Category Archives: British GT Championship

British GT Season Finale – Plenty To Make Weekend Memorable And Emotional (19.09.18)

Photo: BritishGT.com / Jakob Ebrey Photography

The 2018 British GT Championship enters its final round at Donington Park on September 22 – 23 and with the retirements announced of 2016 GT3 champion Derek Johnston and reigning GT3 champion Rick Parfitt Jnr, there will be plenty to make the weekend memorable and emotional.

In the GT3 category, Flick Haigh and Jonny Adam, teammates in the #75 Optimum Motorsport Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3, hold a 27.5 point advantage over rivals Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen in the #33 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 with the #11 TF Sport Aston Martin pairing of Mark Farmer and Nicki Thiim just one point back on 121 points. With 37.5 points up for grabs, all three pairings have a shot. The substantial lead, however, of the Optimum Motorsport pairing means that barring a complete disaster for the #75 crew and a win for Minshaw and Keen, Haigh and Adam will be crowned GT3 champions on Sunday afternoon.

The race for second place in the GT3 drivers’ standings is covered by only eleven points. Mark Farmer and Nicki Thiim, driving the #11 TF Sport Aston Martin and currently lying third in the standings on 121 points, have Lee Mowle and Yelmer Buurman just ten points behind in the #116 ERC Sport Mercedes-AMG GT3.

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Photo: BritishGT.com / Jakob Ebrey

Were Adam and Haigh to win the GT3 title at Donington, history would be made. Flick Haigh would become the first female driver to win a British GT title and Jonny Adam would claim a record-breaking three GT3 titles with different teams.

Adam is quietly confident but taking nothing for granted ahead of the title decider.

“British GT almost always goes down to a Donington decider, and it’s a phenomenal way to end the season,” said the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans LM GTE Pro winner. “Flick and I are in a good situation with a 27.5 points lead, but we have to overcome a 20-second pit stop penalty from our win at Brands Hatch. We know what we need to do, but the key is to make sure we go into the weekend ready to deliver just like the season as a whole.”

“Flick has been driving very well lately and has put so much into this season in preparation behind the scenes with testing and simulator work, winning the championship would be a great reward for her.”

If Adam and Haigh have a substantial lead in the GT3 standings, then the reverse is true in the GT4 category. 23 points separates the top six in the drivers’ standings with the #43 Century Motorsport pilot Jack Mitchell leading the way on 118 points followed by Bens Tuck and Green, teammates in the sister #42 entry, in second, just 10 points behind. The #55 HHC Motorsport pairing of Callum Pointon and Patrick Matthiesen complete the top six on 104.5 points. Pointon and Matthiesen will be looking to repeat their Rockingham showing and take victory in the GT4 class to give themselves the best chance of finishing the season as champions.

32 cars will take to the grid at Donington – 13 in the GT3 class and 19 in the GT4 category. Changes to the entry list for the previous round at Brands Hatch include the addition of three additional cars on the GT3 grid. RJN Motorsport is bringing its #24 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 to be piloted by Chris Buncombe and Struan Moore while Balfe Motorsport returns to the premier category with ex-GT4 champions Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson sharing the driving duties in the #101 McLaren 650S GT3 ahead of a possible 2019 full GT3 campaign. JMH Auto / John Seale is campaigning its Ferrari F444 Challenge with John Seale and Marcus Clutton behind the wheel.

In the GT4 category Cicely Motorsport has entered its #25 Mercedes-AMG GT4 to be driven by David Fairbrother and Adam Morgan while UltraTek Racing team RJN will campaign its #54 Nissan 370Z GT4 to be driven by Stephen Johanssen, the second driver yet to be confirmed.

Ben Barnicoat and Adam Balon will drive the #72 Balfe Motorsport McLaren 570S GT4.

Track action opens for the British GT grid at 09:40 on Saturday September 22 for FP1 with the lights going out for the two-hour race at 13:35 on Sunday September 23. With the weather forecast predicting rain and lower temperatures, it could be a fascinating weekend. Don’t miss it!

2016 British GT Champion Derek Johnston To Retire From Racing After Donington (13.09.18)

Photo: BritishGT.com

Derek Johnston who, with TF Sport and teammate Jonny Adam, won the 2016 British GT Championship GT3 Drivers Championship title, is to retire after the final round of the season at Donington Park.

