and then had better tyres at the end when we pulled away even more. Big thanks go to all the guys in the team for this year, it’s great to end with a win.”
After posting the fastest time in the first practice, Hutchison continued to impress in qualifying on Saturday afternoon and even though he only had two laps at the end of the session with which to set a time, as a result of some technical problems, he aced it with a lap of 1m47.436 seconds (83.34mph) to secure provisional pole by 0.3 seconds.
In session two, McKay could only manage 11th overall so on combined times to form the grid for the finale the team-mates qualified second on the grid in GT4 – with McKay set to begin Sunday’s eagerly awaited two-hour race for the team.
Sticking side-by-side with the pole-starting BMW of Ben Green through Redgate at the beginning, McKay then had to avoid a GT3 car which had run wide at the corner so he tucked into second place on the run down through Hollywood and Craner Curves.
Running just 0.2 seconds behind the BMW into lap two, McKay pressured and on lap three he moved through into the GT4 lead. Swiftly opening a healthy gap, the Scottish driver was almost six seconds clear by lap 14 but everything went awry as he headed into Redgate.
With oil having been deposited on the track shortly before he headed into the corner, McKay skidded straight off under braking and into the gravel trap. Fortunately able to recover to the circuit without damage, he did slip to fourth in GT4.
Following a Safety Car period at around the 25-minute mark, racing resumed around 10 minutes later and McKay started to recover the lost ground. After taking third, he closed on the No.4 McLaren and moved into second on lap 26 before then retaking the lead from Green.
Building a cushion of 5.5 seconds before handing the Equipe Verschuur car over to Hutchison, when the Dundee 18-year-old headed into the race he was determined to end the British GT4 season in the best way possible and immediately pumped in some scintillating laps.
When the race order settled after all stops had been completed, Hutchison had a 12 second lead in GT4 from the No.4 McLaren and he soon increased the advantage to over 15 seconds with some superb driving – lapping over a second quicker than anyone at that point.
Although encountering some overly defensive driving from a GT4 Mercedes when trying to lap the car as the final half an hour approached, Hutchison soon cleared the car and continued on his way – although losing the thick end of two seconds in the process.
Instantly punching in some rapid lap times again, while also looking after his tyres, Hutchison boosted the lead to over 16 seconds with little more than 20 minutes remaining. Continuing to lap faster than the competition, the McLaren racer extended his advantage yet further and went on to take the chequered flag at the end of the two hours a superb 21 seconds clear.
“I’ve definitely improved as a driver this year”, reflected Hutchison, “I feel my speed and racecraft have both improved and there are lots of positives for us to take away into next season and whatever that brings.”
With his dual 2018 campaigns in British GT4 and the GT4 European Series now concluded, next on the motor racing schedule for Hutchison will be outings in the VLN endurance series in Germany and also a trip to Daytona Motor Speedway in Florida, USA, over the weekend 10th/11th November for the HSR Classic 24 Hour Race.
Provisional 2018 British GT4 Championship Standings
8th Finlay Hutchison/Daniel McKay, 79.5pts
Provisional 2018 British GT4 ‘Silver Cup’ Championship Standings
5th Finlay Hutchison/Daniel McKay, 113pts