Tag Archives: British GT

Look ahead to 2019 season in some of our British Championships.

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

British GT Donington Decider lookahead

The final round of the British GT Championship takes place this weekend, with Flick Haigh and Jonny Adam topping the points table on 149.5 points, 27.5 points ahead of Barwell Motorsports Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw, who themselves sit only a point ahead of Mark Farmer and Nicki Thiim.

With a huge advantage, history could be in the making for the Optimum Motorsport duo of Haigh and Adam, Flick would be the first woman to win the title outright and Adam would be the first competitor to win the title three times,

however the pair still have a 20 second success penalty to serve which along with expected wet weather conditions could add to the unpredictability of the race.
It has been announced that Sunday’s winner will be awarded the DPRAC Tom Wheatcroft Memorial Trophy. The cup is awarded by the Donington Park Racing Association Club to two and four wheeled Championships on alternate years, with previous recipients including Jason Plato, James Ellison, Matt Jackson and Marco Melandri.

There have been a few other GT3 announcements including the news that Rick Parfitt Jnr will be stepping down from racing. The Team Parker Racing driver has stated that he is not ruling out a return and if the right team and co-driver came along he would consider it but for now Donington would be his farewell race.

Another driver who we will be saying goodbye to is TF Sports Derek Johnston who retires after the Donington Decider. Johnston who was the 2016 British GT champion alongside Jonny Adam, started racing in 2007 in Radicals before eventually moving into British GT in 2013.

In GT4 Century Motorsports Jack Mitchell leads on 118 points, 10 points ahead of Century Motorsport duo of Ben Tuck and Ben Green.

The decider takes place at Donington Park on Sunday at 1.35.

Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick ©Allison Remzi

British GT: Farmer and Thiim Triumph at Silverstone 500

It was another victory for TF Sports Mark Farmer and Nicki Thiim as they took the GT3 win in the British GT Silverstone 500, the championships Blue Riband event. The duo also took the RAC trophy previously held by Rick Parfitt Jnr and Seb Morris. In an action packed race which saw multiple position changes at the front of the pack it was Barwell’s Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen that took second place after a great drive that saw them move up from twelfth place. In third place was Optimum Motorsports Jonny Adam and Flick Haigh in their first visit to the podium since their win at Oulton Park in April.

Riccardo Sanchez and Struan Moore who had began the race in pole position after a dominant qualifying run, looked set to repeat that performance holding a 16 second lead before the first round of pit stops, however when Struan Moore took over, the RJN Motorsport duo started to lose places.

Moore pitted again after completing just a few laps as his seat had come unclipped, slipped back in the Nissan GT-R Nismo and left Moore struggling to reach the pedals. Sanchez was duly sent back out and the pair eventually finished in fifth place.

Rick Parfitt Jnr had started the race in fourteenth place, was paired with former team mate Seb Morris who was drafted in at the very last minute when Ryan Radcliff was taken ill overnight.  Parfitt Jnr set a great pace getting past Jon Minshaw then Andrew Howard before spinning out after over steering, dropping Parfitt Jnr down to 13th place.

Morris took the seat and the Team Parker Racing #1 Bentley went on to finish in P6, they were set for P4 but a two place penalty was awarded post race due to Morris committing a yellow flag infringement.

Mark Farmer held pole position until the first pit stop when Marco Sorensen in the #17 TF Sport Aston Martin moved ahead, multiple order changes occurred, Beechdeans #99 Aston Martin with Darren Turner at the wheel also taking P1 for a while, but the pair struggled throughout with the performance of the Vantage eventually finishing in ninth place.  While Flick Haigh also fought her way up the order before handing the wheel to Jonny Adam in the final stint who consolidated their position.

Team ABBA’s Richard Neary made a return appearance at Silverstone alongside Adam Christadoulou, the team are currently entrants in the Britcar Endurance series, but just at over the half way point two bolts sheered from the front of the suspension mounting bringing the Mercedes AMG to a halt near the International pit straight and out of the race.

But it was Thiim and Farmer who remained unstoppable even despite losing places after a spin with Farmer at the wheel due to taking a hit from the #47Jetstream Motorsport Aston Martin. Thiim fought back hard after serving success penalties, with just a one second gap ahead of Phil Keen which he widened to 3 seconds, bringing the #11 Aston Martin home in first place for the second time this season. 

Mark commented: “The team played a master stroke(with strategy) and Nicki drove  the car like he stole it and the team executed the pit stops flawlessly. Nicki stated: It was a great weekend, we started off really good, it was perfect I am so happy to win this race”

GT4 found the #43 Century Motorsport BMW of Alex Schjerpen and Jack Mitchell take the win after some hard fought racing right down to the drop of the flag, securing a second back to back win for the Century Motorsport squad.

Equipe Verschuur’s Finlay Hutchison and Daniel McKay who had started the race on pole suffered with front suspension failure in the final hour forcing their retirement and handing the lead to #42 Century Motorsports Ben Green and Ben Tuck, however after serving their success penalty the duo dropped back towards the end of the race.