Johnston has admitted that a little of the driving motivation that saw him take the premier GT championship title two years ago has left him and that, after selling his business, MSW (UK) Ltd, and retiring, he is content to step away from racing.

“There is more than one reason why I’m retiring,” said Johnston. “I’ve sold the business, retiring from MSW and I’m very happy with my life away from racing. I no longer have the fire in my belly and racing is now a chore rather than a pleasure. I think that’s worth half a second a lap.”

“I like John Gaw (Managing Director Motorsport at Prodrive), I like Aston Martin Racing, they’re a great organisation and TF Sport are just like family, ” continued Johnston. “I’ll miss them and it will be sad for sure at the end in Donington. TF are such good friends but I know I’ll stay friends with them all.”

“Derek Johnston was our first headline signing at TF Sport,” said Team Director Tom Ferrier. “As a driver he has evolved with us as a team and we are very happy to have helped him win the championship in 2016. Derek is a racer at heart and we will miss him!”

The final round of the 2018 British GT Championship takes place at Donington Park on Sunday September 23.

Johnson And Robinson Move Up To GT3 For British GT Season Finale (12.09.18)

Photo: BritishGT.com

2016 GT4 champions Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson have announced that they will race in the GT3 class for the season finale of the 2018 British GT Championship at Donington Park on September 23.

Johnson and Robinson will take over the Balfe Motorsport McLaren 650S GT3, previously campaigned in 2018 by Shaun Balfe and Rob Bell.

Johnson and Robinson are excited at the prospect of racing in the premier category, possibly preceding a move into the GT3  class for 2019.

“When you’ve spent almost four years watching, being overtaken by and drooling over GT3 exotica from the cabin of your GT4, it’s perhaps inevitable that one day the temptation to race in the top league will prove too much!” said Johnson.

“Everything fell into place for the guest appearance,” continued the 2016 GT4 champion. “Balfe had a McLaren GT3 going spare, and Mike and I can’t feature in the top-two of the GT4 championship for the first time since we started competing in British GT, so we’ve nothing to lose by jumping ship and everything to gain because, yes, we are evaluating GT3 with a view to potentially making the jump for the 2019 season.”

“We’re not expecting to be on pole at Donington but, at the same time, we’ve never turned up just to make up the numbers. As the race draws closer, Mike and I are like kids looking forward to Christmas Day, but when the lights go out, we’ll be looking for a decent result.”

Track action for the final round of the 2018 British GT Championship gets underway for FP1 at 09:40 at Donington Park on Saturday September 22 with the lights going out for the two-hour race at 13:35 on Sunday September 23.

Optimum Motorsport Wins British GT Appeal – Increases GT3 Drivers Lead By 10 Points (05.09.18)

Photo: BritishGT.com / Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Wakefield-based Optimum Motorsport has announced that it has won its appeal against a decision taken during the opening round of the 2018 British GT Championship at Oulton Park.

A 30-second post-race had penalty had been applied, dropping the driving duo of Flick Haigh and Jonny Adan from fourth at the chequered flag to ninth.

Team Principal Shaun Goff was delighted at the news.

“I’m very happy at the decision,” said Shaun Goff. “We never accepted this incident was anything other than a racing accident. We’re delighted with the outcome and now  we can look forward to a strong showing at Donington where we stand a good chance of taking the championship honours.”

The decision means that the Haigh and Adam enter the final round of the 2018 British GT Championship with a 27.5-point advantage over Jon Minshaw and Phil keen. Nothing less than a victory for the crew of the #33 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 will now be sufficient for a shot at the drivers title.

Round 9 of British GT Championship takes place at Donington Park on September 23.

 

 

Ben Wallace To Promote Diabetes UK At Ormskirk Motorfest 2018. (22.08.18)

Ben Wallace, driver of the #88 Team HARD Ginetta G55 GT4 in the 2018 British GT Championship, will be appearing at Ormskirk Motorfest on Sunday August 26. Ben will be displaying his Ginetta race car at the Moor Street P2 area.

Ben, who has Type 1 diabetes, will be fundraising  for Diabetes UK at the event to promote the work of the UK’s leading charity for people affected by diabetes.

