Due to the first round of the European Le Mans Series coinciding with qualifying for the season opener of the British GT Championship at Brands Hatch, Beechdean Motorsport has substituted Jonny Adam with Darren Turner for the first round of the ELMS.
The race takes place on April 16 between 2.30pm and 6.30pm with qualifying for the British GT Championship taking place between 5.05pm and 5.56pm on the same afternoon. Adam will be driving the #17 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 alongside Derek Johnston in the British GT Championship.
“I am going to miss my fellow divorcee (in reference to Adam) but it is great to be racing back with Darren,” said team owner and driver Andrew Howard. “I raced with him in 2010 and look forward to learning from his vast experience in the GTE car.”
Darren Turner is also excited by the opportunity. “I am really looking forward to joining the Beechdean AMR team and driving with Andrew and Alex in the first round of the ELMS,” said Turner. “It is great to be back driving with Andrew after many years. The championship looks strong and it will be a hard fought race at Silverstone.
Adam has not commented on Beechdean’s decision. The team stated that Adam “will return to Beechdean AMR and ELMS later in the season”. The weekend of April 16 and 17 presents further interesting decisions as Adam is also entered in the #95 Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage with Nicki Thim and Marco Sorenson in the first round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, also at Silverstone. The scheduled race times of the opening rounds of the British GT Championship and the World Endurance Championship on April 17 overlap and would not allow him to drive in both.
The 2016 British GT Championship was launched today at Media Day at Snetterton. Both Benjamin Franassovice, Championship Manager, and Stephane Ratel, SRO Motorsport Group Founder and CEO spoke about their satisfaction at the way the series has developed.
“Entry wise we’ve progressed quantities there,” said Franassovice. “The diversity is also there. We have some new machinery joining us in both classes. We‘re very excited. We have the Lamborghini returning to us with Barwell. We also have the Bentley GT3 car joining us with Team Parker. We have the return of Audi with Optimum Racing [and we’re] very happy about that and McLaren with Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse. We will have 15 to 16 cars in GT3.”
Franassovice continued: “In GT4 more new models are arriving. We have Ebor with the Maserati which sounds great out there. We have Porsche coming in with the Cayman. We have, just announced today, the McLaren GT4 which is extremely nice so we’re very excited to have this car in British GT and be the first [series] to race it. Overall we are looking good and we can’t wait for the first event at Brands Hatch.”
Stephane Ratel also expressed how pleased he was at the healthy 2016 grid: “Things are going quite well in British GT at the moment really thanks to Benjamin and the SRO team who are really doing a fantastic job. I think the British GT Championship is an amazing example of stability and success.
“We’ve been promoting it for many years and apart from a little dive for two or three years when the economy was in trouble it’s recovered and as is a very good series which has strong principles. The first one is that it’s a Pro-Am series where really a non-professional driver really has a chance to win and usually wins and I think that is the number one characteristic of this series.”
Ratel explained why GT4 grids are also increasing. “The British GT series has helped develop the GT4 category more than any other series in Europe and I think the presence of the McLaren’s new GT4 cars, which we believe will be followed by other manufacturers which are now looking at the GT4 categories, shows that we were on the right way and we were very happy. We see in Europe that a number of GT3 championships do suffer because it is maybe becoming more and more of an international category. So GT4 is the perfect second division and we are very happy with the success it has in the UK.”
The first round of the British GT Championship will be held at Brands Hatch on the 17th of April.