The Tolman Motorsport McLarens had mixed fortunes with two of the three having to retire but Lewis Proctor and Jordan Albert had a faultless drive moving from seventh into first place before being dropped back to second which they held for the remainder of the race. Ben Tuck did battle for third place with Academy Motorsports Matt Nicoll-Jones, with Tuck managing to hold Nicoll-Jones off initially but as Patrick Matthiesen also went into the fray however contact with the Academy Motorsport Aston Martin although giving a clear run to the finish line, also resulted in the positions being reversed post race.

While Matt George who was competing in two cars found himself without the drive in the Invictus Games Racing #44 when it was retired early on in the race. However the Aston Martin shared with James Holder faired better finishing seventh in class.

At the post race press conference Alex Schjerpen had this to say: “The BMW was flying and Century did a brilliant job of the pit stops, Jack went fastest and was flying as well! we knew the BMW would be good but didn’t know how good.”

The next British GT round takes place at Spa on July 21st-22nd.  

Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick ©Allison Remzi

Invictus Games Racing- The Inspirational team prepare to make their debut in British GT

Bringing the Jaguar back to British GT, new outfit Invictus Games Racing make an important step into a prominent series and along with it signal a further broadening of inclusivity in motorsport.

The Invictus Foundation was established in 2014 after the first Invictus Games, a brainchild of Prince William following his visit to the Warrior Games in the US in 2013. The foundation governs the Invictus Games, an annual world sporting event where all the competitors are ex service men and women who are ill or have been injured while in the service of their country. The games have become a potent symbol of the fighting spirit of the participants, who have or continue to overcome, physical or mental injury through competitive sport. Following the spirit of the Invictus Games, Superdry clothing co-founder and former British GT competitor James Holder was inspired to get involved in creating a charity project that focused on putting injured veterans in to a top level area of motorsport and demolishing the perception of motorsport as elitist. Invictus Games Racing looks to make motorsport a level playing field for those competing but without sacrificing any of the excitement or challenges to be found in the sport, for the ex armed forces personnel involved.

Mission Motorsport, the armed forces motorsport charity, who have been involved in putting ex service personnel in to many areas of motorsport since 2012, worked alongside Invictus Games Racing to assist in identifying and training suitable team members.

The team will run two Jaguar GT4’s especially adapted for the needs of the drivers and in a unique driver pairing format, a Pro driver will mentor and co drive with two Am ex service personnel drivers who will split driving duties.

Joining the team is American Jason Wolfe, who last year competed in the ADAC TCR Germany Touring Car Championship. Wolfe will partner Ben Norfolk and Basil Rawlinson in car #22. Norfolk, an ex RAF Serjeant and aircraft engineer had completed several tours of Iraq and Afghanistan when an incident while assisting with casualties at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan left a lasting impact. Norfolk was later diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression and was medically discharged in 2017. The 41 year old will compete in the first three rounds of the season at Oulton Park, Rockingham and Snetterton.

Basil Rawlinson ex 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment who also served in Afghanistan was medically discharged in 2014 having had medical leave due to degenerative discs in the spine and was also diagnosed with PTSD. On his return to civilian life Rawlinson set up his own crash helmet spraying business. In 2014 he was selected as an Invictus Games Ambassador for the inaugural games in London. Rawlinson then began an association with Mission Motorsport and gained his International C Race licence last summer, and completes the second half of the British GT rounds.

In the #44 car Matthew George joins the team in the Pro seat. The former Generation AMR SuperRacing driver competed in British GT in 2016 alongside James Holder with whom he also partnered in the GT4 European Series last year.

Joining him is Paul Vice MC(Military Cross) a former Royal Marines Commando who suffered massive injuries after he was subjected to an IED attack while serving in Afghanistan in 2011. Vice had 400 pieces of shrapnel removed and among other serious injuries, sustained damage to his left leg which eventually led to the lower part of the leg being amputated. Prior to the amputation Vice competed in the inaugural Invictus Games winning a gold medal in cycling. He then went on to compete in the 2016 Invictus Games by which time he had undergone the operation to remove the lower part of his leg, but he still returned from Orlando with a huge haul of seven medals(including two golds for 50m Backstroke and 50m Breaststroke as well as four silvers, 2 in cycling, sitting volleyball, 50m freestyle and a bronze in the 100m relay) making him the events most successful male athlete. Vice made the Mission Motorsport Race of Remembrance his first competitive motorsport event and will compete in the second stage of the championship tackling Silverstone, Spa, Brands Hatch and Donington.

The second Am driver is Steve McCulley who also served in the Royal Marines and was very seriously injured by an IED while on patrol in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2011. Following his medical discharge he became involved with Mission Motorsport and went on to race in the Caterham Academy in 2014, finishing fourth in the standings. He subsequently went on to compete in the Seven 310R Championship in which he finished third overall in 2017. McCulley has also competed in Mission Motorsports Race of Remembrance and will undertake the first three rounds of the British GT championship.

The season kicks off at Oulton Park, Easter weekend Sat 30th March- Mon 1st April

 

Images  ©Andy Fitzpatrick