With the start of the 2018 season of the British GT Championship just a few weeks away, theRACINGLINE.net is here with a comprehensive preview of what promises to be a highly competitive season of racing.
The calendar remains unchanged from last season, with the 9 round Championship kicking off on Easter Monday at Oulton Park with a double header. The circus then moves on to Rockingham, Snetterton, Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps, and Brands Hatch before the season finale at Donington Park in September.
Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt, Jr. took a hard-fought title in their Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3 in the GT3 class. Stuart Middleton and William Tregurtha took the honours in GT4, in the process becoming the youngest driver pairing to ever take a British GT title. However, Morris, Tregurtha and Middleton will not be returning to defend their titles as they all move to pastures new.
Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw took early GT3 class victories in Rounds 1 and 2 in typically challenging Bank Holiday weather at Oulton Park in the Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3. Round two was brought to an early end after the race was red-flagged after a massive accident between Ian Loggie’s Bentley and Richard Neary’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 at Hilltop.
After a messy opening weekend for Morris and Parfitt Jr, which saw them collide with the sister Bentley in Round 1 and spin off at Knickerbrook in Round 2, fortunes changed and they took the victory in the two hour Round 3 at Snetterton. Further wins at the Silverstone 500 and at Brands Hatch for the Team Parker Racing drivers saw the title fight go down to the wire at Donington. A measured drive saw them finish 4th, but the exclusion of Minshaw and Keen promoted them to 3rd, and with it, the British GT title.
Barwell took the Teams’ Championship, ahead of TF Sport. Team Parker Racing claimed third in the standings. Meanwhile, HHC Motorsport took the GT4 Teams’ Championship with Black Bull Garage 59 finishing the season as runners up.
What You Need To Know
As with many GT series, there are a number of rules surrounding driver line-ups and their gradings. Pro/Am entries make up the majority of the field, with Pro drivers being graded as Silver, Gold and Platinum. Any crew running a Pro must run with an Am (amateur/gentleman) driver. For example, a Silver graded driver cannot run with a Gold graded driver.
The Silver/Am category is for young professional drivers paired with an Am driver.
Crews can consist of Silver/Silver or Am/Am line-ups, but these will be vetted by the GT Bureau to make sure that they can compete at the same pace as Pro/Am line-ups.
There are two classes of car: GT4 and the faster GT3 cars. GTC cars are also permitted, but currently no GTC cars are used. Cars not homologated as GT3 or GT4 can enter at British GT’s discretion as Invitational entries.
Points are awarded down to 10th position. Races of two hours and over are worth an additional 50%
|Finishing position||1 Hour Race||2+ Hour Race|
|1st||25 points||37.5 points|
|2nd||18 points||27 points|
|3rd||15 points||22.5 points|
|4th||12 points||18 points|
|5th||10 points||15 points|
|6th||8 points||12 points|
|7th||6 points||9 points|
|8th||4 points||6 points|
|9th||2 points||3 points|
|10th||1 points||1.5 points|
British GT Resources
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- Official Website
- SRO Website
- Live Timing
- British GT Twitter
- British GT Facebook
- British GT Instagram
- British GT News
- tRL TV: British GT Videos
2017 saw the GT3 field have fewer entrants than GT4 for the first time, and with further additions to the GT4 class, things remain much the same in 2018. 13 cars from six manufacturers is not a bad show, however.
It’s all change at TF Sport for 2018, with The Dane Train arriving in the shape of factory Aston Martin drivers (and 2016 FIA WEC GTE champions) Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen. Thiim has been paired with British GT winner Mark Farmer, who finished fourth in the 2017 standings. Sørensen partners up with 2017’s third placed driver Derek Johnston. TF Sport have possibly the strongest line-up in GT3 for 2018, and the addition of The Dane Train will provide a thrilling battle to see who comes out on top. They must be favourites to take both the drivers’ and teams’ titles this year. Which one of the driver pairings takes it, however, is anyone’s guess.
Team Parker Racing have a shake-up this year as well; Seb Morris won’t be back to defend his 2017 GT3 title. Instead, he is looking for opportunities racing in Europe. Replacing Morris is Ryan Ratcliffe, who is moving over from the AMDTuning.com Mercedes-AMG GT3. Parfitt Jr and Ratcliffe were team-mates (and champions) together in GT4 back in 2013 and both are eager to see if Parfitt Jr can be the first amatuer driver to defend his GT3 title. Ian Loggie and Callum MacLeod remain in the sister car.
Jonny Adam leaves the team he won the 2016 drivers’ championship with and joins Wakefield-based Optimum Motorsport, who are returning to the top class after a season of running GT4 cars. Running Aston Martins for the first time, Optimum Motorsport have the works Aston Martin driver paired with Flick Haigh. Haigh finished second in the 2016 Gulf 12 Hours and she raced Optimum’s Audi R8 LMS in last season’s GT3 Le Mans cup.
Beechdean AMR make their return to the field after spending 2017 competing in the European Le Mans Series and Le Mans 24. The British GT legends return with their Prodrive-supported Aston Martin Vantage GT3. Behind the wheel is 3 times Le Mans winner and factory Aston Martin driver Darren Turner, who makes his first full-time appearance in British GT. Joining him is team owner Andrew Howard.
