Category Archives: British GT Championship

Packed 36-Car Grid For British GT Silverstone 500 (06.06.18)

Photo: BritishGT.com / Jakob Ebrey Photography

The premier national GT Championship arrives at the home of British motorsport on June 9 – 10 when the season reaches the half-way point with the Silverstone 500, Round Six of the 2018 championship.

A packed 36-car grid will contest the blue-riband event of the year – a three-hour race on the Grand Prix circuit – with 14 entries in the GT3 class and 22 in the GT4 category

There are a number of changes to the entry lists from Rounds Four and Five at Snetterton. In the GT3 category, the #8 Team ABBA Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, piloted by Richard Neary and Adam Christodoulou makes a welcome return to the championship, Richard Neary having said earlier in the year that business commitments would prevent a full-season campaign.

Ricardo Sanchez joins Blancpain GT Series teammate Struan Moore in the #24 RJN Motorsport Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3. Sanchez who won the first international GT Academy competition in 2314 is competing in the Blancpain GT Series in 2018 with GT SPORT MOTUL team RJN as well as gaining experience in prototypes with SPV Racing in the Michelin Le Mans Cup.

Sanchez is delighted to have been given the opportunity to drive in Round Six.

“I wasn’t expecting to get this opportunity – I can’t wait to make my debut in the British GT Championship,” said Sanchez. “Thanks to Bob (Neville), Grupo INDI and RJN for this fantastic opportunity. It really is perfect – I know the car, I know the track and I know my team-mate – I’m really excited to see what Struan and I can do.”

The #101 Balfe Motorsport McLaren 650S GT3, drive by Shaun Balfe and Rob Bell, is returning for Silverstone after damage sustained at Rockingham prevented its appearance at Snetterton.

In the GT4 class Basil Rawlinson replaces Ben Norfolk in the #22 Invictus Games Racing Jaguar F-TYPE SVR GT4 while Paul Vice takes over from Steve McCulley in the sister #44 entry in moves agreed at the season’s outset.

Ben Wallace, driver of the #88 Team HARD with Trade Price Cars Ginetta G55 GT4, will welcome a new team-mate for Silverstone when Alex Reed takes over from Josh Jackson.

“I am delighted to be returning to the British GT Championship and I will do my utmost to achieve a big result in the Silverstone 500, as a thank you to Tony Gilham and Team HARD for this amazing opportunity,” said the 20-year old Horsham-based driver who finished third in the 2017 British GT GT4 category with Lanan Racing.

Team HARD Team Principal Tony Gilham is equally excited at Alex Reed joining the team for Silverstone.

“We are very proud and excited to welcome Alex to the Team HARD family for the next round of the British GT Championship at Silverstone,” said Tony Gilham. It’s the longest race of the year and one that we hope to achieve the best results of our season so far.”

“We have had a frustrating year up to now and will be looking to build on the potential that we have within the team and, also, with the pace and experience that Alex will add to our line-up. He is a proven talent and, having competed against him over the last couple of season, we are very much looking forward to what we can achieve together for the coming weekend and beyond, as we look to the future.”

Qualifying for the Silverstone 500 gets underway at 15:25 on Saturday June 9 with the lights going out for the race at 13:10 on Sunday June 10.

“It Should Be A Fast And Very Enjoyable Circuit” – Team HARD’s Ben Wallace Looks Forward To Round Six Of The British GT Championship; The Silverstone 500.

Photo: Ian Cutting

The 2018 British GT Championship visits Silverstone on June 9 – 10 for Round Six of the nine-round series. The three-hour race is the blue-riband event for the UK’s premier GT series and all eyes in the endurance racing world will be focused on the historic 4.00km Northamptonshire grand prix circuit as the Championship reaches the mid-point of the season.

Although Southport-based Ben Wallace, driver of the #88 Team HARD Racing Ginetta G55 GT4, has not raced on this circuit before, he is excited about the challenges that the three-hour race, with multiple driver changes and a recently resurfaced track, will bring.

“I’ve been working hard in the simulator to prepare myself for the weekend as well as focusing on my fitness,” said the LIPS Reifenhandel-backed driver, currently lying twelfth in the GT4 drivers standings. “I’m very much looking forward to racing on the Silverstone GP circuit.”

Performance balancing measures, guided by the SRO, the series organisers, meant that the Ben and Team HARD were unable to demonstrate the full potential of the Ginetta at the previous rounds at Snetterton. Those measures have, however, been eased for Silverstone and Ben is confident that the car will be a lot more competitive for Round Six.

“The ride height has been lowered and weight taken out of the car which is certainly better than we had before,” said Ben. “It will be interesting to see how much quicker the car feels around the GP circuit. My preparation work in the simulator suggests that the circuit is not as intimidating as it looks. Once you’ve become familiar with it, it’s a fast and very enjoyable track, even more so after the recent resurfacing.”

Ben’s teammate for the weekend has yet to be announced.

Practice for the British GT grid begins at 09:30 on Saturday June 9 with the four-part qualifying session starting at 15:25. The lights go out for the race at 13:10 on Sunday June 10. Live timing throughout the weekend can be found at www.tsl-timing.com and the race will be live-steamed via the British GT Facebook page.

