Photo: Paren Raval
British GT Championship General Manager Benjamin Franassovici was delighted to unveil a record 38-car full-season entry list for the 2019 British GT Championship at the pre-season Media Day at Oulton Park on March 5.
Speaking at the press conference to launch the new season, Franassovici admitted that the size of the grid, and the speed at which entries were received for the 2019 Championship, surprised him.
“It’s beyond our expectation – we didn’t expect to have so many cars with the quality and the variety,” said Benjamin Franassovici. “After the last round at Donington last year we had entries in already. People realise that it’s limited in numbers and the platform is very popular. We were hoping for 16 cars – we reserved 16 places in GT3. Quite frankly I expected 10 cars – 11 cars and by January we were having extra cars coming in so 90% of our grid was completed by December, which is very nice to do.
“By February we had 14 to 15 GT3s confirmed which is bucking the trend. GT3 had a little lull but the platform is attractive to Pro-Am. It’s also attractive to the silver class. “We got to 14 cars and I think we’ll have 15 for Oulton Park so I’m very pleased with that.”
2019 also sees new-generation GT3 entries from Aston Martin, Bentley and McLaren alongside an evolution of the Lamborghini Huracán GT3, a development that has also impressed the Championship General Manager.
“To have the new-generation cars is great. Teams are investing and trusting the platform and that’s very gratifying. With the new Bentley and the new Aston, there is a great sense of excitement. I think GT3 will have a few more years of racing in British GT.”
The 2019 British GT Championship season also sees 23 full-season entries in the GT4 class. So why does Franassovici think the class is so popular?
‘It’s attractive for the drivers and it’s especially attractive for the young silver drivers who see this as a stepping-stone for GT3. It’s a very healthy class and you can see that in Europe.
“British GT was one of the first platforms where GT4 took off. It does take a bit of time. I’m lucky – I get to travel and see championships around the world and looking at those (British GT Championship) cars going down the pit lane in their livery is something quite special. It makes me proud to see what teams have done – it’s very, very pleasing.
There was also a further announcement today from the series organisers in which the Spa round has been added to the live streaming schedule, a development that represents a significant investment for SRO Motorsports Group.
“To add Spa for the live streaming is a big investment for us,” explained Franassovici. “Live streaming is live TV – it’s the same thing and it’s the same investment and it’s something we’re investing in so, with Spa, it’ll be all seven races that will be live and can be watched from home. That’s a big plus and we’re happy about that.”
The 2019 British GT Championship opens at Oulton Park on April 20 – 22.