“The August Bank Holiday weekend is the perfect time to relax with family and friends and I can’t think of a better way to spend it than displaying my Ginetta G55 GT4 race car at the North-West’s biggest festival of motoring, Ormskirk Motorfest,” said Ben. “As an athlete competing at the highest level of national GT racing, I have been very grateful for the support of Diabetes UK and I am delighted to be able to join their fundraising at this prestigious event.”

“This year has been a busy one for me, combining my British GT Championship campaign with my driver-coaching work and studies,” continued Ben. “Planning my 2019 racing activities is now a priority for me and Ormskirk Motorfest is a fun and effective way to demonstrate how I work with my supporters.”

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Photo: Ian Cutting

Diabetes UK is the leading UK charity for people affected by diabetes. From care and support to prevention, campaigning, fundraising and research, Diabetes UK is tackling the fastest-growing health threat in the UK.

Ormskirk Motorfest is organised and run by the Aintree Circuit Club and expects to welcome 30,000 visitors and have over 300 motor vehicles on display. Ben’s Ginetta will be on display next to, amongst others, a 7.6ltr Ultima GTR, an Aston martin DB11 V12 Coupe, a Talbot Sunbeam Lotus and a 1934 Austin.

The event opens at 11:00 on Sunday August 26 and is completely free to attend. The organisers advise that, if you are planning to attend, you use public transport (Merseyrail Electric direct to Ormskirk Town Centre) or, if coming by car, use the Classic Bus Park and Ride from Edge Hill University.

“I Think We’ve Hit The Sweet Spot” – President Of Aston Martin Racing David King Discusses GT3 And GT4 Development. (19.08.18)

Photo: astonmartin.com

President of Aston Martin Racing David King, speaking ahead of Round Four of the FIA World Endurance Championship, has indicated that the Gaydon-based manufacturer is pleased with the reception of the new Vantage GT3 and is looking to develop the brand in the key North American market.

“We’re deep into the customer testing now and have lots of orders,” said David King. “GT3 is a very competitive market place. There are lots of good offerings from all the manufacturers but I think there’s something special about racing an Aston. It’s a competitive car and good value for money. The outgoing car, the V12, is a fan favourite but I think the new car will be very exciting. The art of developing a GT3 car is to make it useable for the gentleman driver and still suit the professional driver as well. I think we’ve hit that sweet spot.”

The recent announcements by the SRO Motorsports Group concerning the development of the World Challenge in North America has offered Aston Martin an additional platform to present its products and David King is looking to take full advantage of the opportunity, as well as explore other US-based series .

“We aren’t fully exploiting the opportunities in North America yet and it’s no secret to say we are actively seeking a partner in North America to work alongside the Prodrive AMR team to help with the distribution and support of customer cars,” said David King. “Ideally as well (to offer support) to get an IMSA programme running for us. I’m talking about an aspiration rather than a plan at the moment but, yes, we’d like to race in GTLM in IMSA. It’s a massive market and a fantastic series and we’re not there yet.”

In addition to its presence in the British GT Championship and the Blancpain GT Series, Aston Martin would like to increase its presence in other European championships but not before the new GT3 car has been proven with customer teams in its existing markets.

“It’s more important in the first year that we don’t flood the market with cars when we’re not quite ready,” said King. “We want to place GT3 cars with a few key customer teams so they can go out and demonstrate how good the car is for us and then we can sell more in the second and third year. It’s about quality rather than quantity in GT3 in the first year. We need to see some strong teams running in Blancpain Endurance and British GT. ADAC GT Masters in Germany is important – we haven’t been represented there at all for a few years so we’d like to get a strong partner team in Germany as well.”

The new Aston Martin GT4 was presented at Le Mans this year but is not quite as far advanced in development as its sister GT3 car.

“The new GT4 is in development at the moment based on the new V8 Vantage and we’re not quite doing customer drives yet but we’ll be doing so fairly soon,” said David King. “GT4 is a massive market for us and it’s a very good way to link our road-car customers to racing and as an intro to racing and track days as well. We were first in to GT4 back in 2007 when SRO launched it so we’ve seen it grow and flourish. We’ll continue to play a big part in that.”