“I Learned A Lot About The Car And I Had Another Fantastic Start!” – Team HARD’S Ben Wallace Takes The Positives From A Challenging Weekend. (29.05.18)

Photo: Ian Cutting

Ben Wallace, driver of the #88 Team HARD Ginetta G55 GT4 with teammate Joshua Jackson, got the best they possibly could from Rounds Four and Five of the 2018 British GT Championship, held at Snetterton, Norfolk over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Consisting of two one-hour sprint races around the 4.82km Snetterton 300 circuit, Jackson and Wallace qualified the #88 entry in eleventh place in the GT4 Silver class for both races. A pair of ninth place finishes means that the young duo added an additional four points each to their tally in the GT4 Silver Drivers standings.

Southport-based Ben Wallace is now in twelfth place in the standings, just 3.5 points off of breaking in to the top ten.
Recent success for Ginetta G55 GT4 in the GT4 European Series encouraged the series organisers to apply performance-balancing to the car, meaning that it became very difficult for either of the Team HARD Ginettas to compete for podium honours in the glorious Norfolk sunshine.

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Photo: BritishGT.com / Jakob Ebrey Photography

Despite the disappointment, Ben Wallace was determined to find the find the positives which he can take to the next round.

“I learned a lot about the car because, in extreme cases like this, you learn more about the car when it is difficult to drive than you do in easier circumstances,” said Wallace. “It helped me gain a lot more confidence in the car.”

“I had two off-track moments from which I recovered and it taught me more about the car than I would have normally learned,” continued Ben Wallace. “Again I showed I can make a fantastic start and made up a number of positions. I was driving the car on the absolute limit and beyond! I was pushing and pushing and the team was great in letting me know how far the next car was in front.”

The British GT Championship now moves to the Silverstone GP circuit on June 9-10, a venue that Ben Wallace has some experience of.

“I’ve raced on the National circuit in the Ginetta Juniors but this will be my first time on the Grand Prix circuit,” said Ben Wallace. “Assuming that the Balance of Performance issues are addressed, and I’m sure they will be, I am confident that we can show the true pace of the Team HARD Ginetta G55 GT4 over the three-hour race. I’ll be spending a lot of time preparing for the weekend in the simulator and I can’t wait to convert all our hard work into results on-track!”

“If Everything Is Perfect, I Think We Will Be Able To Challenge For A Top Five Finish” – Team HARD Racing’s Ben Wallace Looks Forward To Snetterton And Rounds Four And Five Of The British GT Championship. (22.05.18)

After the opening two weekends of the 2018 British GT Championship were held in less-than-ideal conditions, the premier national GT series returns to Snetterton, Norfolk on May 26-27 where the forecast for hot, dry weather should allow for some close and competitive racing.

Southport’s Ben Wallace, driver of the #Team HARD Ginetta G55 GT4, is looking forward to building on the confidence he gained at Rockingham Motor Speedway in Round Three, where he gained 16 places during his stint and impressed everyone with his commitment and determination.

“I think I’ve shown to everyone at Rockingham that the pace is there and that we should be front-runners,” said the Lips Reifenhandel-backed driver. “I still feel the same for this weekend. Anything can happen, that’s for sure, but if everything goes right, I think we can finish in the top ten. If everything is perfect, I think we will be able to challenge for a top five finish.”

Although this will be the first time that the young driver, who finished third in the 2017 VAG Trophy, has experienced Snetterton in the Ginetta G55 GT4, he has a wealth of experience on the Norfolk circuit in Ginetta Juniors and VW Golfs.

“I have had quite a bit of experience in the Juniors and the Golf but this will be my first time at Snetterton in a powerful rear-wheel drive car,” said Wallace. “I want to be realistic in my expectations but, at the same time, with my knowledge of the circuit and my increased confidence in the Ginetta G55 GT4, if we get some luck I think we could do very well”

Snetterton will be hosting Rounds Four and Five of the British GT Championship – two one-hour races where the action never stops. Does Ben Wallace think that the sprint-race format will be an advantage to the #88 Team HARD Ginetta?

“I think the two one-hour races will be in our favour,” said Wallace. “If we can establish a good set-up early in the weekend, it will be an advantage but the second race allows you to reevaluate, if necessary. If we are on the first few rows in the GT4 class for Race One, then everything’s obviously all good.”

Ben Wallace carries the logo of Diabetes UK on his Ginetta and will be working with the country’s leading charity that cares for, connects with and campaigns on behalf of all people affected by and at risk of diabetes in the build-up to the weekend’s racing.

“I am proud to be associated with Diabetes UK,” said Wallace. “I hope I can act as an example to other young people and demonstrate that diabetes should not hold you back in your pursuit of your sporting dreams.”

Track action at Snetterton begins with practice at 09:30 on Saturday May 26 and the four ten-minute qualifying sessions start at 15:50. The lights go out for the first one-hour race at 11:00 on Sunday May 26.