British GT stalwarts Barwell Motorsport have three Lamborghini Huracán GT3s on a full season commitment for 2018. Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw remain as team-mates and will be hungry to win after such a strong title challenge last season. Leo Machitski stays with Barwell but moves over to British GT from the Blancpain Endurance Cup. He’ll be pairing up with the Finnish driver Patrick Kujala, also making the move over to British GT from Barwell’s Blancpain Endurance Cup team.
Balfe Motorsport make a return to the British GT field with a McLaren 650S GT3, having only ever competed in one round back in 2013. Shaun Balfe, however, raced in British GT in the 2000, 2001, and 2003 seasons. Balfe is partnered by McLaren factory driver and Le Mans veteran Rob Bell.
Gone this season is the Mercedes-AMG of Team ABBA/Rollcentre Racing with Martin Short and Richard Neary. Mercedes are still being represented this year though, with ERC Sport fielding a single car with Lee Mowle and Yelmer Buurman behind the wheel.
A car that fans have been desperate for was announced at the media day – the Nissan GT-R GT3, affectionately known as “Gozilla”. The (stunning) car is one of the RJN-run GT-Rs and will be piloted by Devon Modell and Struan Moore.
Photo: British GTA notable absence this season is Spirit of Race’s Ferrari 488 GT3. This leaves British GT without the legendary marque, making it the only GT series in Europe without the Prancing Horse.
GT4 is continuing to show that it’s low-cost, high action approach to doing things is paying dividends as the entry numbers continue to swell. This season sees a record 23 GT4 entries. Eight manufacturers (also a record) will be represented in 2018, including new cars from Jaguar, Toyota and Mercedes. They will be going up against Aston Martin, McLaren, Ginetta, McLaren and Nissan.
Jaguar make a welcome return to the fray for the first time since 2007. Running under the Invictus Games Racing banner, they will be fielding a select group of wounded, injured, and sick (WIS) British Armed Forces veterans. Like Zanardi before them, it is less about winning and more about the thrill of the competition, working as a part of a close-knit team, and pushing themselves to their limits. Two cars have been built by Jaguar’s famed Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division; the F-Type SVR GT4 will be powered by a 5-litre supercharged V8 engine. It’s an absolutely stunning car and a fantastic cause.
Fox Motorsport are also bringing a new car to the grid; the Mercedes-AMG GT4. The car made its customer debut at the 24 Hours of COTA. Fox Motorsport, however, aren’t new to British GT. They entered a full season in 2015 running a Ginetta G55 GT4 and made a couple of appearances in both the GT3 and GT4 class in 2016. A strong driver pairing in Mark Murfitt and Michael Broadhurst could see them challenging for podiums.
Reigning GT4 champions HHC Motorsport are expanding to run a two-car effort for 2018, adding a Pro/Am line-up to run alongside their existing Silver Cup entry. However, with the reigning drivers’ champions moving on to the GT4 European Series, HHC have drafted in Ginetta GT4 Supercup champion Callum Pointon and Patrik Matthiesen, 2015’s Ginetta Junior rookie of the year, as their Silver Cup entry. The Pro/Am entry sees former BTCC driver Will Burns joining Mike Newbold. Whether or not they can repeat last season’s glories without Tregurtha and Middleton remains to be seen, but don’t count them out.
The McLaren 570S GT4 shows no sign of losing any popularity for 2018. With two-car efforts for both In2Racing and Black Bull Garage 59, Tolman Motorsport running a single car for Joe Osborne and David Pattison, Track-Club, and the return of Balfe Motorsport running another 570S, the car that seemingly kick-started the customer GT4 era is well represented.
Nissan are also back this season with a pair of 370Z GT4s. UltraTek Racing Team RJN have re-jigged their line-up, with 2013 WEC LMP2 champion and Le Mans class winner Martin Plowman now joined by former Emmerdale star Kelvin Fletcher.
Newcomers to British GT are Ginetta Junior and GT5 Challenge ream, Richardson Racing. Initially, they will be entering a sole Mercedes-AMG GT4. The Corby-based team will be entering a second car later in the year. No driver line-up has been confirmed, but expect an announcement shortly.
Another newcomer to GT4 is Team BRIT, who will be entering a Vantage GT4. Regular entrants to the Fun Cup, the team’s drivers have a range of disabilities with many injured troops and amputees. In September 2017, the team opened its doors to civilian drivers to widen opportunities and to promote its ‘Believe and Achieve’ ethos.
Ginetta continue to field a number of GT4 entries with HHC Motorsport and Century Motorsport returning for 2018.
