We return from our winter break, with a look at what the 2019 season has in store across a number of British Championships.
In British GT it looks to be another thriller of a season with a number of exciting announcements ahead of next months media day season launch at Donington. Phil Keen will be joined by Adam Balon aboard one of Barwell Motorsports two new Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo’s. Balon has for the last two seasons raced in GT4 on board the Track-club McLaren, while Keen has just been confirmed as a factory driver for Lamborghini.
Keen has been partnered for the last few years in British GT by Jon Minshaw who now says goodbye to British GT and continues racing on an international level. Barwells second Huracan will be driven again by the pairing of Sam De Haan and Jonny Cocker.
Also returning to British GT is Nicki Thiim who will continue his partnership alongside Mark Farmer at TF Sport aboard the new Aston Martin V8 Vantage,
the teams other Vantage will be driven by Graham Davidson and current British GT champ Jonny Adam. The team will also enter two GT4 cars with upcoming drivers Tom Canning, Rory Collingbourne, Patrick Kibble and Josh Price.
Balfe Motorsport bring the new McLaren 720S GT3 to the Championship, with Shaun Balfe and McLaren factory driver Rob Bell returning for a second season together, fielding the first ever GT model designed and built in-house by McLaren Customer Racing at their Surrey base.
Making a much anticipated return to British GT is Team ABBA Racing, with team owner Richard Neary partnering with Adam Christodoulou at every round other than the June Donington round, when the date clashes with Christodoulou’s appearance at the Nurburgring 24 Hours.
A new addition to the British GT roster is Multimatic Motorsports GT4 Ford Mustangs. Seb Priaulx, Scott Maxwell, Billy Johnson and a yet to be announced driver will be helming the cars, developed by Multimatic which earned Ford the manufacturer’s title in 2018’s IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.
Century Motorsport expands its stable of BMW’s with the addition of the M6 GT3 to be driven by reigning GT4 Champion Jack Mitchell who returns to the team alongside Adrian Willmott. The team also return with two BMW’s in GT4, with the pairing of Angus Fender and Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke. The second pairing is yet to be announced,
While Team Parker Racing will return with the new Bentley Continental GT3 but are yet to confirm driver pairings after the departure of Rick Parfitt Jnr at the end of last season.
There will be a treat in store for Porsche fans when WPI Motorsport bring the new 911 GT3 Cup to the Championship with Michael Igoe and Adam Wilcox taking driving duties.
BTCC has a new title sponsor for 2019 with Kwik Fit on board, Goodyear Dunlop continue to supply the competition tyres, meanwhile Trade Price Cars Racing joins the championship with two Audi S3’s, one to be driven by Jake Hill, that had previously been entered by AmD. AmD bought Eurotech’s Honda Civics after the outfit made the announcement after last season that they would be withdrawing from the championship, leaving Jack Goff so far without a drive for 2019. Sam Tordoff and Rory Butcher take the Honda Civic Type R’s into the series with Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance. Tom Oliphant makes the switch to West Surrey Racing in his second BTCC season, while Daniel Rowbottom in his maiden BTCC campaign, takes the vacant seat at Cicely Motorsport alongside Adam Morgan.
BRDC British F3 competitor Billy Monger was honoured at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards, receiving the Helen Rollason award, recognising outstanding achievement in the face of adversity. The teenager who returned to racing in F3 a year after his life changing accident at Donington Park, has drawn support from around the world and his inspirational journey continues to gain him fans who look forward to seeing where this coming season will take the Carlin driver who has yet to confirm his plans for 2019.
Current champion Linus Lundqvist started the new year competing in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona after winning the Sunoco Whelen Challenge in 2018. The Swede took the wheel of Precision Performance Motorsports Lamborghini Huracan, a challenging, wet race that was eventually red flagged with less than two hours on the clock due to the poor conditions. However Lundqvist put in a sterling performance alongside Milos Pavlovic, Don Yount and
Steve Dunn, eventually finishing 20th in class.
Meanwhile confirmed to join the championship this year is Hampus Ericsson, brother of Marcus Ericsson. Hampus has previously competed in F4 before moving into British F3 for the final two rounds last year, achieving a podium place in only his second race at Donington Park. The Double R Racing driver looks set to impress in 2019. Hillspeed’s Sasakorn Chaimongkol will return for a second season after a very successful maiden season, while making his debut in BRDC British F3 is reigning British F4 champion Kiern Jewiss who joins Douglas Motorsport, with whom he has previously competed in the Ginetta Junior Championship, being crowned the Rookie Champion in 2017. As ever with BRDC British F3, 2019 looks to be an exciting season.
TCR UK enters its second season with a calendar that takes in a round at Spa-Francorchamps, the competitive series aims to continue to grow, having got off to a solid start in 2018. Some changes for 2019 include a revision of race and qualifying formats to bring it in line with the other worldwide TCR UK series, there will also be a drop in the entry fee as well as the introduction of a new class, the TCR UK Cup, in the hope of including drivers participating on an amateur footing. The series opens at Snetterton on April 21st.
The Britcar Endurance Championship sees many returning drivers including Marcus Fothergill and Dave Benett, Ash Woodman and Martin Byford, while Sam Neary joins his father Richard Neary, competing in most rounds, behind the wheel of fan favourite, the Team ABBA BMW M3.
Last years championship winner Sarah Moore will partner newcomer Moh Ritson behind the wheel of Tockwith Motorsport’s Ginetta G50. The pairing of David Mason OBE and Ross Wylie will be running one of FF Corse’s Ferrari 488 Challenge’s, a force to be reckoned with when the series return on 30th March at Silverstone.
The GT Cup Championship returns on 13th-14th April at Donington Park with the addition of a pair of new cars in the shape of a Mclaren 570GT4 to be driven by Steve Ruston and John Whitehouse and the Ferrari 488 of Ross Wylie and David Mason who will also be competing in the series.
With just a small taste of what is in store for some of our home championships, the 2019 season looks set to be a thriller.
Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick ©Allison Remzi