Devon Modell Steps Down From 2018 British GT Championship (09.05.18)

Photo: BritishGT.com / Jakob Ebrey Photography

Devon Modell, driver of the #24 RJN Motorsport Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 alongside team-mate Struan Moore, has decided to step down from the British GT Championship with immediate effect to concentrate on his business interests.

Modell, who first drove in the premier national GT championship in 2014, owns, with his family, the Gallery Superclub Maidstone and made the announcement ahead of the third round at Snetterton on May 26 – 27.

“It’s a shame,” said Modell. “I knew it was going to be a big risk to run the business and drive and compete over the same weekend. If I’m not able to be 100 per cent focused, it’s better someone else gets the chance to drive the RJN Nissan for now.”

“The Gallery Superclub is an new venture for me this year and it demands a lot of attention but I’m certainly not hanging up my helmet just yet and hope to return to the series on another occasion, maybe even later this year.”

“For now though, I will be focusing on business commitments and maybe the occasional outing in one-off events when my time permits. I would especially like to thank Bob Neville at RJN Motorsport for his understanding and wish him and Struan the very best for the remainder of the season.”

“The Future Is Bright” – Team HARD’s Anna Walewska Discusses The University of Bolton’s National Centre For Motorsport Engineering With EnduranceandGT. (01.05.18)

Photo: @BritishGT / Jakob Ebrey Photography

Anna Walewska, now in her fourth season of the British GT Championship and team-mate of Callum Hawkins-Row in the #34 Team HARD with Trade Price Cars Ginetta G55 GT, is Brand Ambassador for the University of Bolton and its new National Centre of Motorsport Engineering (NCME).

Anna’s role with the University of Bolton means that students at the NCME have the opportunity to work within Team HARD as way of providing work experience in an industry that is notoriously hard to break in to.

EnduranceandGT.co.uk editor Andy Lloyd caught up with the Hindhead-based driver, who finished third in the 2016 GT4 Drivers Standings, at Round Three of the British GT Championship at Rockingham Motor Speedway to discuss her involvement with the University.

Anna, you’ve been a Brand Ambassador for the University of Bolton for four years. How did that relationship come about?

“It originally came about because the University was looking for a female ambassador and I was racing in Britcar at the time and I won the Britcar class championship and finished third overall. That was enough for them to appoint me to the position as long as I was happy to have the students’ involvement with me and the teams I worked with.”

Anna a.a. 18.05.01

Photo: @ParenRaval

Has the student involvement been there from the start?

“It’s progressed. It was not there originally but when we entered British GT, which was three years ago, we started and they’ve been with me ever since. Wherever I go, they follow.”

The idea of motorsport as an educational path is relatively new. What do you think that gives students when they’re looking at careers in an industry which is particularly difficult to get in to?

“I think, if you go to university and you come out with an engineering degree, you’ve proved your ability and commitment to a degree course and you’ve learned the theoretical side. This programme couples that with hands-on experience and a taste of the industry, at a high level, with the opportunity to look at aspects such as data, telemetry, and also the mechanical side. It gives the students a chance to see where they might like to specialise.”

“I think that what we’re giving them, and what I’m offering them, is an opportunity to find out what field they want to go in to. After that, in terms of competitiveness for them, it gives their CV an edge compared to anyone else. They can say ‘I worked in British GT with a professional team and I’ve got experience’. It’s not part of the course but it’s like work-experience. We try and give the opportunity to everyone who wants to go. And they enjoy it – it’s nice to see them progress.”

What is the step-change that the National Centre of Motorsport Engineering gives the University of Bolton from that which they had before?

“Now they have a hub – a building that is specifically for motorsport engineering called the National Centre for Motorsport Engineering. Although there’s no race team running out of it per se on campus, they still have the cars that go up to the team at the University, cars that can be worked on if they want to and the opportunity to see the prep work, the set-down work and, of course, they can visit Team HARD’s work-shop and carry out some prep work with us. They can also go externally and do some work in Rallycross as we have links with Albatec.”

#34 a.a. 18.05.01

Photo: BritishGT.com / Jakob Ebrey Photography

What does the future hold for the NCME?

“The future is bright. There are many things that the University wants to do. I’d like to see them have an in-house race team – in years to come I think that would be a nice progression but essentially the National Centre is a facility for the students. It’s hub for them where they have fantastic facilities at a base from where it all happens.”

How many of the students have moved into the motorsport industry?

“we have one student who’s gone on into McLaren, not at F1 level but he’s working on the workshop floor. We also have few who have gone into British Touring Cars and there are two that Century Motorsport have taken on. So the programme has worked in that sense. They’ve got a job at the end of it which is what they want.”

Working in a race team is more than just having the technical skills, isn’t it? It’s the ability to work as part of a team…

“Yes. Our students get to see the highs and experience the lows. For some people it’s not for them. If the car gets smashed at the end of the day and the race is tomorrow, they’ll be up all night working on it. On a degree course, you wouldn’t necessarily see that. It gives them the opportunity to ask themselves the question: ‘Do I want to be involved in this?’. And most of them do!”

You can read more about the University of Bolton and the National Centre for Motorsport Engineering here.