Full Entry List
|Team Parker Racing||Bentley Continental GT3||1||Rick Parfitt Jnr, Ryan Ratcliffe||Pro/AM|
|Barwell Motorsport||Lamborghini Huracán GT3||2||Leo Machitski, Patrick Kujala||Pro/AM|
|Team Parker Racing||Bentley Continental GT3||7||Ian Loggie, Callum Macleod||Pro/AM|
|TF Sport||Aston Martin Vantage GT3||11||Mark Farmer, Nicki Thiim||Pro/AM|
|TF Sport||Aston Martin Vantage GT3||17||Derek Johnston, Marco Sørensen||Pro/AM|
|RJN Motorsport||Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3||24||Devon Modell, Struan Moore||Silver|
|Barwell Motorsport||Lamborghini Huracán GT3||33||Jon Minshaw, Phil Keen||Pro/AM|
|Jetstream Motorsport||Aston Martin Vantage GT3||47||Graham Davidson, Maxime Martin||Pro/AM|
|Optimum Motorsport||Aston Martin Vantage GT3||75||Flick Haigh, Jonny Adam||Pro/AM|
|Beechdean AMR||Aston Martin Vantage GT3||99||Andrew Howard, Darren Turner||Pro/AM|
|Balfe Motorsport||McLaren 650S GT3||101||Shaun Balfe, Rob Bell||Pro/AM|
|ERC Sport||Mercedes-AMG GT3||116||Lee Mowle, Yelmer Buurman||Pro/AM|
|Tolman Motorsport Ltd||McLaren 570S GT4||4||Michael O’Brien, Charlie Fagg||Silver|
|Tolman Motorsport Ltd||McLaren 570S GT4||5||Jordan Albert, Lewis Proctor||Silver|
|Equipe Verschuur||McLaren 570S GT4||10||Finlay Hutchison, Daniel McKay||Silver|
|Invictus Games Racing||Jaguar F-Type SVR GT4||22||Ben Norfolmk & Basil Rawlinson, Jason Wolfe||Pro/AM|
|Richardson Racing||Mercedes-AMG GT4||25||TBC, TBC||TBC|
|Team HARD Racing||Ginetta G55 GT4||34||Anna Walewska, Callum Hawkins-Row||Pro/AM|
|Century Motorsport||BMW M4 GT4||42||Ben Green, Ben Tuck||Silver|
|Century Motorsport||BMW M4 GT4||43||TBC, TBC||TBC|
|Invictus Games Racing||Jaguar F-Type SVR GT4||44||Steve McCulley & Paul Vice, Matthew George||Pro/AM|
|HHC Motorsport||Ginetta G55 GT4||50||Mike Newbould, Will Burns||Pro/AM|
|UltraTek Racing Team RJN||Nissan 370Z GT4||53||Kelvin Fletcher, Martin Plowman||Pro/AM|
|UltraTek Racing Team RJN||Nissan 370Z GT4||54||Stephen Johansen, Jesse Antilla||Pro/AM|
|HHC Motorsport||Ginetta G55 GT4||55||Callum Pointon, Patrik Mattiesen||Silver|
|Tolman Motorsport Ltd||McLaren 570S GT4||56||David Pattison, Joe Osborne||Pro/AM|
|Academy Motorsport||Aston Martin Vantage GT4||61||Tom Wood, Jan Jonck||Silver|
|Academy Motorsport||Aston Martin Vantage GT4||62||Will Moore, Matt Nicoll-Jones||Silver|
|Team Parker Racing||TBC||66||Nick Jones, Scott Malvern||Pro/AM|
|Steller Performance||Toyota GT86 GT4||68||TBC, TBC||TBC|
|Track-Club||McLaren 570S GT4||72||Adam Balon, Ben Barnicoat||Pro/AM|
|Fox Motorsport||Mercedes-AMG GT4||77||Mark Murfitt, Michael Broadhurst||Pro/AM|
|Steller Performance||Toyota GT86 GT4||86||TBC, TBC||TBC|
|Team HARD Racing||Ginetta G55 GT4||88||Benjamin Wallace, Nick Worm||Silver|
|Balfe Motorsport||McLaren 570S GT4||501||Graham Johnson, Mike Robinson||Pro/AM|
British GT is in rude health, with GT4 being in slightly ruder health than GT3. That’s not to say that GT3 is in any way going to be a damp squib; it just shows how competitive the GT4 class is currently. A good rule set, strong manufacturer representation, cost efficient cars, and some great driver pairings have paved the way for a golden era of GT4 racing in British GT and 2018 could be anyone’s.
GT4 is difficult to pick any single team out for class honours. The performance balance between all the cars is incredibly close and just about everyone has a chance of grabbing a victory with the right strategy or a mid-race shower going their way.
GT3 promises some close racing and great competition up front. TF Sport, with their line-up, have to be the favourites. That said, you cannot discount the other Aston of Optimum Motorsport with Jonny Adam; he is the driver with the most GT3 victories and has won in every season of British GT he has contested. Expect Barwell to win some races this season too, especially at tracks like Oulton Park.
Team Parker Racing have lost a great driver in Morris, but Parfitt, Jr. is no slouch and neither is Ratcliffe. With a strong team-mate, they should still be fighting towards the front and Parfitt, Jr. stands a reasonable chance of being the first amateur driver to win back-to-back GT3 titles.
All-in-all, 2018 looks like it’s going to be a thriller.